Like them or not, they often make us go through all sorts of emotions. Sometimes we are not even in control of them.
Where you used to be a completely rational and even-keeled individual, you now become a bit of a mess. So to speak. Emotions can sometimes prevail over your more logical and composed self, and you start doing things that seem out of character. To act in ways that surprise even yourself.
Granted, having feelings for someone is not always a bad thing.
Those butterflies in the stomach happen to be what pushes you to act in romantic or even heroic ways. To get excited for your partner’s successes and strong when they need your support.
But there are instances – for example, a break-up – where negative emotions are pushed to the surface and exacerbated.
And one of those emotions is jealousy.
Jealousy is interesting, because it just does not feel good. For anyone. It is unpleasant to be on the receiving end of a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend, and it can be just as bad when you are the one experiencing it.
When you are feeling jealous, you may not recognize who you become, often leading to regret, confusion, and anxiousness.
But it is out of your control.
Or at least, it may feel that way. While jealousy for you is most likely a mild annoyance, it is probably intensified when romantic feelings are involved.
Now for the big question: is this something you are doing to yourself, or do you feel jealous because of your ex?
Breaking up with someone tends to really “test” us in the sense that it can exacerbate negative emotions.
Like jealousy, for sure, but you may also feel frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, unhappy, insecure…
Stuck in this whirlwind of emotions, it can be hard to know exactly what is causing your turmoil. You may soon start asking yourself questions like:
“Why am I feeling so jealous right now? Is it just me? Am I going crazy?”
“Is my ex trying to make me jealous? Is that why it is so hard to get over my ex?”
These questions are important to get right, as there are two scenarios here:
1. You are going through a normal break up.
While what you are feeling is unpleasant, ultimately, it is on you to take the right steps to get better. Eat healthy, sleep well, go see your friends, talk with your family, write down your feelings… You are the one in charge here.
2. Your ex is trying to make you jealous.
This is akin to trying to swim while someone is pushing your head underwater. It is going to be harder for you to get better and stop being jealous because your ex is actively trying to make things harder for you.
If you think you might be in the second scenario, that is pretty bad news. It is vital that you learn to recognize the signs that your ex is working against you.
Understanding what is truly happening will allow you to:
After all, if someone really was pushing your head under the water, the first thing you would need to do is to be aware of it.
Only then would you be able to change how you swim for your efforts not to be in vain.
In that spirit, here are the top ways to tell that your ex is making you jealous on purpose.
If your ex is trying to get a reaction out of you, then there will be signs.
You might be thinking that since you are the one who is feeling jealous, then that is your problem to deal with.
And yes, in some cases, that is true: your ex could have moved on and is not actively trying to make you jealous, but you can’t help it. For example, you could run into them and their new partner very randomly, while grocery shopping. As long as your ex is not disrespectful or inconsiderate, then you might have to look inward to find a solution to your jealousy – usually, the solution is time.
However, if you start to feel that your ex is going out of their way to get you to notice her or him, there might be something more to it.
You could reasonably conceive that as a sign that your ex wants you to feel jealous.
Here is a list of 10 other signs that point to the same thing. Make a checklist for them, and the more signs you write down, the more you can be sure your ex is trying to make your life harder.
Of course, no one is advocating for policing relationships here. After all, it is not illegal for your ex to develop a romantic interest for someone new if your relationship with them is over.
What is intriguing, however, is the reason why they are displaying their relationship so blatantly in places where they know you will see them. At the very least, that is a little insensitive, especially if you two split up only recently and the wounds are still fresh.
And it would seem like a reasonable thing if you were to ask them to tone it down.
But at the same time, your ex also put you between a rock and a hard place. Because if you did contact them about it, you would:
So, the best thing for you to do might still be to do nothing.
If you have experienced this, then you know exactly what we are talking about here.
You see an Instagram notification, and it is your ex, having cocktails by the pool. You then log into your Facebook account and see them again. This time, it looks like they are at a concert. Or a chalet in the mountains. Hopping on a plane. Going to a party.
The uploads are incessant. And they are smiling in each picture, of course.
Meanwhile, you are still reeling from breaking up with them, not even in the mood to get out of your house, and think to yourself: “What on earth? Is it possible they moved on so quickly?”
