In today’s video, I’m going to share another very strange technique that will help you stop any of the behaviors associated with retroactive jealousy.

So, how do you stop asking about your girlfriend’s past?

Zachary Stockill: This is a question that I have been getting all the time since I started my blog back in 2013, since I started putting out content on And the truth is, there are many answers to this question.

And at the top of my list would be just in general. Know what your values are. Know what your deal-breaker questions are. Stick to those basics.

If you’re feeling the urge to scratch that particular retroactive jealousy itch, if you’re getting this impulse to ask them all kinds of unnecessary questions, you’re just going to cause problems in the relationship. It’s best to avoid those for now.

Stop asking about your girlfriend’s past.

But of course, anyone watching this, who’s struggling with retroactive jealousy, is probably aware that this is often easier said than done. Retroactive jealousy and in particular, retroactive jealousy OCD can often make us feel like the only way out of this endless curiosity is to ask our partner more questions about their past that we actually don’t need the answer to.

We want to hear the reassurance again because our ravenous ego just always wants more and more details. So how do you stop asking about your girlfriend’s past, especially when you feel this strong urge?

Another tip I’ll offer, it’s kind of a grizzly analogy, so bear with me. But it’s kind of like a drug user. In particular, drug users who are addicted to things like opiates and heroin.

Asking About Girlfriend's Past

They feel like they have this itch in their skin and it feels very itchy. So they’ll itch and itch, and eventually, they tear through their skin and they hit blood and bone. It can get really gross because they don’t realize that they’re not actually itchy. There’s no serious problem in their body. The itch is simply a manifestation of their addiction to whatever drug that they’re currently taking.

This is just their rational brain running away with them.

And I like this because that’s really similar to the experience of retroactive jealousy, where you have this urge to ask a question, and you feel like you can’t help yourself, you feel like you have to ask about your girlfriend’s past.

And maybe it’s a question you’ve already asked your partner, five or 10 times already, but still, you feel this urge and you just have to ask it.

So at the moment, number one, be conscious of what’s going on. Be conscious of this irrational retroactive jealousy. This is not real, this is not actually a problem. This is not related to one of your values or deal-breaker issues, you probably already have all the answers you need. Best to just move on. Focus on something else as quickly as possible.

Avoid asking about your girlfriend’s past.

This is easier said than done.

I’m going to share a perspective that I found helpful back in the day when I was struggling with retroactive jealousy. And it’s an idea that’s gonna sound strange.

I remember watching a video by the Australian speaker, James Marshall, and he was talking about how when you’re dating someone, when you’re playing around, teasing them and being flirtatious. In your relationship with them, an interesting and unusual question to ask yourself…

He said it’s a good question to ask this question, “Would you sleep with you?”

It involved a word that starts with F. Would you sleep with you, would you be attracted to you?

This is a very bizarre question, what he means by this question is to try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Because even though I’m a straight man, in a relationship with a woman, I have a fairly decent idea of what a lot of women like and what my girlfriend likes.

I’ve read a lot about this stuff, dating, and seduction, it’s all very interesting to me.

I think if you ask yourself this question, you’ll probably know the answer. If you find yourself in a particular moment with your partner when you’re not acting as your best self. Acting from your petty, insecure ego. Maybe you’re letting your insecurity run away with you.

You’re being needy, and clingy, and acting in all these ways that are not very attractive.

You can pause and ask yourself, would I sleep with me? What if I was a woman? If you’re a guy, if I was my girlfriend, would I be finding this behavior very attractive?

It’s a good practice to be a little more self-conscious. And I don’t mean self-conscious in a negative sense. Being self-aware, when you’re engaging with your partner and having conversations with them, or when you feel those retroactive jealousy urges, pause and ask yourself.

If you prefer, you can simply put yourself in your partner’s shoes. And ask yourself, if my partner’s struggling with retroactive jealousy, pestering me all the time with the same tired questions, asking me all these details about events from my past that I haven’t even thought about maybe 10 years? If they were acting this way, what would I think? How would I feel?

Best to avoid asking about your girlfriend’s past, ASAP.

I’m going to quote another dating coach that I remember from years ago, some of you watching this will be aware of the American dating coach, David DeAngelo. He had this very famous line in the early 2000s…

Attraction is not a choice.

And this is so true as human, we don’t choose who we are attracted to.

I was at the gym earlier today, a beautiful woman walked by, and I had a momentary impulse of “Wow, she’s really attractive”. I didn’t choose that, I didn’t look at her and think, should I be attracted to her, or should I not be attracted to her? It’s hardwired into my system.

I’m sure many of you watching this will have multiple moments like that. A day where you notice someone cute. Maybe with your partner, you feel really drawn to them. And you don’t necessarily know why we don’t choose this stuff. Attraction is not a choice.

In a long-term relationship, attraction is still not a choice. You can choose to be faithful to someone. You can choose to love someone, even though you might have impulses that are drawing you away from that choice. Even though you might have resistance to loving them, you can still choose to love them.

And indeed, often in a long-term relationship, we have to decide to love our partner through various events or various crises in life. But I think one thing that a lot of people in relationships miss is that attraction is not a choice, including in a relationship.

Asking About Girlfriend's Past

Attraction waxes and wanes over time. But once it’s really gone, 100% it’s really difficult to get back. This leads to a lot of breakups and divorces. This loss of attraction, people think it’s a loss of love.

And that could be related. But at the base level, comes down to a loss of attraction. There are many reasons why couples lose attraction for each other in a long-term relationship.

Retroactive Jealousy OCD, is frequently responsible for breakups and divorces. The sub reason beneath retroactive jealousy is a loss of attraction. If my partner is struggling with retroactive jealousy, when I’m seeing them that they don’t trust me, no matter how much I’m trying to tell them I love them. How much I care for them. How happy I am with them and I’m not thinking about my past anymore. But, no matter what I say, it’s still never enough. I’ll find this very unattractive of them.

Try your best to stop asking about your girlfriend’s past.

And number two, when they’re demonstrating a real loss of confidence and lack of confidence on their part. Maybe they’re not as sexy as I imagined that they once were. They’re not as confident as they were when I met them.

You see how this works. I wanted to create this video for you today, as a bit of a wake up call.

Retroactive jealousy is frequently responsible for breakups and divorces caused by a multitude of factors. But among them is a loss of attraction, when you keep on asking about your girlfriend’s past.

Everyone has their breaking point. As these people often write heartbreaking emails to me saying that, “Eventually, my partner just couldn’t take it anymore. They left and they broke up with me”.

I’ll get emails from people who read my book when it’s too late, or they take my course when it’s too late.

They’ll say… “My partner broke up with me last night. Now, I want to take your course. Do you think it’s a good idea?”

Sometimes it’s a good idea. But at the end of the day, they should have done this work, weeks or months earlier instead of thinking that this problem would simply take care of itself.

Because if you’ve been watching my videos for any length of time, you have lots of information about the fact that unfortunately, this problem usually does not take care of itself. It usually requires us to step up to the plate. Make a real commitment, and get to work.

When you’re feeling that urge to ask about your girlfriend’s past, pause and ask yourself, “would I be attracted to this? Would I sleep with me? Do I really think that I’m presenting my best self to my partner here?”

Because if you’re currently engaging in any of the typical behaviors as it relates to retroactive jealousy, chances are good that you’re not at your best right now. You need to pause. Focus on something else and start reclaiming the power.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.