In today’s video, I’m going to share my top 5 “distractions” from retroactive jealousy and how they can be valuable.

Read or watch below to learn more about retroactive jealousy distractions.

Zachary Stockill: Needless to say, when life gets difficult, we could all use a little bit of a distraction sometimes. And certainly, when you’re struggling with unwanted, often unrelenting, intrusive thoughts, and obsessive curiosity, a little distraction can be valuable.

In today’s video, I’m going to share my top five distractions from retroactive jealousy.

Okay, first off, very important disclaimer for this video: I am not saying that simply distracting yourself will be the road to recovery from retroactive jealousy. You cannot distract your way out of this problem. Overcoming retroactive jealousy can be somewhat complicated, and simply trying to distract yourself 24/7 will not work. This is not the way to gain permanent clarity and permanent peace of mind about your partner’s past.

If you want to know the active steps that you can start taking today to start overcoming retroactive jealousy, I would strongly encourage you to check out my free four-part video minicourse on getting started overcoming retroactive jealousy. I’ll send you a number of videos over the course of one week that will help you get started. 

So all that throat-clearing of the way. I also wanted to mention that sometimes, little distractions can go a long way when it comes to retroactive jealousy. 

I often tell people: don’t go from being obsessed with your partner’s past to becoming obsessed with overcoming your partner’s past. 

In other words: sometimes people sign up for my online course and they’ll tell me that they flew through the entire course in one day.

Now it’s over eleven hours of content… So that’s too much information to take in at once.

And though overcoming retroactive jealousy takes some work, takes perseverance, takes focus, takes dedication… you also need to keep living your life. So don’t become obsessed with overcoming this problem. 

In other words, make it a priority. But don’t make it your only priority throughout your day. 

So my top five distractions from retroactive jealousy…

Number one, one of my favorites, is simply physical exercise. I think the reason many people like to eat, have sex, and exercise is because these activities plant you firmly in the present moment. It increases our presence, even if momentarily. If you’re enjoying a mind-blowing meal…

You’re probably not thinking about the past, and you’re probably not thinking about the future. 

If you’re having incredible sex with your partner, you’re probably not thinking about the past, hopefully, and you’re probably not thinking about the future. 

retroactive jealousy distractions

And the same goes for getting involved in some kind of sport you enjoy. Or some kind of physical exercise.

I am by no means a fitness expert. But one thing that I have learned about fitness is I think you have to find something you enjoy. I don’t think it’s going to be sustainable over the long term if you’re torturing yourself every day, doing some activity that you feel like you should do, but it’s absolute torture. 

So I think you should find something you enjoy. But I also think you should stay committed and persistent even in moments when you don’t necessarily enjoy it. 

To give you some examples. In my early days, I was a runner. The first time I went on a big weight loss binge, I lost a lot of weight, and I was running all the time. Today, 15 years later, I was in a motorcycle crash and I have a bad knee, so running would not be very much fun for me at all. That would probably be kind of torturous. 

What do I enjoy? I love swimming. And I love to swim and lift weights. I like riding a bicycle. I found other activities that I enjoy and thus the fact that I enjoy them helps to make them more sustainable. 

So if you don’t know where to start, start trying different activities, find at least one you like, and stay committed to it. There are endless, endless, endless benefits when it comes to physical exercise, many of which you probably already know: increased strength and stamina, lower risk of diseases and premature death, increased mood, elevated mood, lower risk of depression and anxiety… It goes on and on. 

There are endless benefits to exercise, and it’s one of the very best distractions from retroactive jealousy. 

retroactive jealousy distractions

Of course, consult your physician before you try something new.

Another distraction from retroactive jealousy: something new and fun with your partner. Now that might sound glib. But retroactive jealousy can often feel so damned heavy. Retroactive jealousy can often cast a pall over the relationship…

Retroactive jealousy can often result in your mood going down, as well as your partner’s mood going down. 

So needless to say, all this heaviness, doom, and gloom is going to take a tremendous toll on the health and vitality of the relationship. So if you can include something fun, just something playful in the relationship regularly, I think that’ll go a long way.

