In today’s video I want to talk about the biggest retroactive jealousy trap that I see sufferers falling into over and over again.

Avoiding this retroactive jealousy trap is absolutely crucial on the road to recovery from retroactive jealousy.

Transcript below

So as you probably know by now, I’ve been putting out content on the topic of retroactive jealousy since 2013.

I’ve received thousands and thousands and thousands of emails and one of the things I spend a lot of my time doing is looking for patterns, sorting emails depending on the topic, really trying to quantify certain questions, certain concerns, certain themes, certain personality traits, looking for patterns among retroactive jealousy sufferers.

And thankfully I have a database of thousands of case studies to refer to.

One of the patterns that I have noticed among many retroactive jealousy sufferers is looking for certainty, looking for certainty in elements of life and aspects of life, which are by their very nature, somewhat chaotic and uncertain.

So for example, I’ll receive emails from YouTube subscribers looking for absolute certainty that their girlfriend is never going to cheat on them and their relationship with them will be relatively hassle-free.

Or people looking for certainty that they’ve asked their partner every single question about their past. They’ve got every single nitty gritty little detail about their partner’s past, they’re looking for absolute certainty that there’s nothing more.

Or people looking for certainty that the person they marry is never going to hurt them, never going to cheat on them, et cetera, et cetera.

So here’s the thing.

Life is uncertain, and love is by its very nature absolutely uncertain.

There is no such thing as a sure bet, as a sure thing when it comes to anything relating to human relationships.

If you go looking for certainty in every single one of your relationships, you will drive yourself absolutely crazy, because part of the thrill of being with someone and falling in love and trying to build a life together is the element of uncertainty.

Part of the thing that keeps couples together over five years, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years is the knowledge that the person across the dinner table, you may have been with them for decades, but there are still parts of them that you’re still kind of trying to figure out. There are still parts of them that are slightly mysterious.

There are still parts of you that are intriguing and interesting. There’s still a mystery on some level. You don’t have 100% certainty about everything they’re thinking, everything they’ve done, everything they are, and if we had absolute certainty about our decisions in love, life would be pretty boring.

And if we go looking for certainty in our relationships, we will be disappointed constantly because human beings are flawed.

Each and every one of us, we are messed up.

The human brain is the most complicated object in the cosmos. Human psychology is enormously complicated. People are enormously complicated, and you will drive yourself crazy if you go looking for certainty in your choices in love.

Every relationship is a gamble, but part of the thrill of relationships is taking that gamble, taking that leap, saying to someone, “I’m going to trust you. I’m going to take that leap until you give me a reason not to trust you. I’m going to let myself fall.”

The term is falling in love.

There’s an element of uncertainty, risk, adventure, embedded in the term that we apply to being with someone long-term, to really letting ourselves go into the flow of relationship.

So if you’re struggling with this retroactive jealousy trap and you’re looking for certainty in any number of aspects as it relates to your relationship or retroactive jealousy, looking for certainty that you’ve gotten to the bottom of your partner’s past, looking for certainty that your partner will never hurt or betray you, looking for certainty that you’re making the right choice by staying with them, looking for certainty that you’re making the right choice by breaking up with them, you are making a mistake in my view.

Don’t look for certainty in human relationships because you won’t find it.

There’s no such thing as a sure bet.

So my advice is to be okay taking the risk, take the gamble, let yourself fall, learn and make mistakes and don’t repeat them, but realize that no matter which path you choose in relationships, there’s always going to be that element of uncertainty.

That’s a beautiful thing. That’s part of what makes life worth living, and you should make peace with that because if you resist change, if you resist the very nature of romantic relationships, you will struggle your entire life finding any sense of peace.

So personally, I found a greater sense of peace the more I avoided this retroactive jealousy trap.

The more I realized that life is uncertain, love is uncertain and I’m okay with taking that gamble because no matter what happens, I’ll be okay.

I will learn. I will pick myself up when I fall. I will learn from my mistakes and I won’t repeat them.

And at the end of the day, I’m okay with taking the gamble because the gamble to love has always been worth it.

Click here to learn more about my online course for overcoming retroactive jealousy, “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast.”


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 RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.