We all know this story—one of your good friends manages to squeak some girl time with you (a rare and precious moment, for sure), but in the middle of your bonding session, boom, a text appears! "Where are you? Who are you with? What time are you going home?"
No, it's not her parents. It's her jealous boyfriend, and you can practically smell the stink of accusation wafting from her phone. We're raised on the stereotype of the gal who pouts with jealousy at home for her man, but the reverse happens more often than we think. Just under the thin, easily bruised male skin is a little green-eyed monster, and it doesn't take a lot for it to come out. Take these surefire things that’ll get a guy’s jealous-o-meters ticking. (Prepare to roll your eyes.)
Jealous-o-Meter Rating: M
What Sets It Off: You casually comment about how hot so-and-so male celeb is.
Why It Makes Him Jealous: Look, it's not as if we're really worried that you'll actually run off with a celeb. It's just the fact that you said you would. And in the deluded caverns of our head, we can imagine you running off with someone who kind of looks like Ian Somerhalder. It's possible—you find him hot anyway, right?
Where Does This Nonsense Come From? Feeling jealous... because of a celeb?! Remember, jealousy isn't supposed to be about making sense, it's supposed to be about deep-seated issues with your guy that's bleeding out into your relationship. In this case, it's a trust thing—even the smallest possibility of you leaving him (even for an impossibility like a celebrity) will sound off red alerts in his head. He's scared of losing you... and not in a cute way.
Your Zinger Comeback: "So, what, only guys can find celebs hot?"
People Who Stare At You
Jealous-o-Meter Rating: MM
What Sets It Off: He sees guys making eyes at you, especially when you wear that showstopping bikini.
Why It Makes Him Jealous: It's a territory thing—"I'm your boyfriend, I'm the only one who can look at you." We aim to mark our gals the way dogs mark fire hydrants, and any dude who so much as looks your way will get one in the kisser.
Where Does This Nonsense Come From? Despite millions of years of evolution, a guy may not have completely stomped out the caveman inside. For some terribly misguided males, a relationship = ownership. You are not allowed to live a life separate from clinging and pining for them, for fear that you'd dump them for the first guy who flatters you. Also, watch out—your so-called "jealous boyfriend" may actually be guilty of ogling beautiful women as well... which is why he's projecting his guilt into an overprotective hostility.
Your Zinger Comeback: "It's not my fault I'm hot."
Guys Who Are Better At Stuff
Jealous-o-Meter Rating: MMMM
What Sets It Off: You mention qualities, skills, or abilities you find really impressive—and the guys who just happen to have them.
Why It Makes Him Jealous: We're actually pretty good at things, you know? We managed to make you fall in love with us—not to brag or anything, but that means we're pretty hot stuff, right? But when you go and "casually" mention that, you know, this other guy can longboard, or is an MMA fighter, or has visited Angkor Wat… well, you just set our jealousy level rocketing to DEFCON 5.
Where Does This Nonsense Come From? Funnily—or unfunnily, depending on how you're taking his jealous fits—guys are most jealous of those they want to be. Is your boy a frustrated guitar player? Then he'll most likely be jealous of your musician friends. Does he secretly wish he was in the basketball varsity instead of the debate team? Then he'll really be keeping an envious eye on your jock pals. It's all about insecurity and a lack of self-confidence; instead of being somebody, all he'll be is jealous.
Your Zinger Comeback: "Give yourself a little credit, all right?"
Your Best Guy Friend
Jealous-o-Meter Rating: MMMMM
What Sets It Off: The mere fact of your very close friendship with this... this... this dude.
Why It Makes Him Jealous: Look at him! Like, really look at him, all smug and secure with his so-called "friendship," when all he actually wants to do is steal you from right under our noses. As fellow guys, we know his dishonorable intentions. Plus, you complain to him about us. In our feverish fantasies of jealousy, we imagine you leaning on his shoulder while rattling off all your complaints.
Where Does This Nonsense Come From? All the things mentioned above condense together when it comes to your guy best friend. Your friendship with him, no matter how harmless or innocent, represents a major threat to all of your boyfriend's deep-seated issues: he gets territorial and clingy when the three of you meet up, he can't trust you when you hang out with him, his insecurity can't handle the fact that you two share something he'll never be a part of. Make no mistake: his issues with your best guy friend mask a deeper undercurrent of trouble in your relationship.
Your Zinger Comeback: "We need to talk about this."
This article was originally published in the June 2011 issue of Candy Magazine.