Partner suffers from retroactive jealousy? You are not alone.

If your partner suffers from retroactive jealousy, you might feel frustrated, stuck, even exhausted.

I know this because over the years I’ve received hundreds of emails from the partners of retroactive jealousy sufferers.

Typically, their letters go something like this:

My partner suffers from retroactive jealousy. I’m so glad that he/she found your website, and bought your book/took your course. My partner is finding it very helpful.

I want to support my partner as s/he progresses through your program. Do you have any advice for me?

If your partner suffers from retroactive jealousy I have an important note for you:

If you’re here because you think your partner suffers from retroactive jealousy and hasn’t gotten help yet, encourage them to sign up for my free mini-course.

Unfortunately, they won’t get better until they commit to getting better. But hopefully, the course will help.

Watch the video:

(Video transcript below)

I’ve often felt hesitant to offer advice to people whose partner suffers from retroactive jealousy due to the fact that

a) It is always the sufferer’s problem, not their partner’s, and

b) I never had a partner who suffers from retroactive jealousy.

It has taken me a long time to collect my thoughts on this topic and sit down to write this post. I hope you find it useful.

Without further ado, please consider the following if your partner suffers from retroactive jealousy:

1.) If your partner suffers from retroactive jealousy, you values may, in fact, be incompatible with your partner’s.

It’s definitely not absolutely certain, but it’s possible.

Some sufferers of retroactive jealousy eventually discover that their values are genuinely incompatible with those of their partner. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes, once the initial passions have subsided and the ability to think clearly returns, sufferers of retroactive jealousy realize that their partner’s past is actually a “deal-breaker,” or whatever you’d like to call it. This may be a result of conflicting religious or moral values, or simply differing relationship priorities. If your partner comes to the conclusion that they simply cannot deal with your past, try to look past the pain and see the situation for what it truly is: you just got saved several more months (or even years) of heartache and pain. And the relationship would have absolutely dissolved sooner or later.

More often than not, however, your partner’s jealousy and struggles with your past are delusional and the product of an emotional disorder, rather than genuine moral incompatibility.

And more often than not, after discovering this website, reading my book or watching my videos, and putting my plan into action, sufferers of retroactive jealousy make the decision to work on themselves, and get their problem handled, while remaining in their current relationship.

If your partner chooses to stay with you, please remember that…

2.) The problem belongs to your partner, not you.

As I advise sufferers of retroactive jealousy:

There is nothing your partner can say or do which will allay all of your insecurity, and put your jealousy to rest. Nothing.

As the partner of a sufferer of retroactive jealousy, you may be used to being questioned about your past relationship and/or sexual history, perhaps incessantly. It is important that you recognize that there is nothing you can say, no conversation you can have with your partner, which will “solve” his or her issue with your past. It doesn’t matter how many details you do or don’t provide, or what exactly happened in your past, or even how you see your former relationships now — your partner has a problem that cannot be solved by you in any way.

Only your partner has the power to do the necessary work to get their issues handled. You are not the solution, but that is not to suggest that there is nothing you can do to support your partner as they heal.

Try not to indulge your partner in conversation about your past relationships and/or sexual history. Emphasize that these conversations have become tedious, counter-productive, and extremely uninteresting. At the same time…

3.) Try to cultivate presence as much as possible.

Sufferers of retroactive jealousy feel like captives to an imaginary past. They may experience thoughts, worries, and fears about the past as if they are real, but in truth, their perception of the past is a hallucination. You can support them as they emerge from this hallucination by being as present as possible, whenever possible.

There is much emphasis on cultivating presence in my guidebook. The more you can make it clear to your partner that you are interested in living in the present — recognizing that neither past nor future exist — the more your partner will recognize the necessity to quit dwelling in the past, and step fully into the now.

I am not suggesting that you disown or disregard your past. I am suggesting that conversations about your past, and your lingering connections to the past, are probably not helping your partner as they try to overcome their jealousy. You can support them in this process if you make it clear — through your lifestyle choices, your outlook, and in conversation with your partner — that you want to live in the now as much as possible.

Take time to recognize that living in the now is, in fact, the only option available to both you and your partner at any time.

4.) Partner suffers from retroactive jealousy? Be sure to give your partner space and time to heal.

If you’ve seen my video seminars, you know that I advocate constant self-improvement and personal development as a route to overcome retroactive jealousy.

This involves many different practices, exercises, and activities intended to be completed outside of the relationship.

If your spouse wants to put my plan into action, they are going to need some space and time away from you. Nothing drastic, but I do recommend that sufferers of retroactive jealousy prioritize taking time for productive and rewarding interests and hobbies that do not involve their partner’s participation.

Relationships often thrive with a little distance. That old cliche “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a cliche for a reason; it’s true. You must recognize that taking the time to pursue independent interests and activities outside of the relationship is not about creating emotional distance between you and your partner.

Your partner needs to take the necessary steps to ground, heal, and move on from their jealousy, recognizing the infinite possibilities for happiness, growth, and real fulfillment both in and outside of the relationship.

I recommend that you respect and honour your partner’s need to take some space. Not worry that it will negatively impact your relationship. If your partner follows the program I advocate and does the necessary work, I can almost guarantee that it will help to repair and revitalize your relationship.

Stay strong.

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.