In today’s video, I talk about what I’ve learned over the past 10 years of working on retroactive jealousy.

Read or watch below to learn more about my experience as a full-time coach working on retroactive jealousy.

Zachary Stockill: It’s hard to believe, but this month marks 10 years since I published my first book, Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy. And, since I started talking publicly about my own struggles with retroactive jealousy.

I’m in a unique position. Because there aren’t a lot of people like me who are talking publicly about this issue of retroactive jealousy. 

There are even fewer people who are talking about their own personal struggles with this issue. And to commemorate 10 years of working on this issue of retroactive jealousy, I figured many of you might be interested in what that’s actually like, day to day. What I’ve learned over the past 10 years. And so, in today’s video, that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about. 

It probably won’t surprise many of you to learn that most people in the world have no idea what retroactive jealousy is. Most people have no idea that this affliction exists. 

Furthermore, even when they hear about this issue, most people cannot wrap their brains around being so bothered by a partner’s past, men and women alike. 

For many people, it’s as simple as “Anything that happened before I met my partner is none of my business. I don’t know. And, I don’t want to think about it. It’s not important to me…” And so many of these people cannot relate to the experience of retroactive jealousy whatsoever. 

So if I’m at a party, for example, and I’m dragged into a conversation with someone. Or, I’m engaged in conversation with someone, and they start asking me, “What do you do for a living? What are you interested in? What do you do for work?” I’ve learned to keep my answers relatively brief.

I usually say, “Oh, I’m a coach. And, I work with people to improve their relationships, to improve their dating lives.” I try to keep it relatively general. Because in the past, when I’ve talked about working and helping others overcome retroactive jealousy…

Often, I’ve been met by blank stares. Again, most people don’t really understand this issue. 

working on retroactive jealousy

I’d also mention that this is 10 years that I’ve been coaching full-time on retroactive jealousy. I work all the time, but I don’t do quite as much coaching as I used to. 

Because I got to a point where it was too much, and I was a little overwhelmed. 

It wasn’t necessarily that the calls were taking an emotional toll on me or anything like that.

I’m continually blown away, on coaching calls, by how totally frank and open, and transparent people are with me. And how quick it is for me to build trust and rapport with people. It’s something I’m very grateful for. 

Some of you may also be interested to know that over 10 years of working on retroactive jealousy, hearing the most intimate details of people’s lives, hearing those intimate details of their relationships, often hearing the most intimate details about their wife’s past or their husband’s past or their partner’s past or whatever…

This has not impacted my personal life at all. This has not made retroactive jealousy resurface in my personal life. 

I have not returned to the retroactive jealousy rabbit hole in my personal life. And I’m very grateful for that. 

Because I’ve thought about this before: if I ever felt like my work was inspiring me to go back down the retroactive jealousy rabbit hole, if I ever felt like my work, was having a negative impact on my personal life, I would look for another line of work.

But after 10 years, it’s really not something that crosses my mind anymore. And I’m very happy to report that.

In fact, learning more about relationships, connecting with people, and hearing the lessons from their relationships has only benefited my own life.

I’d also say that when I first “came out” publcly as the retroactive jealousy guy, I still did have a certain degree of embarrassment or shame. And to this day, I regret some of the choices I made in my personal life many years ago. I regret the way I treated a woman that I loved very deeply. No, that hasn’t gone away. 

But in terms of being someone who speaks openly about their experience of retroactive jealousy in the past, I’m not embarrassed at all. And most people, I have found… 

When you do open up to them, when you do trust them with details about your own struggles, most people are generally understanding and supportive. 

working on retroactive jealousy

Back when I first started this work, I was also concerned about the potential impact of this work on my personal life. In particular, in my dating life. I had this idea that, for the rest of my life, every woman I date is going to go home from the date and Google me. And she’s going to find videos like this on YouTube, and she’s going to find all this stuff about retroactive jealousy, and she’s going to read my book… I thought it might have a negative impact on my dating life on my personal life. 

I’m very happy to tell you, after 10 years of doing this, that that has not been the case at all. I think I’ve told every woman I’ve dated for length of time about my work. I’ve been very honest, I haven’t tried to hide anything. 

And every single woman, without exception, has found the work interesting. They’ve never made me feel bad about the fact that I used to struggle with this strange issue. 

They found it admirable that I’ve dealt with this issue and worked through it and grown to start helping others with it.

The point is, for anyone watching this who’s embarrassed, you really don’t have to be.

I think what’s embarrassing is not owning a problem. Not doing anything about it, and remaining wedded to a victim mentality. I think that could be embarrassing.

But I don’t think it’s embarrassing to struggle with a problem, and then start looking for solutions and eventually get a handle on that problem. I think that’s the opposite of embarrassing. 

On that note, I’ll tell you a quick story:

Not long after, I put my real name on my guidebook, and I started putting my face on YouTube and all this stuff… I had dinner with a woman I used to date. At this point, we were genuinely friends.

And I was opening up to her about my concerns about putting my own name and face on this retroactive jealousy stuff. I told her exactly what I just told you. “I’m worried that every woman I date for the rest of my life is going to Google me and not like what she sees…”

She looked at me straight in the eye, and said: “Zach, the book is called Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy.”

And immediately I got it. I understood what she was trying to tell me.

She was trying to tell me that the fact that I struggled with retroactive jealousy is not necessarily embarrassing, shameful, or anything else. 

And the fact that I actually overcame it, and I’m owning it, is actually a good thing. The book is not called Struggling With Retroactive Jealousy Forever and Taking No Action. That would be an embarrassing book to write, in my opinion. The book is called Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy.

That moment meant a lot to me. That simple moment helped me let go of any lingering embarrassment or shame that I might still be holding on to. 

So in conclusion, I am still, to this day, after 10 years, very happy being “the retroactive jealousy guy.” I find working on retroactive jealousy incredibly rewarding, motivating, humbling, and educational. I love what I do. My enthusiasm for helping people work through this issue has not waned a bit.

Of course, I have difficult days. Sometimes, I have challenges like everyone else. But at the end of the day, I feel incredibly privileged to be doing what I do.

If you would like to connect with me and become another one of my retroactive jealousy success stories, you can click here to sign up for one-on-one coaching [Subject to Availability].

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.