What Is Retroactive Jealousy In Relationships?
What Is Retroactive Jealousy In Relationships?
What is retroactive jealousy? An increased interest in a partner's past romantic and sexual life is called retrospective jealousy or retroactive jealousy. Often it has no good reason, but it poses a serious threat to the relationship.
At first, you just feel uncomfortable at the thought of your crush's former lovers. Then, because of retroactive jealousy men, you begin to doubt the value of the current relationship, consider your partner immoral and unreasonably suspect him of treason. Finally, jealousy completely captures, makes you check social networks and browser history, and spy.
At this stage, flashbacks of events you have never witnessed may occur. According to a relationship consultant, this often leads to obsessive thoughts and a relentless desire to know what “really happened” between a partner and their previous lovers.
Retroactive jealous definition
Read the statements proposed by Robert Leahy, Ph.D. in psychology and Yale University professor:
- I often think about the fact that my current partner had a lover or mistress in the past.
- When I think about it, I feel anxious and restless.
- I wonder if my partner's past relationships were better than ours.
- I want to be the only person my partner has ever loved.
- You are jealous if you understand that some phrases can be attributed to you.
- I experience jealousy of past relationships.
Dealing with retroactive jealousy
To start fighting retroactive jealousy meaning, you need to find out the reasons. The reasons may be different and depend on your character, the conditions of acquaintance with a partner, and external factors. But more often than not, according to a therapist who specializes in retrospective jealousy, it comes down to this:
- You are afraid that you will be hurt. Perhaps you had a difficult relationship with your parents, you experienced a betrayal by a friend, or your previous partner was an abuser. One way or another, your body remembers this and tries to protect you from a similar situation. The defense mechanism is activated when you fall in love and begin to experience strong emotions.
- You worry about being compared to your previous partner. This reason is closely related to your inner beliefs, self-esteem, attitude, and jealous of partner's past. If you feel insecure at the beginning of a relationship, likely, things will only get worse. When you discover that your soulmate has other partners, you subconsciously begin to look for flaws in yourself, worry that you will be compared with previous lovers, and decide in advance that you will be worse. By learning what causes retroactive jealousy you will be able to eliminate these causes.
- You think your partner's past isn't good enough for you. In this case, you are comparing your partner with yourself. It can also be caused by retrograde jealousy of his previous ex. It seems to you that he does not correspond to you because he used to do something that is unacceptable to you. You focus on his past mistakes and devalue his merits in the present.
- You don't like that your partner has the experience that you don't. A busy past can be a serious cause for controversy. It may seem that the person next to you had a brighter and more interesting life. Then you will want to quickly find a reason to end the relationship to "catch up."
- You think you made the wrong choice. When you fall in love, you see everything in a rosy light and endow the person with super qualities. But then you get to know him better, and your ideas fall apart. The partner turns out to be not perfect but ordinary, and you don’t want to put up with it. Then you plunge into the past of a person and start looking for evidence there that he was always selfish, unfaithful, evil, and you simply made a mistake in him. A similar reason can also cause social media relationship jealousy.
How to get over retroactive jealousy?
Retrospective jealousy can ruin not only relationships with a partner but also your emotional state in general. To prevent this, try following these tips.
- Acknowledge your feelings. How to stop retroactive jealousy? First of all, you need to understand that your emotions are completely normal. They do not make you a bad person or crazy and, according to psychologist Robert Leahy, are due to the natural desire to be the only one. Understand your feelings and accept them; otherwise, it will be worse. If you find out that my partner has retroactive jealousy, then advise him to also work with his feelings.
- Ask yourself what it is that worries you. Sometimes pinpointing exactly what causes jealousy can help. Perhaps you are not interested in who your partner met before, but what kind of person he was then. Or you want to know what attracts him and what annoys him. Or you think you can predict the development of your relationship.
- Look at the situation from the other side. Let's say you're afraid of losing your lover because he's wonderful. Think about what made him the way he is, and admit to yourself that past romantic relationships have contributed as well. Any relationship makes us more experienced and allows us to develop.
- Realize that the past is the past. How to deal with retroactive jealousy? Even if you know your partner had a relationship before you (and not even one), remind yourself that it's over. Perhaps people have realized that they are no longer interested in each other or have identified different goals in life. In any case, this past stage has nothing to do with you. Try to put yourself in your partner's place and remember that you also have your own history and people who were once dear to you but then left in the past.