As I write about in my guidebook, music can have a serious impact on how we feel, and how we think.

In one of the chapters in Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy, I recommend that you take your listening habits more seriously, and begin surrounding yourself with, as one might put it, “good vibrations,” rather than sad and melancholy tunes.

Your iPod is important and, when used correctly, could be a major ally in your struggle against retroactive jealousy. When you’re dealing with retroactive jealousy, you need all the help you can get — and Dean Martin will be a much better friend to you than Morrissey at this point. That said, one song in particular provided me with enormous comfort during my struggles with retroactive jealousy.

Paul Simon gets deep in “Still Crazy After All These Years.” You may have heard it on the radio a million times before, but have you ever really listened to the words, or truly considered the perspective of the song’s narrator? Take a moment for a mental health break, and listen to the song below:

Even if you’re not a Paul Simon fan, take a moment to think about what’s really being said here:

I met my old lover on the street last night
She seemed so glad to see me
I just smiled

Consider the cool groove of the band, Simon’s relaxed phrasing, and the character he inhabits in “Still Crazy.”

Some sufferers of retroactive jealousy are troubled by the illusion that their partner’s former lovers have vivid memories of their time together, and therefore maintain a close bond with their current partner. In almost every case, this is not only unlikely, but impossible.

Simon’s character in “Still Crazy After All These Years” isn’t still enamored with his “old lover,” and the rest of the song reveals that she probably “seemed so glad to see” him out of simple courtesy. The bond that they once shared has dissolved, and it is made clear that they maintain no desire for each other, or serious interest in each other.

In short: the past is gone, and all that remains is a few scattered reminiscences shared over drinks.

In all likelihood, the people who once touched your partner’s life left only a fleeting impression, and vice versa.

Though memories may (or may not) linger on, in each and every moment your partner’s memories fade and become distorted, so that barely a trace of a hint of the original experience remains in their consciousness. As I write about in the book, time distorts memory, and we only have access to memories of the past through the lens of the present. 

Move away from the idea that your partner’s past lovers left some sort of indelible impression on your partner — they didn’t.

In conclusion, I will leave you with one of my favourite lyrics of all time:

I never worry — why should I?

It’s all gonna fade

Exactly. It’s all going to fade — these worries, these stresses, this jealousy, this love, this pain, this passion, this angst, this joy.

Our species has a major advantage in that we know, without any doubt, that one day we will die, and that all of our efforts and achievements will turn to dust.

So how will you choose to spend the rest of your time? Endlessly clinging to the illusion of your ego and “the way things ought to be?” Seeking a supreme reassurance that will never come? Attempting to assert control over the chaotic, illogical and entirely uncontrollable phenomenon that is love?

This is delusional living, and it is a complete and utter waste of time.


Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, The Sun, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.