Note: the following article contains excerpts from my guidebook, Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: A Guide to Getting Over Your Partner’s Past and Finding Peace.

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jealousy

Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretense of keeping it alive.

Havelock Ellis

 

RETROACTIVE JEALOUSY, or what is also referred to as “retrospective jealousy” and “retrograde jealousy,” involves obsessive and unpleasant thoughts and emotions regarding a partner’s past relationships and sexual history.

Some people are troubled by the fact that their partner went through a “promiscuous phase” involving multiple lovers. Some people are troubled by the fact that their partner engaged in different types of sexual behaviour, or had more sexual partners than themselves. Some people are troubled by the fact that their partner was once deeply in love and committed to another person. Some people are troubled by the fact that their partner once kissed another boy in the seventh grade (I’m not kidding).

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, retroactive jealousy usually involves intrusive and unwanted thoughts and mental images, and highly-charged emotional responses concerning a partner’s past.

Where retroactive jealousy tends to differ from fairly standard, run-of-the-mill jealousy in relationships is its often compulsive, obsessive nature: sufferers of retroactive jealousy tend to get caught in a loop of obsessive thoughts, painful emotions, inconsiderate and irrational actions, and subsequent self-loathing.

Sufferers of retroactive jealousy are notorious for asking their partner too many questions, replaying the same jealous thoughts and “mental movies” in their head again and again, and overthinking their condition, rather than taking the necessary steps to put their jealousy behind them, and overcome it.

So know this: you cannot cure retroactive jealousy simply by trying to “think your way through it,” so don’t try.

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Some people describe retroactive jealousy as a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD is defined as “an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry; by repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing the associated anxiety; or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.” (Sound familiar?)

The short version is this:

Regardless of whether or not you define it as a mental disorder, retroactive jealousy often feels a little like hell.

For both men and women, retroactive jealousy could be linked to a host of factors, including hormonal imbalances in the brain, memories of past betrayal, simple fear of the unknown, or jealousy’s infamous conjoined twin, insecurity.

I argue that all sufferers of retroactive jealousy can trace the root cause of their jealousy to insecurity, and this is a theme I return to repeatedly throughout my guidebook and video seminars.

For men, jealousy in relationships is also linked to our biological compulsion to procreate and ensure the survival of our genes. A partner who we perceive as a threat to mate with another man (and thus, carry his genes instead) arouses unease and suspicion. The genetic “cost” for a man of raising a child not his own is huge. I could expand on this, but there are many writers on human sexuality and evolutionary biology to whom you could refer who could provide a much better explanation than I.

Suffice it to say, however, that men are biologically programmed to be jealous of other men, whether the jealousy is rational, and based on genuine concerns about a partner’s fidelity, or not. Therefore, you could choose to take your retroactive jealousy as a trustworthy message from your biological core that your partner is unworthy of your love and trust. The same goes for female sufferers of RJ.

 

 

However, in my own experience and that of countless others, retroactive jealousy is often based on relatively innocent, relatable, and understandable behaviour. (Ie. Our partner’s past is not actually a “dealbreaker,” despite what the voices in our head try to tell us from time to time.) And, if you care enough about your partner to want to commit to dealing with your problem, chances are very good that the relationship is worth fighting for.

And make no mistake: if you care about your partner, and want to maintain your relationship, you must — not “should,” or “could,” but must — actively take steps to confront, and overcome retroactive jealousy… before it’s too late.

A healthy, loving relationship can withstand many challenges, but everyone has their breaking point, including your partner. And if you’re acting distant, upset, asking too many questions, or punishing your partner for their past, take it from me: you will end up pushing your them away… for good.

So right now you have a choice: you can either sit back and hope your jealousy will somehow “take care of itself,” or instead you can take action.

You have the power to start “rewiring” your brain right now, regaining control over jealous thoughts, and getting a handle on your jealousy before it’s too late.

. . .

Do you suffer from retroactive jealousy?

Ready to get serious about overcoming it?

