In today’s video, I’m going to talk about how to approach overcoming retroactive jealousy when your partner has kids with their ex.

How to approach retroactive jealousy when your partner has kids with their ex?

Zachary Stockill: Retroactive jealousy is pure hell, right? Anyone watching this video who’s struggling with retroactive jealousy probably agrees with that statement. It is literally one of the most frustrating and painful and unpleasant experiences just about anyone can go through. It is an absolute nightmare. 

It’s been a long time since I struggled with retroactive jealousy myself, but I remember very well what it was like. I think it’s fair to say that retroactive jealousy can become even more painful, even more frustrating, when there are children involved. 

In other words, when you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, and your partner has kids with their ex.

In today’s video, I’m going to talk about the situation in response to a viewer’s comment about how to approach the subject of overcoming retroactive jealousy when there are children involved. 

A viewer of this YouTube channel posted a comment recently saying, 

“Can you talk about retroactive jealousy when your partner has kids with their ex?” 

Now, I’ve been working on this topic of retroactive jealousy since 2013, a long, long time. I’ve put out hundreds and hundreds of blog posts, videos, hundreds and hundreds of one on one coaching calls… I don’t think I’ve covered this topic before. And there’s a good reason for that.

On this channel. In my work, in particular, I really make a deliberate effort to only talk about things that I feel like I have a really solid handle on; to talk about things where I know what I’m talking about, basically. Because I know that the only way my audience is going to grow, the only way my coaching practice will grow is if I demonstrate my competence through talking about subjects that I have a firm handle on. 

And back when I was struggling with retroactive jealousy, my partner at the time did not have children. I don’t have personal experience in this particular area. I’ve never struggled with retroactive jealousy where my partner had kids with their ex. However, I have worked with dozens of coaching clients over the years who were in this position. They married someone, or they got involved with someone who had children with their ex, and they were struggling with retroactive jealousy. 

The good news for you is: the path to peace of mind is pretty much the same.

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, and your partner has children with their ex, the very good news for you is the cure is pretty much the same. At this point, after almost 10 years of working on this issue, we know what works, and we know what doesn’t. The path to freedom is very, very clear. The cure is pretty much the same for 99.9% of retroactive jealousy sufferers from around the world. 

So the good news for you is: retroactive jealousy sufferers whose partners have children heal the same way that I healed, they heal the same way that all the people in the testimonials on my website healed, they heal the same way 99.9% of retroactive jealousy survivors heal. So that’s the good news right off the bat.

The bad news is you’re going to face some additional challenges. And those challenges may come in the form of adorable little children wandering around your house, or wandering around your partner’s house, right? 

Retroactive Jealousy When Your Partner Has Children With Their Ex

Obviously, this presents somewhat of an additional challenge with regards to your retroactive jealousy, right? And you might love these kids. I mean, these kids might be your stepchildren, and maybe you’ve known them for years. And 

They might be great kids. And like who doesn’t love children, right? 

We all love kids. And you’re probably going to have mixed responses to those kids, which may amplify feelings of guilt, and maybe self-loathing and maybe shame because they’re wonderful children, but you’re still having this charged negative emotional response to them on some level, largely fueled by your retroactive jealousy.

So first off, don’t take it out on the kids. You know, I think I’ve only received a couple of emails from retroactive jealousy sufferers who were doing that. But from my perspective, there is zero excuse for that whatsoever. Their kids didn’t choose who their father was. They didn’t choose who their mother was. They don’t know anything about retroactive jealousy. It’s not their fault. 

Don’t take it out on the children. 

Because if you do, your feelings of guilt, shame, and regret, remorse, will go up significantly. It will complicate the situation even more. Be sure that you aren’t taking your anger or frustration out on the kids.

Secondly, it can actually be a fascinating spiritual practice, if you can practice love, if you can practice generosity, if you’re going to practice appreciation for these children, even when you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. Even when you’re not feeling like giving love, like giving attention, like giving appreciation for these beautiful children running around your house. 

And before the objections start: obviously, this is easier said than done. And I said, right off the bat, I don’t have personal experience doing this. But I have heard from several coaching clients who reported excellent results, the more they were able to actively practice kindness, practice, love, and practice appreciation, even when they didn’t feel like it. 

My mother always said: “Love is a verb.” And to a certain extent, love is a choice. Love requires action.

It’s not some passive thing that we can just, you know, wait for to fall from the sky. I don’t think that’s the way to approach love. I don’t think that’s the way to approach relationships with anyone in general. And you might be surprised how good you feel, the more you’re able to actively practice kindness toward these children, even when you’re feeling somewhat complicated emotions toward them. 

Retroactive Jealousy When Your Partner Has Children With Their Ex

And finally, I would say: try to focus on the parts of those children that are parts of your partner that you love. Try as much as you can to focus on your love for your partner, if you’re writing to me, you’re watching videos on this channel, trying to save your relationship… Or if you’re signing up for coaching or taking my courses or whatever, I think chances are pretty darn good that you really love your partner. 

So there must be some part of you that really loves these kids. So I would say, try to focus on that, try to focus on that feeling of love you have for your partner, because this beautiful little child in front of you, obviously, is half of your partner. And again, it can be a fascinating and rewarding spiritual practice, to use that term:

To practice love, to practice kindness, even when you don’t feel like it. 

I would also add that obviously your triggers are going to be a little more intense, you might receive more triggers because these little people are walking around your house or walking around your partner’s house, or whatever.

So all of my practices with regard to triggers still hold. And I don’t have time to get into all of them now, but be aware of your breath. You know, calm yourself down, when you’re having this emotional response. 

Remind yourself of what’s real and what’s not. Become aware of the physical response your body has to this trigger, and work to relax that part of your body.

There are all kinds of information about triggers on my YouTube channel. And way more in my online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast,” my guide book Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy. Have a look at those resources because I think they’ll help you deal with these triggers.

And thanks for your question.

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.