In today’s video, I’m going to tell you how to stop seeking reassurance and start building confidence in yourself and your relationships.

Read or watch below to learn about how to stop seeking reassurance.

Zachary Stockill: A frequent behavior among those suffering from retroactive jealousy is something I term ‘reassurance seeking.’

Reassurance seeking involves approaching your partner and asking various questions about their past, seeking assurance that you’re truly the best match for them, and pressing them to reveal details they’ve probably already told you.

You get the idea. Seeking endless reassurance from your partner.

In today’s video, I want to respond to a viewer of this channel who is wondering how to stop this constant reassurance-seeking.

My name is Zachary Stockill, and since 2013, I’ve been working one-on-one with men and women from all over the world, helping them overcome retroactive jealousy and save their relationships.

If you’d like more information about my work or you’d like to work with me one-on-one, please visit this link.

I received a comment on a video on my channel from a viewer we’ll call ‘A’.

A writes,

“How do I stop seeking endless reassurance from my partner? I start a discussion just because I want reassurance from him. But the thing is, I’m not only doing it with the topic of retroactive jealousy. How can I get the reassurance I need in another way? How can I stop self-sabotaging?”

Just to clarify, this comment was posted on a video discussing retroactive jealousy.

For those who are unfamiliar or new here: the term ‘retroactive jealousy’ describes unwanted, intrusive thoughts, often obsessive curiosity, and what I call ‘mental movies’ about a partner’s past relationships or sexual history.

Retroactive jealousy can often involve a lot of reassurance seeking from your partner.

My first tip is to remember that you will never receive some ultimate reassurance from your partner regarding retroactive jealousy.

how to stop seeking reassurance

You can never get enough reassurance from them. You might get a fix, let’s say, that lasts for a couple of hours, or maybe a day, or even a whole week, maybe even longer than that…

But that itch will come back sooner or later. You’ll find yourself needing an answer to a specific question. You’ll yearn to hear something you’ve heard before, to reassure and have them proclaim their undying love for the millionth time.

It’s never going to be enough. You’re never going to receive enough reassurance from your partner. It doesn’t work that way.

You can think of it like a drug addict with drugs.

So, for someone who’s addicted to something like heroin, there’s never enough heroin. They’re always going to need another fix, if they’re a true addict. They’re always going to need another jolt of energy, another jolt of heroin.

It’s never going to be enough. And that’s why, unfortunately, so many people overdose. Retroactive jealousy can often act like an addiction.

You can often be addicted to getting that reassurance, to getting those ego boosts, to getting that dopamine boost from your partner when you seek endless reassurance from them.

So, the first step is simply to realize that it’s never going to be enough.

You’re never going to receive that ultimate reassurance that will clarify everything, ease all your concerns, and answer all your questions. It simply doesn’t work that way, so the only option is to choose a new course.

In terms of ‘how to stop seeking this endless reassurance from your partner,’

First, it’s important to recognize what I said a moment ago: it’s never going to be enough. And second, avoid giving yourself permission to engage in those conversations.

There is no substitute for relentless discipline, and self-discipline when it comes to how to stop seeking endless reassurance from your partner.

Don’t permit yourself to have another conversation with your partner about their past. Don’t permit yourself to go to your partner to hear something they’ve already told you 800 times before. Do not permit yourself.

Because you’ll find, often in these situations, you’re permitting yourself.

It often goes like this: ‘Okay, I have just one or two more questions.’ Or ‘I just want to have one more conversation.’ Or ‘I need a few more details about this.’ Or ‘I just want to hear him say X again.’ Or ‘I just want to hear her say Y again.

You’re giving yourself permission, and you’re kind of bargaining with yourself.

It’s like saying, ‘This will be the last time I ask him about this,’ or ‘This will be the last time I ask her about this.’

But it doesn’t work that way. By permitting yourself to do this, by convincing yourself with the thought, ‘This will be the last time, so it’s okay,’ you’re just making excuses and not making any real progress toward overcoming retroactive jealousy.

In fact, you’re making it much more difficult.

Because every single time, you give in to that impulse to ask another question to have another conversation… you’re giving yourself that dopamine hit. And you’re rewarding yourself for continuing a behavior that you’re trying to stop.

Human beings make decisions based on incentives.

Thus, if we think there’s an incentive to keep doing what we’re doing, like getting another dopamine hit, receiving more reassurance, or giving our ego a little boost, if we continue seeking these incentives, we’ll never stop.

We aren’t truly allowing ourselves to start charting a new course and overcoming retroactive jealousy.

Relentless self-discipline is another way to help you stop. Simply pause and consider what message you’re sending to your partner each time you ask them endless questions and seek relentless reassurance.

