Retroactive Jealousy

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    Nick Payne

    I dont think if you are familiar with that thing but its basically being jealous of your partners sexual past. I am in a relationship for about 8 months and it has been going great so far expect my jealousy about her past. Often times become obsessive about it asking for every possible detail and then being judgmental about it. Sometimes i ask myself did she really have sex with such and older partner? Or how can she had sex without feeling for someone? I am looking for some meaningful advice about this subject . Everyone i talk to just says to me get over it or the past is gone live in the present moment. Thank you tinybuddha friends 🙂


    So that’s what it’s called? Yes I’ve had this, exactly the same as what your talking about, thought I was going crazy!. And it sucks. I do know if this stays the same you will have a very rocky relationship, I know I did.ive got a lot to say on the matter but I’ll keep it short.

    what worked for me was working on myself. I came to realise I was insecure, jealous and somewhat controlling at the time. i could spend hours on this telling you how crazy I thought I was.

    So basically I did a lot of self enquirery. Read a lot of books, podcasts, I was open to anything that would help me change.. I can give you a few names. Worked on my problems and started to do things for myself amoung of a lot of other things! This was my problem, perhaps not yours.

    But I honestly look back now with no worries what so ever. I accept what’s happened now with no judgement.

    It took a little while but I feel free from it.


    Hi Nikosv,

    The world is like a mirror and reflects things back to you. You can only ever recognise something ‘out there’ that is already within you. As uncomfortable as what this is at times, it is also the great revealer of thing for you to work on, that leads you to peace within yourself.

    Perhaps to understand what the issue is for you internally, and enable you to discover the reason for your jealousy, try this experiment.

    First question:- What if she never had another partner – you were the first. How do you feel, and why do you feel it? Is it fair that she can be jealous of your sexual past, and judge you for it? Is she allowed to interrogate you about your past? How does she feel knowing you are her first, but you have had many before her? Can you love her completely even though you have had sex with others? Are you comparing her to your other partners?

    Second question:- What if her sexual past was ten times greater than it is presently? How would you feel, and why? Does this diminish her feelings for you? Are you simply a notch on her bed end? Could she possibly be faithful to you having so many partners? Is she comparing you to her previous partners?

    You will find quickly, that this line of thought is simply a self esteem and self acceptance issue. This actually has nothing to do with her at all. Life is a journey of self discovery. She is living life and discovering what she likes and does not like. Perhaps if I were to ask…… Are you living in a way that is for your personal self discovery? Are you withholding your life experience for others? Are you holding back and wishing you were not?

    Also look up the definitions of jealousy and envy…….

    I hope this helps you discover something wonderful within 🙂




    Yeah thats what it is called! I broke up couple of relationships because of this. Then I realized there is some problem with my thoughts and how i was working with them…

    I understood that by being jealous and thinking about the past of someone, I was controlling them. I was behaving like an egoist, jealous, judgemental and insecure person.

    One realization was there is nothing wrong and right in this world. We humans have made some moral rules and based on that we judge people for their behavior while at the same time thinking we are better than them. From the childhood only we are made to believe lot of morality about sex. We wouldn’t be having any problems with our partners having sex in the past had our society portrayed it in a different way. Having sex before marriage, with someone old, without loving someone etc is our mind’s judging the person. Knowingly or unknowingly we think in our mind that I would had never done that so how can she do that? Then we start judging that person as someone bad, someone without morals etc. But if we see deep inside us, we will find that we are neither good in lot of matters. We also have taken decisions in past which we are not proud of.

    I have OCD and I too obsess a lot about my partners past. Another realization was that if you break up the current relationship due to jealously, your mind will start believing that their is nothing wrong is judging person who has some kind of past. Next time you try to date someone new, your mind again gonna bring this topic and you will be in much bigger trap of mind…

    What worked for me?
    1) Whenever those thoughts come up in my mind. I mindfully think and sometimes say to myself that this is my insecurity and ego coming up again to prove me that I am a better person than her and she is wrong. Sometimes I extend it saying that I am noone to judge her. If she was happy that time, that’s her life. She didn’t bother anyone, neither she hurt anyone by her steps. Being in love is all about being happy for other person’s happiness and I dont want to be a selfish person.
    2) Then I start diverting my mind to some other activity like my work, cleaning stuffs etc. Sometimes when I don’t have anything to do I start doing mindfulness meditation by concentration on my breath etc.

