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Retroactive Jealousy - The day I lost the war...


Cheating, Flirting, and Jealousy Being unfaithful to your significant other or suspect them of the same? Can't stand the way they flirt? Jealous? Discuss your experiences here.

 
 
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Old 4th September 2008, 1:39 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by orangehose View Post
That's probably what it is, unfortunately - an evolutionarily-ingrained trait (in some men, at least). Sexual jealousy is way more of an issue for guys than girls because of the whole 'paternal uncertainty' issue - a man can't be certain that a child is his, whereas a woman can. So it's more evolutionarily profitable for a man to be obsessed with whether his partner has slept around and with whom, etc, so he doesn't have to invest in raising a child that's not his. At least, that's the classic idea from evolutionary psychology.
While I understand the logistics behind that theory, I really don't think that some guy that's flipping out over his girlfriend having a one night stand five years prior to meeting him is worried about "paternal uncertainty."

I really don't think that this is some evolutionary trait in man - otherwise it would happen to all men and no women which is clearly not the case. I think that men are definitely more culturally predisposed to it, but I think that will go away as culture continues to change.

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Originally Posted by orangehose View Post
That being said, I did have an emotional RJ issue in a previous relationship, but it was perhaps justified. One of my exes told me a few months in that he still had feelings for his ex, and didn't think they'd ever go away... Our relationship went on for a lot longer, with no 'I love you' from him or other indication of emotional 'progress'.
That's definitely not an RJ issue - someone having feelings for someone else while dating you is hardly retroactive! If someone hasn't gotten over someone else, then it's not you having a problem with their past, it's them having a problem with their own present.
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Old 7th September 2008, 9:41 AM   #47
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Surprised nobody picked up on this part. You supposedly love this woman, enough that you wanted to marry her - you are heartbroken, we assume she is heartbroken - all that pain and suffering - because you didn't want to 'put yourself through that' of actually making yourself healthy emotionally and dealing with issues. Although on the surface it's a sad situation, in the big picture she's very lucky to have escaped you - you wouldn't have been able to live up to 'for better or worse' and you'd run if you two had any issues which required you to really work through a rough spot.

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Originally Posted by limitreached View Post
Again, I really hope those who are going through this don't give up. I'm positive there are options I could have taken i.e. counselling or medication or perhaps even more time but personally I didn't want to put myself through that.
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Old 16th September 2008, 11:35 PM   #48
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Although I can see how difficult your situation must be, I would argue that this is another case in which the problem is in the present and you are fixating on the past and confusing it with RJ. To me it sounds like your GF is not completely over her own past and that is what is making you fixate on it.
Hi Aalike - yes it does seem that it is playing a role in the present but the fact is that my RJ was what started everything. I spoke to her about how I was feeling, was asking questions and generally obsessing about it. Before I said anything to her about how I was feeling, things were fine. She was happy. I was happy until one day I wasn't and three months down the track I was downright tormented. This RJ thing crept up on me. I asked her a couple of questions and she freaked out.

