Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Retroactive Jealousy - Anxiety/OCD over my partner's past - Getting severe

Community Member

I (22F) haven't suffered with RJ until now, in my first committed relationship.

Me and my boyfriend (25M) have been in a relationship for almost 10 months now. He’s had 3 long term relationships.
At first I was mature about the fact that he’s almost 4 years older than me, he has had longer and more mature relationships and has done more in his life than me, but I still find myself stalking his exes on social media, digging around and asking for more information that I KNOW will hurt me, and straight up ignoring any reassurance he gives me. I hate picturing him with someone else and my instinct is to make him feel bad about his past that are beyond both of our control which I know is totally wrong.

I go for weeks being absolutely fine, but the second an ex is brought into conversation, even by me, it’ll send me on a spiral of social media stalking and taking my anger out on him. It hurts us both every time.
He loves me so much and he tells me that he’s never felt this loved in any relationship he has been in. I believe this to be true, especially from the things he’s told me about his exes. He says he’s never been able to see a future with any of his exes. I absolutely adore him and worship the ground he walks on. I think he’s the one but my behaviour really gets in the way of us being happy and trusting one another.

Recently, I have been stalking HARDCORE, finding stuff from 2015 when he was with his ex and seeing what he's said about her, etc. I had to walk out of work because I was having an extreme panic attack and almost vomitted.

It is getting worse and I don't want to lose him but I feel like the only way to stop suffering if to break up with him. I feel hopeless. I feel sick in the head and I feel like if I live like this forever, I will die.

Does anyone feel the same or now effective ways to get over this for good? I've read books, articles and watched videos - nothing helps long term.

37 Replies 37

Community Member

You're living in the shadow of his ex.

He's not with them for a reason, and he's chosen to be with you.

Show yourself some compassion, accept that he's with you.

Forge your own memories, don't dwell on the past.

Remind yourself when you go into this state of mind that you are having an irrational thought, acknowledge the feeling and let it go.

Your mind is the sky, the insecure though is a cloud. Watch the cloud float across, acknowledge it and let it pass.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Natalia S,

Wellcome to our forums!

Sorry you are feeling this way, you CAN get better with the correct help.

I had severe anxiety OCD I have now recovered from this condition and have been recovered for four years going strong....

OCD is a vicious cycle but you can learn to break free of its grips.... I did an 8 week therapy at a clinic that specialised in OCD.... it took time to practice the skills I was taught but they come easy to me now..

once a professional can point out to you the behaviour that keep you in your ocd cycle you can learn to disengage from the behaviour...

have you ever seen a professional for OCD?

here to chat

Community Member

Hi Natalia,

It sounds very distressing for you. Have you had any other psychological problems throughout your life so far?

Hi there,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post - it means a lot.

The sentence "Your mind is the sky, the insecure though is a cloud. Watch the cloud float across, acknowledge it and let it pass." is wonderful and resonates with me. Thank you for that.

Once I am in a severe panic and cycle, it's like I can acknowledge the irrationality behind my thinking but it is like it takes over. I need to work on stopping my thoughts from getting to that level.

Hi Petal22,

Thank you for responding to my post - I appreciate it very much. It's my first post!

I am happy to hear about your recovery. You give me hope my life can follow a similar path.

I am currently seeing a psychologist fortnightly for my anxiety and negative thinking habits, low self image and low moods. I never thought I had OCD until I saw a psychiatrist for the first time and he said I have OCD personality traits but it was harder to treat this way... I have never experienced OCD in a severe form until getting into this long-term relationship. The thoughts I have are so intense and severe, it's like a mental rash that I cannot help but to scratch till it spreads and takes over... it is very scary to me and sometimes I feel it coming on and I say to myself "no no please no" because of how bad it makes me feel.

I think my insecurity and anxiety have triggered my OCD traits to come out in this facet of my life..

Hi there,

Thank you for replying to my post.

It is very distressing and it not only affects my mind, but now is affecting my body (cannot eat, stress pimples, unable to move during a panic attack, can't sleep).

I have been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and am currently seeing a psychologist for that. I also experience low moods from time to time and feelings of hopelessness, which I've recently been prescribed to Brintellix for. I have never been diagnosed with OCD or experienced it to noticeable levels until now..

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dear Natalia!

Im sorry you’re struggling so much with your partner’s past ex’s...

Your partners ex’s are all in the past..and he broke up with them for a reason...that was because probably that the deep love, commitment, care and trust wasn’t in his heart for them....

Looking up and “stalking” his ex gf’s is in a way breaking your trust in the love he has for you..IT really doesn’t matter if he has had x amount of long term relationships before he met you...You are the one he loves..not his ex’s...and bringing the subject up..could be making him feel uncomfortable because they are long gone out of his life...and I’m sure all he wants to do now is be the best partner to you that he can be...

You day that you have been in a relationship for 10 months...Not sure how long before your relationship started that you met him....but when you first met him...is when your lives together started..it’s okay to ask about his family and friends and his past...but I think keep away from the subject of his ex’s...That is history to him now...it’s gone...Let your beautiful partner give you the love and care he has for you...and live in that moment, enjoy your time with him...Please try hard to not sabotage your precious time with him today, tomorrow, next month or years to come...by trying to live in his past...It’s not worth even taking away a minute of your time..worrying about things that are now history to him....

Time is precious, love is beautiful...forget his past and enjoy every second of the here and now..because that’s what is important and you are living in the now...not the past..

I wish you and your partner a beautiful relationship...

Please talk here when you feel to..

My kindest thoughts lovely Natalia..


Anxiety is a physical effect on the body.

Best advice...learn your body and feel the anxiety building inside.

Where does it start? Tightening of the chest? Dry mouth? Muscle tension?

Everyone has their own unique reaction..learn yours, and when you sense that bodily reaction...that's when it's time to put your mindfulness practices into use.

Once triggered, mindfulness becomes relatively ineffective.

Learning your body, and stopping it before that anxiety takes over is the key.

Show yourself some compassion

Hi Natalia S,

Thank you for posting! I’m glad I have given you hope....... always hold onto it....

I did meta cognitive therapy it helped me to break free of the OCD cycle...... I totally understand what you are saying ....,when we have an intrusive thought we obsess over it our anxiety goes up we perform compulsions ( eg researching on the net) to try to bring the anxiety down...... we try to look for a meaning ......

Meditation really helps, we become the observer in our thoughts and don’t get so caught up in them...

practice mindfulness, when you have these thoughts do mindfulness or attention training......

that’s wonderful you are receiving help from a professional....... if it is OCD I’d recommend you try to see a professional that specialises in OCD...

here to chat