Jealousy is a hot-button issue when it comes to relationships, especially when the topic veers over to whether or not girls actually want their guys to get jealous from time to time.

It's not an outrageous question and women have requested crazier things in life than that. However, it also simplifies the issue and the actual mind of a woman, which is nothing, if not complex (take that as a good or bad thing). Women aren't asking for the green-eyed monster; in reality, they want the cute, cuddly Sesame Street version. We're here to break down the difference between the cutesy jealousy most women desire and the real jealousy they want you to stay far, far away from.

Cutesy Jealousy

If you went up to the average gal on the street and asked her: "Do women want men to get jealous?" there's a good shot she'd say yes. No, that is not the end of this article. This fact actually means very little because, as is often the case, most women have no clue what they really want. Do women want to be appreciated by their men? Yes. Do they want to feel attractive to the man they've been dating for a long time? Of course. Would most women want their men to express mild concern over her (innocently) hanging out with another guy? Sure.

However, here's where things get tricky. Women think they want their man to get jealous — but the jealousy they're talking about is cutesy jealousy. It bears little resemblance to actual jealousy and may or may not make the female race more annoying to you than ever before. Here’s what can fall under cutesy jealousy.

Sweet Territorialism

You're at the bar with your girlfriend and a bunch of friends and you notice a few other guys check her out as she heads back to your table with drinks. When she arrives back at the table, you throw an arm over her shoulders. This simple move says: "Yes, I notice you're looking hot tonight and yes, I also notice you're getting looks from other guys." It's silent and sweet. You know what's not silent and sweet? Acting like a douche and getting in the face of any of those aforementioned guys over looking at your girl. This isn’t an episode of The Sopranos.

Confident Joking

Your girl is all dolled up and ready to head out for a girl's night out. She kisses you goodbye and you smile and say: “Watch out for other penises!” It’s ridiculous and funny, and even if you’re not entirely serious about it (because you trust her, not because you think she’s an ugly hag who can’t get other guys), it still shows you care.

Bottom Line

Don't listen to women (kidding... but not really. Make exceptions for your mother and this section of the site, of course). Unless your (crazy) chick is into Ike and Tina role-play, she's not craving real jealousy from you.

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Real Jealousy

Real jealousy and cutesy jealousy have absolutely zero in common with each other. Real jealousy is often suffocating and sometimes completely psycho at whatever stage of the relationship you’re at. For those on the prowl or just starting to date a new girl, the payoff to playing it a little cool and disinterested is a much greater benefit to your overall game than being overprotective and territorial. For the guys in a long-term relationship, the lack of trust exhibited in real jealousy can completely ruin any partnership.

Here are the red-flag behaviors to steer clear of.

Out-of-Control Anger

If you find yourself resembling the Hulk at any point in a relationship, it’s time to back away slowly. Real jealousy rears its ugly head when either partner becomes uncontrollably angry for no justifiable reason. And it doesn’t count if it’s only justifiable to you.

Invisible Suitors

Are you automatically assuming that every male your girlfriend comes in contact with is a risk to take her away from you? Even if there isn’t a male in question, does your mind get carried away imagining that there will be a male wherever she happens to go without you? If so, you’re heading into the danger zone. Irrational jealousy accomplishes nothing except making you seem insecure — and it sure as hell won’t stop a girl from cheating if she’s planning to already. In fact, it might even drive her to it.

Bottom Line

Jealousy equals insecurity. Insecurity equals unattractive. You really can use math in real life.

Green With Envy

Women may not always know what they want, but you can be sure that they know what they don't want — and that’s an insecure, jealous guy who is capable of a real-life Jekyll & Hyde routine. Jealousy can be smothering and unattractive at the start of relationships and downright destructive in long-term ones.