Everyone knows what jealousy is. It can be one of the most harmful emotions of all, a nagging feeling of inferiority and spite towards another, usually over a mutual interest or person. Perhaps even worse than standard feelings of jealousy is retroactive jealousy, a resentment towards and insecurity over a love interest or partner’s past romantic experiences.
Overcoming feelings of retroactive jealousy is vital when you’re in a relationship, and when you’re out of one. Learn to conquer the need to feel retroactively jealous, or jealous at all, and you’ll feel like a much stronger and happier person. In this guide, we’ll explore the root causes of retroactive jealousy, the symptoms that indicate you may be experiencing it, and solutions to eliminate the feelings once and for all.
Check out this course on overcoming jealousy in nine easy steps for a head start.
What is Retroactive Jealousy?
It’s normal and sometimes healthy for small levels of jealousy to play a role early on in a relationship. If the partnership is new, and both people are still trying to get comfortable with commitment and harvest trust, feelings of protectiveness are not uncommon. However, when these feelings become invasive, concerning, and actually motivate you to question, distrust, and put limits on your partner, you might be suffering from an unhealthy dose of jealousy. You can read this blog post on the top eight signs of jealousy in a relationship for more information.
Retroactive jealousy is an entirely separate ordeal, a feeling that can strike at any moment in a relationship and carry on throughout its duration. It describes the feelings of dread, distrust, and even anger that can arise from the idea of your partner having had romantic or sexual feelings for other people in their previous relationships. For people who don’t suffer from this, it might seem ridiculous – why would anyone be bothered by that, if the person they love is with them now?
For sufferers of retroactive jealousy, that doesn’t matter. What makes retroactive jealousy even worse than standard jealousy is that standard jealousy can usually be solved by good communication, encouragement, and other exercises that help build trust between partners. Retroactive jealousy concerns events and feelings that have already taken place, that cannot be revisited or engaged with except in memory and recollection.
People who suffer from retroactive jealousy will experience feelings of deep depression, anger, or even nausea at the mention, thought, or reminder of their partner’s romantic and sexual history. Names, memories, and the slightest hint at their partner having ever been involved with someone else before them will trigger these feelings, and there is often nothing the accused partner can do or say to calm their retroactively jealous partner down. So how do you solve retroactive jealousy?
Cures for Retroactive Jealousy
Retroactive jealousy is almost always caused by feelings of extreme insecurity. Being in a mutually committed relationship with the person they care about should be enough to quell any fears a person can have about their partner’s feelings towards them, but for retroactively jealous people, low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority hold them back from trusting in and embracing their partner’s love.
Low self-esteem is a personal issue that people suffer, separate from their relationships with others. Retroactive jealousy is just one of the many ways low self-esteem can manifest in a relationship. To combat the jealousy, you must first combat the low self-esteem. You can do this by learning how to reclaim your self-esteem with this course, or checking out this practical course on building up self-confidence.
Learning how to love yourself is important before seeking out a serious relationship. Once you have confidence in yourself, it won’t be so difficult to believe why your partner is with you now, and trust that they love you now, and that their past relationships don’t matter in the present. It’s also good to practice good communication skills to strengthen your relationship, alongside your self-esteem exercises. Make sure your partner understands what you’re going through, and don’t try to go through it alone. Honesty is key! Check out this course on building a healthy relationship in just one month.
If you’re somebody whose partner suffers from retroactive jealousy, know the importance of empathy and try to understand the root of your partner’s feelings. Realize that this isn’t about you, but your partner’s own struggle with their self-worth. Try to lift them up, rather than tear them down for their feelings, no matter how unfounded, confusing, or frustrating they might be.
If all else fails, check out this course on overcoming retroactive jealousy for more tips on salvaging and strengthening a relationship plagued by retroactive jealousy.