In today’s video, I share the top 5 mistakes that I see retroactive jealousy sufferers making all the time, based on a decade of work in this field.

Read or watch below to learn more about the most common retroactive jealousy mistakes.

Zachary Stockill: If you have been struggling with retroactive jealousy for any period of time, and you’re feeling somewhat stuck, there’s a very, very good chance that you’re making certain big mistakes. Over the years, I’ve learned that most retroactive jealousy sufferers make certain mistakes over and over again. So in today’s video, I want to talk about:

The top five mistakes that retroactive jealousy sufferers make. 

Before I get into today’s video:

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, and you’re feeling like you want some extra help, you’d like to support my work and support this channel and give yourself the best possible chance for recovery…

Please click here to learn more about all my different products and services aimed at helping you overcome retroactive jealousy.

And just in case you’re new here, the term retroactive jealousy refers to unwanted intrusive thoughts, often obsessive curiosity, and what I call “mental movies” about a partner’s past relationships and/or sexual history.

Okay, so the top five mistakes that retroactive jealousy sufferers make… 

By the way, in case it wasn’t already clear, in case you don’t know my story: I’m a retroactive jealousy survivor myself. I struggled with retroactive jealousy in my late teens and early 20s. 

A big reason why I know these are all mistakes is that I made all of them. 

And over the years, over 10 years of working on this issue and working with clients around the world, I’ve found that these are the most common mistakes that retroactive jealousy sufferers make.

Mistake number one is asking their partner endless questions about their partner’s past.

If you are retroactive jealousy sufferer, it’s very, very likely that you’ve done this at one point or another. You’ve at least felt the pull to ask your partner a bunch of questions, and often very granular details about their past dating experiences or their sexual history. 

The way this little weird issue of retroactive jealousy works is, on some level, when we ask our partner a question about their past, we’re seeking closure, we’re seeking clarity, we’re seeking relief. We feel like if we can just get the answer to one more question, that’ll give us the peace of mind that we’re so desperately seeking. 

But unfortunately, with this issue of retroactive jealousy, it does not work like that.

Let’s say, best case scenario, you ask your partner a question about their past, and you get an answer that makes you feel better. 

This answer will make you feel better for, I don’t know, an hour, a day, maybe even a week. 

retroactive jealousy mistakes

But at some point, more questions will come. Questions that might build on the answer that you receive from your partner based on your initial question, and then more questions, and on and on. It’s a pathway to hell. 

So if you want to start beating retroactive jealousy as soon as possible, stop asking your partner questions about their past. When you stop asking for all kinds of granular details about the events in their past, things will start to improve. It’s tough when you first start doing this, but it gets easier and easier over time.

Mistake number two is not owning the solution.

Many retroactive jealousy sufferers feel that their partner can solve this problem for them. For example, if they just get a few more answers to questions about their past. Or they just get a little bit more reassurance. Or sometimes if they do things sexually, that their partner never did before… all kinds of things. We sometimes feel like our partner can solve this problem for us. 

But my personal life, as well as 10 years of working on this issue with hundreds of clients around the world, have taught me that:

The retroactive jealousy sufferer needs to totally own this problem before anything gets better. 

retroactive jealousy mistakes

If you’re waiting to take ownership of this problem, if you’re putting this problem on your partner to solve, stop. If you’re delaying healing, if you’re delaying taking action, stop.

This problem only gets better once you take 100% ownership of it, and start taking the steps to move forward. No one else can solve this problem except for you. 

Mistake number three is spending way too much time on dodgy open internet forums.

You’ve probably done this or maybe you’ve been compelled to do this. In various moments during your struggle with retroactive jealousy, maybe you started Googling. And you found some open chat forum or some creepy open Facebook group or whatever–some random internet discussion board. You start looking for answers, or maybe you post a question of your own.

And all of a sudden you’re bombarded by all kinds of really confusing, scattershot, and sometimes vindictive and nasty feedback from other people. 

The sad truth is: most people in the world have never even heard the term “retroactive jealousy.”

And when you tell people about your feelings, you may get all kinds of judgment. People may have all these weird ideas about who you are. 

And they call you a misogynist. Maybe if you’re a man struggling with this, and you may face all kinds of nasty accusations. And beyond all that, beyond the sheer nastiness that we get treated with as retroactive jealousy sufferers, a lot of people just don’t understand this issue. They don’t know how to heal. And they’ll give you all kinds of confusing advice that’s probably going to delay your progress.

And I can relate to this one as well…

Back when I was struggling with this issue myself, I Googled, I spent time in these dodgy open internet forums. And, you know, sometimes I got some helpful advice. But a lot of it was absolute nonsense. 

And a lot of it actually made me feel worse, and delayed my healing. 

So be careful you’re not spending too much time in dodgy, unhelpful internet forums. 

Mistake number four is somewhat related to mistake number three, and that is: spending time stalking your partner’s past on social media.

I definitely did this way back in the day on the very early version of Facebook. 

And I know many retroactive jealousy sufferers do this. They’ll go through their partner’s entire Facebook timeline, you know, post by post, picture by picture. Or they’ll go through their entire Twitter feed or their entire Instagram feed or TikTok or whatever.

They’ll stalk their partner’s entire past on social media, looking for details, looking for clues. And that’ll send them down other rabbit holes where they’re stalking their partner’s friends or exes on these platforms.

Needless to say, this is not a good use of your time. And this is probably going to give you, again, some bad information. 

Often, things aren’t really what they look like based on a picture on social media.

retroactive jealousy mistakes

In general, I have complicated feelings about social media. I think the less time spent there, the better, and you need to use it strategically, rather than letting it use you. And when you start stalking all these random avenues relating to your partner’s past… 

To my mind, that’s an example of social media using you, rather than you using social media. 

So be careful about spending too much time on social media. And above all, do not be stalking your partner’s past on social media. 

Mistake number five is probably the biggest one…

Mistake number five is giving up hope, feeling like destined to live with this problem for the rest of your life…

Feeling like no one understands, or you have to spend the rest of your life alone, or at the very least, retroactive jealousy is always going to be a cloud hovering over you and your relationship. But it doesn’t have to be that way…

If you don’t believe me and my story, that’s okay. You can look around the internet, you can look at all kinds of success stories…

On my website, you can find a small army of people like me who have put this problem behind them. So don’t give up hope.

You can, and you will overcome retroactive jealousy with enough patience, persistence, and taking the right action. You don’t have to let this problem define you. You don’t have to let this problem swallow you up, and you certainly shouldn’t let this problem take away your hope.

There is hope for people like you. And if you take the steps that we know work, you’re absolutely going to overcome retroactive jealousy, and leave this problem behind for good.

If you are struggling with retroactive jealousy, you can click here to sign up for a free four-part mini-course that will help you get started.

Or if you need more help, then you can consider signing up for one-on-one coaching with me. [Subject to availability]

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.