In today’s video, I’m going to talk about how to stay present when you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy.

Read or watch below to learn more about how to stay present with retroactive jealousy.

Zachary Stockill: I’ve been working on the issue of retroactive jealousy since 2013. And one of the things I’ve noticed is that many retroactive jealousy sufferers are of above-average intelligence.

And I’m not just trying to give myself a pat on the back or butter you up. I’m saying that because I’ve observed this to be true.

Many of us are overthinkers and have a very active imagination.

Many of us think we can solve all of our problems with our brains. Retroactive jealousy doesn’t work that way.

In this article, I want to share an interesting little technique, a different perspective that will help you calm your brain down and hopefully help you overcome retroactive jealousy.

My name is Zachary 2013. I’ve been helping men and women from all over the world overcome retroactive jealousy.

If you’d like more information about my work or to work with me one-on-one, please visit this link.

There’s a phrase that I often use with coaching clients and students in my online course, “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast,” that I find very helpful.

And the phrase is ‘Dumbing the moment down.’

You might be wondering what that means. I’ll get into it momentarily.

Imagine you’re having dinner with your partner at a nice restaurant. The food is delightful, the wine is exceptional, and the ambiance adds to the lovely evening.


Everything outside mirrors the beauty of the moment. Your partner is looking fantastic, deeply engaged in the conversation, and everything seems just right.

Yet, amidst this perfect setting, your mind is battling retroactive jealousy.

In the back of your mind, thoughts of their past linger, maybe even images of them with someone else in a previous intimate moment.

Maybe you find yourself full of questions about their past, or even feeling upset about something they did before you met.

Doubts about your future together could be creeping in, based on certain moments from their past. Maybe you’re thinking:

“Is this the person I’m meant to spend my life with? Can I really handle their past long-term? What if I never overcome retroactive jealousy? What if that Zach guy on YouTube is totally full of it, and I can never beat this problem?”

You get the picture: you’re in what could be a beautiful moment, but your complicated thoughts are overshadowing it.

In such times, I’ve found it incredibly helpful, especially when I was dealing with retroactive jealousy, to dumb the moment down.

In these moments, it’s about asking yourself: What is the most straightforward interpretation of this moment? How can I view the situation in the simplest possible way?

I’m in a really nice room with a great ambiance, where the people are friendly, and even the waiter was kind when he came over.

The food is absolutely delicious – a wonderful meal that I know won’t be replicated exactly ever again. And this wine, is delicious too, with a hint of chocolate that I’m enjoying.

The point is you’re dumbing the moment down. You’re not thinking about the past. You’re not thinking about all the concerns about your partner’s past, or what they were doing in the past, or what they were thinking.

In that moment, thoughts about the future are put aside. Questions like whether this person is ‘the one’ or if you’ll ever move beyond certain issues aren’t your focus.

Instead, it’s about taking a break from those concerns, just giving them a night off.

You’re acknowledging them – the questions, concerns, fears, and anxieties – and saying, ‘Okay, I know you’re still here, and maybe you’ll come back tomorrow, but not tonight.’

For now, I’m just going to try to dumb the moment down. I’m having dinner with a beautiful woman – how lucky I am. I realize that, regardless of this woman’s past, regardless of whether my future is with her or not, and regardless of anything else, this night, this meal, is unique and will never repeat itself.

Every day, every night, every moment that passes in your life is one less day, one less night, one less moment you’ll be able to experience in the future.

And furthermore, no moment, no evening, no day, no whatever, no period of time repeats itself exactly.

Thus, when you miss out on those moments, When you don’t dumb the moment down, when you start thinking about the past and future, you miss the glorious present entirely.

The meal might not taste as savory, the wine may not seem as delightful, and looking at your partner might not feel as special.

Maybe you don’t even enjoy the intimacy later that night as much. You’re not fully immersed in the moment because you’re wrapped up and consumed by questions about the past and the future.

And I understand that this is easier said than done, I really do. I get it. With my overactive imagination and my tendency to overthink, especially in certain moments, I know it’s not always straightforward.

This is why I advocate things like mindfulness meditation and breathwork. Practices that strengthen your ability to stay grounded in the moment.

So, my ability to dumb the moment down is stronger than many people’s because I’ve got 20 years of practice meditating.

However, you don’t have to be a meditator to practice this.

Just remember the next time you’re in a situation, maybe with your partner or doing anything else, and you find yourself filled with thoughts about the past or future, those thoughts, questions, and concerns can wait. You can maybe pay attention to them in four hours, or tomorrow morning, or whenever.

It’s not about denying the presence of those thoughts and feelings. But just for tonight, or just for today, let your brain take a break. Dumb the moment down.

Focus on the simplest possible interpretation of what’s happening right now, and try to find joy in it.

Relish it. Appreciate it, regardless of the past or future. Remember, every moment that passes is one you’ll never get back.

And by the way, regardless of how your relationship plays out, I think it’s possible that if you don’t do this , if you don’t try to practice this ability to dumb the moment down, you’re going to look back one day and lament all the time you wasted.

You’re going to regret not tasting that wine, really enjoying that meal, and truly ravishing that woman or man regardless of how the relationship played out.

You’re going to miss being 25, or 26, or 41, or whatever age you are now. One day, you’ll look back on this season of your life and wish you had immersed yourself more in the present.

Remember, you’ll only be 64 once, only 29 once. These moments and seasons of our lives are incredibly fleeting.

So why not dumb the moment down and enjoy them to the maximum of our ability?

If you’d like more information about my work, or you’d like to work with me one on one, please visit this page.

And, be sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel as well to be notified of new videos.

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.