In today’s video, I share a technique for dealing with unwanted retroactive jealousy thoughts.
Read or watch below to learn more about overcoming unwanted retroactive jealousy thoughts.
Zachary Stockill: If you’re struggling with a problem like retroactive jealousy, chances are you’re struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts. There are thoughts that sometimes pop up out of nowhere relating to your partner’s past experiences that have the potential to disrupt your day and or night.
I talk a lot about how to overcome retroactive jealousy. And, how to transcend and overcome unwanted intrusive thoughts. I’ve created all kinds of products and services relating to this topic.
And in today’s free short video, I want to share a technique for dealing with intrusive thoughts that you probably haven’t thought of before, and that I find particularly helpful in challenging moments.
You could even reframe this video as a different way of dealing with any kind of negative thought.
Sometimes we all have thoughts about ourselves or about situations or other people that aren’t really getting us where we need or want to go.
The beauty of life is that we always have the power to choose our perspectives. And, at any moment, we have the power to choose better perspectives.
On that note, the subject of today’s video is a simple way to reframe any unwanted retroactive jealousy or intrusive thought.
Let’s take a classic retroactive jealousy example…
So let’s say I’m in a relationship and my partner once had some kind of casual sex. Scandalous, I know. But, in the modern age, it’s very common.
So let’s say your partner once had some casual sex. On some level, you may be going around with the thought of “My partner’s promiscuous, she’s promiscuous,” or “He’s promiscuous,” or he likes casual sex, or she likes casual sex… you get my drift.
On some level, maybe you’ve attached meaning to that experience of casual sex. You’ve maybe thrown a label on your partner, or you use words to describe your partner that kind of sum up their attitude about, in this case, casual sex.
Now, a simple thought experiment. Ask yourself: could the opposite also be true?
In other words, to come back to our example, what’s the opposite of my partner liking casual sex? My partner doesn’t like casual sex.
Okay, do I have any evidence in support of the opposite argument? Do I have any evidence to say that my partner doesn’t like casual sex? To use an example, let’s say they’ve spent most of their adult life in relationships. As I say, endlessly: look for patterns over perfection if you want to gauge who someone is.
So maybe you have way more evidence that they prefer sex and intimacy in a committed relationship, as opposed to casual sex. You’re not denying the reality of what happened, you’re not denying any aspect of their past. You’re simply introducing a different perspective that is at least as true as the previous thought in your head… and possibly even more true.
What is the opposite of lying?
Another example. Let’s say you have a fight with your partner, and you catch them in a lie that ticks you off.
I’m not excusing lying by any means. But many people have had moments in life where they tell a little white lie when they shouldn’t.
So maybe you start going around and thinking about this for most of the day, or maybe even most of your week, telling yourself “My partner is a liar. I can’t trust them. My partner is a liar. They lied, and my partner is a liar…”
Pause, and ask yourself,
What is the opposite of unwanted retroactive jealousy thoughts? And could that also be true?
So what’s the opposite of being a liar? Being a truth-teller. “My partner is a truth-teller… What evidence do I have that my partner tells the truth?”
And again, just a hypothetical example, but you might be able to look back on several months, several years, or maybe even several decades, of many, many, many, many, many incidents in which they told the truth.
Again, you’re not saying that they didn’t tell the lie. And that’s not to excuse their behavior. It’s simply to try to balance things out and realize that the opposite in this case is at least as true. In fact, in a court of law, you would say it’s even more true.
And again, this comes back to a philosophical argument that I often think about, especially in the context of retroactive jealousy… Because I get a lot of clients and a lot of students in my online courses, a lot of coaching clients, and on some level, they’re trying to get a handle on: who is this person I’m dating? Can they be trusted? How can I risk manage my relationship? How can I know if I should marry this person? And how can I trust them?
As I said, a moment ago, one of my mantras is to…
Look for patterns over perfection. Because perfection doesn’t exist.
If you go looking for perfection in anyone’s past, you are not going to find it. Perfection does not exist, but If you get to know anyone over a long enough period of time, you will notice patterns.
And the patterns in someone’s behavior–both past and more recent–will tell you so much more about who they truly are, as opposed to one-off events or aberrations from their past.
So again, this can be a really useful little thought experiment when you’re dealing with unwanted intrusive thoughts, or you find yourself throwing labels at people.
Breathe, take a moment to pause, and ask yourself: what is the opposite of that thought? And do I have evidence in support of that? Could the opposite of this thought in my head also be true?
If you are currently struggling with retroactive jealousy, you can click here to sign up for a free four-part mini-course that will help you get started.
Or if you need more help, then you can consider signing up for one-on-one coaching with me. [Subject to availability]