This might cause you to feel some negative emotions.
Like: “Why can’t I be as carefree as them? Is it because I can’t forget my ex? I hate feeling this way.”
And maybe, just maybe, that is exactly the reaction your ex is looking for. They want you to get jealous.
So, here is your reminder that most of what you see on social media is fake. Your ex is carefully curating these posts and pictures to show you only the best, most awesome things they are doing.
You may not know if your ex is really happy or just faking it, but it sure looks like they are doing their best to make you believe that they are.
It would be one thing if you had both moved on, dated other people, and remained friends. In situations like these, it is not uncommon for an ex boyfriend to mention in passing that he went on a date, or if your ex girlfriend talks about a guy she is currently seeing.
You know, casually.
But this is unusual if you have not clearly established the terms of your new interactions with your ex. That could be the case, for example, because you broke up recently, or because there is some awkwardness when you talk with your ex.
Why would an ex boyfriend talk about his dates if he is not sure you still like him?
At the very least, that is potentially hurtful.
But it makes more sense when you take into account the possibility that your ex is teasing you on purpose. Casually mentioning other people to see how you react.
Picture this: You have not talked with your ex in a week, and the last time you did, it was polite, but very bland.
Then, you suddenly get a notification on your phone. It goes something like this:
“Hey Madison, are we still meeting up after your class?”
“What time are you picking me up tonight?”
And just as you are wondering: “Why did he send me this text? My name’s not even Madison,” or “What? Is she going on a date? She moved on already? So quickly?” you get a second message explaining that “Oops, didn’t mean to send that to you. Have a good one.”
That’s it. No explanation, no apologies, nothing.
Could it be a coincidence?
What are the odds that your ex texted you suddenly after ignoring you for a week or two?
This type of message is sure to get your gears turning. It leaves you with more questions than answers, and that could very well be on purpose.
There could be nothing going on at all, but because your ex leaves things so mysterious, your mind would naturally come to the conclusion that they are seeing someone else.
Admittedly, these examples are a little “on the nose”.
Most of the time, your ex will be more subtle. Like calling you then quickly hanging up before you pick up. Leaving a party early (when you are there) to “go do something.” Or coming to your evening classes all dressed up, clearly dressed to go out after.
If you think your ex is playing these types of manipulative games, your best bet is to not engage with them. Find a distraction instead, like a hobby, a passion project, or meeting new people.
Actually, you could even meet new people who share your passions and hobbies. Thousands of them are online right now on Vidamora, maybe you could see if anyone local is online!
This is another tactic of which you might be on the receiving end when your ex tries to make you jealous.
It is underhanded, sure. But if your ex is trying to get under your skin like that, you cannot put it past them. And it goes something like this:
Your ex might constantly compare how good his new relationship is when compared with the one they had with you. Saying things such as: “It is so much easier to agree on bar when going on a date with my new boyfriend. I can’t believe we used to waste so much time arguing about it,” “I see my new girlfriend every day and we never get tired of each other! In a way, it is a good thing we broke up or I would have never met her,” or “You know, I’m much happier now. I can focus on things that are important to me, you know?”
The thing with these kinds of statements is not so much that your ex is happy with their life. It is that they are using that as a reason to put your previous relationship down.
Unless they are truly vindictive, why are they making such an effort to bring up the past?
If they were really happy like they say, they would say it. No need to drag you into it.
You may not be in touch or on talking terms with your ex right now. But it does not mean that does not happen anyway.
If their social media has pictures with descriptions such as “Finally found someone who gets me” and hashtags like #Healing or #FreeAtLast, your ex could be leaving you similar hints.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy.
If your ex is actively pursuing a better life, trying to get in shape or to simply feel more comfortable in their skin, good on them.
In a way, seeing their stories of going to the gym or picking up jogging might even inspire you to pump some iron or get some good cardio training.
However, you also are within your rights to ask a few questions:
If you find that you have several of these questions, your ex could be up to something. Especially if the change is radical and they are acting very different from what you remembered when you were together.
In such cases, the answer is often the same: when your ex sends you pictures that make them look attractive, they might be trying to say: “Look at what you are missing.”
