Too Jealous Boyfriend? 7 Signs He Might Be Paranoid

jealous boyfriend

Some jealousy is normal in a relationship, and even healthy.

But too much jealousy can be a worrying sign of either paranoia or an abusive personality.

This article will show you the difference between a jealous boyfriend who remains within normal and healthy parameters, and a paranoid boyfriend who might become an abuser.

Some Jealousy Is OK

Evolutionary psychology is clear on this: jealousy is hardwired within us.

And relationship researcher John Gottman also proves that no jealousy whatsoever is often the precursor of a breakup.

So, some jealousy is not only normal but healthy.
If your partner sees you’re talking animatedly with another man, it’s normal he will get jealous. So you can understand him if he probes for information, or if he comes around to “mark the territory”.

But too much jealousy can be a sign of paranoia.
So let’s see the signs of paranoia.

Signs of Jealous Paranoia

These are the signs that a jealous boyfriend is going too far:

1. In the Beginning, He Invests a Lot

Jealous paranoids play to their victims’ fantasies of being taken care of, which to some women is the same experience as being swept off their feet.

They are very proactive in the relationship, including early on, and do so without being asked.
To some women, it can feel like a God-sent gift.
Finally, a man I don’t have to bend over backward to make him invest in me!

2. He Always Finds Faults in You

Paranoids are to lies and inconsistencies as perfectionists are to mistakes.

There is never “honest enough”, there is never “enough proof”. They will always be on the lookout for the smallest hint of duplicity and deceit.
And they will find it!
Not because it’s necessarily there, but for the simple principle that people usually find what they are looking for.

No normal living gal can live up to a paranoid’s standards of purity and honesty.

3. You’re Never “Honest Enough”, You’re Never Showing Enough “Proof”

You provide all the proof you can, you tell the truth as truthful as it can be.

Yet, it’s never enough.

Understand: if that’s the pattern of your relationship, it’s not you. It’s that your boyfriend isn’t just a jealous boyfriend. He might be paranoid. Or abusive-paranoid (the line is often blurred anyway).

4. He Says Someone Hurt Him In The Past… Badly

Take their pain seriously, and always give the benefit of the doubt.

But also be aware that’s exactly how emotionally abusive men operate. They make stories of hurt in the past to control you with your own guilt.
And if you show yourself to be too understanding, they will use it against you: “how dare you tell me that, don’t you know how hurt I was”?

5. His Punishments Are Never-Ending

Paranoids believe in punishment.
In eternal punishment.

If you have done a misdeed, don’t expect them to forgive and forget. It will always be about “that time that you did X… “.
Again, this is a hallmark of some types of abusive men as well, so watch out for men whose impulse to punish is too strong.

6. He Says That If You Love Him, You Will Listen and Comply

This is a typical “double-bind” game.

Here is how it works:

Jealous boyfriend: OK. Where did you go for lunch
Her: Why are you asking me, I feel oppressed always having to explain
Jealous boyfriend: if you feel oppressed to explain something so simple, then you don’t love me

Then you have another sign of abusive-paranoid.
These are double binds and emotional blackmailing to steamroll you into compliance, and they do not happen in healthy relationships.

7. He Is Trying to Pry You Away From Friends and Family

Paranoids, the same as sociopaths and some narcissists try to isolate their victims to better control them.

If you find yourself spending more and more time with him and less time and less time with your friends, ask yourself this: was it he who was pushing and maneuvering for isolation?

If yes, you have another big check mark.

Also, read:

8. He Wants You Back After a Breakup

Paranoid often wants you back.
Especially if you ended it.
Often this has more to do with vengeance than with love, and that’s another big sign of abusive behavior.

Of course, sometimes even healthy boyfriends will want you back. The difference in your past relationship.
Did he present the above 6 signs? Then the fact that he wants you back is only the confirmation that he was not a “normally jealous boyfriend”, but an abusive paranoid.

It’s best not to be too polite here, as they will easily confuse politeness and friendship for rekindled love.
When you go, be gone.

jealous boyfriend stalking

Dealing With Toxic Jealousy

Most women try to reassure their boyfriends they haven’t been up to anything wrong.
But that’s the wrong approach.

It shows the jealous boyfriend that all their questions are appropriate and that they will receive an answer.

1. Nip It In The Bud

As soon as the jealousy creeps up, she should douse the flames with plenty of water:

Her: Matt,  may be overreacting here, but it sounds like you’re checking up on me, and that’s kind of frightening. Let me tell you this once and forever: I’m a one-man woman. As long as we’re dating, you can be sure that I’m not seeing anybody else. You don’t need to check up on me.

2. Answer Big Questions – Not Little Ones

The big question is this: are you faithful?

Answer that one honestly. If you’re not faithful, then break up.
If you are thinking about being unfaithful, then tell him that he is destroying the relationship.
And if you don’t want to be together anymore, then end it.

But once you answer honestly, then refuse to answer all the small questions like “what did you do at 7:15 PM”. There are never enough details anyway, they only fuel more questions, more doubts, and more jealousy.

