In today’s video, I’m going to talk about what you should do if you broke up with your partner because of retroactive jealousy.

Maybe you’re wondering what you should do now if you’re experiencing any kind of regrets or doubts about your decision. So, let’s learn how to get over retroactive jealousy.

Zachary Stockill: A common email that I’ve received from people since I started this website back in 2013 are emails from retroactive jealousy sufferers who never really committed to putting in the work, retroactive jealousy sufferers who felt their only way out was to break up with their partner because they thought that this would solve their problem.

That is not the way to solve retroactive jealousy.

If your main problem is you simply can’t stop thinking about it, this is irrational retroactive jealousy. Retroactive jealousy is absolute hell, it can be enormously seductive, and very tempting to think, “If I get rid of my partner, that’ll solve my problem, right? It seems logical on his face”.

Unfortunately, the logic starts to break down when we enter our next relationship. And lo and behold, we’re struggling with retroactive jealousy again the next time we fall deeply in love.

One thing that I try to ask most new clients on my first call with them is, “have you ever been this in love before with your current partner?”

Get Over Retroactive Jealousy

It’s interesting to note that every single one of these retroactive jealousy sufferers has said, “No, I don’t think I’ve ever been this in love before”.

However, the ones who have been in love before in the past, “I often ask them, “Did you struggle with retroactive jealousy in that relationship?” And frequently, the answer is “yes”.

So for anyone watching this, who’s kind of weighing the option of a breakup as a route to overcoming retroactive jealousy, pause, think hard about this decision, and be careful. Because unfortunately, more often than not, this will not solve your problem.

And if you don’t really commit and put in the work to overcome retroactive jealousy, unfortunately, it’s more than likely that it’ll follow you into your next relationship.

Let’s say you broke up with your partner as a result of your retroactive jealousy, and you’re having doubts about your decision. I’m going to share the metaphor which describes a relationship like a china plate, and if you break a plate once, paste it back together, it’ll be functional but it’ll never be quite the same again. Which is really important to note.

And if you break it again, that plate becomes unusable, it becomes garbage.

So why am I telling you this? Because relationships are like plates. If you break up once, maybe if you both commit to doing a bit of work on yourselves, you’re both very conscious of the situations of what led to the breakup, and what you need to do moving forward to avert another breakup, you can get back in that situation.

But for couples who break up, again and again, are you really going to be able to build real and true intimacy in a situation like that? Where there’s this complete lack of trust demonstrated by your repeated breakups, I’m not sure if that’s going to work.

So if you broke up once, whether it’s because of retroactive jealousy, or anything else, can you get back together and make it work? Yes, sometimes.

However, if you’re one of these couples, who breaks up constantly, with frequent drama and fights, I think your odds go down drastically in terms of having a sustainable, fulfilling long-term relationship.

If you broke up with your partner, because of retroactive jealousy, and you’re thinking about trying to rekindle that relationship, there’s one of two ways this can go, there’s the option where you’re happily single, and there’s the other option where you want to get back with your partner.

In terms of getting back with your partner, be clear about what led you to the breakup, and what you can do moving forward to avert another breakup and other looming breakups in the future.

So for you, this may involve things like committing to overcoming retroactive jealousy for good.

Get Over Retroactive Jealousy

If you want to beat this thing, there are endless resources for you to be able to do that. And you don’t have to buy my stuff. You don’t have to read my book. But my point is, there are resources available to you. Maybe there’s a therapist in your area. There are lots of resources available to you and I strongly encourage you to look into that, if you want to beat this thing for good and save your relationship.

Option B, let’s say you broke up with your partner because of retroactive jealousy, a big part of that moving forward in your particular situation is getting crystal clear about your relationship, deal breakers, boundaries, and your relationship values.

Getting clear about what exactly you want in terms of your future partner and getting clear about what you don’t want.

Whatever the case may be, the point is, start thinking seriously about this stuff. Because, if you have clarity about those two things, your relationship boundaries, and values, the odds of you struggling with rational retroactive jealousy in your next relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with being extremely picky when it comes to who you share your life with.

Who you choose to enter a long-term relationship with and if you choose to get married, that’s the most consequential decision you will ever make your entire life.

So by all means, be choosy, be picky. And a big part of that is being very clear about your boundaries and values.

Being single and thinking about this stuff is such a great opportunity. And if you’re in this position, I hope you don’t pass up this opportunity, because in every relationship I’ve entered, I suddenly realized that, “Oh, I should have done all this stuff when I was single. I should have done more work on myself.”

So be sure you’re taking advantage of this time being single. Be sure you’re getting clear about your boundaries and your deal-breakers.

Learn more about retroactive jealousy. Learn more about relationships in psychology and dating and all the rest and you’ll set yourself up for an amazing relationship.

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.