In today’s video, I’m going to talk about the number one mental fallacy when it comes to retroactive jealousy.

Read or watch below to discover the number one retroactive jealousy fallacy.

Zachary Stockill: There are so many dangerous mental fallacies that you can buy into when you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy. It can cause you to struggle for months or even years longer than necessary. So many perspectives and faulty logic that you can start buying into that can delay your recovery by months, years, or sometimes even decades

But in today’s video, I’m going to talk about the most dangerous mental fallacy when it comes to retroactive jealousy.

The term retroactive jealousy basically refers to unwanted intrusive thoughts, often obsessive curiosity. And, what I call mental movies about your partner’s past relationships and or dating/sexual history. 

Obviously, when you’re struggling with these symptoms that we associate with retroactive jealousy, it’s easy to lie to yourself. And, it’s easy to lose perspective on what is real, what is not what is important and what is not. This brings me to the topic of today’s video. 

I think the number one most dangerous fallacy that too many retroactive jealousy sufferers buy into is the idea that if I’m thinking about something so much, that means it’s important. “If I can’t stop thinking about something, that means it’s significant. If I can’t seem to get certain thoughts out of my head, that just means I should think about them more…”

“..And I’ll arrive at some miraculous conclusion..” As I’ve said, often on my YouTube channel, and I believe in some of my courses as well, stop trying to solve all of your problems with your brain, which is a very strange idea. 

But I think if you listen for a few moments longer, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

When we’re struggling with irrational, constant, obsessive, intrusive thoughts… 

It’s all too easy to lose perspective on what is important, what is real, what is significant, and what is not. 

And if there’s something that we can’t stop thinking about, there may be a part of us that things “oh, we should think about that more. That must mean that whatever I’m thinking about is super important, super noteworthy, super significant…”

And if you’re struggling with type three retroactive jealousy, which is something similar to OCD, it’s completely illogical and irrational for you to feel like that.

To help illustrate this point. I’m going to draw from a popular example of obsessive-compulsive disorder

So many OCD sufferers struggle with the thought that they didn’t lock the door at home. So, they leave the house or sometimes they go to bed at night, and there’s this nagging question… 

“Did I lock the door? I think I locked the door. Are you sure the door is locked? I’m not sure. Maybe I should go check again…”

retroactive jealousy fallacy

So they’ll go downstairs or they’ll go back to their house, and check, lock the door, okay, doors locked, great. They can move on with their day, right? But instead, their brain gets locked in this cycle where they’re constantly doubting. “Are you sure you locked the door? I think I locked the door, I locked the door already. Well, I should go check again…”

Sometimes, these people will check to make sure the door is locked, 5, 10, 20 times a day or night. Even though they realize hopefully, on some rational level that the door is locked. Yet still, the fact that they’re thinking about it so much, they can’t seem to let go of that. 

Thus, they need that constant reassurance that the door is locked over and over and over and over again. However, one of us who’s not struggling with these exact symptoms, would look at them and say, “Listen, the door is locked, I promise you the door is locked. I know it’s locked, and you know, it’s locked. You just locked it.” Yet still…

Because the thoughts are so persistent and so relentless, and so confusing and so disorienting, they may check again and again and again and again. 

retroactive jealousy fallacy

So my point is in this video if you’ve been struggling with retroactive jealousy, and you have the values question sorted…. You know what’s real and what’s not, you know what’s a dealbreaker or a red flag and what’s not. If you’ve invested the time and energy to get absolutely clear about all those things, and you’re still struggling with these intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past, what I’m saying is: the door is locked. 

In other words, the uncomfortable reality is sometimes, in fact, quite often, obsessive intrusive thoughts are completely irrational.

For many retroactive jealousy sufferers who are struggling with their partner’s past, once they put in the work to get past it, I’ll get an email from them, sometimes as little as a month later, after they started investigating this issue, telling me:

“Zach, I was completely wrong before. My partner’s past, of course, is not a dealbreaker. It’s not important…” 

“… It’s not even particularly interesting or noteworthy or significant in the grand scheme of things. My perspective was completely skewed by the fact that I kept having these intrusive thoughts. I thought the thoughts were important…”

They were buying into the number one retroactive jealousy fallacy.

And, for many retroactive jealousy sufferers, not all but many, the thoughts are not actualy important. There is no glaring dealbreaker in your partner’s past, no glaring red flags that mean you need to cut and run as quickly as possible. There is no moral incompatibility between you and your partner for the retroactive jealousy sufferers who fit into this category. 

In other words, for the people struggling with this issue: I hope this short video inspires you to stop energizing those intrusive thoughts. Don’t respond to some unwanted intrusive thought with more energy time, or attention than necessary.

I realize these cycles can be extremely difficult to break. And, I know this is easier said than done. 

For those of you who know my story, you know that I once had an extreme case of retroactive jealousy. I was one struggling with this stuff day and night. 

It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning, and it was the last thing I thought about when I went to bed at night. 

And thus I had moments where I thought to myself, “the fact that I’m thinking about this so much must mean that it’s significant, must mean my girlfriend’s past is actually a dealbreaker. That’s what this means because I can’t stop thinking about it. It must be significant.” 

I was buying into this retroactive jealousy fallacy.

And needless to say today with the benefit of a decade of hindsight, there were no red flags.

There was no glaring incompatibility between me and my girlfriend. And the sooner I got absolute clarity, crystal clarity on the boundaries and values question… As soon as I figured out for sure that there was no moral incompatibility between me and my then-girlfriend…

retroactive jealousy fallacy

As soon as I got that clarity, I found it much easier to remind myself when I had those intrusive thoughts: “The door’s locked, Zach.” In other words, these thoughts are not important. They’re completely irrational. 

If you are struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past, I hope you’ll take a minute to check out my free four-part mini-video course.

It’s totally free. You can unsubscribe anytime, that’s totally fine.

Over the course of about a week, I’ll send you four videos that will help you start breaking some of these cycles, and will help you take the first baby steps toward overcoming retroactive jealousy for good.

Otherwise, click here to learn more about my products and services for beating RJ ASAP.

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.