In today’s video, I’m going to talk about how to know if you’re struggling with irrational retroactive jealousy OCD, or if your girlfriend’s past is a genuine dealbreaker.

Read or watch below if you’ve ever felt “my girlfriend’s past makes me sick,” and wondered whether your retroactive jealousy is irrational or rational.

Zachary Stockill: You’ve probably heard me talk about boundaries and values and red flags and dealbreakers on this channel before. But when you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, sometimes it can be difficult to know whether what you’re struggling with is rational or irrational. Whether your partner’s past is actually a deal-breaker, or whether you’re struggling with irrational retroactive jealousy OCD. If you’re struggling with whether your jealousy is rational or not, I think you’re going to want to see this video. 

Okay, I received a comment on a video recently from someone we will call K. K writes:

My girlfriend’s past makes me sick. What if this is becoming a deal-breaker and retroactive jealousy OCD at the same time?

Thank you for your question. The first thing I will say and the most important thing I can tell you in this video, is:

If you feel like “my girlfriend’s past makes me sick,” the first thing you need to do is get a handle on your brain. Everything follows from that. 

my girlfriend's past makes me sick

What I mean by that is, that’s the only way you will know whether your girlfriend’s past is actually a deal-breaker. Whether your jealousy is mostly irrational or rational. The only way you can answer this question is to first get a handle on your brain, and get some control over your intrusive thoughts. Get some control over your anxiety and fear responses. Getting some degree of peace and mental stability should be your top priority right now. 

Because everything follows from that. I’ve recorded other videos on this channel about values and dealbreakers and red flags and green flags and all that stuff. I’m actually working on an entire masterclass right now devoted to this question of, you know, what’s a deal-breaker? What’s a red flag? How to answer that question for yourself? How to get in touch with your own boundaries, values, and relationships, and all the rest? It’s a big topic. 

But if you take away nothing else from this video, I would say do whatever you need to do to start getting a handle on your brain as quickly as possible. 

Because you can only make that decision, you can only get that clarity, once you have some degree of mental stability moving forward. 

So what does that mean? Well, if you’re struggling with things like intrusive thoughts, some symptoms that we might associate with OCD, or any of the classic symptoms associated with retroactive jealousy, such as unwanted intrusive thoughts, obsessive curiosity about your partner’s past, digging into their past on social media, struggling with what I call “mental movies” about your partner’s past relationships and or sexual history…

If you’re struggling with all these symptoms, there are a number of avenues that you can go down. You can read a book, you can talk to a therapist, you can talk to a coach, you can take one of my courses, you can take someone else’s course. The point is:

There are multiple options available to you to start getting a handle on your brain as quickly as possible. 

I posted a lengthy preview from one of my online courses about the book Brain Lock, how the book can help you with some of the symptoms that you might associate with OCD, and how this relates to retroactive jealousy. So can watch that video below. I think you’ll find it helpful. 

And aside from taking all those steps seriously, you can investigate things like meditation, conscious breathing, and conscious visualization. These are just examples. But the point is there are all kinds of techniques that can help you get a handle on symptoms that you might associate with OCD, such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, and all the rest. But only then, once you start to get some kind of handle on your brain, will you be able to move past feeling like “my girlfriend’s past makes me sick.”

A lot of retroactive jealousy sufferers deal with this. They’ll come to me, they’ll sign up for one of my courses, they’ll send me emails expressing that they’re not really sure whether they’re dealing with irrational retroactive jealousy, or whether their partner’s past is actually a deal-breaker. I’ve also had a lot of coaching clients that fit this description. 

And once they start putting into practice everything I talked about in my online courses like “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast”, and some of the ideas that I share in the videos on my YouTube channel, once they start putting the necessary steps into action, all of a sudden, they start to gain clarity and peace of mind and perspective, where previously all that had been lacking. They start to see things more clearly, and they start to realize:

“Oh, this is actually not a deal-breaker. It’s ridiculous to feel like “my girlfriend’s past makes me sick.” I’m creating all these problems in my head that aren’t really there.” 

my girlfriend's past makes me sick

“… This isn’t really important because x, y, and z are what’s actually more important than this other nonsense. My girlfriend’s past is actually not important at all. My brain is making me feel like “my girlfriend’s past makes me sick,” but that’s not how I truly feel deep in my own heart.”

And that’s another important point. If you’re struggling with this question of whether your partner’s past is a deal-breaker and all these things, you know, I can give you a bunch of my own deal-breakers in relationships… certain things that I want to keep well out of my life. Certain characteristics or certain past patterns of behavior that someone tells me about that are warning signs, glaring red flags. I can give you a million of those things. And if you talk to most men, I think they can give you a bunch of their red flags and deal-breakers and all the rest.

But what’s really important here is that you arrive at your own conclusions if you feel like “my girlfriend’s past makes me sick.” 

You need to arrive at your own perspective, your own answers to these important questions relating to what constitutes a deal-breaker, what constitutes a red flag. 

Of course, outside perspective can be helpful. I have certain mentors and certain people that I learned from, men I respect, and whose opinions I really value. And certainly, I’ve incorporated a lot of my views on women, dating, and relationships from these men.

But at the end of the day, my values are my values. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all this stuff, arriving at the conclusions that I’ve arrived at. But I was only able to do that once I truly got a handle on my own retroactive jealousy OCD. 

Over 10 years ago, I couldn’t have arrived at the conclusions that I’ve arrived at today if I’d still been trying to sort through the intrusive thoughts and the curiosity and all the rest. It was necessary for me to get a handle on my brain first before I had the clarity and perspective about what’s really important to me, my boundaries and values, and all the rest. 

So as I often tell people who come to me for help with retroactive jealousy, or OCD: if you take the necessary steps, good things will follow, and it really is as simple as that.

If you’re not sure where to start or what should be the first step, then you can check out my course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast” or reserve your spot for dedicated one-on-one coaching.

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.