The only way you can win the jealousy game is by refusing to play it.

3. Don’t Compromise, Don’t Agree to “Tests of Love”

Some jealous boyfriends might ask you to provide “proofs of love”.
Such as moving in together, calling at a certain time, providing GPS locations, etc.
Do not!

The problem is in their paranoia, not with your actions.
No matter what you do, they will always find a reason to be paranoid.

They might try to cajole you by saying that’s exactly how they were hurt in the past and now they need that reassurance and then they will be fine.
Most likely, it’s a slippery slope.

Don’t you trust me?
Then OK, consent to their first request -as long as it’s small- and see what happens.

If a second “proof of love” and request for control follows, that’s it.

4. Don’t Try to Deceive Him & Don’t Lie

Don’t think that a small fib will spare you pain and questioning: it’s a very short-sighted strategy.
As we’ve already seen, these guys are hound dogs and are quite likely to find out about your lies.

And the more lies a jealous boyfriend catches, the more he will feel justified in his jealousy (or paranoia).

5. Put Them in Their Own Double Bind

This is a frame control technique.
Take the example of dialogue above:

Jealous boyfriend: OK. Where did you go for lunch
Her: Why are you asking me, I feel oppressed always having to explain
Jealous boyfriend: if you feel oppressed to explain something so simple, then you don’t love it
Her: No, it’s the opposite, if you love me, you will trust me and you will care for me as long as I don’t do anything that hurts you directly. This is not caring JB

Then stick to your guns: if he loves you, he must show it by not trying to control your every move.
The good thing is that many paranoids have a strong moral code, and this technique will work wonders.

6. He Might Be Sick, But He Can’t Make you Sick

If you have been with him for a while, you might have come to accept that, yes, “he is a bit sick”.
And that might be the case. However, you need a mindset switch here: the fact that he is sick does not mean he is allowed to make you sick.

7. My Way or The Highway

I usually don’t recommend people threaten the end of the relationship.

But it can be an effective technique to “give it a last shot”.
It looks like this:

Her: You jealousy is ruining our relationship. And it’s also ruining my life and I can’t allow that. Either you trust me to be faithful or we cannot go on like this
Him: Are you threatening to break up with me?
Her: I wouldn’t use the word “threat”, but you need to stop this witch-hunt. Because, if you cannot, then yes, I’m afraid I won’t be able to go on like this

If you are not sure whether to break up or not, read this:

The Proof of Love: Avoid The Vicious Circle

A really toxic pattern can start when he questions her about her feelings.

In the beginning, she still loves him and swears him so.

But because jealous paranoid boyfriends never get enough reassurance, he will keep asking and asking, pushing her farther and farther away.

Ah, how ironic that his own need for love will actually kill her love.

The problem is that once she has started with the pattern of saying “I still love you”, she will likely keep saying so even as she drifts away, making the final breakup all the more dramatic.

He will accuse her of lying, stringing him along, and killing him on purpose.
When it’s not working anymore, be honest. Just say it.

Abusive Jealousy In Gay Couples

Jealousy is not limited to men, of course.

Women can be jealous, too, and jealousy can be very vicious and violent in same-sex relationships.

Claire Renzetti who studied lesbian couples, notes indeed that the ego threatened in same-sex relationships is even stronger.

Not only someone flirting with the abuser’s spouse is a threat to their control, but it’s also an ego threat to their self-esteem because they could have been interested in both of them, but they choose their partner.

Also, read:

As reported by Baumeister, the violent lesbian typically wanted to be the boss and the dominant partner, but found herself falling short in either money or education.
Hitting her partner was a way to claim the dominant position she craved but didn’t feel she could claim on other bases.

Love is Not Controlling

Healthy, mature love from high-quality and emotionally stable men is never controlling.

Swiss Psychotherapist Paul Tournier writes:

To respect the secrecy of whoever it may be, even your own child, is to respect his individuality. To intrude upon their private life, to violate their secrecy, is to violate their individuality…. Every man, to feel respected as an individual, needs to feel absolutely free to say what he wishes and to keep as a secret what he wishes. Genuine love does not trespass on the secret places of another’s life.

Possessiveness is not love because it doesn’t want the best for our partner. It seeks control out of selfishness, not out of caring.

The controlling partner seeks power and controls out of personal insecurity and low self-esteem.

How to Stop Being a Jealous Boyfriend

If your form of jealousy is on the paranoid end of the spectrum, it won’t be easy for you to contain yourself.
This section will be very difficult for you, but it can help:

1. Accept Your Reality

Accept that you:

  1. See more than most people see and much of what you see is not true. There is no shame in that
  2. Are too jealous, and that’s ruining your relationship: taking responsibility is the man’s job, so do it

This is difficult. Very difficult. All paranoid resist and cling to the idea that their suspicions and the patterns they see are real. But if you can manage to start double-guessing yourself, hats off to you: you are taking huge strides.