My video course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast” is designed to teach you how to regain control over jealous thoughts, take the power back, and overcome retroactive jealousy as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Read a couple of student reviews below:

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Click here to learn more about “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast,” and gain access to exclusive bonus content, and a limited-time discount.

  • Guest

    ***
    This is my personal “cheat sheet” of sorts that can hack your mind into
    getting out of retroactive jealousy and remaining in the present,
    almost one year’s worth of experience. I know how exhausting and
    painfully endless it seems. Please hear what I have to say. I wouldn’t
    wish this on my worst enemy. It’s the very least I can do for anyone
    that needs help.

    The main way to do this is to realize that your partner’s past
    partners are DEAD to them. That seems harsh, you say. Maybe she had left
    on good terms with previous partners. It still doesn’t matter. Right
    NOW, in this moment as you are reading the words on this screen, the
    past partners are DEAD to your partner. They don’t exist in ANY
    capacity, and they haven’t ever since your partner left. That’s simply
    not how memories work. A memory is triggered only in direct
    circumstances. Like if she was asked explicitly about her ex. And even
    THEN, the memory is not this HD movie that she can experience. It’s a
    brief blur of images that DIES as quickly as it is conjured. So like I
    said before, everything about them is DEAD to her right NOW, and
    FOREVER. That is the REALITY. You are the only one that EXISTS.

    The point I am trying to make is that “good feeling” you have, when
    everything feels great, and free of retroactive jealousy. That is
    REALITY, it really is that GOOD. Period. Any other negative feeling is
    not REAL, it’s simply not based on REALITY. The reality is that they are
    DEAD to her. They don’t EXIST, and never will. Hence, you are wasting
    your time thinking about things that don’t exist. You are literally
    dreaming in the REAL world around you. They’re not REAL, they don’t
    EXIST, they are dead, the entire PAST is dead to her, NOW and forever.
    In the same vein, your partner is DEAD to his or her past partners as
    well. You and your partner are the only ones that EXIST, everyone else
    is DEAD. That is the REALITY (Have I hammered it in enough?)

    Case in point. When I say “Trip to the Amusement Park”, what comes to
    your mind? Does this HD video start playing through your mind of your
    last vacation with your family or friends? More details are forming in
    your head, only because now you are TOLD to do so. This experience you
    are having right now is ALSO a memory that will DIE the MOMENT you move
    on to something else, just like ALL of the memories in your partner’s
    past DIED long ago.

    There are alot more things that I want to share, but in closing, find
    something quick and short to tell yourself to keep yourself in the
    present when you feel this irrational fear. Something that doesn’t even
    mention your parnter’s past. For example, mine at the moment is “Wake up
    to the REALITY” (maybe imagine her sitting next to you, tell yourself
    she’s your girlfriend, something to illustrate the reality of your
    situation), or “I am her EVERYTHING”, because the REALITY is that they
    are all DEAD to her in this moment, you are the only one that EXISTS to
    her. I know these sound bizarre, but these statements ground you in
    reality when you start floating away from it with irrational fear.
    Create something for yourself that keeps you in the present, and more
    importantly, in REALITY. Stop yourself from dreaming, WAKE up to
    REALITY.

    You can also create something for when triggers happen. When triggers
    happen for me, with irrational fear and jealousy, again I tell myself
    “Wake up to the reality” or “She is STILL my girl” (that hasn’t changed,
    right? lol) and it grounds me back to reality. Create something that
    works for YOU. Imagine the perfect “scenario” (where the past doesn’t
    exist, and it’s just YOU and HER forever) and accept it as REALITY,
    because it IS reality. And create something quick for yourself that can
    remind you of that wonderful REALITY if triggers occur. That’s the most
    exciting thing about all this. The REALITY is a wonderful thing. Be
    happy with the REALITY and move forward with your partner, be thankful
    that YOU and HER can exist together, and love each other :)

    This is a rough summary of what I’ve learned over the past year, and
    it has brought me immense peace in my relationship and greater
    understanding of myself and life in general :)

  • Guest

    Thank you Zachary Stockhill for your amazing book.

