What’s worse than trying to get over a messy breakup?
Doing it while your ex is doing everything he can to make you jealous.
You and your ex broke up for a reason (or several reasons), but that doesn’t mean you don’t still miss him or yearn for him, especially when you’re feeling down and alone.
But it seems like everything he does these days is for the singular purpose of getting your attention and making you jealous of his awesome, fun, new life without you.
But how do you know if he’s actually doing this on purpose, or if it’s all just in your head?
Here are 12 ways to know if he’s just playing a game and making you jealous, or if it’s actually real:
1. He Takes Forever To Text Back
It’s just a game: When an ex tries to make you jealous, they want you to feel like their time is no longer yours to keep. He’ll be having a normal friendly conversation through text one minute, and the next minute he’s nowhere to be found.
He’s playing “hard to get”, but in the only way an ex can play it, by messing with your emotions.
How do you know if it’s just a game?
If it keeps happening again, and again, and again, and he always seems to come back right when you start to get frustrated.
Maybe it’s real: But sometimes late replies don’t necessarily mean he’s playing a game at all; it’s totally possible that he’s just not as into you as he used to be, especially since you two already broke up.
Telling the difference between whether he’s trying to rile your jealousy or whether he’s just sincerely moved on means looking at the subtle signs.
Does he seem less interested in talking to you than before? Does he not react to you as much anymore?
If so, then his heart has probably already moved on.
2. He’s Working On His Appearance
It’s just a game: Have you seen quite a few gym selfies of your ex lately on social media?
Which is surprising, especially since he’s not the type to usually do that, right?
Or maybe lately he’s been dressing up and posting pics of himself in new clothes you’ve never seen, in places you didn’t know he even knew about.
Your ex knows that he let himself go during your relationship, and one way he could get you back is by making himself look like his best self.
While that’s great for him, it’s also super obvious when he’s doing it — he might be posting updates on his social media constantly, showing off his “gains” and the other healthy habits he’s picked up lately to help his mind and body.
Maybe it’s real: So how do you know when this isn’t just another performative act for your benefit?
Simple: if he doesn’t stop doing it.
While it’s unlikely that a person does a drastic personality change at the end of a relationship, it’s possible that he picked up these new habits as a way to cope with being single again.
Maybe he realized, after losing an important person in his life, that it’s time to shape up and fix himself if he ever wants a shot at finding a new woman.
A small part of him will love to know that you’re seeing how great he looks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he cares about what you think.
3. He’s Adding New Girls On Social Media
It’s just a game: It never stops, does it? You see it on his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere else: he keeps adding or following new people… specifically, new women you’ve never heard of or seen in your life.
And they’re not just the average type of girl — they’re drop-dead gorgeous, the type of girls you know are exactly his type.
But it starts to get a little suspicious if it keeps happening. You start to wonder if he’s even interacting with these girls at all, or if he just wants to keep showing up in your feed with news friends, or letting you see his new followers.
No normal man is truly meeting new beautiful women every week.
Maybe it’s real: But it’s also possible that he’s dating around. Now that he’s finally single for the first time in however many months or years, he knows what he wants: he wants to meet as many new women as possible before getting “serious” again with anyone.
If you’re trying to tell whether this is a ruse or something real, then try looking at the girls he’s been adding or following on social media.
Are there any interactions at all, even the simplest likes or comments on posts?
If so, then this might not be a ploy for your attention at all; it could be something real.
4. He Mentions Other Girls While You Talk
It’s just a game: Not every relationship ends on a bad note, so you might still be on good terms with your ex.
And while you and he talk together, you notice that he loves talking about other girls.
These could be all types of women; a classmate who sits beside him in class, a new colleague in the workplace, or a hot yoga instructor who talked to him at the gym.
While he might think he’s been slick, there are quite a few easy tells to see if he’s doing it on purpose.
For example, if the girl he talks about is different every week, or if he emphasizes how hot or beautiful she is.
If he tells you things like, “Yeah, I’m really hitting it off with her, I think she’s the one”, and “I’m actually seeing her later tonight, you don’t mind, right?”, then he’s really trying hard to get a reaction out of you.
Maybe it’s real: The difference here is whether there seems to be a relationship blossoming between him and this other girl he keeps talking about.