What are you telling your partner about them?

What does it say about you if you continue this behavior?

Consider this: if you repeatedly ask your partner the same questions, if you persistently pester them with specific queries about a particular incident in their past, or if you keep insisting that they reiterate things they’ve already said many times.

What kind of message is that sending to them? You may be telling them implicitly, over and over, that they’re a liar, that you don’t trust them, that they’re lying about this and that, and you do not trust them.

And as I often say to retroactive jealousy sufferers, no one can bear that indefinitely.

Eventually, your partner will hit that wall where they’ll realize that they can’t keep staying in the situation where they’re made to feel like a liar all the time when they’re not lying.

I don’t care how much your partner loves you, and I don’t care how long you’ve been together.

Everyone has a breaking point, which I know from the many heartbreaking emails I’ve received from retroactive jealousy sufferers around the world.

how to stop seeking reassurance

They either ask for help to get their ex back or share their shock, saying things like, ‘I couldn’t believe it, but one day my partner just left, saying they couldn’t handle it anymore.’

So, if you need another reason to stop, remember this: Do you really want to keep implying to your partner over and over that they’re a liar?

Also, ask yourself what this behavior says to them about you and how you view yourself. Remember, confidence is sexy and attractive.”

If you’re constantly seeking endless reassurance from your partner, you’re essentially telling them, ‘I’m not very confident. I lack self-belief. I don’t see myself as much of a catch, and I constantly need reassurance because I don’t believe in myself.”

It’s not an attractive message, and remember, relationships thrive on attraction. In the absence of attraction, a relationship usually can’t survive.

So remember that you’re probably not sending a very sexy message, shall we say, to your partner when you go looking for endless reassurance all the time.

That’s another very good reason to stop doing what you’re doing. I’d also recommend taking some time to yourself, getting a pen and paper, and coming up with a bit of a cheat sheet with regards to this problem.

So what I mean by that is…

Get a pen and paper, and find a time and space where you can be alone. And write everything that you need or want to hear.

You can write down sentences or phrases that your partner has told you in the past that you found particularly comforting.

You can write down any realizations regarding retroactive jealousy or anything else relating to your partner’s past that you find particularly grounding, that you find particularly clarifying.

The goal is to jot down as much detail as possible on a single sheet of paper. Include everything that you find reassuring or everything you’ve heard in the past that has been particularly comforting. This will be your reassurance cheat sheet.

The next step is to keep that page in your back pocket, let’s say, for the next couple of weeks.

So keep this page handy, your little cheat sheet. And the next time you feel this urge to have an endless conversation with your partner about their past or to hear endless reassurance like you have been doing lately.

Simply take a few deep breaths and excuse yourself from the situation. You can go to the toilet if you want, go to a washroom or something where you can be alone.

Take a few deep breaths, pull out your piece of paper, read it, reflect on this, and remember that this is what’s real.

I’ve got everything I need right here. I don’t need to go to my partner for the 400th time to ask them questions I’ve asked them 400 times before. I’ve got everything I need right here. This is what’s true; this is what’s real.

Hold the paper in your hand and feel the texture of the paper. This is tangible, and this is what’s real.

Take a few deep breaths and spend a few minutes reflecting on this before you go back to whatever you were doing before the attack arose.

Most importantly, concentrate on how you perceive yourself and work on improving that, rather than obsessing over how your partner sees you.

In other words, this problem is really about you. It’s not about your partner or your relationship per se. It’s about your relationship with yourself.

So any steps you can take to start feeling better about yourself, building greater self-esteem, developing more self-respect, that’s all going to help you tremendously with this problem.

Remember, deep down, that regardless of what the future holds with your partner, regardless of anything the world throws at you, and no matter how your partner perceives you, you have a solid relationship with yourself.

You know you will survive and thrive no matter what comes your way.

Now, I realize that’s a tall order for a lot of people. That is a distant aspiration for some people, unfortunately, who don’t have a lot of self-esteem and self-respect.

So, there are multiple ways to build self-esteem and self-respect, but I don’t have time to go into them right now.

Obviously, you can get a lot of tips from a coach or a therapist or someone like that. But above all, don’t put this problem off.

If you’re seeking endless reassurance from your partner, that says something to me about how you see yourself.

Focus on whatever actions are necessary to enhance the way you view yourself, instead of obsessing over how your partner, or anyone else for that matter, perceives you. It’s truly about how you see yourself.

If you’d like more information about my work, or you’d like to work with me one on one, please visit this page.

And, be sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel as well to be notified of new videos.


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 RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.