After that, we've not really spoken about this - I took myself to therapy but still I was tormented. I was finally feeling better about 4 months after therapy but SHE slipped into depression. So now, it is back in full force and I am still obsessing about her past. I've been dealing with this for a year now. That is a long time ... I really don't know what to do. So whilst it is in the present, it stemmed from my issue with her past so I would argue that it is RJ. She's away on holidays at the moment and think everything is great. But all I can think about is how I can go on ... I'm getting anxious and very depressed and really can't afford to take myself back to therapy at the moment. It sounds really pathetic but that's exactly how I'm feeling.
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Old 17th September 2008, 10:34 AM   #49
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I know exactly what you are going through. I was set up with this girl in April through a friend. We hit it off from the beginning. On the second date she told me she had a lesbian experience before. No big deal. I was not bothered by it and it seemed innocent at the time. As I got to know her I started noticing some red flags, but since things were going so well I refused to take them in to account. This girl had her own fully furnished town home, a masters degree, and was musically talented. It was too good to be true. Before we had sex for the first time she said I was her 3rd partner and that she was in only one serious relationship in her life. I was flattered. She seemed innocent. As I got feelings for her I asked about the lesbian experience. She said it was with her best friend. That bothered me a little, but I was able to shrug it off. I met her friends and most of them were gay, lesbians, and bi-sexuals. That is not the issue because they all liked me and I liked them too. When we would be in the car and passing a nice girl jogging my girlfriend would check her out and stare at her. My girlfriends ring tones were "Freedom"by George Michael and "Under Pressure" by Queen. I started asking her more questions about her past and she said it was expiremental. She told me it was all out of her system, but apparently what I saw was a different story. She told me that she is not in to women anymore. She was obsessed with Angelina Jolie and told me she made out with more girls than guys. Anyways, I went on vacation and these images of her with other girls started creeping in to my head. The thing is that I like watching lesbians normally, but this was her reality in the present and past. When I got back from vacation I needed to get this off of my chest. I told her how I felt about our situation. She denied that she did anything and told me she doesn't even know how girls have sex with other girls. That entire week she was having anxiety attacks. I know it was because I was right in my observations of her being in the closet, but she was living a lie. We broke up and everything was fine with me until those images came back in my head. I did complete NC, but I started obsessing more and more about her sexual permiscuous past with women. I realized I was only her 3rd partner because there was a large gap where she was with women all of the time. She should of disclosed her lesbian partners before we had sex in the first place. She was not honest from the get go. About a month later the thoughts were so bad that I was losing sleep until one day I went to a therapist. I found out I have OCD, anxiety and depression. Anyways, I am glad we are not together because she could of been using me to cover her lesbian tendencies. She is in fact, more attracted to women than men. Now I am working on myself to control my illness.
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Old 17th September 2008, 6:08 PM   #50
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Xtopher ... what I would like to know is how you were diagnoised with OCD? My therapist asked if I have obsessions and never again touched on that. Do you do things that repeat themselves? Or is your OCD just in thoughts. My issue is a little different in that I am a woman in a lesbian relationship with my gf and mainly I have more issues with her relationships with men (mainly). My therapist suggests that I am jealous of her relationships with men because that is what I want myself. maybe I have issues with men - was in a bad relationship where it was just all about sex - never really been with a man after that but in the past couple of years have been fantasising about men. It's weird I don't understand myself and because my gf was very promiscuous I have been projecting it on her maybe. I understand that it is my issue but I don't know how to fix this. It's the promiscuous sex I mean she's never had a proper long-term relationship before she met me when she was almost 29. Help
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Old 18th September 2008, 8:56 AM   #51
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I was diagnosed with OCD the same day I went to a psychiatrist. I had these obsessive thoughts one other time in my life with one of my past ex-girlfriends. I told the psychiatrist everything about my past and she realized that I had a problem. I was very open on detailed on what was going through my head and how it was affecting me. My OCD is only in my thoughts. I would suggest another therapist because this can be a serious problem for you as well. There are only two things you can do. Work on yourself in therapy and take medications, or leave your GF. Leaving your GF might not solve your problem. In my case it did not. Is your GF sleeping with other men while in the relationship with you? Are you losing sleep because of this? If this is affecting your life outside of the relationship then you probably need medication.

I tried everything I could to self-medicate, but nothing worked. Like yourself fantasizing about men, I fantasize about lesbians. My ex's promiscuous lesbian sex really bothers me and for no reason. We are not together and I have no feelings for her, but the thoughts keep running. You and I both have very similar situations just the opposite sex. My ex's first partner was when she was 15 and it was all about sex. Her second partner was when she was 21. That lasted for 5 years, but I am almost certain she did not stay faithful. I think that she might of been unfaithful with me looking back at it. She had a way of making you think that you are the best in the world, but underneath everything she still had a great need that I could never fulfill. She was manipulative and seemed so innocent. It was all a cover up.
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Old 30th October 2008, 1:16 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Crow9726 View Post
It mattered not to me the number...but the frequency and the reasons for her actions ate at me and ate at me. She could never really justify her total indifference to sex inside our relationship. It just didn't match up to her past. Therefore, I always blamed myself...and still do...for the utter lack of sexual chemistry.
I know this was not the original intent of this post, but had to comment on Crow's post. I understand exactly where you are coming from and you may not be to blame.

I have been married two years, and my wife and I had discussed our sexual pasts: I was married once before (my ex-wife cheated on me and left) and that was my only previous sexual experience. My wife proclaimed she only had two long terms partners before me. I considered us evenly matched and never gave her past another thought.

