In today’s video, I respond to a reader who tells me “I found out about my wife’s past by accident.”

Read or watch below if you can relate to this reader, who “found out about my wife’s past by accident.”

Zachary Stockill: One of the common components of retroactive jealousy is wanting to go snooping for more details about your partner’s past. Either endlessly asking them questions about their past or maybe snooping on social media, wanting to “get to the bottom” of their past, wanting to figure out more details, and using any way you can to get more information about your partner’s past. 

But what about those situations when you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, and it was more or less an “accident?” What if you found out about your partner’s past by accident? 

In today’s video, I’m responding to a viewer of this channel. He’s in exactly that position and wants to know how to move forward. 

So I got a comment on YouTube from a guy we’ll call D. So D writes:

How do I cope with the idea that my retroactive jealousy may have never happened if not for finding out about my wife’s past by accident?

I catch myself ruminating on the early days and how things felt blissful when I knew absolutely nothing about my wife’s past. I tried to make peace with the idea that these details would have been found out at some point, which would have set off my retroactive jealousy.

But it’s hard for me to truly believe this, and not have deep regret about this freak accident.

Okay, D, thank you for your comment/email. I appreciate it.

The number one thing I would say to you is: this happened and there’s nothing you can do about the past whatsoever. So you found out about your wife’s past…

Maybe it was some accident, or maybe someone was having a conversation that you weren’t supposed to hear. 

found out about wife's past

However, you found out about your wife’s past. It happened.

The pathway to hell is lined with people who spend most of their time fretting about the future or worrying about the past

You have zero degree of control or influence over anything that’s happened in the past, whether it’s regarding your relationship or anything else. 

So I realize it’s easier said than done, but anytime you find yourself lamenting anything that happened in the past, reorient yourself, bring yourself back to what you have power and control over in the present moment, and realize that you have zero degree of control over the past. 

But you do have control over your perspectives on the past. You have 100% control over the story that you choose to tell yourself about the past.

So it sounds like you’ve already started telling yourself a better story. It is about finding out about your partner’s past by accident, more or less. I think you alluded to this. In your note where you’re telling yourself, you probably would have found out about this eventually, given enough time. 

So I think that’s probably a better story that you could be telling yourself.

I would also say resist the temptation to make unnecessary meaning out of this freak event. 

Don’t ascribe cosmic significance to the fact that you found out about your partner’s past by accident.

Resist the temptation to make cosmic undue significance out of this relatively minor event. 

And of course, on a related note, I would also mention you are not a victim. The way through retroactive jealousy, the path to freedom, and the path to peace of mind is pretty much the same for all of us.

And if you want to stay stuck struggling with your partner’s past endlessly, endlessly mulling it over, “should I stay or should I go? Does her past matter? Does this matter?” And does that matter?” …

If you want to stay stuck in that place, rather than finding clarity moving forward, keep continuing to think of yourself as a victim. Now I realize feeling frustrated by your circumstances or stymied by retroactive jealousy. I understand your regret finding out about your wife’s past. I understand all that.

But again, I have to come back to this point: the past happened. This event happened. You are not a victim, and you have zero degree of control over the past. 

You have 100% control over the actions you take and the perspectives you choose to believe in the present moment. 

Another perspective you can play with is: retroactive jealousy can truly be a gift if you handle it in the right way. Which might sound absolutely nuts for anyone watching this who’s struggling with retroactive jealousy…

But the fact is, you’re struggling with this problem. Maybe you did some Googling. You found out that it is actually a term associated with this problem. You found people like me who have some degree of experience and knowledge and expertise and overcoming this issue. Maybe you found other resources that are helpful as well. The fact is: it’s good that you’re finding this out now, as opposed to in 10, 20, 30 years. It’s better that you find out that you have this problem now. It’s better for you to start putting in the work to overcome this problem now, as opposed to later on.

The sooner you start handling this, the sooner you can move on from the fact “I found out about my wife’s past by accident.” 

What I’m getting at here: you can also take the perspective that it’s a gift that you found this out now, and that you’ve already started taking steps to move forward now as opposed to in 5, 10 or 20 years. 

In closing, I would say two things.

Number one, the path forward when it comes to overcoming retroactive jealousy is pretty much the same for all of us. There’s no “one” specific way that you need to heal. If you ask your partner a million questions about their past, or like you, if you found out by accident, we’re all in the same boat here. And the path to freedom, the path to peace of mind, is pretty much the same for everyone. 

The point is: the fact that you found out about your wife’s past by accident does not change your course of healing.

The second thing I would tell you in closing is to start taking action. The only way through this issue is to start owning it 100%, and taking active steps to work through it. 

So what does that mean? That can involve things like coaching or therapy. Also. that can involve things like guided journaling, all kinds of meditation and mindfulness techniques. There are all kinds of tools, techniques, strategies, and perspectives that work. It works when it comes to working your way through this issue. 

So the number one piece of advice I want to give you if you take away nothing else from this video is that there is a way through this problem. 

There is a path, a clear path, a proven time-tested path to freedom and peace of mind from retroactive jealousy. 

found out about wife's past

And if you follow in the footsteps of the thousands and thousands of people before you who had the same problem and found their way to peace of mind… If you simply follow this path, you will absolutely get there too.

When you take the necessary steps, good things will follow.

If you are currently struggling with retroactive jealousy, you can check out my flagship course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast”.

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.