    This is my personal “cheat sheet” of sorts that can hack your mind into
    getting out of retroactive jealousy and remaining in the present,
    almost one year’s worth of experience. I know how exhausting and
    painfully endless it seems. Please hear what I have to say. I wouldn’t
    wish this on my worst enemy. It’s the very least I can do for anyone
    that needs help.

    The main way to do this is to realize that your partner’s past
    partners are DEAD to them. That seems harsh, you say. Maybe she had left
    on good terms with previous partners. It still doesn’t matter. Right
    NOW, in this moment as you are reading the words on this screen, the
    past partners are DEAD to your partner. They don’t exist in ANY
    capacity, and they haven’t ever since your partner left. That’s simply
    not how memories work. A memory is triggered only in direct
    circumstances. Like if she was asked explicitly about her ex. And even
    THEN, the memory is not this HD movie that she can experience. It’s a
    brief blur of images that DIES as quickly as it is conjured. So like I
    said before, everything about them is DEAD to her right NOW, and
    FOREVER. That is the REALITY. You are the only one that EXISTS.

    The point I am trying to make is that “good feeling” you have, when
    everything feels great, and free of retroactive jealousy. That is
    REALITY, it really is that GOOD. Period. Any other negative feeling is
    not REAL, it’s simply not based on REALITY. The reality is that they are
    DEAD to her. They don’t EXIST, and never will. Hence, you are wasting
    your time thinking about things that don’t exist. You are literally
    dreaming in the REAL world around you. They’re not REAL, they don’t
    EXIST, they are dead, the entire PAST is dead to her, NOW and forever.
    In the same vein, your partner is DEAD to his or her past partners as
    well. You and your partner are the only ones that EXIST, everyone else
    is DEAD. That is the REALITY (Have I hammered it in enough?)

    Case in point. When I say “Trip to the Amusement Park”, what comes to
    your mind? Does this HD video start playing through your mind of your
    last vacation with your family or friends? More details are forming in
    your head, only because now you are TOLD to do so. This experience you
    are having right now is ALSO a memory that will DIE the MOMENT you move
    on to something else, just like ALL of the memories in your partner’s
    past DIED long ago.

    There are alot more things that I want to share, but in closing, find
    something quick and short to tell yourself to keep yourself in the
    present when you feel this irrational fear. Something that doesn’t even
    mention your parnter’s past. For example, mine at the moment is “Wake up
    to the REALITY” (maybe imagine her sitting next to you, tell yourself
    she’s your girlfriend, something to illustrate the reality of your
    situation), or “I am her EVERYTHING”, because the REALITY is that they
    are all DEAD to her in this moment, you are the only one that EXISTS to
    her. I know these sound bizarre, but these statements ground you in
    reality when you start floating away from it with irrational fear.
    Create something for yourself that keeps you in the present, and more
    importantly, in REALITY. Stop yourself from dreaming, WAKE up to
    REALITY.

    You can also create something for when triggers happen. When triggers
    happen for me, with irrational fear and jealousy, again I tell myself
    “Wake up to the reality” or “She is STILL my girl” (that hasn’t changed,
    right? lol) and it grounds me back to reality. Create something that
    works for YOU. Imagine the perfect “scenario” (where the past doesn’t
    exist, and it’s just YOU and HER forever) and accept it as REALITY,
    because it IS reality. And create something quick for yourself that can
    remind you of that wonderful REALITY if triggers occur. That’s the most
    exciting thing about all this. The REALITY is a wonderful thing. Be
    happy with the REALITY and move forward with your partner, be thankful
    that YOU and HER can exist together, and love each other :)

    This is a rough summary of what I’ve learned over the past year, and
    it has brought me immense peace in my relationship and greater
    understanding of myself and life in general :)

  • Guest

    Just want to preface this by saying Zach’s book is incredible, highly recommended, the following is based on the foundation of what he writes about. The wonderful PRESENT. Please read ahead, I want to help you, I know how terrible it is.