Has your ex ever said something similar to this:
If you have received texts like this from an ex partner, then you know how tricky it can be to reply.
In a way, these messages are clearly implying that something is going on in their life. And there is more than enough reason to think that they are dating someone new.
But at the same time, they are not coming out and straight up admitting to it.
So, do you call them out on it? Press for more detail? Well, no, you don’t want to look jealous or obsessed.
The real question you should be asking yourself instead is this: Why are they hinting that they are seeing someone, while at the same time remaining so ambivalent?
Wouldn’t it be better to be clear with you, saying: “Look, I know we only broke up a few months ago, but I need to tell you that I am dating someone at the moment. I just did not want you to hear it from someone else.”
That seems more mature and respectful, does it not?
And if you are not on speaking terms, then they should not even mention anything. What would be the point?
So, when you get mixed messages like that, you can be pretty sure your ex is trying to get under your skin.
Do you think your ex has ghosted you? Are you wondering why your ex won’t talk to you?
It is not unusual for an ex boyfriend to drag their feet responding to you or when an ex girlfriend takes forever to reply to your texts.
You might feel like you are in really confusing territory here. That is because this behavior can be interpreted two or three ways:
And you might not be sure what to make of it.
So, which is it? Is your ex trying to make you jealous or really just not even thinking about you?
To be able to tell the difference between the two, ask yourself: “Is this behavior constant?”
If your ex seems distant, not really engaged when you talk, never really eager to reply when you contact him (and almost never contacting you first), then they probably have more interesting things going on.
In this case, they are often replying out of politeness, but have no ulterior motive. They are not ignoring you on purpose, but genuinely interested in other activities in their life. Maybe they are trying to better themselves, to see their friends more.
And sometimes they think about you and send you a text. But they think about you the same way you would think about a friend from college. Occasionally.
On the other hand, if everything your ex does feel like a big game of cat and mouse, they are up to something.
Concretely, they will seem all enthusiastic and chatty, then suddenly drop off the surface of the earth for a few days. Only to reappear in your life later. Send a few text messages back and forth, and stop responding suddenly mid-conversation.
All the while, you might not even notice them doing anything really different with their time.
They still frequent the same social circles, and do not appear to have picked up new time-consuming hobbies for example. Your ex might still like your pictures on social media and interact with you. Just periodically.
And usually, if you do not seek them out, they will get in touch with you first. You do not need to do anything special, just wait.
When that happens to you, oftentimes your ex is trying to make you think they have other things going on in their life. In reality, they are the one obsessing over you and what you think of them.
It is true that you are influenced by the people around you.
Thus, it stands to reason that the longer you are in a relationship with someone, the more influence they have on you. And vice versa.
Logically, after a break up, the reverse would happen. You would gradually start drifting apart and start center yourself around new hobbies and people.
The key word in that is: “gradually”.
This is not some sort of magical transformation where you are someone one day, and someone else the next:
So, what does it mean when you observe just the opposite in your ex? Where their personality shifts so radically from when you were dating that you do not recognize them?
Well, the most rational conclusion is that their new behavior is not completely genuine.
Here are some examples of what that could look like:
When you start to get worked up about how your they act, or seriously wonder why they did not treat you the same way they treat their new dates, watch out.
If your ex is trying to make you jealous, this could be exactly the reaction they want to get from you.
Okay, they got you.
Your ex has been acting strange, out of character, a little mean even. And that finally got under your skin. One day, you decide you have had enough and you tell them: “Stop showing up to my events with your new date, this is really annoying! Come on, and I know you hang out with Marvin. You know I hate him.”
Admittedly, you could have tried to keep your cool a bit more, but you know, you’ve just had enough.
From there, two scenarios are possible:
If your ex really has been trying their best to make you jealous, they will be watching for your reaction.
They want you to shout at them, show your frustration.
That is what they hope will happen. They expect it.
So, when you blow up and start fighting with them about their secret new life, or the fact that they never respond to your messages, they are ready to counter:
“Stop being so jealous! I have the right to have my own life without you, you know.”
“I did not know you were so insecure.”
“Clearly, you can’t get over me. It’s over, deal with it.”
“You keep checking on me. What’s up with that? Are you jealous?”
