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Boyfriend Has Retrospective Jealousy

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I am in a relationship for the past 8 months and have been really happy in it(although I don’t know what happiness is because I don’t remember the last time I was happy). My boyfriend is a year and a half younger to me yet is my senior in college(because I dropped two years between school and college). He is a very nice guy and absolutely lovable, and am his first girlfriend. In the initial days I told him briefly about my past 3 relationships and thought he’d be fine with it, but it turned out after a few days that he wasn’t able to take in the fact that I have been with others before him and started having a million questions. I answered patiently and eventually one day lost my cool as the series of questions wasn’t ending. He said he realized he’s having a severe retroactive jealousy and he can’t help it that he’s haunted by my past. He finds it too difficult to accept me as I am. Although I lost my virginity with him and never as much as even kissed any of my exes properly(only had pecks), he finds it difficult to erase such images of me with someone else from his mind. He says he’ll get mad one day because it’s getting out of control. We both love each other a lot and can’t even breakup(although we’ve tried) and it’s impossible to give up. But how long will it go on? Need suggestions and help to help him recover from it.

Boyfriend Has Retrospective Jealousy

Answered by on -


There’s no way to know when or if his jealousy will cease to be a problem. It is likely that his lack of sexual experience with other women may underlie this problem. If he had come into your relationship, having had sex with several other women, it is likely that he would understand how trivial and unimportant those sexual contacts were.

People are jealous when they feel unsure about themselves. In other words, he lacks confidence and he may be insecure. There’s nothing you can do to change this. It’s not about you. It is his problem and unfortunately, he’s taking it out on you. That is unfair because you can’t change the past. Your past should have no bearing on your current relationship.

The purpose of dating is to determine compatibility. Ideally, if there’s a problem with the relationship, it should not progress into marriage. Too many people believe that problems that exist before marriage will magically disappear after marriage. That simply isn’t true. People don’t change simply because they’re married. The problems that existed before the marriage usually continue after the marriage and may even worsen.

You can suggest individual counseling or the two of you can try couples counseling. That might help. If he’s unwilling, then you have a decision to make. You will have to decide whether or not to accept being in a relationship with someone who is angry at you for having done something before the two of you met. His anger is unrealistic, unhealthy. Counseling and normal maturation will help. He needs to grow. Counseling will help but without it, don’t expect this to simply go away. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Boyfriend Has Retrospective Jealousy

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Boyfriend Has Retrospective Jealousy. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 Dec 2018 (Originally: 29 Dec 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 26 Dec 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.