In today’s video, I answer a common question: “What is the typical retroactive jealousy sufferer like?”

Read or watch below to find out more about the “typical” RJ sufferer based on a decade of hearing retroactive jealousy stories.

Zachary Stockill: As I’ve often mentioned on this channel, I’ve been doing this work on retroactive jealousy and obsessive jealousy for a long time. And as a result, I think I have a wide range of perspectives and insight on retroactive jealousy that no one else has simply by virtue of the fact that I’ve been doing this work for so long. And I’ve spoken with and interacted with many thousands of retroactive jealousy sufferers and survivors.

So people often ask me What kind of person is the typical retroactive jealousy sufferer? What kind of people are generally susceptible to retroactive jealousy? In today’s video, I’m going to answer this question, and I think the answer may surprise you. 

I think one of the things that have surprised me the most since I started doing this work, and since I started investigating retroactive jealousy all those years ago, when I was still struggling with it myself… One of the things that surprised me the most was that there really is no “typical” retroactive jealousy sufferer. I used to think maybe there were only men that suffered from this. Back when I was a sufferer myself, back when I was struggling with my then-girlfriend’s past, I thought this is probably just some kind of guy thing. Like, I’m sure only men struggle with this issue. 

It turns out that’s completely wrong. Men struggle with this issue but there are countless women struggling with this issue too. 

retroactive jealousy stories

The gender breakdown on my YouTube channel is around 60:40 men to women. And if I had to say in my coaching practice, the students taking my online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast,” hearing so many retroactive jealousy stories, I’d estimate a similar breakdown of roughly 60% men and around 40% women. 

I used to think maybe that only straight men struggle with this. Ten years of retroactive jealousy stories proved that completely wrong, too. I’ve received all kinds of emails from gay men, from lesbians, every possible gender identity or sexual orientation. I have heard from them all.

You might think maybe it’s only younger, more inexperienced people who struggle with this. All of the retroactive jealousy stories I’ve heard have proven that completely wrong as well. I’ve received emails from men in their late 70s. And a couple of women, I believe, in their 70s as well.

This website, my own little website, has been visited by people in literally every country on the face of the earth. The reason I know that is because, fortunately, the internet allows me to track that; I can get that data from my website of where these people are coming from. And I’ve received visitors from literally every single country on earth.

The people taking my online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast,” in our private Facebook group… They come from a wide range of backgrounds; some are English speaking, some speak English as a second language. They’re from all over the world, every age, every sexual orientation. 

So what I’m saying here is there are many, many, many different types of people who struggle with retroactive jealousy. 

And in terms of shared personality traits, though, I think this is rather interesting. I think if I had to identify one characteristic that most not all but most retroactive jealousy sufferers share, it would be a propensity for overthinking; people who are generally “in their heads” way too much. Often, this is people who are above-average intelligent; people who have intellectual jobs. Other people who are just, you know, more or less, above-average intelligent, and prone to overthinking in multiple areas of their life. If they have to make a decision, they think about it very, very deeply. And they think more about it, and then they think more about it after that…

Many of the retroactive jealousy sufferers who write to me say that they’ve been overthinkers ever since they were children. 

So if I had to identify one common theme that many retroactive jealousy stories have in common, it would be overthinking. 

That’s why in my online courses, in my books, and certainly on this channel from time to time, I emphasize things like mindfulness habits, mindfulness, meditation, that kind of thing. That can be enormously helpful if you’re someone who is prone to overthinking, and I certainly was at one time. I’m better now…

But I certainly was back in the day when I was struggling with retroactive jealousy. Things like physical exercise, and mindfulness habits, mindfulness practices have been extremely helpful in helping me become less of an overthinker.

Now, for my one-on-one coaching practice, there’s been a few professions actually, or hobbies that many of my clients have had in common. And I’m not sure if that’s about the issue of retroactive jealousy, or if it’s about the kind of people who vibe with me, people who like what I’m saying, people who feel like we’d be a good match for a client-coach relationship.

But anyway, I’ve worked with a lot of engineers; people with highly rational brains and again, above-average intelligence.

I’ve also worked with many musicians. I’m a musician myself. I’m not sure if there’s any correlation there.  Maybe musicians and artistic-minded people are a little more sensitive in general to the vicissitudes of life and relationships and all the rest. But that’s been very interesting to me and my coaching practice, working with so many engineers, and so many musicians.

retroactive jealousy stories

But above all, I would say there’s no one type of person who struggles with retroactive jealousy.

One of the things that I love so much about my work, hearing so many retroactive jealousy stories, is that:

The path to healing, the path to peace of mind, and the path to freedom are so similar for so many of us. 

Of course, each of us may face little different challenges here and there. And we all may face different roadblocks from time to time or different bumps in the road. But in general, the path to freedom, the path to recovery, is remarkably similar for all of us.

And that’s why I feel very comfortable talking about more or less universal solutions on this channel, and in much greater depth in my online courses like “The Overcoming Jealousy Blueprint”, and in my books like my Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy guidebook/audiobook. 

One last note: sometimes I get really nasty comments on my YouTube videos. I usually don’t leave them up, I usually just delete them if it’s particularly nasty, but a lot of guys write to me, and they think that this is only a male problem…

Now, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Because again, even in terms of the “numbers” of past sexual partners… Sometimes, the retroactive jealousy sufferer has been with way more people than his partner, and sometimes the sufferer has been with fewer people than his partner. And I can only point to all the women who struggle with this issue as well.

So regardless of what you read on the internet, regardless of nasty comments you may read on my videos or other videos, I can promise you:

This is not just “a guy thing” or a straight guy thing. This is not just a young person thing…

And this is not just an issue that impacts people who’ve been with a relatively low number of people in the past. So you can’t chalk retroactive jealousy up to sexism or, you know, lack of sexual opportunity or lack of sexual experience.

Sometimes those factors can be involved in retroactive jealousy. But the bottom line is there’s no one type of person who struggles with retroactive jealousy.

The very good news is the path to freedom is pretty much the same for everyone. Time has proven it to me over and over and over again, working with so many coaching clients and students taking my courses. The path to freedom is pretty much the same for us all.

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.