2. Check Reality: Hire a Detective

Now, some girlfriends do cheat.
It might be a minority, but it happens.
This will be very atypical advice, but to clear the air, hire a detective.

Don’t do the “research” yourself: if you are paranoid, it will only drive you crazier. You will find “proofs” and inconsistencies all over the place.
Put it in the hands of a professional, and be done with the results.

3. Come to Terms With the Worst-Case Scenario

If a detective still doesn’t help, what about this final liberation: imagine she is indeed cheating you.
She is sleeping with another man.

Big whoops.

You weren’t her first (probably), and if your relationship won’t last forever you won’t be her last anyway -and it won’t if you keep all that paranoid behavior up.
It’s not the best scenario, but it’s not the end of the world either.

3.2 Switch Mindset

Now I’ll be blunt.
If you’re badgering her with endless questions, secretly checking on her, and if she has to report her routines to you, then you’re being an abusive prick.

Stop acting as if she owes you her whereabouts and coordinates.

As a matter of fact, stop acting like she owes you fidelity. Nobody owes you anything, especially if you keep acting like an obsessive jealous friend. That’s an entitlement mentality and you’re only pushing her away.

Focus on being the best partner you can be.
Then maybe you can expect something in exchange. Not now. As an abusive obsessive partner, you have no right to make any demands.

4. Test for Paternity

It’s safe to assume that men developed jealousy because jealousy would make it harder for them to raise children that are not theirs.
So go to the source of the problem: will the children be yours or not?

Albeit non-paternity is rare (median estimates at less than 3% for non-suspecting men), it can help assuage super jealous boyfriends to test for paternity.
Yes, chances are your girlfriend or wife won’t like that, but if it’s the only way to reassure you, then it can be good for both.

Test it and get it over with.

5. Forgive and Move On

Paranoids tend to turn small betrayals and small lies into huge castles in the sand.
They weave stories around it, they mull over small transgressions and make them as big as Saturn.

Know yourself: know about this tendency and consciously stop your train of thoughts when you see it’s taking you in that good old rabbit’s hole.

How Jealous-Abusive Relationships Start

Jealous boyfriend: So, how was your day off?

She thinks back on her hectic yet banal day.
She’d like to share something meaningful, but there was really nothing worthwhile to share: cleaning the flat, grabbing lunch with her sister, getting her nails done, and then running for some groceries.
Sure, her sister is thinking of a divorce, but she made her promise not to say anything about it so she can’t say that:

Her: The usual. You know, errands. Stuff like that. Nothing special.
Jealous boyfriend: Yeah, I figured you must have been busy
Her: Yeah, quite a bit, it’s funny how you end up being busier on your free days eheh
Jealous boyfriend: That’s why you didn’t pick up the phone
Her: Yeah, I was having lunch with my sister, she wanted to talk about some girl stuff, that’s why I called you later
Jealous boyfriend: Yeah that was quite a long lunch

Jealous boyfriends often start small.
Later on in the relationship he will not take such a long detour and his questions will be much more direct and in the worst cases even aggressive.
But in the beginning, you’re not even sure if he’s just curious or jealous…

Her: She’s going through some stuff, yes
Jealous boyfriend: What else did you do
Her: Nails, cleaning the flat.. And some groceries
Jealous boyfriend: OK. Where did you go for lunch
Her: Uptown, near her office
Jealous boyfriend: Was it just you and her?

Now it’s getting a bit intense, her voice goes up, as if it finally hits her he might be jealous and checking up on her:

Her: It sounds like you’re checking up on me
Jealous boyfriend: Ahaha no, I’m just curious, that’s all

At this point, she is actually glad and flattered that he cares. And deep down, she also likes that he might be a bit jealous.
She doesn’t know yet if it will be a recurring pattern.

Still, as long as it’s a few questions, she thinks she can live with it.
The first time it will dawn on her that he might be a paranoid jealous boyfriend is when he will come up with something out of the ordinary. For example, this same conversation will become:

Jealous boyfriend: OK. Where did you go for lunch
Her: Uptown, near her office
Jealous boyfriend: Oh, that’s funny, I was driving in front of your place today and your car was parked there…

When that hits, it’s more than just a big warning.
If your first proof is that your boyfriend is not just jealous, he’s jealous paranoid.

Jealous Boyfriends & Abuse

Some women enjoy jealousy and control in the beginning… And then they realize too late they are fully embroiled in an abusive relationship.
And at that point, it’s definitely not so nice anymore.

Look at the reaction of the woman in black to the man’s jealousy in this Goodfellas scene:

She thinks she is lucky that her boyfriend is so jealous.

Also, read:


Jealousy is normal, even healthy and it can help relationships.

Unluckily some people confuse “too much of a good thing” for a minor offense. Instead, when jealousy becomes paranoid jealousy the relationship is well on its way to becoming abusive.

This article provided you with the warning signs to spot when too much jealousy is a leading indicator of an abusive relationship and a few ideas on how to fix it.

Scroll to Top