Today’s reader email comes from Nicholas, who writes “I know too much about my girlfriend’s past.”
Can you really “know too much about my girlfriend’s past?” Nicholas continues:
Can I overcome retroactive jealousy when I know too much about my girlfriend’s past, or is it only possible to overcome RJ if I get a new partner at some point and learn not to dig up her past?
Zachary Stockill: So there are two points I want to make in this video.
Number one, as you’ve probably heard me say before, I’ve been running my website, retroactivejealousy.com, since 2013. I’ve received thousands of emails and I’ve heard it all.
I’ve heard the craziest stories you can imagine in terms of retroactive jealousy. I’ll spare you details because I don’t want to trigger anyone by talking about some emails I get.
But I’ve heard a lot of different stories from a lot of different people, and I’m more and more convinced every day that there are certain bedrock principles, bedrock ideas, bedrock practices, bedrock exercises that will help just about anyone overcome retroactive jealousy.
I really believe that these ideas, these practices, these principles will help just about anyone, anywhere overcome retroactive jealousy given that there aren’t major conflicts in values.
As I’ve covered in other videos, sometimes retroactive jealousy is absolutely an indication that you’re better off in another relationship.
But other than that, you probably heard me say it a lot, but overcoming retroactive jealousy is absolutely possible. I’ve got tons of proof, aside from my own personal story. And, yes, I think just about anyone can beat this if they have the right mindset, the right perspective, and the right tools.
That said, now I want to get into the second part of your question. You mentioned “Should I just break up with my current partner, and I’ll find someone new, and I’m just never going to talk about the past..?”
So I want you to take a moment to really play that scenario out in your imagination.
So try to imagine this where you meet a new woman and you know, in the back of your head, that you had this history of retroactive jealousy. This has been an issue for you that you’ve never fully conquered. You’ve never fully addressed it. You’ve never fully put in the work to really beat it and put it to bed.
So what are you going to do for the rest of your life with this woman?
Are you just going to tiptoe around her past all the time, like living with this sense of anxiety that if anything about her past comes up, it could trigger everything all over again?
To me, that seems like a pretty lousy way to go about living.
You’re never really going to be able to relax and sink into the bliss of loving someone and really enjoying your relationship if you’re constantly worrying about whether or not your girlfriend is going to bring up her past.
Because think about it, we all have a past, we all have history.
We all have life experiences and past lessons and stories from our past that are fun to talk about, and things about our past that are going to come up at some point, whether it’s a parent bringing it up or an old school friend or someone at work or whatever.
There’s always going to be the “risk,” if you can call it that, of someone bringing up something about your partner’s past that maybe you don’t want to hear. It’s virtually impossible to avoid that if you’re going to be with someone for any length of time.
This is why I’m so passionate about helping people overcome retroactive jealousy when they tell me “I know too much about my girlfriend’s past.”
Because struggling with retroactive jealousy is just no way to live.
You’re your own man. You can make your own choices. If you feel like this isn’t the relationship for you, then Godspeed and I hope things work out for you.
But for anyone wondering about this option of, if I know too much about my girlfriend’s past, I’ll just break up with my partner and then I’ll find someone new and we’ll never talk about the past, it’s not a real solution.
I have many emails from people who suffer from retroactive jealousy in consecutive relationships until they put in the work to overcome it.
Many of these people attempted the same strategy as mentioned in the email where they broke up with someone as a result of retroactive jealousy and they said to themselves, “I’m never going to dig into my next partner’s past at all,” and then of course something from their new partner’s past comes up because it’s natural, right?
In the course of living, in the course of conversations, in the course of everyday life, of course, something about their past is going to come up.
And so these people went right back to square one, sending me emails saying, “Hey, I didn’t really overcome retroactive jealousy the first time, can you help me now?”
So for anyone struggling with this, I’ve provided a ton of resources on this blog. I also offer a guidebook and an online course and private community, which thousands of people have found very helpful.
I’ve created all kinds of resources for you. If you’re interested, please have a look.