Why Is My Ex Boyfriend Trying To Make Me Jealous?

Crunch. Did you hear that? That’s the sound of his ego being shattered. As blunt as it sounds, the vast majority of guilt-trips stem from an ex attempting to reconcile his self-image with his wavering sense of self-worth. In a sense, then, it is less about his ability to manipulate you, than it is about his battle with his own inner demons.

See it for what it is

Jealousy at its core, is the fear of losing something that is highly valued. In this case that would be you. Superficially, manifestations of jealousy seem counter-intuitive. By manipulating and controlling, don’t we risk alienating the object of our attention?

Yes, but the subconscious mind doesn’t care. If an ex is having trouble moving on, bad press is better than no press because at the very least they have your attention. If they have your attention, at some level they are comforted by the fact that you still think of them. Even if what you are thinking isn’t quite as flattering as they hope.

Once we realize that jealousy is nothing but a smokescreen for insecurity, its effects should begin to diminish over time.

Making it stop

Making his manipulation stop is only partly in your hands. Only once he is able to come to grips with loss will his need to clamor for your attention end.

There are things you can do to accelerate this process, however.

  • Don’t allow him to bait a reaction out of you. Confronting him will only end with him attempting to make you look insecure (as well as give his broken ego exactly what it wants — your attention).
  • Remove yourself from the picture. If he continues to contact you with his mind-games, do what it takes to limit his access to you. This might include removing him from your social networks or changing your number.
  • Don’t attempt to rationalize his attempts at jealousy. Don’t allow his own wavering self-esteem to bring yours down. Remember; if he was truly over you he wouldn’t bother.

There is something to be said for standing up to your ex and cluing them into the fact that you are fully aware of how transparent their mind-games are. While this may work, I personally feel that it can also reset both your, and your ex’s healing process. Potentially making things a great deal worse. I would steer clear of the drama — but that’s just me.

Other reasons for jealousy

While all forms of jealousy are fundamentally a manifestation of insecurity, some are fueled by more than just the pain of dealing with unrequited desire. In some casesĀ  jealousy isn’t just ego-driven self-mutilation, but is the fruit of something more specific. If that pain can be smoothed out, so too might his desire to evoke jealousy.

Resentment is another common catalyst for mind-games. Sometimes it isn’t about reconciling. It’s about paying you back. If your relationship ended badly, or there is something which caused him to resent you, he might simply be seeking a crude form of revenge by emotionally torturing you.

Wounded pride is also another common culprit. Particularly prideful people will care deeply about notions such as “social status” and may be fixated by the feeling of having publicly lost face. In this case their attempts to make you jealous have nothing to do with you, but are a pathetic way of attempting to inform everyone else that they came out of the breakup the “victor”.

The bottom-line

Rather than allow their games to tear at your own self-worth, make sure you understand that mind games are the symptom of self-inflicted, ego-driven malaise. Rarely will you have anything to do with it, and there is rarely anything you can actually do about it.

Don’t allow his guilt and insecurity to become yours.


Images courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the author

James Nelmondo

James "the Unknown" Nelmondo is a self-styled relationship enthusiast, former infant, part-time dumper and full-time dumpee.


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  • My ex has (several times now) mentioned how this girl he met wanted to sleep with him, or this female friend he has was texting him to hook up last night, or how he “hung out” with some girl and now she won’t leave him alone. He knows I want reconciliation and he does make effort to see me but once we sit down and talk he starts telling me about other women. I do my best not to give him a reaction. Why does he do that?

    • Most probably because his sense of self worth is so low that he is now attempting to bait a reaction out of you. It could be guilt, resentment or low self-esteem. It’s a way for his mind to even the emotional playing field and making him “worth” your attention.

    • I see. Also, when should I be talking to him about reconciliation? I went NC on him for 3 months after the break-up, I broke contact then he did stupid hot and cold behavior on me for 5 months (found out he was living with his previous ex gf and didn’t tell me out of fear that I wouldn’t speak to him) then he moved out and I went NC on him for 2 months, he broke contact and ever since we have had major progress only we don’t talk about reconciliation. He has taken some huge steps the past few weeks, including actually sitting down and chatting with my parents one evening and now he has started stopping by on his way home from work unannounced but yet he still goes cold for 4-7 days. Like ice cold as in complete silence. I know he is still on a dating site too.

    • I obviously can’t be sure, but to me it sounds like he’s playing tug of war with his own insecurity. Perhaps he lacks of the nerve to bring up the topic of reconciliation, fearing rejection. He obviously can’t count on reconciling (and may not be certain about his own will to commit to begin with), and so is forced to juggle all his options — possibly leading to those 4-7 days of stone-cold silence.

      This is all quite hypothetical, but insecurity and fear seem at the root of it all. If reconciliation has become something of an elephant in the room I would probably go ahead and discuss it. It sounds to me like you both need to know where you stand.

  • My x bf and i was broke up a week ago ,,, he told me and my friends tht he has already with another lady ,,i didnt call or txting him fr 1 week , , my friend told me tht he wants to help me to find room fr my self and he is the one will pay evry month , but i will not disturbed his relationship with his gf ,,, pls help me, this guy still love me ?

  • My ex boyfriend(33) is talking to a 17-18 year old high school girl who lives 7 hours away from us in Virginia somewhere. She tagged him in photos on instagram writing paragraphs when I was on vacation. I saw it and got pissed. She DM’d me on instagram telling me to “back off her man”…but they never even met. I went insane. He played a joke on me saying it was his gf then laughed at me for believing him because they never met. But, he claims they have been talking for 3 weeks and he cannot control that “girls like him”. Why is he entertaining a little girl and why is he going out of his way to piss me off? She lives far away and it will never go anywhere..she is naive and stupid. I feel bad for her. I think he is using her as an attempt to get back at me. He called me twice yesterday and I did not pick up. We have been on and off for almost 2 years and every time we break up it is a game for him…meanwhile he is the one who dumps me. When I’ve dated and talked to other guys, he has freaked out on me..but when I freak out one time I am called a “psycho”. I haven’t contacted him and I am tired of him using me for sex until someone else giveshim attention. Even if that means getting attention from an immature teenage girl. I am tired.

  • Hello. My ex boyfriend is “dating” my bestfriend, and while we’re at school, they keep getting lovey dovey. She says she has no feelings for him, but then allows him to wrap his arm around her, kiss her cheek, hold her hand…and then he stares at me for no reason, and it kinda scares me.

    • Sorry to hear about it Chloe, that sounds pretty horrible.

      It also sounds like they’re both playing transparent games. I mean, if he’s hugging her and staring at you he’s probably looking to bait a reaction out of you. It makes their bond sound pretty flimsy, doesn’t it?