    So this is my personal “cheat sheet” of sorts that can hack your mind into
    getting out of retroactive jealousy and remaining in the present,
    almost one year’s worth of experience. I know how exhausting and
    painfully endless it seems. Please hear what I have to say. I wouldn’t
    wish this on my worst enemy. It’s the very least I can do for anyone
    that needs help.

    The main way to do this is to realize that your partner’s past
    partners are DEAD to them. That seems harsh, you say. Maybe she had left
    on good terms with previous partners. It still doesn’t matter. Right
    NOW, in this moment as you are reading the words on this screen, the
    past partners are DEAD to your partner. They don’t exist in ANY
    capacity, and they haven’t ever since your partner left. That’s simply
    not how memories work. A memory is triggered only in direct
    circumstances. Like if she was asked explicitly about her ex. And even
    THEN, the memory is not this HD movie that she can experience. It’s a
    brief blur of images that DIES as quickly as it is conjured. So like I
    said before, everything about them is DEAD to her right NOW, and
    FOREVER. That is the REALITY. You are the only one that EXISTS.

    The point I am trying to make is that “good feeling” you have, when
    everything feels great, and free of retroactive jealousy. That is
    REALITY, it really is that GOOD. Period. Any other negative feeling is
    not REAL, it’s simply not based on REALITY. The reality is that they are
    DEAD to her. They don’t EXIST, and never will. Hence, you are wasting
    your time thinking about things that don’t exist. You are literally
    dreaming in the REAL world around you. They’re not REAL, they don’t
    EXIST, they are dead, the entire PAST is dead to her, NOW and forever.
    In the same vein, your partner is DEAD to his or her past partners as
    well. You and your partner are the only ones that EXIST, everyone else
    is DEAD. That is the REALITY (Have I hammered it in enough?)

    Case in point. When I say “Trip to the Amusement Park”, what comes to
    your mind? Does this HD video start playing through your mind of your
    last vacation with your family or friends? More details are forming in
    your head, only because now you are TOLD to do so. This experience you
    are having right now is ALSO a memory that will DIE the MOMENT you move
    on to something else, just like ALL of the memories in your partner’s
    past DIED long ago.

    There are alot more things that I want to share, but in closing, find
    something quick and short to tell yourself to keep yourself in the
    present when you feel this irrational fear. Something that doesn’t even
    mention your parnter’s past. For example, mine at the moment is “Wake up
    to the REALITY” (maybe imagine her sitting next to you, tell yourself
    she’s your girlfriend, something to illustrate the reality of your
    situation), or “I am her EVERYTHING”, because the REALITY is that they
    are all DEAD to her in this moment, you are the only one that EXISTS to
    her. I know these sound bizarre, but these statements ground you in
    reality when you start floating away from it with irrational fear.
    Create something for yourself that keeps you in the present, and more
    importantly, in REALITY. Stop yourself from dreaming, WAKE up to
    REALITY.

    You can also create something for when triggers happen. When triggers
    happen for me, with irrational fear and jealousy, again I tell myself
    “Wake up to the reality” or “She is STILL my girl” (that hasn’t changed,
    right? lol) and it grounds me back to reality. Create something that
    works for YOU. Imagine the perfect “scenario” (where the past doesn’t
    exist, and it’s just YOU and HER forever) and accept it as REALITY,
    because it IS reality. And create something quick for yourself that can
    remind you of that wonderful REALITY if triggers occur. That’s the most
    exciting thing about all this. The REALITY is a wonderful thing. Be
    happy with the REALITY and move forward with your partner, be thankful
    that YOU and HER can exist together, and love each other :)

    This is a rough summary of what I’ve learned over the past year, and
    it has brought me immense peace in my relationship and greater
    understanding of myself and life in general :)

  • Guest

    Just want to preface this by saying Zach’s book is incredible, highly
    recommended, the following is based on the foundation of what he writes
    about. The wonderful PRESENT. Please read ahead, I want to help you, I
    know how terrible retroactive jealousy can feel on your soul and mind.

