In today’s video, I want to offer a few thoughts on retroactive jealousy and social media.

If you’re dealing with anything like retroactive jealousy and social media, retroactive jealousy OCD, or any kind of obsessive or irrational jealousy in your relationship, you’ll find this useful.

Transcript below

Zachary Stockill: So we officially live in the era of social media.

Previous generations had their own unique challenges that they had to deal with.

If you are struggling with any kind of irrational jealousy, obsessive, intrusive thoughts, retroactive jealousy, anything like that, social media can pose some serious challenges.

It can be far too easy to lose 10 minutes, to lose an hour or multiple hours going down some random social media rabbit hole.

Being mired in some abusive, unsettling, and often counterproductive Facebook chat forum. Stalking your partner’s ex and their past on social media. Scrolling through old posts and pictures.

Needless to say, social media poses a lot of challenges for anyone struggling with irrational jealousy. So today, I just wanted to offer a few thoughts on how people struggling with retroactive jealousy can approach social media.

Number one, approach social media as a tool and use it for very specific, well-defined purposes.

A lot of people get into trouble when social media is just there and always available. It can be far too easy to just find yourself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram without any real purpose and objective.

It’s just an enormous waste of time. Falling down some random social media rabbit hole.

Be clear about exactly what you want to use it for and which purposes you want it to serve in your life.

If it’s just going to be for keeping track of your kids, business, you’re going to use it as a way to relax and just chill out for 10 or 15 minutes every night, fine.

The point is to be a little bit more deliberate in terms of how you perceive it. Think about how you want to use it. Because, if it’s always just there, it’s going to be easier to serve a negative purpose in your life, and for you to waste all kinds of time on it.

The first step I think is just to start thinking how exactly you want to use social media.

My second recommendation is to become familiar with all of the time-limiting features built into a lot of these apps.

If necessary, impose technological restrictions on your use of these apps.

That’s a complicated way of saying turn on the functions where the app will turn off after a certain period of use. Or, perhaps block certain accounts if you find yourself wasting a lot of time scrolling through old posts. It’s not really helpful.

Again, being deliberate about our use of social media. Be specific about using the app’s functions and limiting the use where necessary.

So to give you some examples, if I find myself on Instagram just randomly scrolling, and at the end of the day, I’d realize I wasted a bunch of time. As a result, I imposed a restriction on the app itself.

I think I selected a function where every 15 minutes it pops up and says, “You’ve spent 15 minutes on Instagram today,” and it shuts the app off. So, these features can be really helpful.

For anyone struggling with retroactive jealousy, you can block that account from your usage.

Social media can be enormously detrimental to the recovery of anyone struggling with retroactive jealousy, and obsessive jealousy.

It might be worthwhile to block that account entirely.

Above all else, if you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, irrational jealousy, obsessive thinking. Start thinking how exactly you’re using these apps. How these apps can serve you rather than you serving the app. Because, the current model of these apps is they’re a harvester of information

They often sell our information, and we are the product.

The user of the app is the product. There are various benefits, and we can experience a lot of the benefits of social media in our lives.

I’m not saying that, “Oh, the evil social media companies.” I’m not talking about that.

I do think it’s very important to think more seriously about how these apps can serve us, rather than ourselves becoming the product. Not letting these apps inspire and sometimes feed our worst instincts and impulses.

Click here to learn more about my new online course for overcoming obsessive/retroactive jealousy, The Overcoming Jealousy Blueprint.

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.