If it gets to the point that he actually seems serious about this girl he’s talking about — and he doesn’t mention any other girls anymore, as if other women have stopped existing in his head — then maybe he’s not playing a game at all; this has been real from the start.
5. His Social Media Habits Have Changed
It’s just a game: You know your ex more than most other people do (if not more than anyone else).
And that means you know what his social media habits are like; how often he posts, the tone and style of his captions, and the types of pictures he usually shares.
But for some reason, all of that has radically changed over the last few weeks or months.
These days, it’s like he’s an entirely new person in terms of social media habits.
He posts much more often than he used to, sharing more details and emotion than he ever did in the past.
It’s almost like he’s trying to telegraph his exact emotions and experiences to someone — is that someone you?
Maybe it’s real: But just because he’s posting differently on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s all about you.
It’s possible that the break-up took a much bigger toll on him than you realize, to the point that he’s no longer the guy you remember him to be.
You also need to look at the type of content he now shares — does it have anything to do with relationships, or moving on?
Maybe he’s just trying to reach out more to new people, now that he’s lost the most important person in his life.
6. He Uncharacteristically Spoils His New Girl
It’s just a game: Perhaps the most obvious (and obnoxious) way that your ex is trying to make you jealous is by showing the world — and you — just how much he spoils his new girl.
He takes social media evidence of every gift, every nice dinner, every trip and vacation, and every breakfast in bed that he prepares for her.
He forcibly convinces social media and himself that he’s fallen madly in love with this girl.
Not only is he obviously trying to make you jealous, but he’s also trying to prove to the world that he’s doing better than you, and therefore he “won” the breakup.
Maybe it’s real: So how do you tell the difference between an ex who’s spoiling his news girl to try to get on your nerves, and an ex who’s just decided to go all out on his next relationship?
The best way to tell is with a simple test: post your own fun, spoiled experience on social media.
Maybe treat yourself to a great weekend vacation or a classy dinner, either by yourself or with a date.
If he’s doing all this for your benefit, then he’ll absolutely try to one-up you as soon as possible.
He’ll post something similar but better, just to show the world (and specifically you) that his new partner is having a better time than you are.
7. He Hangs Out With Girls You Didn’t Like
It’s just a game: All relationships have these kinds of “other girls” in them.
She might be one of his exes before your relationship, or a woman he met at the gym who’s a little too nice, or a work friend who dresses a little too provocatively around him.
These are the girls you obviously had a problem with, even if you stopped yourself from mentioning it.
Whether you two fought about it or not, he knows who those girls are — and he knows the reaction they elicit from you.
So what does he do?
He hangs out with them, publicly and frequently. He posts his stories and pics of him and that woman together, showing how they’re just hanging out as friends.
He could be hanging out with any other woman in the world, but he chooses to hang out specifically with the ones you had a problem with.
Maybe it’s real: It’s hard to say if he’s doing this to make you jealous or just because he really likes their company; after all, you don’t really know the extent of their relationship, especially now that you’ve broken up with him.
But one way you can tell is by seeing who else he’s been spending time with.
If he’s only public about spending time with that specific woman, then yes, he might be trying to get a reaction out of you.
But if he’s public about spending time with a variety of people — both men and women — then you might just be seeing things.
8. He Tells All Your Mutuals About How Happy He Is With His New Girl
It’s just a game: He’s started dating someone new, and you know all about her.
Because your friends know all about her.
They know what she looks like, her awesome career, her fun hobbies, her amazing achievements and cute quirks, and everything else that makes her an attractive, brilliant person that could win the heart of any man.
So why do your friends know all about her?
Because he’s told them, of course. He’s shared stories of their fun dates, of how he’s already met her friends (and maybe even her parents), and all the plans he has in store for the two of them together.
He doesn’t talk about you specifically, but he knows what he’s doing by telling all your mutual friends.
Maybe it’s real: There’s always the possibility that maybe he’s just happy, and he wants to tell everyone he knows.
Just because they’re your mutual friends doesn’t mean they’re not his friends, and it’s not really his fault if they tell you everything he tells them.
If he’s really moved on and if he’s really serious with this new girl, then you’ll know after about a month or two; if he’s still with her, then it might actually be real.
You can also test him out: start dating someone new yourself, and if he’s still as adamantly in love with her as he was before, then he’s not thinking about you at all.
