Struggling with your partner’s past? In today’s video, I’m going to share four simple questions that you can ask yourself every day and which will help you overcome retroactive jealousy.

In my view, these questions are crucial to consider if you’re struggling with your partner’s past.

Transcript below

Zachary Stockill: Before I get into it, just wanted to remind you that this week I am celebrating the launch of my brand new guided meditation series for overcoming retroactive jealousy. It’s called Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: The Guided Meditations.

I’m so glad that so many of you are finding the meditations helpful. I’ve been getting some really great feedback so far. Click here to get all the information and to snag a limited-time discount on Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: The Guided Meditations.

I saw a post recently on an Instagram account, which I follow and highly recommend. It’s called The Daily Stoic and the post featured some questions from the ancient stoic philosophers, ancient school of philosophy to ask yourself every day.

Now followers of this channel, certainly students from my online courses are probably aware of the fact that I get a lot of inspiration and guidance from Stoic philosophy, easily one of my favorite schools of philosophy, so much wisdom there and so much valuable information there. And so much of it, which is particularly relevant for retroactive jealousy sufferers.

So I was wasting time on Instagram, scrolling through my feed, and I saw this post and I thought this would be perfect to share with anyone struggling with retroactive jealousy.

The first question posed by Epictetus is, is this in my control?

In other words, if we’re struggling with your partner’s past… Let’s say I’m having all kinds of mental movies and I’m having a lot of anxiety about something related to my girlfriend’s past. Is that in my control? What about the situation is in my control?

Now, the actual events for my girlfriend’s past, all of them are entirely outside of my control. I don’t have any influence on the past whatsoever.

What do I have control over though? I have complete control, I literally have 100% control of my perception of the past, of my idea about the meaning or significance of the past.

And I also have control over the extent to which I’m going to let these events from the past disrupt my day. I also have complete control over the amount of attention and energy I’m going to devote to going down the retroactive jealousy rabbit hole, to playing with these thoughts even more, to entertaining these thoughts and trying to get to the bottom of it and asking my girlfriend more questions, to get more clarification that I don’t need, et cetera, et cetera.

I have complete control over that.

So important to ask yourself this question on a regular basis, particularly when anything is bothering you, you’re stressed about something. You’re worried about something. What is in my control in this situation? What do I have control over? And what do I have zero control over? And obviously redirect your attention, your focus to the things you actually have control over.

Second question from one of my heroes, Marcus Aurelius: is this essential?

This is so important.

Whatever you’re doing every day, if you’re wasting time, if you’re worrying about things that don’t matter. If you’re as I like to call it, spinning your wheels in mud. Is it essential for me to worry about this right now? Is it essential for me to ask my partners more questions about their past?

As you know, I’m big on coming up with your own personal, deal-breakers. Getting clear about your actual relationship values. What is actually important to you? The deal breaker questions, which you actually do need to know the examples I often like to cite are, have you been married before? Have you had kids before? These are important questions for me that I would pose to any potential partner.

You might have different, important questions, essential questions that you might need to ask and that’s totally fine.

The point is to get clarity about what is actually essential in your life. And if you’re struggling with something in a certain moment, or you’re worried about something, is it essential for you to be struggling in this moment? Is it essential for you to be asking yourself the same questions and stewing about things that don’t matter.

Third question by Seneca: what’s the worst case scenario?

Am I prepared?

If you’re struggling with your partner’s past this is actually a really great question to ask yourself at the beginning of the day in the morning.

Now you can’t take this too far, you can’t be fretting about what’s the worst case scenario. You shouldn’t be like preparing or on guard for that all day. But for example, ask yourself if you’re in the early stages, shall we say of overcoming retroactive jealousy, ask yourself if I encounter some trigger today, how am I going to respond? If my partner makes a comment that I don’t really want to hear, or I don’t want to deal with, how am I going to respond? How am I going to handle the potential worst case scenario today?

Because the chances are good, especially if you’re in the early stages of overcoming retroactive jealousy, chances are good you might encounter a potential bump in the road today. And are you ready for that? Are you prepared?

Do you have the tools, practices, perspectives, techniques which are going to help you get over this bump in the road? So it’s just a barely a blip in the rear view mirror, rather than something that’s going to impact your day and take you further down the retroactive jealousy rabbit hole. Are you prepared for potential bumps in the road? What is the worst case scenario? And are you prepared for that?

And finally, another one from Seneca, this one I think is great to ask at the end of the day:

Where did I fall short? Where did I improve? And where can I do better?

Again, if you’re in the early stages of overcoming retroactive jealousy, I think this is a fantastic question to ask yourself at the end of the day.

After the dust of the day has settled you’ve proceeded through the day hopefully you’re already working to get more perspectives, more practices, more tools, more techniques, more ways to deal with retroactive jealousy.

And at the end of the day, ask yourself, how did I do today? Did I make progress? Was it mostly a really positive day? Did I encounter any potential bumps in the road? And how did I respond to them? Did I respond well to them? Am I making progress? Am I in a better position today than I was a month, two months, half a year ago? And what can I do better today? Did I stumble and start stalking someone on social media when I shouldn’t have? Did I ask my partner a question about their past that was actually totally unnecessary and counterproductive?

Hold yourself accountable. Again, especially if you’re in the early stages of struggling with your partner’s past, hold yourself accountable. Look at your progress or not with a clear mind, try to be as objective as possible and ask yourself, how did I do? And more importantly, how can I do better tomorrow?

Before I let you go, one more time I’d like to remind you that my brand new audio series fully downloadable of guided meditations for overcoming retroactive jealousy is available right now at limited time discount.

You can click here to learn all about my new series, which I’m so excited to share with you: Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: The Guided Meditations.

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.