You may have some experience with jealousy, especially in romantic relationships. It’s perfectly normal to occasionally feel insecure or worry that your partner might be attracted to someone else.
Do you feel insecure about who or what your partner has liked in the past? Apparently it has a name; retroactive jealousy. This type of jealousy expresses jealousy towards your partner’s past relationships.
Experts note that interest in a partner’s past can range from curious to obsessive. Like ordinary jealousy, retroactive jealousy is also quite common. It doesn’t always cause problems, but sometimes it can become obsessive and manifest in unhealthy or destructive ways.
Good news! You can work on these feelings.
Jealousy types tend to be temporary and usually pass quite quickly.
Retrospective jealousy is a different experience. Read on to learn more about its causes and why it’s so devastating to relationships.
So what exactly is retrograde jealousy? Retrospective jealousy is a pattern of jealousy. It relates to your partner’s sexual or romantic history. But that doesn’t mean that all your partner’s jealousy towards your exes is retroactive jealousy.
Retrograde jealousy is associated with obsessive thoughts. These thoughts lead to unhealthy, negative actions that then affect your relationship. This type of jealousy is different; focuses on self-worth. It usually includes a comparison with your partner’s previous relationships or sexual partners.
Retroactive jealousy is sometimes called retrograde jealousy OCD. This is because people suffering from retrograde jealousy have much in common with people with OCD. They exhibit many of the same thought and behavior patterns. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is characterized by obsessive and intrusive thoughts, such as retrospective jealousy. Repetitive and obsessive behaviors and replaying mental movies of imagined events are also common. Both of these mental health disorders lead to repetitive and persistent behavior. Ultimately, this behavior damages relationships and causes disruptions in daily life.
Common signs of retrograde jealousy
As we’ve said before, it’s normal to feel jealous from time to time. You may struggle with being jealous of your partner’s past relationships. However, that doesn’t automatically mean you have past jealousy issues.
Retrograde jealousy is characterized by much more serious symptoms. These, in turn, lead to a vicious cycle of negative behaviors that harm your relationship.
In retrograde jealousy, there are various emotional patterns of unwanted thoughts. One of the primary emotions is fear. These people often have a fear of losing their partner to their past romantic or sexual partners. Typically, the fear of losing your spouse to a previous partner goes hand in hand with the doubt that they truly love you.
Another common behavior is to question your partner’s past. This can lead to controversy. Why? Because your partner doesn’t think they did anything to deserve this treatment. Many people who suffer from this condition also struggle with jealousy.
Thought patterns aren’t the only symptom of retrograde jealousy. Behavior patterns are another major sign that you are suffering from it. People suffering from retrograde jealousy are often too busy surfing the internet. They seek information about how they are feeling. And they seek validation and advice about the feelings and thoughts they are dealing with.
Typically, they also struggle with spying on their spouse’s social media profiles. They may even dig into emails or social profiles to find out about their spouse’s history.
Another common behavior is to question your partner about their past. This can lead to arguments because your partner feels that he or she has done nothing to deserve this interview. Similarly, if you’re struggling with this type of jealousy, you may make sarcastic, dismissive, or pointed comments about your partner’s romantic past.
Many people who suffer from retrograde jealousy also dwell on their thoughts. As a result, brooding can perpetuate the problem and worsen the cycle they’ve already been trapped in.
Strategies to break the cycle
Overcoming jealousy is certainly difficult, but certainly not impossible. The first step to overcoming this type of jealousy is admitting that you have a problem. By recognizing that your thoughts and behaviors are not healthy, you are opening the door to get the help you need.
Once you admit that you are struggling with a serious problem, it’s time to try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Understanding how you negatively affect your partner can help you stop unhealthy patterns. It can help you start loving and supporting your partner the way you want.
The next step is probably the most difficult, but also the key to breaking the molds you have set for yourself. You will need to resist the urge to spy on, discuss, or research your partner’s past. While it may be difficult at first, resisting these urges is what stops the negative behavior patterns you’ve created.
Talking to your partner is also an important part of overcoming this jealousy. When you talk about things with your partner, you can see more clearly how your actions affect your relationship and your partner.
Another strategy for overcoming retrograde feelings of jealousy is to remind yourself of your own self-worth. Repetitive affirmations can help you leave jealousy behind and focus on what you’re bringing to the relationship.
If you’re experiencing past jealousy in your relationship, it’s time to put an end to it. This type of jealousy does nothing but hurt you, hurt your partner, and ultimately ruin your relationship.