In today’s video, I want to share what I believe is an important opportunity for any single retroactive jealousy sufferers to get clear about their relationship boundaries and values.

When you get clear about your relationship boundaries and values, you minimize the possibility of retroactive jealousy rearing its ugly head in the future.

Transcript below

Zachary Stockill: Why do you want your relationship? What do you want in a partner? And more importantly, what do you not want in a potential romantic/intimate partner?

To my mind, these are basic bedrock questions that any single person should ask themselves. At least any single person who is thinking about entering the dating market, thinking about downloading Tinder or one of these dating apps. Someone single who’s thinking seriously about trying to attract and build a long-term relationship with someone new.

relationship boundaries and values

It frequently astounds me how rarely it seems like single people ask themselves these questions.

If you talk to a lot of people in relationships about how they got into relationships, the common answer that comes up is, well, it just happened. We started spending time together. We ended up moving in together, we went on a trip, etc.

The point is, there weren’t a lot of deliberate actions taken. There wasn’t a lot of vetting going on that perhaps should have been going.

And a lot of this stems from the fact that when these people were single. They didn’t ask themselves some really hard and important questions about exactly what they want with the relationship boundaries and values.

I believe this is so important for any single person to think about, what do I want in a potential partner?

Mere attraction probably isn’t enough. Even love sometimes is not enough, if there isn’t some bedrock compatibility to support that love.

So really think about this, if you’re single and maybe you’ve struggled with retroactive jealousy in the past and there were some questions around values in that relationship, you might have wondered whether or not your partner shared the same relationship values as you. 

You may have wondered if their past demonstrated a serious moral incompatibility between you and your partner. You may have been grappling with this question of, can I trust them?

Are there a bunch of glaring red flags in their past, etc?

I think if you struggled with the rhetoric of jealousy in the past, and now you’re single, you have a golden, crucially important opportunity in front of you. And that opportunity involves getting very, very clear about both your boundaries for a potential relationship, as well as your values.

It’s not enough to merely adapt the relationship boundaries and values that perhaps you’ve seen demonstrated around you.

relationship boundaries and values

For example, the boundaries and values of your parents’ relationship, or your friend’s relationships, or even your society, or intimate relationships. In life you own you, and you have the responsibility to make your own choices.

Make your assessments about your boundaries and your values in a relationship.

Boundaries like I’m not going to date someone who does drugs, for example. I’ve done that in the past. I’m not going to do that now. This is one example out of many.

We’ll all have slightly different boundaries obviously when it comes to relationships. My boundaries are probably not going to be your boundaries and vice versa, but that’s okay because we are free to make whatever choices in a relationship we want. 

And we increase the odds exponentially of ending up with someone who shares our boundaries and values.

When we take the time when we’re single to figure out what those relationship boundaries and values are. I’ve done this several times in my dating life when I’ve really sat down and thought hard about the kind of woman that I want to bring into my life.

And frankly, the kind of woman I want to keep out of my life.

If you have a history of retroactive jealousy, for example, as many or most of you probably know, I struggled with retroactive jealousy years and years ago, my first serious relationship.

If this is in your history and you’ve had some questions around what are my values, what are my morals, etc, once you work this out in a real sense, once you really get clear on what is acceptable and not? What is merely my insecurity talking and what is a serious moral incompatibility/red flag that I should be taking note of?

Once you work out the difference, the odds of you struggling with retroactive jealousy and insecurity in the future go down substantially because all of a sudden the question of values is sorted.

If you have a certain response to something that your partner says or something they did, or you hear something about their past that is somewhat unsettling. Immediately, you realize whether it’s the insecurity or whether it’s serious conflict and values/morals and compatibility.

And this is so helpful if you have any kind of a history of jealousy, retroactive jealousy and insecurity, anything like that.

So if you are single and watching this video, or if you’re in a relationship, but you’re having serious questions about whether or not this is the right relationship, this is a very worthwhile exercise.

Take some time, you can journal, you can meditate, you can go on a weekend retreat.

Do whatever you need to do, and think hard.

What kind of relationship do I want? What kind of partner do I want?

Equally important, what do I want to keep away? What do I want to keep out of my life? What are the kinds of characteristics, personal history, pitfalls, character faults that I want to keep at bay?

To give you another one of my examples. I couldn’t date someone seriously who was terrible at managing money.

I’ve made an effort in recent years to improve my financial literacy. I still have a lot to learn. But in general, debt freaks me out and people who have compulsive spending habits freaks me out.

I just know that if I met someone and they were incredible in every other way, but if they were compulsive spender and they had mountains and mountains of debt, it’s not going to work out at least not long-term. And I wouldn’t have had that clarity if I didn’t spend time thinking about these things when I was single.

So really spend some time thinking about this. I think you’ll find it helpful.

And if you’ve ever struggled with retroactive jealousy, I think this is crucial to consider if you’re single and thinking about entering a new relationship.

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.