In today’s video, I’m going to talk about one of the biggest mistakes that intelligent people make when they’re struggling with any kind of emotional or psychological disorder.

If you recently found yourself Googling “I’m struggling with my girlfriend’s past,” this post is for you.

Zachary Stockill: I was on a coaching call recently with a young man struggling with retroactive jealousy. And I was reminded of one of the issues that I see which obsessive jealousy sufferers facing over and over. It’s an issue that I was certainly facing back many years ago when I was struggling with retroactive jealousy.

And frankly, I think it’s an issue that more intelligent or above average people struggle with more than the others.

I’ve done a little bit of research on this, a lot of surveying my audience. And certainly, I have a lot of experience interacting with literally hundreds of retroactive jealousy sufferers. Inside the secret Facebook group I created for my premium online course, Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast, I think I have a pretty good handle on my audience, at least for the people who are truly committed to doing the work and truly committed to putting retroactive jealousy behind them.

You will learn how to stop yourself from struggling with your girlfriend’s past.

And in my experience, it seems to be that the majority of people struggling with this issue, joining my course, signing up for coaching, are above average intelligent. They’re often very deep and analytical thinkers. They often did very well in school and very intellectual.

Not to puff myself up too much, but I think I have fit some of those characteristics.

This is an issue that I dealt with. And it’s an issue that I see a lot of them dealing with, as well. This issue is focusing too much on the “why”, and not enough on the “how”, which sounds really abstract.

When we have a big problem in life, whether it’s related to money, jobs, perhaps our relationships, friendships, some emotional strife that we’re going through, when something big happens to us that we don’t like, there’s this big question of why.

Why did this happen to me? Why did my partner do these things? And, why did I lose this job that I was thought I was doing so well at? Why did I lose this money in this investment that I thought was such a sure thing? Why I’m struggling with my girlfriend’s past? What went wrong? Why, why, why, why?

Frequently, it’s a good idea to spend some time getting to the bottom of why this happened.

And in particular, learning as much as we can about the why so we can prevent this situation from repeating itself in the future. Getting the answers about why so we can give ourselves the best shot of avoiding this kind of negative or damaging situation.

When it comes to overcoming retroactive jealousy, overcoming obsessive jealousy, I spend a lot of time in both of my courses on jealousy. Both with, Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast, as well as my new course, The Overcoming Jealousy Blueprint.

Giving people and my students the tools to really get to the bottom of why.

Why are you struggling with retroactive jealousy? Why are you struggling with obsessive jealousy in your relationship? Where is this coming from?

struggling with my girlfriend's past

It’s very important to have some clarity on these questions. But for a certain percentage of my audience, perhaps some of you watching this video, the “why” is never going to quite feel like enough.

In other words, you might get a pretty broad answer to this question of why. For example, why did my partner do all these things in their past? Why did they date that idiot guy?

Why I’m struggling with my girlfriend’s past?

It’s important getting to the bottom of those questions.

But quite frequently, when these people get to the bottom of those questions, it isn’t really satisfying. It’s never enough. Don’t ask your partner endless questions about your past because you’re perpetuating this self-destructive cycle and it’s never gonna be enough.

The solution to retroactive jealousy does not lie in answering or, asking your partner endless questions about their past over and over again. This issue does not work like that.

There are deeper solutions that go far beyond asking your partner more questions.

There is a certain value in getting to the bottom of why your partner made certain choices that you don’t agree with in their past.

And, why you think you are struggling with retroactive jealousy. Maybe it’s social conditioning and previous history of obsessive-compulsive behavior. It’s worth getting clarity about those things. But at a certain point, it’s time to focus less on the “why”, and more on the “how”. Learn how to stop struggling with your girlfriend’s past.

Taking the lessons in my online courses seriously, taking some of the advice I offer on this channel, learning from a network of literally 1000s of retroactive jealousy sufferers from around the world, when it comes to overcoming retroactive jealousy, it’s pretty clear what works and what doesn’t.

The “how” is far more clear than it was back when I was struggling with this issue, more than 10 years ago. Back in those days, it was kind of a wilderness when it came to looking for information about retroactive jealousy.

Nowadays, there’s plenty of people on YouTube, people writing books, people like me. There are people coaching, therapists, and there’s more research being done.

You can read about that on my blog at retroactive

There’s quite a lot of information in terms of the actual how of overcoming retroactive jealousy, and endlessly focusing on the why. Why did your partner do certain things? Why did they make certain choices? And, why are you struggling with this when your best friend doesn’t care at all.

Focusing too much on the why’s will drive you absolutely crazy. Avoid struggling with your girlfriend’s past.

At the top of this video, when I mentioned above average intelligent people, taking my course, signing up for coaching, sending me emails, etc, etc. A lot of these people feel that the intellect is the solution to all of their problems because they’re used to getting pretty clear-cut answers. Maybe in their academic research, or in their jobs, or whatever they’re used to getting a much more clear answer in terms of why certain events in their lives are taking place.

And for certain events in life, that cause us a lot of pain and grief that causes a lot of stress.

There’s never going to be a deeply satisfying why. That’s just the way it is. And frankly, if we don’t accept that, the why is never going to be satisfying enough.

We focus so much on the why, because retroactive jealousy has kind of ballooned in our consciousness to this enormous issue. And so, we’ve got this enormous problem in our life.

This huge problem is taking away our joy, our ability to enjoy life, our partner, etc. And on some level, we feel like there will be an equally huge explanation for our partners’ choices in the past.

struggling with my girlfriend's past

We’ve got this big problem and we want this big answer in terms of what caused this problem. And the simple truth of it is, life doesn’t work that way all the time.

When there isn’t a really satisfying why, we find ourselves wasting a lot of energy and creating wise out of thin air to satisfy this desire to have a bigger comprehensive why, to match the size and scale and proportion of the problem in our life.

Here’s an example, the JFK assassination. For those of you who don’t know, President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, Texas in November of 1963. The official explanation was that it was this lone nut, Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed him single-handedly. He’s totally by himself acting alone. This was the official explanation. This is what the government tried to put out there. And initially, this is what a lot of people believed, or at least wanted to believe when this first happened all those years ago.

Since then, the JFK assassination has become the biggest, most popular, most grandiose conspiracy theory on the entire planet. There’s been so many books written about it, documentaries, and all kinds of videos on YouTube.

And frankly, a lot of this material is absolutely insane.

People are so obsessed with finding answers to it, finding the why because the official explanation is not very satisfying.

What I’m saying is the “why” isn’t very satisfying. And people wasted a lot of time trying to create these grandiose and huge comprehensive explanations that really bear little resemblance to the actual reality. Because the actual reality is pretty unsatisfying.

I can’t believe I linked the JFK assassination to retroactive jealousy. But I hope I’ve made my point.

What I’m saying here is: don’t waste too much time trying to get to the bottom of why your partner made certain choices in their past while you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy.

To some extent, yes, it’s absolutely valuable to have some of those answers. But at a certain point, enough is never going to feel like enough and you kind of just have to live with that

It’s probably time to pivot your energy. Redirect your energy less toward the finding out why and getting to the bottom of why, and more toward the discovery of how.

How do I start moving on? How do I start healing? And, how do I start overcoming retroactive jealousy?

Redirect your energy less toward the why and more toward the how. I believe that’s going to be a far better use of your time and energy.

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.