How to Deal With a Jealous Boyfriend

advice: dating advice: relationship lauren gray

Are you wondering how to deal with a jealous boyfriend?

You’re in the right place!

It’s easy to second guess yourself and think, “Is it me? Am I doing something wrong? Am I causing his reactions?”

And I want to stop you right there. This is not your fault.

In this post, I’m going to introduce you to the two types of jealous men and show you how to deal with each of them so you can thrive in your relationship!

Dear Lauren,

Two months into my relationship, my boyfriend looked through all my text messages while I was sleeping. He found an old one from my ex. Three months later he went through all my emails and found a few from male friends. I have an extremely suspicious boyfriend. I have explained everything to him but he calls me deceitful, a liar, and untrustworthy.

I was outside at a party with a bunch of people and I put my arm around my friend’s husband. My boyfriend saw us. I didn’t think anything of it. Then three days later he told me I had humiliated him in front of all those people!  Is it me?  Am I wrong?  Is it unacceptable behavior to hug another person? I really like this guy. What do I do?

– Madeline

How to Tell What Is Appropriate Behavior


It’s easy to start doubting yourself in the face of a partner’s jealousy and upset. I get it. You start asking yourself “Am I wrong? Is it me? Am I crazy?”

You’re not.

If a certain behavior is in question, check-in with yourself and trust your gut: Do you feel guilty in any way? Would you do it again if you knew your partner was right next to you?

Let these questions guide your inner knowing.

Don’t base your truth on his reaction. His reaction may not be appropriate behavior!


The 2 Types of Jealous Men


So your boyfriend is snooping around your text messages, huh? Jealous when you interact with other men? Angry at you for your “inappropriate” behavior?

Sounds like a real Prince Charming.

Many people would probably tell you to run the other direction (and they might not be wrong!).

But I believe that advice is premature. We simply don’t have enough information yet. You see, there are TWO types of jealous men:

#1. The Insecure Control Freak

#2. The Bull in a China Shop

Before I can give you my recommendation on what to do, we need to determine what type of jealous man your boyfriend is.


Jealous Type #1: The Insecure Control Freak

Some men (and women) are so insecure that rather than appreciating and trusting their partner, they become overly possessive and suspicious.

Often these men and women have experienced betrayal in a past relationship where their partner has cheated on them. This gives them “a rational reason” for being paranoid.

It also gives them tunnel vision. They don’t want the wool pulled over their eyes again so instead, they’re constantly looking for what they don’t want to find.

If this person is so insecure that they do not feel they deserve love and loyalty, then they will assume the worst until that changes inside of them.


Jealous Type #2: The Bull in a China Shop

Some jealous, snooping, suspicious men aren’t control freaks at all! Sometimes they’re just, as my mother would say, “a bull in a china shop.” They’ll cause a whole bunch of damage, have big heated reactions, say mean things — UNLESS you corral them by establishing clear boundaries.

When this type of jealous man is confronted with clear boundaries shared in a loving and direct way, he’ll often (metaphorically) kick a few times and then settle down.

Over time, through hearing your boundaries, he learns what is an appropriate expression of his love and what is controlling and inappropriate.

The difference between type #1 and type #2 is that the bull in a china shop has the potential to be a great and supportive partner to you. With the right kind of communication and training, he may become a keeper.


How to Deal With Your Jealous Boyfriend


How to deal with Jealous Type #1

The tendency of the Insecure Control Freak to not trust you will ultimately escalate to him trying to control you. This is where things get dysfunctional.

In every monogamous relationship, your partner holds some control over you. This is why we don’t sleep around when we have promised monogamy. But in this case, I’m talking about unreasonable control.

It starts small and unassuming. He may start by asking you where you’re going out to and then ask if you would stay home instead. When you choose to leave, he may get angry with you, try to make you feel guilty, or say hurtful things to punish and manipulate you. He may not let you leave the house if you are wearing something he doesn’t approve of.

At first, you may go along with this. After all, it's not a big deal. You’re happy to do something nice for the man you love.

Then bang!

Before you know it, you’re tangled up in an abusive relationship. Insecure Control Freaks are impossible to live happily ever after with.

So how do you deal with Jealous Type #1? Walk away before it gets bad.


How to deal with Jealous Type #2 

By setting your limits and outlining your boundaries, you teach him what is appropriate and what is not.

Here are 3 examples you can apply to your relationship today:

Example #1: When he looks through your email, let him know in a neutral tone of voice (NOT angry - he’ll mirror you) that it is not okay behavior to look through your stuff. Everyone deserves privacy. He needs to trust you and respect your boundary in order for this relationship to work.

Example #2: Next time he gets his panties in a bundle over you hugging a friend, matter-of-factly inform him that there is a big difference between inappropriate flirting and just being friendly. You know the difference and your behavior is appropriate. He needs to trust you for this relationship to work.

Example #3: Here’s a script that I personally used with my boyfriend in college which put an end to his jealousy real quick! I’ll tell you, I learn a lot of great relationship advice from my dad but this script came from a conversation with my mom and it’s pure genius:

“I understand that you get upset when I’m affectionate with my male friends and you may feel ignored. I want to assure you that you are way more important to me. I don’t do anything inappropriate with them. The line is very clear. I’m not going to change my behavior because it makes you uncomfortable. My behavior is in line with my integrity and I feel good about it. Next time you’re uncomfortable with how I’m acting, feel free to go in another room.”

BTW, I was so nervous about setting this boundary I wrote the words on a notecard and read it to him in his dorm room. Lucky us, that’s how I still have the script to share!


The Ultimate Test: How to Tell What "Type" of Jealous Man You're With


At this point, you might be wondering how to tell whether you’re with an Insecure Control Freak or you’re with a Bull.

Great question! And the answer can be found with some simple experimentation.

Play detective. With trial and error setting your limits and outlining your boundaries, his true identity will reveal itself.

If he responds by respecting your boundaries, congratulations! He’s a keeper!

If he continues to push past your boundaries, you have your answer. This controlling behavior will only escalate into something truly dysfunctional. Walk away.


With love,


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