What is retroactive jealousy

Retroactive jealousy is not as common as normal jealousy but it exists, in abundance. Jealousy and retroactive jealousy is not the same thing. Jealousy is a feeling of insecurity, fear of loss or resentment and bitterness towards a person because of something or some other person. Jealousy can exist between siblings, cousins, friends and people who in romantic relationships. Jealousy also exists between colleagues, business partners and among people who know one another socially or through common friends or contacts.

Retroactive jealousy is mostly confined to people who are romantically involved. Retroactive jealousy is seldom experienced among friends, business associates or among people who are social acquaintance. The difference between jealousy and retroactive jealousy is simple. Jealousy deals with things or people that are present now and incidents or events that are ongoing. Retroactive jealousy deals with a sense of resentment, insecurity and fear of loss pertaining to a partner’s past relationship. It is the old romantic relationship, past marriage or some bonds that a person has shared with one or more people that can trigger retroactive jealousy in the affected partner.

Retroactive jealousy is quite common among couples who haven’t known each other for a long time are yet to get married but are committed in a relationship. Being aware of past relationships and history of a partner’s love interests doesn’t have to incite retroactive jealousy. There may not be anything substantial in the present to feel jealous about the past but those are not the actual causes of the problem.

Retroactive jealousy is a problem, not of the accused partner, but for the affected partner. Any kind of jealousy stems from a sense of inferiority. That sense of inferiority manifests as retroactive jealousy as well. Those affected often wonder how their partners were in their past relationships, what they might have done and not done, if they were better or more compatible and if their partners were more satiated or happier with their past relationships. Such feelings are the root cause of retroactive jealousy.

Then there is low self esteem or lack of confidence and a fear of loss. Retroactive jealousy can take a very adverse turn if the former love or sexual interests of the accused partner are still in touch or have some common grounds to stay connected.

It is best to consult a psychologist to deal with retroactive jealousy. It is easy to address the problem but professional intervention along with the support of the other partner is essential.

Filed Under: Psychological Articles and Infographics