    So this is my personal “cheat sheet” of sorts that can hack your mind into
    getting out of retroactive jealousy and remaining in the present,
    almost one year’s worth of experience. I know how exhausting and
    painfully endless it seems. Please hear what I have to say. I wouldn’t
    wish this on my worst enemy. It’s the very least I can do for anyone
    that needs help.

    The main way to do this is to realize that your partner’s past
    partners are DEAD to them. That seems harsh, you say. Maybe she had left
    on good terms with previous partners. It still doesn’t matter. Right
    NOW, in this moment as you are reading the words on this screen, the
    past partners are DEAD to your partner. They don’t exist in ANY
    capacity, and they haven’t ever since your partner left. That’s simply
    not how memories work. A memory is triggered only in direct
    circumstances. Like if she was asked explicitly about her ex. And even
    THEN, the memory is not this HD movie that she can experience. It’s a
    brief blur of images that DIES as quickly as it is conjured. So like I
    said before, everything about them is DEAD to her right NOW, and
    FOREVER. That is the REALITY. You are the only one that EXISTS.

    The point I am trying to make is that “good feeling” you have, when
    everything feels great, and free of retroactive jealousy. That is
    REALITY, it really is that GOOD. Period. Any other negative feeling is
    not REAL, it’s simply not based on REALITY. The reality is that they are
    DEAD to her. They don’t EXIST, and never will. Hence, you are wasting
    your time thinking about things that don’t exist. You are literally
    dreaming in the REAL world around you. They’re not REAL, they don’t
    EXIST, they are dead, the entire PAST is dead to her, NOW and forever.
    In the same vein, your partner is DEAD to his or her past partners as
    well. You and your partner are the only ones that EXIST, everyone else
    is DEAD. That is the REALITY (Have I hammered it in enough?)

    Case in point. When I say “Trip to the Amusement Park”, what comes to
    your mind? Does this HD video start playing through your mind of your
    last vacation with your family or friends? More details are forming in
    your head, only because now you are TOLD to do so. This experience you
    are having right now is ALSO a memory that will DIE the MOMENT you move
    on to something else, just like ALL of the memories in your partner’s
    past DIED long ago.

    There are alot more things that I want to share, but in closing, find
    something quick and short to tell yourself to keep yourself in the
    present when you feel this irrational fear. Something that doesn’t even
    mention your parnter’s past. For example, mine at the moment is “Wake up
    to the REALITY” (maybe imagine her sitting next to you, tell yourself
    she’s your girlfriend, something to illustrate the reality of your
    situation), or “I am her EVERYTHING”, because the REALITY is that they
    are all DEAD to her in this moment, you are the only one that EXISTS to
    her. I know these sound bizarre, but these statements ground you in
    reality when you start floating away from it with irrational fear.
    Create something for yourself that keeps you in the present, and more
    importantly, in REALITY. Stop yourself from dreaming, WAKE up to
    REALITY.

    You can also create something for when triggers happen. When triggers
    happen for me, with irrational fear and jealousy, again I tell myself
    “Wake up to the reality” or “She is STILL my girl” (that hasn’t changed,
    right? lol) and it grounds me back to reality. Create something that
    works for YOU. Imagine the perfect “scenario” (where the past doesn’t
    exist, and it’s just YOU and HER forever) and accept it as REALITY,
    because it IS reality. And create something quick for yourself that can
    remind you of that wonderful REALITY if triggers occur. That’s the most
    exciting thing about all this. The REALITY is a wonderful thing. Be
    happy with the REALITY and move forward with your partner, be thankful
    that YOU and HER can exist together, and love each other :)

    This is a rough summary of what I’ve learned over the past year, and
    it has brought me immense peace in my relationship and greater
    understanding of myself and life in general :)

  • RetroactiveAnonymous

    Just want to preface this by saying Zach’s book is incredible, highly
    recommended, the following is based on the foundation of what he writes
    about. The wonderful PRESENT. Please read ahead, I want to help you, I
    know how terrible it is.

