In today’s video, I’m going to talk about what you should do if you’re struggling with your girlfriend’s past.

Have you ever felt like “My girlfriend’s past gives me anxiety?”

I got an email from a guy we will call M.

M writes…

How do I deal with things that I view as morally wrong that my girlfriend has done which are different to retroactive jealousy events?

I know things that fall into the retroactive jealousy bucket or shall we say the irrational jealousy bucket are my issues, and I shouldn’t talk about them with her. But how do I ignore or not judge these questionable immoral acts she’s committed in the past? Or, should I chat to her about it to get her perspective on it?

Zachary Stockill: Okay, so number one, how clear are you on your relationship boundaries and deal breakers? Are you clear on why you want a relationship and what kind of relationship you want?

And, if you’re not clear about these kinds of fundamental issues of love and relationships, you’re gonna have a really tough time. You’re going to struggle with this for a while because you’re lacking this baseline clarity.

This baseline clarity will allow you to get the perspective that you need, thus determining whether or not your partner is going to fit into your life over the long term.

Surely, if you don’t have this baseline clarity about exactly what you want, you’re going to struggle.

So at the core, you need to spend time getting very clear about your relationship boundaries and values. Avoid telling yourself, “my girlfriend’s past gives me anxiety!”

How does your girlfriend see these events? How does your girlfriend see her past? Is she totally cool with some of these questionably immoral acts that you mentioned? Did she admit that she’s made some mistakes? Is she learning and growing?

girlfriend's past gives me anxiety

Also, is she self-conscious that she had the necessary perspective that she needs to grow and she’ll move on from her past? Or, has she cheated on four out of her five past boyfriends? Is she just blaming the guys for not seeing that she’s the common denominator in each of those situations?

This is important to think about: “how does she see her past?”

Her current behavior in your relationship will tell you about how she sees her past. Because obviously, talk is cheap. If she has a propensity for cheating, that will indicate that she doesn’t see a lot of issues with some of the moral transgressions from her past.

If you really want to understand who someone is, don’t listen so much to what they say, watch what they do.

So, her current behavior tells you about how she sees her past. Committing the same mistake over and over again, that’s not a mistake, that’s a pattern.

It’s easier to overlook mistakes, transgressions, etc when we learn from them. When we own our actions or our words and put in the necessary work to learn and grow from them. Moving forward, hopefully, it will reduce our chances of repeating that mistake in the future.

Again, when looking at her past, look for patterns. Look at how she’s behaving now in your current relationship over the long term. Stop saying, “my girlfriend’s past gives me anxiety!”

girlfriend's past gives me anxiety

So in your mind, how important or significant are these moral transgressions on a scale from one to 10?

For example, there’s a big difference between being 16 years old, kissing some guy who’s not your boyfriend, compared from cheating on your husband of 20 years. There’s a big difference between these things. A lot of guys try to lump a lot of retroactive jealousy events. So, try to get a bit of perspective on her past and rank these events like how important is this stuff?

Another good question to ask…

“If my best friend’s girlfriend had done some of these things in her past, what would I tell my best friend if he was asking me for advice? How should he process this?”

When you’re feeling calm, grounded, and centered, how do you see your girlfriend’s past? And is this something you want to move past at some point?

Not that I can move past it, right now. Not can I move past this tomorrow or next week. But do I want to be able to move past this at some point? Because if the answer’s, no, if you have hesitation about that, it’s gonna be very difficult to move forward.

I would say in closing, be sure you’re not putting yourself on the pedestal.

If you’ve read my Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy guidebook. Or, perhaps you’ve taken my primary online course, Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast, I caution a lot about not putting your partner on the pedestal.

Guys love to do this, they think their girlfriend’s a queen. And when they find out something from their past, all of a sudden, they’re tearing the pedestal down.

It’s just a terrible way to think of people in general, right?

We’re all messed up. We’ve all made mistakes and got our problems. But be sure you’re not putting yourself on the pedestal. Look at your own past. I’m sure there are some mistakes which you regret.

Thanks for watching this video. onsider these questions with a level head and hopefully this will give you some inspiration to move forward.

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.