In today’s video, I’m going to share a quote by Einstein that represents one of my all-time favorite universal solutions for retroactive jealousy.

So: how to deal with retroactive jealousy fear?

Zachary Stockill: My name is Zachary Stockill and since 2013, I’ve been helping men and women from all over the world, overcome retroactive jealousy, through my guidebook, my online courses, and one on one coaching.

If you’d like more information about my work, or if you’d like to work with me personally, please visit my website at

So to start things off, I’m going to share my favorite quote by the great Albert Einstein.

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.

So the quote more or less explains itself. Oftentimes, when we want to solve any problem in life, a crucial component of solving that problem is asking the right questions. You’ll notice that very frequently on this channel, I will be posing questions to you rather than providing answers.

One thing I’ve learned through over eight years of one on one coaching is that one of the easiest ways that I can be successful at my job and produce results for my client is by asking my client the right questions.

Now, when it comes to a complicated issue like retroactive jealousy, there are multiple questions that you should be asking yourself on a regular basis. A number of questions around this problem will help you arrive at solutions much faster.

There’s no one question that can really sum everything up.

What I’m about to share might be the most important question when it comes to getting a handle on this issue and putting it behind you for good. And this question is, “What is the fear when you are struggling with intrusive thoughts?”

When you are struggling with obsessive curiosity around your partner’s past when you’re fighting to resist the temptation to look through your partner’s phone, or to do some intensive social media searching, these various habits that we might associate with retroactive jealousy, what is motivating this behavior?

There are multiple motivations behind these behaviors. However, a common ingredient, motivating a lot of this behavior that we associate with retroactive jealousy is some kind of fear.

I use the word “insecurity” in my guidebook and in my online courses when I’m talking about retroactive jealousy. And in some ways, I wish that I will go back and change that word to “fear”.

Because sometimes when people hear the word insecurity. And they think, “I’m not insecure about anything. I’ve got a six-figure job, a beautiful family, I make a lot of money, and I’m very successful. I’m struggling with retroactive jealousy, but there’s no way in hell that I’m insecure”.

But often when you dig a little deeper with these people, and when you ask them the right questions, what will come up is some experience of retroactive jealousy fear?.

You can call it insecurity. You can call it fear, but insecurity is at the core, just simply another form of fear.

So if you’re struggling with an intrusive thought or a nagging sort of doubt around your partner’s past or around your relationship, it can be helpful and clarifying to continually reflect on this question, “What is my fear? What am I afraid of on a deep level?”

You may arrive at multiple answers to this question. So some of these answers may include depending on your particular experience and on your background.

Some of these answers may include things like, “I fear that my partner prefers his/her ex, that the sex with his/her ex was better. I fear that my partner may return to his/her ex someday. I fear that my partner doesn’t share my values and is therefore a poor fit for a long-term relationship or marriage. Maybe my partner has lied to me about his or her past”.

How to deal with retroactive jealousy fear?

Those fear has created a lack of trust in the relationship. There may be multiple answers to this question when you ask yourself this throughout the day. And obviously asking yourself this question won’t give you the overall solution to your problem. But it’s a great place to start.

And here’s why, when we identify what we’re afraid of, it immediately becomes less fearful, or at least sets us on the path toward it becoming less fearful.

So a common trope in, for example, horror movies, thrillers, and suspenseful films like that is some threat. That is not immediately identifiable, very sort of mysterious, and we’re not quite sure what we’re dealing with fear. But we know it’s ominous. We know it’s threatening, or at least we feel that way as a viewer.

A great example of this is the film Jaws, you’ll notice that between the early moments of the film, the shark doesn’t make an appearance very much. And this is one of the main things that makes sharks so fearful to so many people. It’s this mysterious being lurking in the depths of the ocean. When we’re swimming, we can’t see it because it’s below the surface. We can’t identify this fear, but we certainly feel it at least after we’ve watch jaws and then we go take a swim.

Oftentimes, filmmakers use this to great effect. There’ll be a killer lurking in the shadow. We don’t get a full look at his or her face. There’s some threat or some mysterious happenings that we can’t figure out. There’s something that’s definitely fearful and we feel it as the viewer, but it’s not immediately identifiable.

So start making friends with your fear. Start identifying what it is you’re afraid of, because only then can you truly start overcoming it.

You need to know what you’re dealing with before you can start challenging and confronting that fear.

I created an entire video course basically, that’s partly dedicated to this question. It’s called the Overcoming Jealousy Blueprint.

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy or obsessive jealousy in general, start there. “What is the fear?” Start locating the fear on your body, locating the somatic experience of your fear?

If you’re experiencing any kind of fear, there’s a physical component to that fear along with the psychological component. Your breath might become very, very shallow and short, which is not good for your body. You need to be taking full deep breaths because this will calm your entire system down. You also might be experiencing some kind of muscular tension somewhere in your body.

When I was struggling with retroactive jealousy many years ago, this usually manifested as tension in my shoulders and tension in my face. And it took me a long time of careful deliberate self-reflection and observation before I realized this pattern.

Before I realized that my body was reacting this way every time I experienced some kind of fear.

So start reflecting on the psychological component of your fear as well as the physical component. And this is really one of the best and most powerful first steps you can take toward getting a handle on this issue of retroactive jealousy.

Also, be aware that answers might not be immediately obvious. But don’t let yourself off the hook when it comes to this question. Because if you’re experiencing any kind of highly charged emotional reaction, there is some experience of fear underlying that, and getting in touch with that fear and clearly identifying it is one of the most powerful steps you can take in that situation.

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.