In today’s video, I’m going to talk about what I believe to be the number one most dangerous word to use in the context of relationships.

We’re going to discover more about “relationship jealousy”.

Zachary Stockill: I get a lot of email. And since 2013, I’ve been getting daily emails from retroactive jealousy sufferers from around the world as well as people going through breakups, people dealing with other kinds of obsessive jealousy.

Another word that I hear in one on one coaching calls with retroactive jealousy sufferers over and over again is the word “perfect”.

I hear things all the time. I read sentences like, “We have the perfect relationship except for retroactive jealousy. And, I thought she was perfect, except for this one incident from her past. Or, he was an absolutely perfect boyfriend until he did this one thing that really ticked me off. I’m looking for the perfect man/ woman. I just want to have a perfect relationship. Why can’t everything be perfect?”

Where does this idea come from? Where do people think that the word perfect and relationships ever belong in the same sentence?

relationship jealousy

I blame a lot of this on culture and society. The idea of the soulmate, the soulmate myth, and the idea of finding the one. A lot of these ideas came from popular music, movies, books, in television shows about perfection or building the perfect relationship.

A lot of these ideas are driving a lot of people crazy. And preventing a lot of those same people from having relationships that are far healthier, far more fun, better for them and their partners overall.

In fact, looking for perfection in human beings, relationships, looking for perfection on Tinder and in a person’s past, is an exercise in absolute delusion.

You’ll drive yourself absolutely crazy if you go looking for perfection in relationships and in dating in people. Each of us are all deeply imperfect in all kinds of ways.

There is no such thing as the perfect partner and perfect relationship.

I look back on my dating history, and I’m extremely happy with the people I’ve invited into my life, the kind of relationships that I’ve had.

I don’t have all kinds of horror stories about cheating and betrayal. For the most part, I’ve been really lucky in my dating relationships. And that said, each of my past relationships were deeply imperfect in all kinds of ways. But what I’ve come to realize is that looking for perfection will drive me crazy, because there’s no such thing.

Any kind of relationship I might set up is going to have multiple aspects, multiple elements that are imperfect, challenges, personality conflicts, and multiple fights that are kind of silly.

Furthermore, this isn’t to suggest that striving for better isn’t worth it. But I created this video just to introduce the idea that perfection doesn’t exist and you’ll have a better time in general in your life if you abandon any notion of looking for perfection in your partner.

A lot of relationship jealousy sufferers are under the illusion that if they just break up with this person, and find another person with a clean past or a perfect past, their retroactive jealousy will be cured. They’ll never have to deal with this again, when the fact is, this absolute little demon of retroactive jealousy has a habit of coming up again and again in our lives, regardless of our partner’s past.

Until we commit to putting in the work, until we really say enough is enough. I’m not going to live with this anymore. I’m going to put in the work, put this behind me for good.

So if I am in another relationship in the future, I’m not going to be struggling with these demons anymore. I’m not going to be having this moral confusion around my partner’s past.

Because I will know my deal breakers, my values and what is irrational relationship jealousy.

relationship jealousy

Unfortunately, retroactive jealousy is one of these issues that really can crop up again and again, until we put in the work to beat it.

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, and you break up with your current partner in an attempt to fix it, you might find someone else with a less eventful history than your partner, and guess what, you’ll still be struggling with retroactive jealousy.

Because I don’t think anyone has a perfect past. I don’t think that person exists.

The more we realize that we’ve all got some degree of baggage, we’ve all made mistakes, the more relaxed we’ll feel. And, the better time we’ll have.

In general, we will feel more relaxed because we’re not holding ourselves up and other people to an unattainable standard.

Above all, there’s no such thing as perfect.

I remember, not that long ago, I was dating a woman. And she said, “Oh, I think you’re perfect”. I think she was half kidding. But immediately I said, “No, I’m not”. I looked her in the eye and I meant it. Even though I think she was kind of joking around, I want to make very clear that she knows that I know that I am not perfect.

I mean, watch my YouTube channel. Listen to some of the stories I’ve told about my past, read my book, I am not perfect.

And frankly, I don’t want to date anyone who is under any illusions about looking for perfection in human beings. Even though it was a joke, I took it seriously. And I said, “No, I’m not”.

I’m going to put a stop to this language right now. Let’s not use the word perfect when we’re talking about me, or you, or human beings or relationships in general.

Don’t use the word perfect in the context of relationships. And I promise you, you’ll have a better life. And, you’ll have more fun,

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.