They might even rub it in your face, or try to make you feel like you are the crazy one for reacting the way you did, while pretending that everything they did was perfectly normal.
But the thing is, you might not be that crazy, and this could be projection.
In this second scenario, what could be your ex’s reaction to your outburst?
Finally, your ex could also suggest distancing themselves from you, to avoid disrupting their new life, if that is really what they care about.
In the first scenario, they care about how you react. They might revel in the fact that they made you feel bad.
In the second one, they want to make sure everyone can move on gracefully, and focus on their new life.
There is a big difference between the two.
If you have noticed one or more of the signs above, your ex is probably pushing your buttons on purpose.
Now, it begs the question: Why are they acting this way? What is the end goal here?
To shed some light on their behavior, here are 5 possible reasons why your ex is trying to make you jealous.
Your break up might have affected them more than they like to admit.
It may have impacted their self-esteem and given your ex a sense of powerlessness.
To compensate for that, they are trying to make you think their life is much better now, to trigger your jealousy.
They know deep down that this is not a valuable solution, but have probably run out of ideas at this point.
Whether they were the one who initiated the break up or not does not matter.
At some point – maybe immediately, maybe it took a while – they realized they still had feelings for you.
Their attempt to make you jealous might just be them trying to attract your attention and get you to talk to them.
Even if they have to annoy you to achieve that.
This may seem a bit extreme – and very childish – but if your ex is having trouble processing the separation, they might resort to it.
Your ex is unhappy with the way things are, and they do not want to see you happy either.
This is a scorched earth strategy, where they think: “If I can’t be happy, then you neither,” or “If I have not moved on, then I don’t want you to move on.”
Once more, this is not a the sign of a healthy recovery (but if your ex is trying to make you jealous, they probably are not in the best headspace anyway).
In this case, the motivation is not to see you suffer, but to boost their own ego.
In their mind, if they can get you to react, then they will feel better about themselves.
Strange as it may sound, their attempt to make you jealous might actually not be the result of a conscious, devious plan to see you suffer.
Maybe it is your ex’s way to reconnect and make up with you.
They want to see you react because if you get mad at their new partner, or their new life, it could mean that they still have a shot at getting you back.
We could not end this article knowing that your ex is trying to get under your skin without giving you at least a few viable strategies to deal with the situation.
Here are some things you could try, in 4 easy steps:
Your reaction is exactly what your ex is looking for. The bigger the better.
By keeping your cool and only responding with neutral statements like “Oh that’s good,” or “Good for you, this is nice,” you are not giving them the reaction they want.
Hopefully, that will be enough to get them off your back.
If you find yourself unable to face your ex or unwilling to do so, you can always block your ex on social media. You can even block their phone number.
Now you will not have to see anything they post, which will protect your emotional well-being and allow you to move on.
Sure, it is not the nicest thing to do to someone, but your ex is also being disrespectful towards you, which is unacceptable.
When you simply cannot control your reactions (i.e.: you get jealous all the time, even after the separation), then it points to a deeper issue.
The solution will not lie in confronting your ex, but addressing the reasons why you get jealous.
It could stem from some unresolved trauma, insecurities, lack of confidence, or obsessive thinking.
Feel free to seek the advice of a trained professional if you need, your mental well-being should be your priority.
Find a way to get busy and occupy your mind.
If you don’t have as much time to obsess over your ex’s action, they are much less likely to make you jealous.
Try to go for activities that completely engross you, that captivate your attention.
Maybe you already know what makes you feel this way, and maybe this is your opportunity to discover something that does.
If your ex is trying to make you jealous even after your break up, it points to some unresolved feelings or issues that they are still dealing with.
Try to understand that these do not get solved overnight, and brace yourself to deal with your ex’s antics for a while. Eventually, they will learn to leave you in peace.
Be considerate enough to give your ex some time, but remember that your number one priority should be yourself and your well-being.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself if your ex gets under your skin and you need to scream into a pillow to vent your frustrations. Having emotions is human and normal.
And give yourself some time.
Your ex’s behavior might not stop immediately, but eventually, you will learn to tune it out.
Focus on living the best life possible for yourself, and you will naturally distance yourself from this less-than ideal situation.
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