However, I found out recently how naive I am. Not only were her previous number of partners significantly higher, she had been seeing a married guy for 9 years: 3 years through his engagement and 6 years through his marriage. She stopped seeing him before we married. The way I found out is she kept a journal when she was younger and it seems the married guy clandestinely took copies for himself. His wife found out about his affair recently, and in vengeance emailed me copies.

In her journal it had such entries such as this from a few days after he got back from his honeymoon: "We made love all night long, six times, and I felt as if I was the one on a honeymoon."

So after all this came to a head, I asked her to see the journal entries she had on me. Of course, she had none. And of course we have never had sex more than once in a night, and sometimes not at all when she falls asleep on me. There were no entries in her journal about her falling asleep on him.

We talked about this and she says she feels she had to work much harder to prove herself "worthwhile" to him over his wife, which is why she felt she had to do so much more. She feels much more "comfortable" with me, which she never has with anyone. You can imagine how much that helps my resentment when I take her away for the weekend and she falls asleep on me.

So Crow, the issue may be she felt comfortable with you, and feels like she didn't have to work as hard, so it may not be you. You can even take it as a compliment.

Of course I am not saying you should have stayed with her, I have not decided to stay with my wife as she is now a completely different person. I am just saying you may be blaming yourself for something that doesn't exist.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 6:06 PM   #53
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You did the right thing by letting her go. No woman should be made to feel like she is some kind of tramp because of her past if she is now being loyal to you. It's not like she was a cheater as she was single when she did it. What a shame and how backwards thinking that some men think that woman who do the exact same things as they do sexually are sluts and the man is cool for doing it.
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Old 6th November 2008, 1:04 PM   #54
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I've come to this forum after having done a search on 'retroactive jealousy'.

I only found out an hour ago the thing had a name. Funny because it was nine years ago since I found out I had it.

Some of the posts I've read on this forum and others and have really struck a chord with me. It's just not something people in society seem to talk about.

I've had the videos playing in my head, my heart pounding like it was gonna burst out my chest from panic, the feeling like a zombie walking into work... I could go on.

I think what I struggle with is just the one night stand thing. Why did she want to jump straight into bed with him, but wait weeks with me? What did he have that I don't? What was the defining factor about him? What do I lack? There's a common response in that she 'wanted to show me respect' by waiting. I try and rationalize it (wrong I know) but it doesn't sink in. But at the same time, I know she's/they've done nothing wrong. I don't judge, I had three one-nighters myself when I was younger.

And then you read other responses that make me feel crap about myself because I just can't accept them:

* She's with YOU, it doesn't matter about THEM
* The past in the past, LEAVE IT THERE

Etc etc. I could go on. So easy to hear and so difficult to act upon.

I started counselling this week. I'm pinning my hopes on it. I so desparately want to put this behind me. It wrecked one relationship nine years ago, and I've jumped ship twice with two other since when I've started these horrid comparing-me-versus-him thoughts.

Others have suggested it's an ego thing. I suppose it is in a way. I want to be the lion that can hold its head up and walk proud, instead of what I am in comparing myself to 'my betters'.

I don't mean to be destructive to others by posting this, I just don't think I wanted to start a new thread while there are others there. I think I just wanted to relate and empathize with the original poster. I do have hope.

But - I'd be really happy to take advise. Please.

I'll finish by quoting limitreached. I think he's right.

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Originally Posted by limitreached View Post
Anyway, those still battling with this problem, do not give up hope. I'm sure every situation is different and I'm sure the majority of cases win.

Last edited by Twynham; 6th November 2008 at 1:15 PM..
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Old 7th November 2008, 12:54 PM   #55
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I am a woman and i also suffer from RJ. To me its very real and very painful. So reading the comments on this post help. As well as any other info about how to deal with it. It tears me apart.
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Old 10th November 2008, 1:53 AM   #56
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Don't Give Up

To all the people whose fighting the war here against retroactive jealousy, please do not give up!

I know it is not easy to have those images running through your head, it does kill you off slowly.

There is really nothing we could do to undone the past, its either we accept them and move on, or we could just walk away. I chose to stay and fight, and I've won. Though I must say it was a tough battle.