    So this is my personal “cheat sheet” of sorts that can hack your mind into
    getting out of retroactive jealousy and remaining in the present,
    almost one year’s worth of experience. I know how exhausting and
    painfully endless it seems. Please hear what I have to say. I wouldn’t
    wish this on my worst enemy. It’s the very least I can do for anyone
    that needs help.

    The main way to do this is to realize that your partner’s past
    partners are DEAD to your partner. That seems harsh, you say. Maybe she had left
    on good terms with previous partners. It still doesn’t matter. Right
    NOW, in this moment as you are reading the words on this screen, the
    past partners are DEAD to your partner. They don’t exist in ANY
    capacity, and they haven’t ever since your partner left. That’s simply
    not how memories work. A memory is triggered only in direct
    circumstances. Like if she was asked explicitly about her ex. And even
    THEN, the memory is not this HD movie that she can experience. It’s a
    brief blur of images that DIES as quickly as it is conjured. So like I
    said before, everything about them is DEAD to her right NOW, and
    FOREVER. That is the REALITY. You are the only one that EXISTS.

    The point I am trying to make is that “good feeling” you have, when
    everything feels great, and free of retroactive jealousy. That is
    REALITY, it really is that GOOD. Period. Any other negative feeling is
    not REAL, it’s simply not based on REALITY. The reality is that they are
    DEAD to her. They don’t EXIST, and never will. Hence, you are wasting
    your time thinking about things that don’t exist. You are literally
    dreaming in the REAL world around you. They’re not REAL, they don’t
    EXIST, they are dead, the entire PAST is dead to her, NOW and forever.
    In the same vein, your partner is DEAD to his or her past partners as
    well. You and your partner are the only ones that EXIST, everyone else
    is DEAD. That is the REALITY (Have I hammered it in enough?)

    Case in point. When I say “Trip to the Amusement Park”, what comes to
    your mind? Does this HD video start playing through your mind of your
    last vacation with your family or friends? More details are forming in
    your head, only because now you are TOLD to do so. This experience you
    are having right now is ALSO a memory that will DIE the MOMENT you move
    on to something else, just like ALL of the memories in your partner’s
    past DIED long ago.

    There are alot more things that I want to share, but in closing, find
    something quick and short to tell yourself to keep yourself in the
    present when you feel this irrational fear. Something that doesn’t even
    mention your parnter’s past. For example, mine at the moment is “Wake up
    to the REALITY” (maybe imagine her sitting next to you as well, something to illustrate the reality), or “I am her EVERYTHING”, because the REALITY is that they
    are all DEAD to her in this moment, you are the only one that EXISTS to
    her. I know these sound bizarre, but these statements ground you in
    reality when you start floating away from it with irrational fear.
    Create something for yourself that keeps you in the present, and more
    importantly, in REALITY. Stop yourself from dreaming, WAKE up to
    REALITY.

    You can also create something for when triggers happen. When triggers
    happen for me, with irrational fear and jealousy, again I tell myself
    “Wake up to the reality” or “She is STILL my girl” (that hasn’t changed,
    right? lol) and it grounds me back to reality. Create something that
    works for YOU. Imagine the perfect “scenario” (where the past doesn’t
    exist, and it’s just YOU and HER forever) and accept it as REALITY,
    because it IS reality. And create something quick for yourself that can
    remind you of that wonderful REALITY if triggers occur. That’s the most
    exciting thing about all this. The REALITY is a wonderful thing. Be
    happy with the REALITY and move forward with your partner, be thankful
    that YOU and HER can exist together, and love each other :)

    This is a rough summary of what I’ve learned over the past year, and
    it has brought me immense peace in my relationship and greater
    understanding of myself and life in general :)

    • Zachary

      Thanks for sharing!

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