9. He Still Asks About You From Time to Time
It’s just a game: It can get frustrating always dealing with the “is he?” or “isn’t he?” question when a guy is (possibly) playing games with your heart, but one sure sign that he is trying to make you jealous is whether he ever asks about you from your mutual friends.
It doesn’t matter what he’s asking about: as long as he’s asking something, it means that some of his recent actions have been related to you.
He wants to know what you’ve been feeling, thinking; even if he doesn’t ask how you feel about his new girl, he wants to open that conversation with your mutual friend, because he knows that if there’s any gossip, they’re going to spill the tea.
Maybe it’s real: If he’s playing games with you, then he’s absolutely going to ask about you, especially if you haven’t been reacting openly or showing him any kind of emotion to his silliness.
But if all of this is actually real, then he won’t really care about what you’ve been thinking or doing, meaning he won’t even bring you up.
If someone else talks about you, then he won’t mind contributing to the conversation, but he won’t make the first move.
Simply put, you’re just another person to him now, and your thoughts don’t really concern him.
10. He Calls You Out For Being Jealous If You Say Anything
It’s just a game: When an ex is trying to make you jealous, that’s all he’s ever going to think about when you’re with him.
He’ll be wondering if the posts from his night on the town or his date last night appeared in your feed because he’ll be waiting to see if you bring it up.
In his mind, he’s also wondering if you’ll have the courage to bring it up or not, and if you do, he’ll have his answers primed and ready.
He’ll remind you that he’s no longer your boyfriend, so he can do whatever he wants with whomever he wants, and you need to move on and stop being so jealous of his life.
Because he wants to get a reaction out of you.
He really wants to believe that his tactics are effectively making you jealous, and he’ll rub it in your face if you give him the slightest hint that you are.
Maybe it’s real: If you say anything about how you don’t like the new girl he’s dating, or you think he’s posting pics just to make you jealous, he won’t get angry about it, because he won’t even be thinking about it that way.
He’ll be confused and even saddened, because he’ll be upset that you’re still thinking of him “in that way”, whereas he’s already moved on with his life.
Instead of getting upset with you and calling you out for being jealous, he’ll be gentle and kind, asking you if you’re feeling okay.
11. He Gets Upset If You Block Him
It’s just a game: So you’re sick and tired of wondering if these are stupid games or real feelings, and instead of dealing with it, now you just want to cut him out completely so you can stop move on yourself.
You block him on social media — Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat.
But then he tries to reach out to you.
Maybe he calls you on the phone, or asks a friend to pass a message to you.
Maybe even he goes to your house and asks you in person, “What happened?”
If he does any of this, then it’s a clear sign that his recent behavior has all just been ways to make you jealous.
Maybe it’s real: One of the toughest ways to realize that your ex has truly moved on — and that he’s not just trying to make you jealous — is by seeing that he didn’t even notice that you blocked him on social media platforms until much later.
If he were trying to make you jealous, he’d be stalking you as much as you’re stalking him, but the fact that he didn’t even notice that you blocked him means that he hasn’t been checking up on you (and whether or not you’re seeing his posts).
He’s happily moving on with his life, and you should, too.
12. He Still Misses You At Night
It’s just a game: Despite all the ways that he’s been trying to play hard to get and win back your love and attention, he can’t help the feelings that come about when he’s sad and lonely in the middle of the night, and the one and the only person he wants to turn to is you.
If everything else he does is all just a game to make you jealous, that facade will fade away the moment he starts to feel that midnight vulnerability.
You’ll be the first one he’ll call or text once he gets some alcohol in him, or maybe you hear from your mutual friends that he asks or talks about you whenever he’s a little tipsy.
Either way, no matter how much of a game he’s playing with you, his true feelings will show in the middle of the night.
Maybe it’s real: But if you never hear from him at night, then maybe none of this has been a game; maybe he’s actually moved on with his life.
If you want to test it out, try reaching out to him in the middle of the night.
See if he replies, and if so, how quickly he replied and whether or not he seemed interested enough to continue the conversation.
Whether It’s a Game Or Not: It’s Time For You To Move On
It’s a game, it’s not a game; he’s making you jealous on purpose, or he doesn’t care about you at all.
Whatever the truth is, you’re falling down a rabbit hole caring about it so much, and the best way for you to move forward is by moving on yourself.
