For a condition that affects so many people around the world at one time or another, there aren’t many books, songs, and films that deal with retroactive jealousy.

With some notable exceptions–John Lennon’s song “Jealous Guy,” Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair–it’s a topic that doesn’t get a lot of play in pop culture. I’m not sure why.

There is, however, one particularly notable exception…

Perhaps the most interesting film that explored the topic of retroactive jealousy is Kevin Smith’s “Chasing Amy.”

In a nutshell: Ben Affleck’s character falls in love with a bisexual woman (or so he thinks), and is later forced to confront intense retroactive jealousy surrounding her past sexual history. It’s a moving film that anyone who suffers from RJ would be wise to watch.

The film raises a number of important questions for people like us, such as:

  • Is omitting details the same as lying?
  • How do we identify our core values, and live by those values while respecting the values of others?
  • How can we overcome retroactive jealousy?
  • Is retroactive jealousy a serious turn-off/dealbreaker for our partners? (Spoiler alert: much of the time, yes.)

My favourite scene in the film takes place in a diner when Silent Bob (played by Kevin Smith) talks about his own experience of retroactive jealousy, and his immense regret for not getting it handled in time to save his relationship.

(Sidenote: in interviews, Smith has stated that the film was based, in part, on his own experience with retroactive jealousy.)

If you have five minutes to spare, you can watch the scene below.

** Note: this clip is definitely not suitable for work. Some “colourful” language throughout, so if you’re offended by that type of thing, you shouldn’t watch.

Otherwise:

**Everything after 3:25 is irrelevant, unless you’ve seen the rest of the film.

“Chasing Amy” is worth watching in its entirety (despite the uber-cheesy ending) if only to spend a couple of hours marvelling at Ben Affleck’s seriously-90’s wardrobe.

In Ben’s defence, the 90’s was a confusing time fashion-wise for all of us.


Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

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