What Causes Retroactive Jealousy? Here’s The Answer

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by Jeff Billings in Retroactive Jealousy Blog
March 15, 2014

What causes retroactive jealousy?

Do you ask yourself: Why do I have irrational jealous thoughts about my boy or girlfriend’s sexual past. And why is overcoming these retroactive jealousy symptoms just so DAMN HARD?

The answer to theses questions about how the cause of jealousy and how to overcome retroactive jealousy can be found by tracing the evolutionary history of humankind back to its very beginning.

Retroactive jealousy symptoms are in our DNA

If we do this, we find that the answer to “What causes retroactive jealousy“? about our boy or girlfriend’s sexual past is because it’s been hardwired into us since the day we were born to do so.

Without delving too much into evolutionary science, both men and women seem to be programed to be naturally wary of the opposite sex when it comes to our partners and the risk of them being unfaithful.

In other words, even cave men and women probably had to wonder what causes jealousy in a relationship.

As a broad generalization, women tend to be more worried about emotional infidelity, and men more about sexual infidelity.


How to overcome retroactive jealousy is a different question for men and women

For men, evolutionary programing means they don’t really care as much about ex-boyfriends / husbands as they do about former casual lovers.

Despite the fact the sex a woman had with her ex-boyfriend was probably much better and more frequent than when she was single – it is perceived as less threatening because it was in a monogamous relationship.

This represents in a man’s mind the notion that their partner is less likely to be unfaithful and is one of the main causes of jealousy.

Multiple, casual, sexual encounters on the other hand, symbolically represent a higher risk of a woman being promiscuous and therefore possibly unfaithful.

In evolutionary terms, this raises the fear that he could end up raising a child which is not his own; and herein lies one of the major root causes of retroactive jealousy ocd in men.

Women, on the other hand, tend to be more worried about emotional infidelity because, back in the dawn of time, they had to place more emphasis on making sure a man stuck around to help them raise their child.

Consequently women are now far more likely, in terms of retrospective jealousy, to have anxiety over who their man dated, loved and had an emotional connection with in the past.

This is because if he still possibly harbors feelings for someone else, he may leave to be with that other woman, leaving her to raise a child alone.

Learning what causes jealousy in a relationship (for both men and women)

Of course, evolution is just part of the puzzle as to why you’re suffering from irrational jealous thoughts about your boy or girlfriend’s sexual past and is a primary cause of jealousy.

To discover the other reasons of what causes jealousy in relationships please take a look at my best-selling book How To Stop Being Jealous Of Your Partner’s Past In 12 Steps* where I go into detail on this and how to overcome retroactive jealousy in major detail. It’s the only retroactive jealousy cure you should consider.

For not, though, hopefully this has answered part of the question as to “What causes my retroactive jealousy disorder“? It’s not entirely your fault. It’s evolution!

To learn more about what causes jealousy in a relationship and how to get over these destructive emotions, click on the button below to purchase my book The Ultimate Retroactive Jealousy Cure: How To Stop Being Jealous Of Your Partner’s Past in 12 Steps.



— Jeff

  1. Amy says:

    The main point is the “judgment” part of it. Without judgment we’re not jealous.

  2. Nick says:

    Nice theory. This helps me thank you jeff.

  3. Chris says:

    When women can’t control themselves it makes some of us guys sick. The difference is women are supposed to be able to control themselves better because they’re the ones who get pregnant whereas men don’t. So we biologically can have sex as much as want and that’s why we do. Women should no better tho.

  4. Theo Van Winkle says:

    Whenever I hear anything about my girlfriend’s past, where she used to study, place name, boys names, in movies, bars I get all tight in my chest and can’t stop thinking about some dude ramming her from behind. This is pure torture!!!

  5. Ocean says:

    What if my girlfriend has had sex with guys 10 min after meeting them? HOw am I supposed to get over that when she took 5 dates to do it with me?

  6. Winston says:

    Ꭲhanks , I’ve bеen searching for infߋrmation on retroactive jealousy for a long timе and yours іs the best I have discovered so far. What would you say is the one key reason I can’t get over my girl’s past?

  7. Janook says:

    Hello,I log on to your blog named “What Causes Retroactive Jealousy In A Relationship? Here’s The Answer” and like it very much. Very good words, and I feel better already about my girlfriend’s past.

  8. Zest says:

    I am a female. A man who goes after sex like you are describing is threatening to many of us. Nothing unique. It is caught in the study also. A man with multiple sexual partners is undesirable to women.

    Winner is someone who gets to keep the first. Loser is the one who can reach till the private parts only. And if he has to go through many people then it automatically signals something is wrong with him.

    I am seeing it in you. You say men can have sex freely, but at the same time you expect women to save. So with whom are you gonna have it exactly? With other men?

  9. Karlos says:

    There’s a simple prevention to this before it becomes a problem, just don’t discuss your romantic or intimate past with your new/current partner. I always ask my partners (respectively) to not bring up the subject of her past romantic and sexual experiences, but some woman are so disrespectful that they’ve got to insist on doing it with intent! My current girlfriend triggered it off in me by mentioning something sexual she wanted me to do (make her squirt) and she added that only one guy has ever made it happen (thank you my darling just what I wanted to hear!) So naturally my mind is already going into overdrive about how much she enjoyed that, how much of the rest of the sex life did she enjoy? Was the entire sex life between her and this guy just so unbelievably mind blowing for her? Because she’s clearly never forgotten certain aspects of it! Is she hoping to relive the experiences she had with him, with me? Is he the benchmark by which she compares all future sexual experiences? Maybe she would even drop her underwear for this guy again if he clicked his fingers and asked her to come running! What if I disappoint her if I can’t make her squirt? What if our sex life on a whole just didn’t compare to the sex life she had with him? The point at which I’m writing this, me and my partner have been arguing about this and similar subjects surrounding her romantic and sexual past, and we’ve had a major falling out, to a point where I’m actually unsure if we will get things back on track. So I decided to do a little self diagnosing and have read a few forums on the subject. I know I have nothing to worry about I know she would never cheat and I know this particular sexual experience was long him her past, and I really cannot hold it against her for having a sexual past good or bad, but oddly enough I do! I simply can’t stand the through of another guy banging my girlfriend and her enjoying it, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t compare our sex life to those of her past. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some fantastic sex with woman but I don’t compare the sex with my current partner to that in the past. I love my girlfriend very much and for that reason alone I enjoy our sex life intensely! Just wish I could get over this burden that is ruining our relationship!

  10. Anon Ymous says:

    It’s unfortunate how many people completely dismiss waiting till marriage for sex, thinking it’s unrealistic and unnecessary. But if more people had patience, including myself and my wife, we wouldn’t be running into these kind of issues. I love my wife more than I can explain, but the thought of her sexual past; I can’t ever seem to get out of my head. Invasive imagery always comes into my mind when I least expect it, and it ruins my mood, and ends up becoming what I think about for the next hour.

    Looking back, I am starting to think if abstinence wasn’t so hastily dismissed, we’d be faced with far less heavy relationship problems, on top of divorce, in our society.

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