Okay, people, I'm going to level with you. No matter how progressive and feminist and forward-thinking we are, we all have our moments when we just appreciate a dash of good old-fashioned male jealousy. It's instinctual, it shows (in whatever misguided way) that he cares about and values you, and frankly, it feels good to feel desired. That's really the long and short of it.
But for those of us who don't always trust when a guy is into us (try years of society telling you you're worthless or less than), it's worth noting a few of the tips below. Learn more about the emotionally unavailable enigma that is The Male, and where to enjoy his attention, and where to maybe express caution.
1. He can't stop sneaking looks at you
I know that by definition in order to catch someone looking at you, you also have to be looking at them, but every time you walk into a room he seems to squint and wonder where you've been. What you've been doing, who you have been with. It sounds a tad stalkerish, but he's really wondering why he wasn't just with you.
2. Hearing you talk about famous men
He doesn't like you eagerly talking about how you would like Ronaldo to do ungodly things to you in the bedroom (although, to be fair, Cynthia, no-one really needs to hear that monologue)
3. He stopped liking all your male friends' Instagram posts
He claims it's because he's trying to declutter his social media and reset his feng shui or something, but we know the truth, Derek. You're threatened. It's fairly natural, to be honest. So long as his insecurities are masked by the Instagram algorithm, you're grand.
4. Increasing touching
In all the ways here, ladies - this increasing contact comes from a place of needing to be near you, respectfully, of course (stern look). Another caveat, this doesn't constitute grabbing you and pushing you around. Rather the hand on your knee when he's driving, or the hand on your waist when he's introducing you to his parents, or his hand ... well, his hand 'nuff said.
5. He introduces you to his parents
Stepping up the commitment here is his way of saying that he's in it for the long haul. He wants to make a good impression and balance out his own confusing feelings of jealousy with a step in the right direction for your relationship. Good move, Jake. I applaud the conviction. Particularly if he is the first to suggest meeting his parents. This again demonstrates him making an effort to prioritize you.
6. He is unusually attentive
Asking questions and trying to anticipate your needs. Bless him, but also this was likely due a long time ago. He recognizes that his feelings of insecurity in the relationship necessitate more action on his part. You can rest on your laurels for this part.
7. He buys you gifts
He makes An effort to show what you mean to him and that he knows you.
8. He cooks you dinner
Even a spag bol and glass of your favorite wine goes a long way, and the meal doesn't even really need to taste good. He is trying to transform himself to convert the juvenile jealousy into a more mature love language.
9. He's going to the gym more
He probably has more excess nervous energy and can also bulk up and get back into fighting shape to impress you. Also, satisfy himself, and ensure that if he needs to defend your honor with a well-placed punch, it will be a belter.
10. He's inviting you round to his house more
Intimacy, his turf. You get it.
11. He's inviting you to watch him play football at the park on a Sunday
He is making a statement to his friends that you two are together, and are thus, officially off-limits, with no room for accidents or being misrecognized. Just smile and wave for this, he will likely be making some sort of speech on the matter in the tunnel at halftime so that his mates are all on the same page.
12. He's pushing you to go out with your friends more
This one is a rogue one, almost counterintuitive, where your man might be recognizing the new alien feelings of envy and trying to pretend they aren't there by insisting that you spend time apart and with your friends. This is well-meaning but he is better off trying to face these emotions head-on.
13. A change in deodorant/aftershave/toothpaste/other basic instruments of cleanliness
He's maybe feeling weird and trying to shake things up again. Feel free to compliment the changes as appropriate to set him at ease, but also don't stress. If the man gets a better haircut for feeling a little jealous, so be it.
14. He starts talking about the good old days and bringing up nostalgic memories to recapture the magic of before
Maybe this is him manifesting anxieties about the trajectory of the relationship as a whole, rather than just specifically feelings of jealousy about you, this is an interesting one to gauge. Try to clarify whether he is trying to remind you of how fun you are together, or himself.
15. Or, alternatively, he's acting more possessive
This one is something to be careful with because it can spiral from protectiveness and very quickly lurch into an obsession. Trapping you away from the world because he doesn't know what to do with these anxieties. Be mindful and have a friend on hand for advice if it persists.
16. He wants to spend more time with you on your terms too
17. He wants you to spend less time with your male friends
I know that Barry from down the road kissed you in High School and that Dean dumped you five years ago but you've all moved on. For heaven's sake, Glen is gay, but that doesn't stop the man from feeling threatened nonetheless. Here, we're reaching points of irrationality that might escalate; time for an open and honest discussion, methinks.
One step up from the nostalgic stories being dug up, this stage of jealousy is resorted to in public spaces. Likely when there is another male about that needs to be put in their place. Brace yourself to be regaled with stories of his sporting, academic, and social successes from the last two decades. You will be expected to sigh wonderingly at him in admiration. Endeavor not to.
19. Expressing more emotional sentiments than usual
He is reminding you that you are valued and important to him. He may simply think that you want to hear this (which you do) but it's nice all the same. It's better to be emotionally communicative than physically oppressive. Obviously.
20. He might get upset and lash out
Either on account of him feeling distanced from you, or you being out of reach, or his own diminishing self-esteem. It happens to us all, including us, ladies, as long as you are comfortable, try to see the outburst out to get to the bottom of it. Jealousy isn't a fun emotion, for all the romanticizing.
Get out if you sense this. Seriously consider not coming back.
22. He stops talking to you or confiding in you
Maybe he feels guilt for his emotional response, or not sure what to do with it and wants to avoid feeling more vulnerable or out of control. These mood swings or changes in how he conducts himself are to be noted and acted on accordingly.
23. More eye-contact
Distinct from physical contact, this is him seeking assurance that you are happy, present with him in the moment, and feeling safe. This gesture is as intimate as it is effective at conveying emotional nuance.
24. He challenges your ex to a fist fight
When you meet outside the club and all parties have had too much to drink and felt too many emotions that week. A pretty good indicator that he's feeling out of sorts.
And finally, the least expected, most nuanced secret hint tell that a guy will use when he's feeling jealous:
25. He tells you
Ding ding, chaps. We have a winner.
You might want to marry that last one, by the way.