Welcome to the Retroactive Jealousy Page

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Welcome to the information page on Retroactive Jealousy designed for sufferers in the UK and worldwide.


What is Retroactive Jealousy?

Retroactive Jealousy – ‘Retro’ meaning backwards in Latin, ‘active’ meaning present time - is the imaginative conjuration or reconstruction of sexual infidelity which involves our partners as the focal point. For example, imagining a sexual activity of our partner with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, a one night stand from his/her past, or an actual event when the partner has been unfaithful. These thoughts are then compulsively obsessed over causing the person thinking of them to suffer varying degrees of psychological trauma. During my research I found that it was common for people who suffer with Retroactive Jealousy to also suffer from spontaneous ‘imagination scenario’ jealousy – a graphic imaginative scenario portraying our darkest fears in relation to emotional and sexual attachment. Intrusive thoughts are normal to a human being as it belongs to the rationalisation process, however people with retroactive jealousy obsess with these thoughts and confuse the body into thinking that the scenario/situation is real. This is widely believed to be a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which can be hard to tackle alone.

Retroactive Jealousy can derive from numerous factors either psychological or environmental. The intrusive thoughts about sexual activity involving someone you love more often than not symbolises a personal problem with how one views themselves. To be retroactively jealous then you would firstly have a problem with your self esteem. I.e. not feeling good enough, attractive, infertile, trust issues, etc. To re-live a thought you have conjured within your imagination is a direct affiliate of your incapability to believe you can keep your partner. It’s like you’re trying to prepare for the worst because you think you can foresee what will happen in the future. In cases where a partner has been unfaithful, intrusive thoughts are dwelled upon because the person tries to work out why the partner did what they did.

It is widely believed that the behaviour derives from a form of OCD which focuses more on the obsession side of the disorder and is an unnatural attempt for the sufferer to justify their insecurities. Some people have the inability to process and deal with acts of infidelity whereas others get trapped within a never ending cycle. This becomes – and what is undoubtedly hard to comprehend – addictive behaviour.

Why are people Retroactively Jealous?

There is no simple answer for this because obsessive and compulsive thoughts could stem from a variety of biological and environmental factors. If you browse the web you will see various articles with different arguments, definitions and descriptions of why people get burdened with Retroactive Jealousy. To quickly summarize, these include:

  • Low Self-Esteem - The way we think of ourselves leads us to punish ourselves with graphic and distressing thoughts.
  • Views of the Opposite Sex - outdated and irrational views of the inferiority of the opposite gender.
  • Biological Inheritence. A pre-instinctive thought that has been genetically encoded within our DNA.
  • Trust Issues - the ability to trust another individual.
  • General views of Sex
  • Sexual Inferiority - not feeling good enough intimately, or being ashamed because you have had less sexual partners.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Retroactive Jealousy


·         Realise that you are not alone with this problem. It CAN be tackled along with fellow sufferers.

·         Realise that Retroactive Jealousy is IRRATIONAL.

·         Think about telling your partner in the best possible way about your problem. It is a sensitive topic and may cause offense if not done correctly.

·         Seek medical advice and discuss the issue with your General Practitioner (GP). There are many options for you. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychotherapy, Anti-depressants, Hypnotherapy, and Counselling.

·         Keep a balanced and maintained lifestyle. Eat healthy foods, exercise and maintain a good social lifestyle.

·         Keep yourself occupied by doing things that you enjoy and setting yourself personal and obtainable targets.

·         Choose to accept your partner as a human being that’s on a similar journey to yourself.


·         Try to work it out by yourself. This can be counterproductive as your body feeds off of the obsession.

·         Delude yourself into thinking it is your partner’s fault. The problem lies within you and running away from the problem will achieve nothing. (in some cases where the partner has cheated then this needs to be tackled in a different way)

·         Resent your partner for his/her past actions. This makes things worse and is irrational.

·         Abuse substances to tackle your problem. This is merely hiding from it. Depressants such as alcohol, illegal stimulants and hallucinogenic drugs may offer short term relief but actually create a snowball effect that makes the problem worse.

·          Think negatively about yourself for having this problem.

·         Sink into a poor diet and routine. If the intrusive thoughts cause anxiety then stay away from high amounts of caffeine and natural stimulants.

·         Be afraid to speak up.


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