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How ‘Retroactive Jealousy’ Can Ruin Relationships (And What To Do About It)

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In a romantic relationship, IIt’s normal to feel sometimes envyYou’ve probably experienced the green-eyed monsterAbout yourself, like when you see the bartender flirting with your partner a little overtly, or when your spouse brings home another story about an attractive “work wife.” when you feel anxious. But what if you’re feeling jealous of your partner’s past, i.e. your previous partner or pre-dating sex life?

“The term ‘retroactive jealousy’ has been used to describe jealousy, resentment, or frustration with a partner’s past romantic or sexual experiences.” Sarah Melansona sociologist and sexologist told Lifehacker. “It’s a form of jealousy that isn’t based on the present, but on the partner’s actual or imagined past experiences before the relationship existed.” .”

why does that happen? Melanson points out that if you had reasons to distrust in the past, especially if you have a history of trauma, you tend to carry those hurts into future relationships. If you’ve been cheated on or betrayed, it makes perfect sense that your insecurities could center around fears of your partner’s past and present.

Even if you’ve never been cheated on, if you fear being abandoned by past trauma, you may be overly focused on why your partner might leave.understand that of The past for some reason.

retroactive jealousy It’s just as common as “regular” jealousy, driving a wedge between you and your partner and manifesting as obsessive thoughts and other destructive patterns. , is how to fight them.

Signs You’re Experiencing Retroactive Jealousy

You constantly compare yourself to past partners. If you find yourself falling into the comparison game with your partner’s ex, you may be experiencing retroactive jealousy. We can,” Melanson said. “No matter what you compare yourself to, you are always inferior”

I get angry and upset when I hear about positive experiences in past relationships. Have you recently seen an old social media photo of your partner enjoying a great vacation or adopting a pet and feeling jealous? If so, that’s a clear example of retroactive jealousy.

“Being in an adult relationship means understanding that your partner has likely been happier with other people in the past. “This may discourage your partner from sharing about their past.

I feel like I have to compete with my former sex partner. According to Melancon, sexual anxiety can be especially problematic if your partner has had more sex than you, has more adventurous sex than you, or has particularly attractive exes. but it can be triggered even if your partner’s sex life is on par with yours. Own.

“This can feel like a pressure to engage in certain acts, have sex a certain frequency, or look a certain way,” Melanson said. can interfere with sexual intimacy because sex can become a performance rather than a true connection.”

You snoop on their personal belongings, computers, or phones. Your retroactive jealousy may build to the point that you feel like you have to do something about it, Melancon said. Betraying your partner’s trust is a dangerous path, no amount of searching will satisfy the fear brain, destroying your partner’s trust in you. because it is possible.”

This includes “stalking” your partner’s exes online on social media to monitor their interactions and gauge your impressions of previous relationships.

How to curb retroactive jealousy

Unless you have clear evidence that your partner has been unreliable in the past, Melacon recommends giving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their previous flames. Because[with practice]you can save yourself a lot of heartache,” she said.

Instead of dwelling on what is perceived as a threat to your happiness, turn the question inward, she advised. , ask yourself how you want to feel towards your partner and how you actually feel.

acute phase retroactive jealousy flare-ups, Melanson said the nervous system is likely in turmoil, so it’s essential to take care of it.. Taking a hot bath or using a heating pad on your back can help your adrenals relax. Mind-body practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can calm your racing thoughts. Journaling or talking to a friend, relative, or therapist can help you gain perspective. Crying and moving your body can help you release stress.

How to Talk to Your Partner About Retroactive Jealousy

As awkward as it may be, Melancon recommends being honest with your partner about how you feel so they can work things out. those ttogether“Working as a team helps build trust and strengthen relationships. It may also help improve jealousy over time,” she advised.

Equally important is taking responsibility for your emotions and reactions and understanding how they affect your partner. Discuss how it made you feel instead of accusing you of being. Express your own doubts instead of casting blame.

“Defense tends to lead to fights, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can complicate matters,” Melanson said. So we can talk more peacefully.”

How ‘Retroactive Jealousy’ Can Ruin Relationships (And What To Do About It)

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