If He Wants To 'Keep Things Casual,' He Loses His Right To Be Jealous

by Mark Rosenfeld
Mattia Pelizzari

You've been seeing a guy. You definitely like him, and you'd love for something more between the two of you. However, every time you've encroached on the topic, he's indicated to you he wants to “keep things casual.”

While you've been disappointed by this, you have – for now – accepted it. It is still early days, and you don't want to pressure him. Now, though, an odd twist has been thrown into the works.

He's acting… jealous.

What is happening with this guy?

Why on earth is he acting jealous? HE was the one who said he wanted to keep things casual?!?

He's bothered by you talking to other guys. He's asking what you did with your weekend with an undertone of disapproval that never used to be there. God forbid you mention one of your guy friends – he'll be cold and standoffish for the rest of the night.

What do you do now? How do you handle this?

Here's how: You don't.

You don't have to handle it. It's not your problem. And until he invests further, it never will be.

There is a double standard that way too many women, to their own detriment, seem happy to accept: That a guy may reject any kind of commitment, and then have a right to some (any) form of jealousy, priority or control over your life.

He does not. He forfeited any rights to that when he decided he wanted to "keep things casual."

Now, in men's defense, that's OK. Most men take longer than women to decide they want to commit. It's weeks, or more commonly, months, before a man wakes up and realizes he's no longer comfortable with you being out there in the field.

This "wait and see" approach is not only inherently attractive, but it's also very wise. It means he has more information, and therefore, is less likely to commit to the wrong woman. In fact, it's an approach that, through my coaching, I encourage many women to take.

Keeping things casual is a wonderful thing to be doing and a smart dating decision. So, when he says he wants something casual, that's OK. Hell, that's great.

But in doing so, he makes certain… forfeitures. These include his rights to jealousy, influence and control in your life.

When he wants something casual, he has no right to tell you who you can and can't see (or be pissed off over it). He does not get to know where you are on the nights you're not with him. He does not get to know if you are seeing other men. he does not get to be pissed off when you put other priorities in your life, at your own discretion, above him. He has no right to call you a "whore" (or worse) because you're enjoying your single life.

He wants explanations? Well, he's not your boyfriend. He's not even committed. That's all the explanations he gets.

And if he doesn't like that, it's not your problem. If he wishes, he is welcome back to the table to discuss commitment. That is, assuming you're still interested.

Too many women give boyfriend benefits to men who aren't their boyfriends (or anything even close). If you do, you'll pay for them with your self-respect, his attraction and the poor quality of men you attract.

If a man can get jealousy-driven behaviors to work in a casual relationship, he will. If a man can manipulate you into living the life he wants you to live, while he can do as he pleases, he will. And if a man can have his cake and eat it too, he will.

Until he meets a woman with which he can't.

Such a woman, no matter how much she likes him, is not willing to give him priority in her life. He doesn't get details of how she spent her Friday night. He doesn't know if she's seeing other men. He has to wonder if her schedule will allow her time to see him that week. And if he plays up because of it, he knows she's willing to walk.

Suddenly, the commitment he's been avoiding looks a whole lot more appealing.

Here's what it comes down to: Always put your respect for yourself above how much you feel for any man. It sounds easier than it is.

You might like him a lot. You might think he's perfect for you. He makes you feel incredible to be around, and all you want to do is give him the reassurance he seeks, even though you're disappointed he still wants to “keep things casual."

But never be so sold on a man that you're willing to accept double standards. Never tolerate jealousy, control and childish, immature behavior in a man who has flat out told you his own interest level isn't that high.

You don't have to. You will never have to. There are too many men in the world. Put your feelings aside, and put such men in their place. If necessary, walk away. Your words mean nothing when it comes to your standards. Your actions are everything. What's good for him is – and always will be – good for you.