In today’s video, I will talk about how to start healing from retroactive jealousy and start letting go of your partner’s past.

Read or watch below to learn and start healing from retroactive jealousy.

Zachary Stockill: If you are struggling with constant unwanted intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past relationships and/or sexual history, chances are good you’re suffering from something commonly referred to as retroactive jealousy. It is also known as retrospective jealousy, and retrograde jealousy. Maybe you just discovered this term, maybe you’ve known about this term for a while, maybe you’ve been struggling very briefly, maybe you’ve been struggling for years. 

The point is, I want to make it clear in this video, that you have multiple time-tested options for healing from retroactive jealousy. 

There is a way to get through this. There is a way to let go of your partner’s past. 

And that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about today.

First off, I want to make it clear that overcoming retroactive jealousy–in other words, overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts, often obsessive curiosity, and what I call mental movies about your partner’s past relationships and or dating history–is a huge topic. It’s actually a really complicated issue. And there’s a lot to cover. 

Again, I’ve created so much content on this topic, there’s so much to get into. So as soon as you get the time, I’d recommend taking a look at my other resources.

But for now, how to get started letting go of your partner’s past? 

The first tip I want to offer is, in some ways, the most important, and it’s an idea that really takes some people a long time to grasp. And the longer it takes you to grasp this idea, the longer it will take for you to start healing from retroactive jealousy, to start feeling better. 

My first tip is to learn how to stop energizing intrusive thoughts

To make this even more clear, I’ll give you an example. Let’s say I have an unwanted intrusive thought about my wife’s past

Maybe I’m thinking about her and her former lover from years ago, maybe I’m even picturing them in bed. Obviously, that’s really unpleasant. I don’t want to be thinking about this. So one way to respond to that thought is by energizing it with more emotions, more emotional energy.

In other words, feeling resistant to that thought, getting angry about having the thought, or maybe getting sad or frustrated that I’m having the thought, telling myself “I’m never going to get over this… What if she prefers her ex to me? What if I’m struggling with these thoughts forever? I can’t stop thinking about this! I’m so frustrated and angry!” You’re having an emotional response to the thought instead of simply observing it. 

So the opposite of energizing these thoughts is to simply observe and get back to whatever you’re supposed to be focusing on. Get back to your day, and get back to the tasks at hand. 

Now, obviously, this is easier said than done. There are multiple ways you can learn to stop energizing unwanted thoughts, such as mindfulness meditation, redirecting activities… there are all kinds of things that you can do. And, I cover many of them in my online courses and my books

But for now, I simply want you to think about this idea of changing your response to unwanted intrusive thoughts. Because that is really where your power lies.

It isn’t about forcing yourself to have a positive attitude, to think differently or forcing another thought in your head.

When it comes to overcoming retroactive jealousy, so much of your success involves changing your response to unwanted intrusive thoughts. 

healing from retroactive jealousy

And the longer you practice this, and the more diligently you practice, obviously, this will get easier until you reach a point where you’re not even thinking about it. You might get an intrusive thought, and it doesn’t even faze you, you don’t have a moment’s reaction to it. You simply get back to your day, and it becomes automatic. So that’s my first tip: resist the temptation to energize intrusive thoughts. 

My second tip is probably just as important. My second tip is to resist a victim mentality.

It’s so common for someone to be struggling with their partner’s past to be struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts, to feel hopeless. And to kind of sink into this victim mentality where you feel like you don’t have any control over your brain. You don’t have any control over your reactions. You don’t have any control over the past, you don’t have any control. You’re totally hopeless. You’re a victim. 

Buying into this mentality is the road to hell, and will keep you suffering for months or even years longer. You have to resist the victim mentality. Realize you have zero control or influence over the past, you have zero control or influence over the future directly. All you can control is your actions, and your responses in the present moment. 

Your power lies in acknowledging that the present moment is all that exists. This is all that exists. 

And thus you can make of the present moment whatever you want. This sounds cliché, this might sound corny, and some of you may be rolling your eyes. I don’t care because it’s true. The way to overcome the victim mentality is to realize that the present moment is all that exists. And in the present moment, you have tremendous power and opportunity. 

On a closely related note, my third tip for you is to discover, and then remember your options.

So by “options” I mean different perspectives you could be taking on when it comes to looking at your partner’s past, or maybe meditation or mindfulness techniques. There are many books you can read specifically related to overcoming intrusive thoughts and overcoming retroactive jealousy. I wrote that book, and you can find that on Amazon

There are numerous free videos on my YouTube channel with endless tips and options. You can find all kinds of options to help you overcome intrusive thoughts and curiosity. The point is, you need to remember that you have options. And the more of these options you gather–techniques for dealing with intrusive thoughts in the moment, different perspectives, different activities you should be engaging in–the more this maximizes your chances of success, maximize your chances of overcoming retroactive jealousy.

And always remember that the more you remember your options, the less likely it is that you’ll buy into a victim mentality. 

So spend some time gathering different options, different mindsets, different techniques, and different tools. And then crucially, when you have those dark moments, where it feels like you can’t let go of your partner’s past, remember your options in the present moment. Reclaim your power. This is the way to do it. 

And my final tip for you, if you have any kind of anger or frustration around this issue, or anger you’re holding towards your partner… 

Remember that holding on to anger is like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies. 

Anger only hurts you. And forgiveness is not necessarily about letting other people off the hook. It’s about giving yourself permission to be happy.

I’m not saying you don’t have reasons, perhaps, to feel angry or frustrated, or hopeless. I get it. I’ve been in those situations. I know what it’s like to struggle with this issue. However, the longer you remain wedded to your anger, the more you resist letting more anger go… 

The more you resist embracing the notion of forgiveness the longer you’ll suffer and the longer this issue will plague you.

So remember, anytime you feel angry or frustrated: number one, stop energizing that emotion. Remember that you can simply choose, anytime you want, to take a very deep breath. Practice trying to breathe and let it go, from moment to moment.

Forgiveness is about practice. It’s not like some passive thing that you just wait for.

Forgiveness is an ongoing practice, and the more you forgive yourself and others, the happier you will be.

healing from retroactive jealousy

…And the greater your odds of beating retroactive jealousy for good.

Before I let you go today, I’ve got so much content on this topic that I would love to share with you. 

Be sure you are subscribed to my free 4-part video minicourse for getting started overcoming retroactive jealousy.

If you need more help with retroactive jealousy, then you can check out my online 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.