Have you heard of this one? When you become jealous of the things your new girlfriend or boyfriend used to do, his or her established relationships with the opposite sex or the people they used to date before you entered the picture, it’s called retroactive jealousy.
Sounds petty, doesn’t it? Well, do not dismiss retroactive jealousy that quickly. Some actions you take or are being taken against you, are a result of retroactive jealousy. You may be a retroactive jealous lover yourself and not even know it.
Retroactive jealousy can be easily manifested if you start feeling like your current boyfriend or girlfriend dated someone you know was better than you in one way or the other. Maybe he or she dated a very popular person or the exes are better looking than you.
Sometimes retroactive jealousy sets in just by going through your new flame’s social media and realizing that they had a fun-filled past life which you have not experienced yet or cannot afford to.
If you are a man and your woman has a bunch of pictures from Dubai or London from a trip she took with an ex-lover, you may experience a spontaneous bout of retroactive jealousy.
You become jealous simply because you feel incapable of placing the same smile on her face from pictures of her shopping on Oxford Street in the UK. Perhaps your trips to Accra mall or the movies to chill will not measure up to her past fun activities.
Retroactive jealousy can rear its head when your new lover already has strong established relationships with friends. The issue can become dire when the close and well-established relationship is with the opposite sex.
Picture this scenario. You are chilling with your man or woman and his or her good looking ex-lover pops up by accident and they chat briefly. Do you find yourself scrutinizing every move and every gesture he or she makes like a CIA agent?
How do you feel after the person leaves? Does a nervous smile creep across your face? Does your mood change to gloomy suddenly? Do you picture the ex-lover in an intimate setting with your partner and become upset at the thought? Retroactive jealousy, anyone?
A friend of mine told me that she recently broke up with her boyfriend after a bitter argument about a group of male friends she had been hanging out with since college. She and her male friends hang out every Thursday night at a lounge in Accra and over time, it became a routine. Most of the guys brought their girlfriends along but she could not convince him to come with her.
Her new boyfriend complained of her friendship with the guys and his mood turned nasty every time one of them called. Her attempts to defend her past relationships with these guys led to an argument which, unfortunately, ended the relationship.
I can’t say I’ve never felt or experienced retroactive jealousy because I have. Heck, I am probably reacting to certain situations with retroactive jealousy now.
I had an ex-girlfriend ask me once if she can put up a birthday post of her ex-boyfriend on Facebook. The post was to include his picture. “You want to do what?” I asked in disbelief. I became instantly jealous because it dawned on me that she probably still liked this guy. My retroactive jealousy was spontaneous and sudden.
Sometimes retroactive jealousy is forced upon you if your new lover cannot get over an ex-lover. If he or she blows a gasket over petty things like a Facebook post, you sit back and wonder if he or she is really over this person. If the ex-lover has a constant, lingering and negative presence in your relationship, you may unintentionally enter a retroactive jealousy zone.
If you have a jealous lover to start with, it can be difficult to calm their fears. If you don’t, you are going to end up having a bunch of unnecessary arguments over and over again.
A jealous boyfriend or girlfriend can keep you feeling guilty and on edge all the time and that situation is not healthy for anyone in the relationship.
If you are a man, for example, do not always assume that your new girlfriend’s past life was as glorious as it appears to you. Perhaps behind those lovely smiles from the pictures she took in Dubai with an ex-lover, is abuse, pain, and mistreatment that she has not shared with you yet.
Retroactive jealousy occurs mostly in a spontaneous manner and it is okay to feel jealous sometimes. The key is to recognize why you are jealous and not allow your perceived shortcomings to make you lose control or impact the relationship negatively.
Being overly or extremely jealous retroactively can also be a sign of low self-esteem and insecurity. Insecurity, as we all know, is a major turn off for anyone.
You are the chosen one.
Your partner chose you despite his or her past, in spite of a better-looking ex-lover or any other perceived past insecurities you may have.
Should your partner exhibit retroactive jealousy behavior, do not be dismissive. Address the problem head on and make adjustments or compromises where necessary. Do not, however, mutate for anyone. It is never advisable to give up your total happiness for another.
So ask yourself, are you a retroactive jealous lover?
By Kwadjo Panyin
Model: Edy Coffie
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.