In today’s video, I’m going to share what comes after retroactive jealousy for those of us who actually work our way through it.

So: how should you approach retroactive jealousy and personal development?

Zachary Stockill: So you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy. You’re struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past that don’t seem to go away. You start digging, go on Google, YouTube, Amazon. You start Googling retroactive jealousy, girlfriends past, wife’s/husband’s past all that stuff, and eventually, you come upon my work or maybe someone else’s work. And you start getting some answers and building some momentum.

Maybe you invest in a product that helps you overcome retroactive jealousy for good.

Or maybe you just overcome it through constant Googling and YouTubing. And what comes after overcoming retroactive jealousy? What’s next? Is this the end stage of this whole journey?

Is overcoming retroactive jealousy, the goal? And is that the end stage of your personal development, the evolution of your journey into personal development? Overcoming retroactive jealousy is the first step on this personal development journey that so many of us are going on.

Retroactive jealousy, if you handle this correctly, can be your gateway drug into incredibly deep personal exploration, spiritual evolution, incredible personal growth, deepening of intimacy in your relationship, into an incredible opening of your heart up even more than you thought was possible.

Loving your partner and enjoying your relationship even more than you thought was possible.

The reason I’m still doing this work is because of an email I received many years ago and this was back in 2014, or something. The email writer’s name was Mike and he was a student in my online course, Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast. And Mike told me one of the best compliments I’ve ever received, which is, “Your course was like a gateway drug into personal development”.

Some people cringe when they hear this term personal development. And frankly, I don’t blame them. Because there are a lot of charlatans out there. There are a lot of people promoting personal development as the cure-all to all of your ills, and you just need to work harder on yourself, etc.

There’s a lot of people out there selling themselves as coaches when they have zero experience, zero testimonials. They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. There’s a lot of serious flakes just trying to make a quick buck, under the label of personal development.

So if you cringe when you hear the word personal development, I don’t blame you, I get it. But for me, personal development means well, everything I just talked about, basically, deeper personal exploration.

Who are you deeply as a man, as a woman as a human being? Who are you really beyond your ego, beyond all the petty nonsense that you carry around? Beyond the crazy stories, you’re telling yourself and beyond your obsessive thoughts about your partner’s past.

Who are you at a deep, deep level? How do you deal with retroactive jealousy and personal development?

There are monks not far from me, as I speak to you today in Indonesia, who spend their entire lives investigating this question, Who am I? Beyond the ego, beyond the physical, metaphysical level? Who am I as an individual? Who am I as a human being? Where am I going in life?

All these big philosophical questions that you can literally spend a lifetime wrestling with, and that the point of wrestling with them is constantly asking the question rather than arriving at specific answers.

Retroactive Jealousy is a gateway drug into personal development, deeper exploration of self, who you are, what you really want, beyond what you think you want, which is often not the same thing.

And what do you want your life to look like beyond rhetoric and jealousy? What kind of a career do you want to have? What do you want to spend most of your time doing? And what kind of friends Do you want to bring into your life and what kind of people do you want to keep out of your life? And practically, what do you want your relationship to look sound and feel like?

How do you want to show up in your partner’s life?

How can you give them even more love than you thought was possible? And how can you be open to receiving all of the incredible love that is all around you at all times that maybe you’re not always entirely receptive to? These are big questions. These are deep questions. And again, some of you are probably cringing, but that’s okay.

My experience working on this little narrow niche issue of retroactive jealousy over many years has shown me again and again how overcoming retroactive jealousy is the first step in a very deep and profound personal evolution.

I feel very fortunate, I’ve kept in touch with many of my coaching clients over the years, and sometimes I’ll get messages from them a year or two apart, just kind of checking in and catching up and I’ll get pictures of their families and wedding invitations and things like that. But the consistent theme among retroactive jealousy survivors, like myself, and like many others, is retroactive jealousy was the first step towards a deeper exploration of self toward deeper cultivation of meaning in one’s life to a deeper stage have committed intimacy in their relationship.

And this is why I’m still working on this narrow, little niche issue of retroactive jealousy.

After all these years, I have other friends who are coaches, people who I learned from every day. People who have taught me an enormous amount about facilitating personal change in human beings.

One of them, in particular, asked me sometimes exactly, “Why are you still working on jealousies, this tiny little issue?” And through our conversations, he’s understood more and more that we think we’re dealing with retroactive jealousy, right?

When we’re in the thick of it, we think we’re dealing with “just help me stop thinking about my partner’s past, just give me the answer to stop these intrusive thoughts”. And that’s a huge component in recovery, obviously, eliminating the symptoms. But once you start going deeper into the source, that’s where the real magic happens. That’s where the transformation happens. That’s where I get these emails where people say they don’t recognize who they were a year to year, five years, 10 years ago, because they’ve grown so much.

Retroactive jealousy was the first step in an ongoing journey of personal change, personal evolution.

So all of this is to say, if you take away nothing else from this video, and you’re currently struggling with retroactive jealousy, this fight is worth it.

And speaking personally, I look at the man I was 10 years ago, and I barely recognize him. I have got all kinds of challenges still to come. I am imperfect in myriad and fascinating ways. I’m by no means arrived anywhere. But I am over retroactive jealousy. My life has never been better.

And the deeper into this work, and into my own journey I go, I realized that retroactive jealousy was the first step. And in general, I’m so grateful. I went through that experience.

That might sound absolutely insane to someone watching this who’s struggling with retroactive jealousy right now, and I completely understand that. But if you handle this challenge correctly, it can change your life in ways that you can’t even imagine right now.

This is not a sales pitch. This is fact.

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.