We all get jealous from time to time, but retroactive jealousy can lead someone to obsess over their partner's romantic past. Retroactive jealousy can be so severe that it ultimately affects the couple's relationship.
Retroactive jealousy is a type of anxiety that can distort a partner's perceptions and lower self-esteem. Over time, with the support and patience of a partner, people suffering from retroactive jealousy can learn to control their jealous thoughts and feelings and begin to enjoy their relationships more.
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What causes reverse jealousy?
The most common causes of retroactive jealousy are feelings of insecurity, past trauma, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Jealousy can also be triggered by a partner's behavior, lying, avoiding conversations about previous relationships or about one's own emotions and feelings.
Jealousy can damage interpersonal relationships. Although it is not a specific form of anxiety, the mechanism by which retroactive jealousy is activated is based on anxiety. It is fueled by the fight or flight response that is activated in the body.
There is a certain trigger that alerts the brain to potential danger, real or not. This mechanism stimulates the maintenance of a state of hypervigilance as a way of assessing and managing real and perceived threats to his relationship, which manifests itself in the form of retroactive jealousy.
When does reverse jealousy become dangerous?
It's normal to have some degree of reverse jealousy and to compare your current relationship with your partner's previous relationships, even to be interested in basic information about past partners. However, retroactive jealousy becomes harmful if it lasts longer than two weeks or if it is something that comes to your mind on a daily basis. Additionally, if you begin to notice that you have difficulty concentrating in private, these are signs that it is beginning to seriously develop and negatively affect you.
The Best Way to Reduce or Banish Retrospective Jealousy
You can start by recognizing that jealousy is causing you pain, then it is advisable to seek help from a psychotherapist so that you can cope and get rid of it. One helpful technique is to remember to check the facts of a situation.
Do you have a partner who loves you, supports you, and actively wants to be with you every day? Does he value you and make you and your relationship a priority? If yes, then this is a key indicator that you are in a healthy relationship and should continue to do so. Even though it may go away on its own, retroactive jealousy will persist and last longer unless you seek counseling from a therapist.