You can get creative with this. You can go to a stand-up comedy show, you can watch one of your favorite movies, you can play a new board game, you can go to some fun new activity, some new mini golf or some bowling or something… Something new, something fun. Make time for that on a regular basis. 

Don’t underestimate the crucial importance of having fun, and making time for play in any relationship. In many ways, I think this becomes even more important when you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy.

Distraction number three is: learning something new. Now, again, this might sound glib, so I’ll be more specific.

I was a full-time student for about seven years. And I was always learning. And a couple of years ago, I realized that I wasn’t learning as much as I wanted to.

This was years after I was done with university. So I didn’t have any structure in my general education. And education doesn’t have to stop when we graduate from high school, or when we graduate from college, or complete our master’s degree, or anything else. 

Education should be, I believe, an ongoing, lifelong project. 

retroactive jealousy distractions

So I started thinking about new things that I’d like to learn. New topics or subjects of interest or skills, something new that could keep me focused, and motivated over the long term.

To give you an example, right now I’m completing a certificate from a Canadian university in cognitive behavioral therapy. So I’ve been interested in cognitive behavioral therapy for many, many years. I’ve read many books, I’ve done a lot of studying, but I wanted to formalize my education in this field. So I signed up for an adult continuing education course.

I’m also reading a ton of books on Russian and Soviet history. I’m a big history nerd. But that was one particular area in which I didn’t have as much knowledge as I wanted. So I’ve been reading all kinds of books, for the past few months, about Russian history.

These are just examples. But I would suggest you think of something new, either a new hobby or a new talent, a new skill, something new you want to learn. It can be a great way to remind yourself that education should be a lifelong process.

Distraction number four is extremely important. And it’s related to the last thing that I mentioned. It is coming up with a new mission, or at least a new set of goals for yourself, that don’t have anything to do with your partner. 

Think hard about your mission as a man or a woman. Why are you here? 

retroactive jealousy distractions

Now, this is an enormous topic, it’s very complicated. So if that sounds intimidating, at the very least, think of some new goals that you could set for yourself.

So for example, for me right now, I have certain creative goals. I’m working on a new book right now, for example. And I just put out a new course. I’m making these videos all the time, I’m responding to emails, I’m doing coaching calls, and I have some ambitious creative and professional goals. I also have educational goals. As I just mentioned, I have some fitness goals.

You don’t have to have a page of 50 goals, but come up with a solid list of specific things that you want to accomplish that have nothing to do with your relationship. It’s a great distraction from retroactive jealousy. 

And ironically, it will also be great for your relationship…

I would imagine your partner wants to be with someone ambitious, hardworking, and self-motivated. 

These are attractive qualities in both men and women. 

So setting independent goals can be a great way to distract yourself from retroactive jealousy. And by the way, this will also help you overcome retroactive jealousy in the long run. 

My final tip or my final distraction from retroactive jealousy involves reconnecting with friends or family members who maybe you’ve lost touch with recently, or you haven’t spent as much time with.

Take steps to broaden your base of social support. 

Because a lot of the time people in relationships try to get all their social needs met by one person. On some level, they look to their partner to be their entire social life. And needless to say, this can work for a little while very, very early on. 

But over the long term, it’s not healthy for the relationship. It’s not healthy for you, it’s not healthy for your partner. 

And broadening your base of social support can be extremely helpful when you’re facing any challenge in life.

I’m not saying you necessarily have to speak to your friend or your family members about retroactive jealousy. That’s obviously up to you. That’s not what I’m suggesting. 

But simply making that time to broaden your base of social support–to have conversations with people you care about–can help ease some of your anxiety. Because I think a lot of retroactive jealousy sufferers that if they lost their partner, they would lose their entire social life. 

So broaden your base of social support. It’s a great way to distract yourself from retroactive jealousy jealousy, and it’ll help you overcome retroactive jealousy in the long term.

If you need more help with retroactive jealousy, check out my online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast”, or consider applying for one-on-one coaching with me.

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.