In today’s video, I share an important perspective that any man should consider if he feels like “My wife’s past is killing me.”

Read or watch below if you feel like “my wife’s past is killing me”.

Zachary Stockill: As I record this video, I have been on hundreds of coaching calls with married men struggling with their wife’s past. Often these guys say things to me like “my wife’s past is just killing me. I don’t know what to do. I’m obsessed. I’m thinking about it day and night, I can’t move on with my life. I can’t enjoy my relationship with my wife. What should I do to let go of my wife’s past?”

In today’s video, I want to share a very important point. I often share this with husbands on coaching calls. I think you’re going to want to listen to it if you’ve ever struggled with your wife’s past, or for that matter, if you’ve ever struggled with your girlfriend’s past, boyfriend’s past, or husband’s past as well.  

It’s interesting to note that we all have very deeply embedded blind spots. Sometimes we all have things we’re doing, perspectives we’re buying into, that are faulty ways of thinking, or faulty behavior. 

Things we’re engaging in all the time that we don’t really realize are not getting us where we want to go. And this is one of the many reasons why I think coaching can be so valuable: to have someone to bounce ideas off with…

To have someone point out your blind spots, and help introduce you to new ways of thinking for a happier and healthier life and relationship.

That said, of course, I have my own blind spots as well. I have many blind spots, just ask my girlfriend. 

In today’s video, I want to share what I believe to be a blind spot among many married men struggling with retroactive jealousy.

The term retroactive jealousy refers to unwanted intrusive thoughts about a partner’s past relationships and/or sexual history. You can read on my website, you can watch other videos on my channel to learn more.

The short version is: it’s pure hell. No one who hasn’t experienced it can really understand what it’s like to struggle with retroactive jealousy. 

I am a retroactive jealousy survivor myself. I can tell you many stories about my own struggles, but I won’t do that here.

But anyway, a common blind spot that I see among male retroactive jealousy sufferers: they’re only thinking about a particular little segment of their wife’s past. Of course, this isn’t everyone. This isn’t all of my clients who come to me, but it does represent a sizable majority. 

In other words, they’re thinking perhaps about a six-month period in their wife’s past, or maybe one year or two. And their wife is in her mid-50s, or something. She’s got a lengthy past, but her husband has only focused on a tiny segment of it. And I completely understand feeling upset or disheartened by your wife’s past, feeling like it’s killing you. I get it. But my point in this article is to consider your wife’s entire past…

Don’t just think about this little two-month segment that has you judging her character, that has you questioning her values.

To illustrate this with a very clear example: frequently, I’ve been on coaching calls with men who are struggling with their wife’s values. And sometimes they’ve been with their wife for 20, 30, sometimes even 40 years. But there’s this one little period, perhaps in his wife’s 20s, that he can’t just stop thinking about. 

Now, he feels like this two-month period contains some real clue into his wife’s true character or her true nature. He’s not thinking about the 20, 30, or 40 years that he could look at to truly judge his wife’s character; to truly get a handle on who she really is.

And frequently, the answer that I get back when I ask about it is “Well… 

“She’s an amazing woman, a great wife. She has never done anything sketchy over 20 or 30 years…” 

my wife's past is killing me

“She’s never been inappropriate with other men, or posting pictures of her behind on Instagram, or anything like that. And, she’s a wonderful mother to our children. And we have a good sex life, which is pretty impressive after 20 or 30 years…” Frequently on these calls, the feedback that I get about the current relationship is positive. 

The feedback that I get about the wife’s entire past clearly shows who she truly is.

Can you really judge someone’s character by a one-month to two months or three-month period in their past? I’m not so sure. 

Now, of course, there are exceptions, right? Sometimes you can get a deep insight into someone based on a brief period in their past. But I always say on this channel: 

If you want to know who someone is, don’t pay attention so much to what they say. Watch what they do over extended periods of time. 

my wife's past is killing me

And if you’ve been in a relationship with a woman for 10, 20 years, and she’s been wonderful for the vast majority of that… She has been faithful to you. She’s been a good partner, a good mother. And she’s always “had your back.” She’s been loyal, and generous. Still having good sex after 20 or 30 years, which again, I’m always very impressed by…

Look at your wife’s entire past when you want to get a sense of who she is; when you want to get a sense of her true character. And think about your own past here as well…

You know, I’m in my mid-30s. Now, I’ve had certain periods in my 20s, which are, let’s just call them, rather regrettable. I did some dumb things, as most young men in their 20s do. I did some stupid things on motorcycles. And I wasn’t always as kind and loving to the women in my life as I should have been. I have made big mistakes in my life. Big mistakes. But that represents, in my view, a relatively small proportion of my overall past. 

If my girlfriend came to me, judging me harshly for things that I did 10 or 15 years ago, I wouldn’t react well to that. And I imagine you wouldn’t, either. 

Is it really fair to judge us based on a tiny little portion of our past? 

Or is it more generous and fair to judge us based on the entirety of our past, based on our entire record? 

So, if you feel like your wife’s past is killing you, you’re really struggling to get over things that she did when she was younger. Just remember this, keep this in mind. Remember that if you’re really judging someone by their past, judge them by their whole past, by their entire track record; triumphs and mistakes, everything.

Don’t fixate on a tiny little period of someone’s past if you really want to know who they are. 

Because if you really want to know who they are, watch their actions over long periods of time.

For anyone watching this who’s struggling with retroactive jealousy: I’ve been doing this work for a long time. I’ve helped literally thousands of men and women from all over the world overcome retroactive jealousy, save their relationships, save their marriages, and live a happier, healthier life. 

If you’d like more information about my work, please click here. You’ll find all kinds of resources there to help you get a handle on retroactive jealousy. It will help you get clarity and peace of mind about your partner’s past as soon as possible.

If you need more help, you can click here to get more info about one-on-one coaching with me.

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.