Note: the following is an excerpt from Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: A Guide to Getting Over Your Partner’s Past and Finding Peace. Click here to learn more.


IF SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME  that retroactive jealousy was a “gift” while I was struggling with it, there is a good chance that I would have responded by physically assaulting them.

A gift?! Are you kidding? Retroactive jealousy is a curse!

I’m not arguing that retroactive jealousy is fun, and I’m not going to tell you that it is good for your mental health. I would argue the contrary on both counts.

What I can tell you is that your retroactive jealousy is trying to tell you something.

Many things, in fact.

But the main thing that your jealousy is trying to get across to you is that it is time for decisive growth, and action.

It may or may not be time for you to decide to move on from an unhealthy relationship, but either way: your retroactive jealousy represents an invaluable opportunity for you to grow and learn. It is time for you to confront and overcome the personal demons that are keeping you unhappy and insecure.

Before you dismiss this as some kind of new-age drivel, I ask you to consider the following: I once experienced crippling retroactive jealousy that destroyed my relationship, disrupted my career, and kept me depressed for months.

Today, I am maintaining a blog, hosting an online course, and sharing excerpts from a book that has helped hundreds of others overcome their own retroactive jealousy. If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be sitting here writing to you, I would have told you you were crazy.

My retroactive jealousy forced me to grow

Back when I suffered from RJ, I became fed up with the constant unease, worry, and obsessive thoughts, and this forced me to better understand my condition, and work hard at overcoming it.

In so doing, I thought I was “getting to the bottom” of retroactive jealousy. In fact, I was getting to the bottom of myself; uncovering my deepest, darkest, most uncomfortable truths, and transforming myself in the process.

Retroactive jealousy helped to make me who I am today. I am undoubtedly a stronger, more confident, more loving, and overall better man for having experienced, and overcome my retroactive jealousy. Retroactive jealousy was a gift.

Life is good.

Although it may not feel like it at the moment, your retroactive jealousy represents an enormous opportunity for you to grow.

You will emerge a stronger person by confronting, and overcoming the destructive forces that have resulted in your current mental state.

You will also notice, should you decide to put in the effort and get serious about self-improvement, that overcoming retroactive jealousy will affect other areas of your life well beyond your relationship.

Your confidence with others will grow, you will be more productive and creative at work, your self-image will flourish, and you will have new faith in your ability to change, and overcome any obstacle that stands between you and what you want.

My jealousy was a gift — it provided the incentive to take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror, and decide that it was time to get to work.

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.