In today’s video, I talk about how to prevent a retroactive jealousy relapse at any point in the future.

Read or watch below to learn more about how to prevent a retroactive jealousy relapse.

Zachary Stockill: On this channel and elsewhere, I’m often asked about retroactive jealousy relapses.

As I have been working on this issue of retroactive jealousy for over ten years now, I feel confident in saying that what I’m going to talk about in this video is absolutely essential if you want to prevent a retroactive jealousy relapse at any point in the future. 

So for the people who are new here: the term retroactive jealousy refers to unwanted intrusive thoughts, often obsessive curiosity, and what I call “mental movies” about a partner’s past relationships and/or dating or sexual history.

And I define a retroactive jealousy relapse as those moments when you’ve made some progress towards overcoming retroactive jealousy, you’re going along well, things seem to be looking up… And then all of a sudden, you fall back into a deep dark retroactive jealousy rabbit hole. Many retroactive jealousy sufferers have had moments like this. 

In fact, I would say for most retroactive jealousy sufferers, it’s not like their condition continues on and like a relatively straight ascending line. It’s more like this: they’ll be going along okay, and then they have a dip. But then they’re doing well again, and they have a dip.


For many retroactive jealousy sufferers, it takes some time before they gain real consistency in terms of their recovery. 

So how to avoid a retroactive jealousy relapse? There are many ways to avoid a retroactive jealousy relapse. I recorded a video on this recently, you can check it out below:

But in today’s video, I want to talk about something a little different.

You may have heard the phrase: “What’s your why?” In other words, whenever you’re pursuing anything meaningful, whenever you have any meaningful pursuit or meaningful challenge, you need to have a solid, clear, and motivational reason to keep you going, to keep you motivated, and inspired. 

When things get tough, you need to have a solid reason you’re doing what you’re doing. 

There’s that quote by the German philosopher Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

The point is, whenever you’re trying to achieve something, you need to have a solid why, and overcoming retroactive jealousy is no different.

So: if you’re working to overcome retroactive jealousy, you need to give some serious thought to your why

how to prevent a retroactive jealousy relapse

Why it’s important for you to put this problem behind you. Exactly what you stand to gain–or lose… You need to have a good why.

Now, why am I bringing this question up in the context of how to prevent a retroactive jealousy relapse? Because if you put in the effort to beat retroactive jealousy, if you start continuing down that road, and you start making progress, there’s a very good chance that you will experience a bump in the road.

You may have a time when you’re going along well, and you’re making progress. And it’s been a while since you’ve had any of the intrusive thoughts and all that. And then somebody says something, or you encounter some trigger or whatever, and then you have a bad day or maybe even a bad week, or something like that.

That’s entirely possible, especially for the people who lack a real structure to their healing, who haven’t invested in a program or a book or a coach or anything like that. 

So in moments when you need to get back on track with with your retroactive jealousy recovery, you need to have a clear why.

And the more comprehensive and detailed your answer of why is, the better chance you stand to bounce back quickly. The better chance you have of getting back on your feet, and back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. 

I think of the whole question of “motivation” is divided into two rough categories. On the one hand, there’s positive motivation. And the other hand, there’s negative motivation. And I think they’re both equally important. 

So what’s positive motivation? 

how to prevent a retroactive jealousy relapse

Positive motivation says:

“If I beat retroactive jealousy, look at everything I stand to gain! Maybe I’m going to improve my sex life, and maybe my confidence overall will be improved. Maybe I’ll get a handle on this problem so, regardless of any relationship, I enter in the future, I’ll be okay. I’ll know how to deal with this… Maybe I’ll be more dedicated and focused on work. And maybe that’ll result in a boost to my income or a raise or something like that. Maybe I’ll be a better father or mother to my children…”

You get the idea. That brings us, of course, to negative motivation…

What is negative motivation? 

Negative motivation says:

“If I don’t take the steps necessary to beat retroactive jealousy, what could happen? I could lose my relationship. In extreme cases, I could lose my job. I can alienate my children and maybe confuse them. And I could lose a lot of sleep. How many more sleepless nights am I willing to go through? I won’t enjoy my social relationships as much because even though I’m at the bar, having a drink with my friends, I’m really still thinking about my girlfriend’s past…”

You get the idea. These are all just examples. 

And I think the sweet spot is balancing both positive and negative motivation. I don’t think you just want to have one without the other. I think whenever you’re trying to accomplish anything, you need both

So if you’re thinking about your why, when it comes to why you not only want to, but you actually need to overcome retroactive jealousy…

Think about both your positive and negative motivations. Think about both sides of that coin. 

In other words, think of everything you stand to gain if you get a handle on this problem. At the same time, remember everything you stand to lose if you don’t.

The point is, as you continue on the path to beating retroactive jealousy, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter the occasional bump in the road.

And the clearer you are on your why, on your reasons for doing what you’re doing, the better chance you’ll have to get back on your feet quickly and beat retroactive jealousy for good as soon as possible.

Click here to join thousands of other retroactive jealousy success cases, and learn more about “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.