In today’s video, I’m going to go deeper into retroactive jealousy and FOMO.

Dealing with retroactive jealousy and FOMO is surprisingly common.

Transcript below

Zachary Stockill: I haven’t done a Q&A in a while, so I thought it was about time.

The viewer comment reads:

Hi, Zach, love your videos. Going through your book right now. Can you please do a short video for people whose retroactive jealousy stems from the fact that they missed out on experiences that their partners had?

I’ve come across a few people who are simply pissed off they’re in relationships with women who had more experiences in their teenage years while they kind of sucked at dating and failed to get those experiences.

Wow. Let’s get into it.

This is a big one and this is not easy. I say this all the time. It’s not easy to be brief, but I will try.

Number one, if you’re in this position where you are feeling some degree of FOMO or resentment or anger towards your partner for having certain experiences in their past that maybe you didn’t have, maybe you wanted, but you didn’t have, number one, the most important message I can stress in this video is to, whenever you’re feeling frustrated, bring the focus back to what is within your sphere of influence.

And as much as possible, disregard everything else.

I completely understand having regrets over missed opportunities or wasted time. For me, it didn’t really come from a lack of dating experiences when I was younger.

I’ll give you a perfect example from what I’m dealing with right now:

So for my business, for my writing career, for my online courses, I think there was a couple of years where I got kind of lazy.

In other words, I went through some personal challenges, some deaths of family members and a bunch of things, and I wasn’t really productive.

If you’ll notice, if you go through the history of the videos on my YouTube channel, I wasn’t putting out a lot of content. I wasn’t doing a whole lot.

I was still doing coaching and I was engaging the students in my online course, but in terms of marketing and creating videos like this, I wasn’t doing a lot for many years.

As a result, several new figures in the space of the retroactive jealousy world have sprung up. And they’re lifting a lot of my ideas, etc.

I’ll spare you the boring details of that.

But the point is, I didn’t do something that I wish I did.

I have some regret about some time that I spent and it’s frustrating.

So I know what this feeling is like, but I’m looking at the situation and I tell myself:

“Okay, there’s nothing I can do about the past. Those years where I could have been working harder, I could have been putting out more content, those years are gone. Those are completely outside of my sphere of influence. What is inside my sphere of influence? My actions right now, my YouTubing right now, being productive, working harder, really trying to get the message out there that this thing can be beaten and hopefully inspiring people to change and all the things that I’ve been so passionate about for so long, that is 100% within my sphere of influence.”

So every time I have a moment of frustration or feeling like I wish I’d worked harder a couple of years ago, I bring the focus back immediately to what is within my sphere of influence right now.

So if you’re dealing with these feelings of retroactive jealousy and FOMO or whatever you want to call it, be sure to focus on what is within your sphere of influence right now.

For example, you can go out there and you can date other women. You can’t build a time machine. You can’t go back and relive your high school years or something like that.

But if it’s really important too, by the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that whatsoever. If you’re a man or a woman or whoever, and you decide, “You know what? I didn’t have the dating experiences that I wish I’d had in my younger years, so now I need to make up for some lost time.”

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that whatsoever.

And if you come to that decision with a clear head and you really feel in your gut, in your bones, “This is something I really need,” you can make those decisions.

And frankly, if you’re a guy, this is the way that dating works. I’m going to be sexist and generalize here, so please don’t spam me with hate. But anyway, I think for the most part, women have an easier time dating in their twenties and men have an easier time dating in their thirties. This is just the way it is.

So you have more of an opportunity in some ways to have some of the experiences that you wished you’d had when you’re younger.

And if you come to that decision with a clear head and it feels like the right thing to do, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that whatsoever.

What I do think is wrong is staying with your partner and being sort of grumpy and resentful about it, punishing your partner for their past, all the typical behaviors that people like us, people who either struggle with retroactive jealousy in the past or people who are currently struggling with retroactive jealousy, this is something that we have to go through sometimes.

This is the kind of behavior, unfortunately, that we are all too prone to.

So I don’t think that’s okay. So it’s really on you to own your choices as a man, as a woman, and really determine for yourself what is most important for you.

Because like I like to tell people all the time, I really believe you can have most of what you want in life, but you probably can’t have 100% of what you want in life.

I guarantee there is someone in your life right now or in your partner’s life who would give their right arm to be with your partner.

And maybe they’re out there single having fun and whatever, but what they’re really craving is a deep, meaningful connection with someone like your partner.

There are people on the other side of the retroactive jealousy and FOMO fence as well, looking in on your world and really saying, “Wow, I wish I had that.”

So to some extent, not to boil everything down to the grass is always greener on the other side, but there is something to that in this particular instance. Realize that no matter what choice you make, there will be some hardships involved. There’ll be some struggle. There will be some pain, but that’s okay.

Hopefully, that will inspire you to grow and become even stronger moving forward.

It’s also worthwhile to start telling yourself a different story about your partner’s past.

So maybe you are building up your partner’s past into something that it probably wasn’t. This is so common among retroactive jealousy sufferers, people telling themselves all kinds of crazy stories about their partner’s past which bear little to no resemblance to their actual partners past what actually happened.

Maybe you’re filled with retroactive jealousy and FOMO on some level because your partner had more dating experiences. But guess what?

Maybe many of those dating experiences were hollow and unsatisfying and maybe abusive, and there’s a lot that you probably aren’t necessarily telling yourself about your partner’s past that is equally true.

So start telling yourself a different story, not only about your partner’s past, but about your own past.

Try in so far as possible to make peace with the lessons you’ve learned in your own past, value your own past, whatever it looks like for the very important lessons it taught you.

Realize that if you value your current relationship at all, which I’m guessing you do if you’re watching a video like this, paying attention to guys like me, if you value your relationship at all, you should be grateful for your past.

And I know this is difficult, but bear with me for a second: you should also be grateful for your partner’s past because that old cliche is true. If anything were different in your past or their past, there’s a very good chance that you wouldn’t be together today.

Thanks for watching this video, and I’ll talk to you again very soon.


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 RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.