In today’s video, we will learn why is it so important to have standards in your dating life, particularly for anyone struggling with retroactive jealousy.

So what are your relationship standards?

Zachary Stockill: Relationship standards are your criteria for anyone you invite into your life.

There are different kinds of standards that most people have depending on the different relationships they have with those people. For example, for friendships, even if you don’t even realize it, you have certain standards. They’re things like, “I want my friend to have a sense of humor, a genuinely good person. I want to be able to confide in them and feel like they’re not gonna blab it to everyone.” Because we all hace standards even for friendships, not just our relationships and our dating life.

We also have standards for who we might be seeing on a more casual basis. For many guys, their only standard is, “she’s hot”.

The Harvard happiness study is one of the most interesting studies ever conducted on human beings. Basically, what they did is they interviewed a series of Harvard’s graduating class. They started interviewing a select group of men every single year, some of these men are still alive and they’re still interviewing them today.

The main conclusion from this groundbreaking study on what makes people happy is that the person you marry, or the person you spend the majority of your life with, even if it’s a girlfriend or boyfriend, the person you choose to share your life with is the most consequential decision that you will ever make.

Nothing comes close. Not your income, not where you choose to live, not your friend group, not your family, not your job. None of these other factors involved in life come close.

The main idea that I get out from reading the conclusions of the study is to be picky. Be extremely choosy when it comes to who you invite into your life.

It baffles my mind how few people take this decision seriously.

Having standards is extremely important for any relationship in your life. But why are they particularly important for retroactive jealousy sufferers? This is my theory. Getting very clear about your own personal values and your standards for relationships helps to eliminate so much of the nonsense in your head.

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy and intrusive thought about your partner’s past and if you have clarity about what constitutes for you, then you can immediately silence that voice in your head by saying this is irrational. This is ridiculous.

I know what is a genuine deal-breaker and what is not. It becomes easier over time to silence that nasty voice in your head.

So for anyone watching this who is struggling with retroactive jealousy or irrational jealousy, I would encourage you to devote some time, energy, and attention to getting clarity about your standards. deal breakers and red flags.

Dr. Shaun T. Smith has been a guest multiple times on my podcast, “humans in love”, he wrote a couple of great books on the vetting process. Like what men and women should be looking for when they’re considering marriage. So if you go on Amazon, or Google, Shaun t Smith, you’ll find links to his stuff, his works are highly recommended.

Once you come up with standards, remember that the world, your partner, and ourselves, we’re not always going to live up to our own values. Remember the 10% rule, as my friend Caleb Jones calls it, “there’s going to be 10% of someone’s habits, personality, maybe their past, that you’re not going to love. It’s not gonna be your favorite thing in the world. But, if it gets to be more than 10%, it’s kind of a problem.”

But keep in mind that no matter who you date, there’s going to be some issue. There’s gonna be some episode likely from their past that isn’t your favorite thing to think about.

I’m not saying look for perfection. I’m saying look for patterns in someone’s past when you’re trying to assess who they really are. Because as I often tell my coaching clients, “an event can be an exception, but a person is a pattern.”

There’s a line by Aristotle, “we are what we repeatedly do”. There’s a great deal of truth to that.

If you’re looking for advice on vetting and assessing someone’s character and values, look for patterns and don’t necessarily judge them based on one shameful event from their past. But, if they’ve made 400 shameful events, over a 10 year period, this is obviously a bigger cause for concern.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, have your own standards. Come up with your own code, your own deal-breakers. Your own red flags that you should look for in a person or a partner, and also have the courage to live true to them.

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.