Can you really overcome retroactive jealousy?
Yes. I’m living proof.
Yes. I’m a former sufferer. The patterns of compulsive questioning and obsessive thoughts have disappeared, and though I am occasionally bothered by thoughts of my partner’s past, they have nowhere near the impact on me that they once did. When negative thoughts arise I observe them for what they are — fleeting, and not particularly noteworthy or interesting — and change my perspective and focus accordingly. I’m in the driver’s seat now, and I’m here to tell you that you can be too.
Why did you write the book?
When I was struggling with retroactive jealousy, I spent months looking for a “cure” or solution to my problem. I found none, and was thus forced to figure it out for myself. After a year of research, and intense soul-searching, unlearning, relearning, risk-taking and help-seeking, I came up with a solution. I’ve written a guidebook that can help others overcome their condition, and take the power back.
Above all, I want to provide inspiration and guidance for people engaged in a struggle that others, such as friends and family members, often don’t empathize with or understand.
Is the advice on your blog and in your book aimed only at straight guys in monogamous relationships?
Absolutely not. I am a heterosexual man in a monogamous relationship, and that informs much of my outlook on this subject. However, my guide can help women, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, people in “open” or polyamorous relationships, etc. All kinds of different people suffer from retroactive jealousy, and I believe anyone can overcome it with the right tools.
I have found that there are occasionally differences between (for example) the typical man’s experience of retroactive jealousy and the typical woman’s experience. However, there is a lot of overlap in terms of solutions.
Is there an “overnight” or “instant cure?”
There are several specific exercises that you can do today to help to alleviate your jealous feelings and bring fast relief. Some even do produce instantaneous, or “overnight” results. However, overcoming retroactive jealousy mainly involves hard work, soul-searching, unlearning, relearning, a bit of patience, and a lot of good humor. It is not an easy path, and there is no definite “finish line,” but it is a path that is increasingly rewarding and fulfilling the further you travel.
Retroactive jealousy forces people to grow. I was fed up with the constant unease, worry, and obsessive thoughts, and this forced me to better understand my condition, and work hard at overcoming it. I thought I was “getting to the bottom” of retroactive jealousy. In fact, I was getting to the bottom of myself; uncovering my deepest, darkest, most uncomfortable truths, and transforming myself in the process. Retroactive jealousy helped to make me who I am today. I am undoubtedly a stronger, more confident, more loving, and overall better man for having experienced, and overcome my retroactive jealousy. Retroactive jealousy can be a serious gift, if you look at it the right way.
Is overcoming retroactive jealousy worth it?
Yes, without question. I can tell you without hesitation that overcoming retroactive jealousy is worth the struggle, regardless of your particular circumstances.
It’s unpleasant to feel powerless. It’s unpleasant to feel out of control and hopeless. It’s unpleasant to feel vulnerable to a constant threat of intrusive and destructive thoughts and feelings. This alone should give you motivation to work on yourself and overcome your retroactive jealousy.
Furthermore, as I have discovered, one’s retroactive jealousy is usually not dependent on the partner or their specific history. Many people find that, after moving on from a relationship in which they experienced retroactive jealousy, future relationships suffer an identical fate. For some of us, whenever we fall in love with someone new, we fall victim to a repeat cycle of intrusive thoughts regarding their past, unwelcome emotions, compulsive questioning, obsessive thoughts, and self-destructive behavior.
In short, the problem is not with our partner or their past; the problem is with us. Overcoming retroactive jealousy isn’t just “worth it” — it’s essential.