Don’t let this part of your life turn into a messy epilogue of your previous relationship.
It’s time to start writing the next chapter — with a new partner, or even just by yourself.
When you see his posts, just say: “Who cares?”
What to do if he definitely is trying to make you jealous
So after reading this list, if you’re convinced that your ex is trying to make you jealous, there are a number of things you can do.
But look, it’s not going to be easy. If you’re feeling jealous, then it probably shows that you still have feelings for him, or at least the life you used to live.
Jealousy is an emotion that you can’t control. It happens naturally.
So to get over the feeling of jealousy, let’s explore why you’re feeling that why.
Why are you feeling jealous?
Ask yourself: Why are you suffering from jealously? Is it because you still have feelings for him and you want him back?
Or is it because you’re comparing yourself to the girl he is seeing and you’re questioning whether or not you stack up?
The better you get to the bottom of your feelings, the easier you’ll identify your next course of action.
If you are still in love with your boyfriend, then you may want to take action to get your ex-boyfriend back.
If it’s for trivial reasons like you’re comparing yourself to the woman he is currently dating, then you can take comfort that these feelings of jealousy will pass.
You may need to work on your own self-confidence though.
But look, it’s important to keep in kind that break-ups happen for a variety of reasons, and it’s perfectly normal to harbor feelings for your ex well after the relationship has ended.
A couple years ago I broke up with a girlfriend that I loved. It took me more than 3 months to let go of my feelings for her. It’s just the way it is.
If you know that it’s better for your emotional health to move on from this guy, then just give it time.
Eventually you’ll be ready to move on.
But in order to move on, you do need to process what you’re feeling, and to process feelings like jealousy, you need to understand them first.
Look, if this guy is playing games and is simply trying to get a reaction out of you, the best course of action might be to ignore it.
I understand that this might be difficult for you, especially if you still have feelings for him.
But if his behavior is annoying you and making you feel like crap, the worst thing you can do is react to it.
Because it will only serve to egg him on. He’ll realize that what he is doing is working and he’ll continue to do it.
Don’t give fuel to the fire!
The good news is, if you ignore his behavior, you’ll be able move on more quickly.
After all, ss they say, out of sight, out of mind!
Have an open and honest conversation
Now if you can’t ignore your ex because you run into them during the day or they’re your good friend, then you need to have a conversation with them about their actions.
If he is playing games in order to make you feel jealous, then you need to let him know that it’s affecting you.
If you can express yourself honestly, then he may act in a more sensitive manner in the future.
The best bit?
Not only will you stop feeling jealous but you’ll be able to move on more quickly and start dating other people as well.
Keep in mind that if he is trying to make you feel jealous, then he probably wants you back as well.
Having an open and honest conversation can help you put all the cards on the table.
Air your grievances. Let him know what he needs to change if you want to start dating again.
You can also explain that you’re not into playing games and he needs to grow up if he is going to get a second chance with you.
See how direct and honest he can be with you. A conversation like this reveals a lot about his maturity levels.
Why is he trying to make you jealous?
This is an important question to consider if the signs point to him deliberately trying to make you jealous.
There really are 2 main scenarios at play if that is this guy’s main intention:
1. They might want you back
We all know jealousy works in attracting someone to like us.
I’m sure you’ve seen it time and time again.
And the truth is, jealousy does work. After all, jealousy is a powerful emotion, and it often springs a person into action to go after their object of affection.
Maybe you’ve had feelings about acting on your jealousy and getting your guy back. That’s jealousy at work.
Now if you’ve analyzed your feelings and you’ve determined that you really do want to get this guy, then it’s time to have an honest conversation with him.
You can also feel comfortable in knowing that he probably wants you back as well.
2. He might be unhappy with you
I don’t know how your relationship ended, but if he is still hurt by the fact you broke up, he may try to seek revenge and make you feel negative emotions like jealousy.
No doubt it’s petty and resentful. But hey, if this is his main intention, then you probably made a good decision in ending the relationship with him!
But if the whole breakup was a bit of a misunderstanding and you both still harbor feelings for each other, then it’s probably worth it to have an honest conversation.
Air it all out.
The bottom line is this:
Expressing your feelings and letting him know how you feel is really the best way to move on with your life (whether that’s in a relationship with this guy or not).
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