How thoughts about a partner’s past can poison life? Jealousy in a relationship is common, although sometimes it takes strange forms. For example, a person cannot forgive a partner for his past life. Jealousy of the former is called retrospective, and sometimes this state destroys even the strongest relationships. We figure out who is subject to it and how to accept the idea that someone else had a partner before you.
When you want to bathe your partner in bleach
Experiencing retrospective jealousy, a person feels one or even more of the following conditions:
- he is afraid that the beloved is still in a relationship with a former partner;
- wishes reprisals to the ex-companion of his loved one;
- considers the partner dirty and tries to understand how many lovers he had. This is how he defines the degree of “purity”;
- does not want to spend time in those places where the satellite was with the former – especially when it comes to bed.
Some people even want to clean their partner and his home: bathe him in bleach, boil all the things that the former touched. In addition, sometimes they feel physical discomfort. He is associated with thoughts that the partner loved ex-lovers much more, had sex with them more often and hotter, and now he constantly compares with the former of the current companion.
Where does this feeling come from
It is believed that retrospective jealousy appears more often in conservative men. They can’t get over the idea that their partner dated others and “wasn’t sexually pure.” Women also often experience this condition.
Retrospective jealousy is influenced not only by social attitudes, but also by a person’s personal insecurity. It appears in at least two variations.
Some people with this condition want to be the best – and, ideally, the only one in their partner’s life. They consider romantic ideals about eternal love to be a completely natural attitude in life. These people are sure that the beloved should not consider anyone attractive except themselves.
Even if there was a place in their life for other lovers, then retrospective jealousy forces them to use all their strength to ensure that a person convinces himself: “The former does not reach him.”
Other people feel their own inferiority. They, even if they are objectively good partners, live with the idea that they are only temporarily replacing the former. In their opinion, the partner sometimes dreams of an ex-lover, and as soon as the opportunity arises, he will return to his previous relationship.
Often people with little sexual experience suffer from retrospective jealousy, especially if their partners are much more skilled in this regard. Sometimes they may worry about how lovers remember their exes or even dream of spending time with them again.
What can retrospective jealousy lead to?
Most often, couples where at least one side is affected by this condition break up. It’s hard to live side by side with a constantly angry person who is jealous of the one who left your life.
It also happens that the jealous person himself interrupts the connection: sometimes it’s easier for him to leave the relationship than to endure pain.
There is also tragedy. According to the STEPPE publication, dozens of crimes motivated by morbid jealousy are committed annually in Kazakhstan – and retrospective is just considered such. So, in 2019, a man from the Kostanay region inflicted many stab wounds on his wife: he thought that his wife was cheating. A year earlier, a girl from Nur-Sultan got jealous of a guy and castrated him.
How to understand that you are in a state of retrospective jealousy
Read the following statements and choose the ones you agree with:
- I often think that my partner used to date another person and loved him;
- When I think about it, I feel anxiety and shame;
- It is important for me to know that our relationship is better than the partner’s previous relationships;
- If those connections turned out to be more interesting, it is sincerely important to me to know why;
- I want to be the only woman who will please my partner and arouse passion in him.
If at least one statement turned out to be close, then you are probably subject to retrospective jealousy.
How to deal with your feelings
It will take a long time to work on yourself and your attitudes. The effort is worth it: if you understand what really drives you, then you can establish a deeper connection with your partner. In addition, you will learn not to waste energy on thoughts that are not worth it.
Find alarm bells
The first thing to do is to recognize the problem: for this, we left a checklist with statements. After that, think about what exactly makes you jealous. Maybe it’s important for you to keep everything in your hands, including the excitation of your partner? Or does someone or something force you to confirm its beauty and significance over and over again?
Sometimes people who are jealous of an ex unconsciously compare themselves to ex-lovers. They think that they are not as beautiful or smart as the companions from the past, even if in fact they are not. In this case, work on yourself and your self-esteem will help.
Finally, ask yourself the question: “Why does the fact that my partner once dated someone annoy me so much?” It is irritation at the thought of the former that is an alarming bell. True, it is usually not noticed immediately.
Come to terms with your partner’s past
People with retrospective jealousy want to believe that their partners are pure and blameless. At the same time, purity in their view directly depends on the number of sexual partners.
The modern world does not stand on the morality of 200 years ago. Sex is normal, as is having a list of multiple exes. In the same way, retrospective jealous people could also have partners.
If you are worried about the past of a loved one, ask yourself what the matter is. Why shouldn’t your partner have had pleasurable sex in the past? Is it because only you in his eyes should be the most attractive? Why would you want to be the only sexy woman? Isn’t it logical that if you enjoyed sex with your ex, then your partner might feel the same way too?
Let’s make a reservation right away: your fear and insecurity do not make you wrong. However, it is important to deal with them in order to continue to heal comfortably. That is why it is so important to understand that a partner once had a life before you.
Sometimes retrospective jealous people think that their lover, unlike themselves, will not be able to separate pleasant memories of the former from real feelings. Robert Leahy wrote about this in his book Jealousy. How to live with her and maintain a relationship. He gave the example of a guy who once often changed partners. And then he realized that he was jealous of the current girl for her ex, although there were no reasons for this.
When I ask him if she should be worried about his past relationship, he becomes defensive: “What is she to worry about? I love her! That relationship is over.” I ask him if Molly might have the same point of view. Her past relationships are just what happened in the past, period. Josh thinks for a moment and reluctantly admits, “You’re probably right. She should be as worried as I am.”
Accept the fact that the ideal is unattainable
Comparing yourself with the former, a person may decide that he is far from the best. After that, he will probably want to surpass the ex-partners of his lover.
Of course, you can try to do the same, but there is no point in this. You are good on your own, and the willingness of other people to enter into relationships with you, especially long-term ones, only confirms this.
A good lover will let you know that he is not satisfied with your behavior. Therefore, do not forget to calmly and clearly pronounce what is bothering you right now. Perhaps not immediately, but you will be able to overcome the discomfort and heal in harmony.
Remember: you cannot change your partner’s past. But you can think of it differently. It is not easy to come to this decision immediately, but it is possible. How thoughts about a partner’s past can poison life?