    What this does is that with time your subconscious mind starts accepting that maybe this thought is not so important for you. Once you start diverting your attention to other stuffs, your mind will slowly start accepting and then the jealously will go down. Because more attention we give to this emotion of jealousy and keep on ruminating about it, our brain accepts that this topic is really so important for me and I need to be keep thinking about it.

    Its not easy and it takes lot of time.. Maybe a month before you start seeing changes in your thinking process. But its worth doing.
    Mindfulness practice along with above steps has really helped me in moving forward. These emotions are still there and sometimes they do bother me but its very easy now to get over them.
    By moving forward and slowly learning, you will also find that you have started judging people less as you used to do before. Belive me it brings lot of peace and happiness in life…

    Hope it helps you…


    Dear nikosv:

    If you’d like to look into your relationship with your parent/s when you were a child, as a possible source of the cause that is fueling your obsession with your partner’s sexual past, for the purpose of healing yourself in this regard, let me know.


    Nick Payne

    Thank you for all your answers. I consider myself an insecure person. I have suffered from bulimia and was overweight for most of my life. Even though i managed to maintain a normal weight my insecurities are still here. I also suffer from anxiety and have been seeing a therapist for quite some time so here goes the insecurity and obssesive part. I believe that the problem has complex roots and is a combination of anxiety low self esteem and a judgmental nature of my mind.

    Anita i would be very interested in that.

    Thank you all for your answers. Please give me any further advice that you have because i really need it.


    Dear nikosv:

    Regarding your latest post: in the core of the bulimia there was anxiety (ongoing fear). In the core of your insecurity is anxiety. Same with your self esteem and judgmental nature. I should say: fear and hurt are in the core of these later developments.

    In-the-beginning there was you, a child, scared and hurt. Then things devolved into (overeating?), bulimia, obsessing…

    So when I suggested to look at your relationship with your parents when you were a child, I am suggesting looking into the hurt and scared child that you were and still are.

    Would you like to do that? If so, tell me about the child that you were and how you got hurt and scared, again and again.


    Michelle Scott

    I’ve been on both sides. Being a single woman, it appeared that I was a total player, having sex with more than a few guys. But the truth is that every time I had sex with a guy I was dating, he would stop dating me. It was super frustrating because I had to start all over and waste another couple of weeks or months only to repeat the process. But hopefully you can see where it looks like I just slept around with whomever without caring. I wasn’t like that at all, I was just forced to look like that.
    Once I met my current boyfriend, I have not even looked at another guy. I’m completely happy with the one I have, and I have no intention on leaving.
    I sometimes feel the same thing, asking if his past relationships are going to affect our present. But there are a few things that help me with the jealousy issue:

    1) I do not know all of the story.
    2) I was not in his life at that time.
    3) I was probably worse, and what I did prior to meeting him does not impact my feelings for him now, so I will assume the same applies to him.


    there is some peace in knowing that it is in the past, before your relationship occurred and whatever experiences she had cannot diminish anything about your present relationship with her. digging deeper to find the root of the fear is helpful.

    i struggled with the same emotion in a relationship years ago. in retrospect i felt insecure and not enough for my partner so i searched through his past and compared myself to his previous partners to see which parts of me needed “fixing” or “releasing” and wondering if i could make myself better to him. i know now that it was a cruel and punishing thing to do to myself. he was a different person when he was with those people he needed whatever experiences he had to become the person he became when he was with me. the problem was i had a fear and the fear at its root was an a feeling of unworthiness within myself. i do not know or suggest that this is the same for you but hope that you find the root of whatever your fear may be and wish for you healing and happiness in your present relationship with yourself and your partner.

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