When she said to me she totally regretted what she has done in the past, and if given a chance she would not do it ever because it breaks her heart to see me suffer, it is enough for me to move on.

Perhaps, this is what you need to hear from them.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 2:30 PM   #57
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I never realized how pervasive this retroactive jealousy issue was for men till I came to this forum. Now it's pretty clear to me that this is the male equivalent of the female discomfort with porn/checking out other women in a sexual way. Men see porn as absolutely no threat, and women see previous sexual partners as absolutely no threat. I used to think there was no real equivalent to the porn issue for women, but this might be it.
almost, but perhaps not quite. we can't (and women can't) do anything to change their past. That's the folly... there's nothing that can change...except the guy.

Don't equate this with being upset with his porn habit or his checking out other women... imagine being upset for porn he *used* to watch long before you were involved with him. it's stupid.

there is some literature to suggest this type of insecurity in part stems from the "centerfold syndrome". how we are socialized to objectify women, therefore assume that any woman who was sexual with somehow objectified. and somehow we don't like that the woman we want to be with was somehow... used. I'm paraphrasing, but this is rarely about morals or anything like that... any guy digging for details isn't concerned the woman he's with is a bad person. he KNOWS she's a good person otherwise he wouldn't care enough to care!!! it's so ****ing stupid...

CBT helps. Praying helps. Counseling helps. What helps too is an understanding partner who realizes you may not be ever able to shake the disease, but that you'll always be working on it. Seriously... the obsessive part is a lot like recovering addicts. Go check out a 12 step program and follow it. Seriously. if the original poster thinks this will be his last time doing this, he's wrong.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 5:21 PM   #58
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I could care less about past sexual partners. I dated a guy who was totally open about being a rock guy who f*cked zillion groupies before he " did the work" to realie he was looking for validation because his bio mom gave him up as a 1 yr old.

For me, it's the fact that they LOVED someone so much before me. It makes me feel replacable, like if say jennifer had wanted to marry him, he would have married her instead.

Porn, fine, ex sexual history fine, but you once loved and wanted to spend your life with another woman, that makes me feel....un-special.

I know intellectually that's the past and he loves ME now, but it still tweaks with my head sometimes.

I DO agree there's an element of OCD there, and I have it in no other area of my life.

Good luck to everyone, It is a TRULY SUCKY feeling, and knowing you are being so irrational makes it worse.
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Old 4th December 2008, 2:46 AM   #59
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For me, it's the fact that they LOVED someone so much before me. It makes me feel replacable, like if say jennifer had wanted to marry him, he would have married her instead.

Porn, fine, ex sexual history fine, but you once loved and wanted to spend your life with another woman, that makes me feel....un-special.

I know intellectually that's the past and he loves ME now, but it still tweaks with my head sometimes.
Totally agree. Loving a person is like the highest peak/achievement in a relationship. My bf used to date his ex for 5 yrs.. and after graduation, they worked in different lands and the distance that pulled them apart and broke them up. I always wondered if they were in the same land, they would have probably married each other.

I get obsessive about it and i will go online, into his email, FB and stuff to find out more about his ex. Which doesn't help coz it i read emails about them talking about marriage, how they love each other (oh hell, gag me!) and such. Im not exaggerating, it makes me nauseous.

I cant stop comparing myself to her and wonder who is prettier (yea i know, pathetic.), who is hotter or whether he loves me more than he loved her... On one hand, i hate doing this coz its ridiculously stupid, but on the other hand, i cant help it.

I comfort myself by thinking that he probably will feel so too.. since i was really in loved and planning to marry MY ex.. and was so hurt when we broke up and such. Sigh, stupid stupid senseless jealousy...
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Old 4th December 2008, 8:07 AM   #60
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I cant stop comparing myself to her and wonder who is prettier (yea i know, pathetic.), who is hotter or whether he loves me more than he loved her... On one hand, i hate doing this coz its ridiculously stupid, but on the other hand, i cant help it.
I'm beginning to realize there's an element of me that *wants* to think about it... and that is a sure sign of an obsession. somehow, I've come to a place where I only know feeling bad about it, so I think about it to make myself feel bad. wtf?! or something like that... crazy.

I'm hoping meds will help level me out enough to do the work to fix it.
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