Everyone has their own journey, experiences, and past. So when you are in a relationship, it’s better to share each other’s past at the initial stage so that you both can understand what their life has been like.
However, while in a relationship, it can be a little hard to digest the fact that your partner has had a different experience. It might be having a string of flings or various sexual affairs.
No matter how hard you try to accept the harsh past of your partner, these things keep on popping into your head and affecting your present.
I’ve been there, and I understand this can affect your current relationship. This is known as retroactive jealousy. Even though the term might be new to you, many people suffer from it.
Retroactive jealousy can damage your relationship. It means getting jealous of your partner’s past. In today’s age where most relationships start as flings and just being casual.
So if you are struggling with accepting your partner’s past, I will share 12 practical steps that have helped me in my relationship, and I am sure this will help you as well.
Being a hopeless romantic, if I was able to overcome this, Trust me, you can too. This isn’t permanent, and by the end of this article, you will have a new mindset and a fresh perspective to look at your relationship.
So let us get started with the steps that can help you accept your partner’s past and help you live the life you always wanted without any fear or jealousy.
1. Dealing with Retroactive Jealousy
Not many people know, but there is a term for being jealous of your partner’s past, and it’s known as retroactive jealousy. This is actually a condition that most people suffer from. So you are not alone in this.
Moreover, it can play with your head, and I personally have felt this. I used to play movies in my head about the same stuff over and over again and try to rationalize it. I would try to find the answers to calm my pain.
So if you are also going through the same, remember this isn’t forever, and you can get out of this. Here are some steps that can help you deal with retroactive Jealousy.
First and foremost, let us begin by understanding that we all are different human beings and that we all have different paths. Start accepting your partner’s journey. I know you have heard this a million times already.
But hold on and try to look at things from a different perspective. It is so unnatural for someone not to have any past experience. Me, you; we all have our own stories.
Moreover, it’s not your partner’s fault that they have also had a past. It is your own fears and emotions that have been bothering you. It is your own jealousy and insecurities that are playing with your mind.
Moreover, it has nothing to do with them you have to change from within.
3. Stop Asking Questions About it
Knowing your partner’s past is important. However, asking questions over and over again will make you suffer even more.
Because no matter how many times you ask them about their past, it’s not going to change. I know you must be like I need to ask just one last thing. No, You DON’T.
It is similar to when you say it is my last drink, just one last drink, and you already know it is not. So don’t go down that lane when you know it is going to hurt you.
You have already collected enough information about their past, and that is the reason you are suffering. So the last thing you want to do is to collect more details by asking silly questions.
As its never going to be just one more, as one answer will lead to another question, and you’ll annoy your partner as well.
4. Stop Judging your partner
The very first step of acceptance is to stop judging them for being honest and open to you. It requires courage to accept them for who they are.
Moreover, you need to understand that without their past, they would be here with you. Everything that has happened in their lives has paved the way for you to come along.
I truly believe that every single thing we do leads us to where we are today. Your whole life has a trajectory. This might seem crazy, but this is so true. Everything we do leads us somewhere in our life.
Thus, your partner’s past has to happen in order to meet you. It had to be that way, so accept it and be glad for what you have now.
5. Make the present better
The best way to accept the past is to make the present better and ask yourself. Do you love your partner now? Do you love yourself now?
Then that’s all that matters for REAL.
The past is in the past; it only exists because you are thinking about it. So if you stop putting your focus on it. It won’t exist anymore. Moreover, start putting your focus on the things that matter which is your present.
Start putting your focus on how you can make your partner happy now. However, the best way to do that is by making yourself happy.
The more you love yourself and care about your own happiness. The more you’ll be able to care for your partner as well.
This brings me to the next step.
6. Do not Compare Yourself
We all have this tendency to compare ourselves with our partner’s exes. This will make you feel even more insecure and will affect your bond with your partner.
Moreover, focus on making yourself better and work on yourself. This will help you become more confident. However, there is a reason why your partner is with you right now.
You don’t have to feel conscious even for a second. Never doubt your worth. There is a reason why your partner chose you over their ex.
So be confident and know your worth. Eventually, you will realize that you were worrying for nothing. They are yours now, and you should embrace that.
7. Deal with your Emotions
We are emotional beings, and our emotions drive us. So when something happens and brings out emotions like jealousy and anger. Do not overreact because these feelings and thoughts will come and go.
So don’t act or say something that you will regret while in the middle of a highly charged argument. The only way to let these negative emotions go is to admit and accept the way you feel.
Your emotions can’t harm you, but the actions taken during that period can have a long-term effect on your relationship. So don’t let your emotions become so heavy that you lose control of yourself.
Eventually, over time you will stop overthinking, and these thoughts of your partner’s past will no more bother you, and that gonna make it so much easier for you to accept everything.
So, don’t fear any feeling or emotion, and start accepting your emotions.
8. Stop Holding their past
Don’t hold their past and use it like a weapon in arguments. Don’t take their past as they have been unfaithful to you by having any relationship prior to being with you.
The odds are they didn’t even know you at that point or haven’t met you. Remember, this is not what disloyalty is, and maybe they also regret some of their past experiences.
So stop flashing their past in front of them. It doesn’t need to be held over their head. Moreover, we all have our own baggage, and no one is spotless.
However, bringing their past will just add fuel to the fire.
Any new relationship requires a new beginning, so stop holding on to their past if you want to have a peaceful relationship.
9. Fight Bitterness with Gratitude
Fight any bitterness that might be taking root in your heart because of their past. Have gratitude for them choosing you over their past.
However, be thankful that they are with you and not stuck in their past. Thank them for changing and being the new person they are now.
Moreover, whenever bitter feelings start to take over, fight that and remember who they are right now, not the older version. Jealousy can jeopardize your relationship, so you have to fight that with gratitude.
10. Stop Assuming and Start Talking
When you keep playing the same movie in your head, you cannot help but assume what has happened. So instead of staking their Ex and thinking what their past must be like.
Go and have an open conversation with your partner and let them know what’s bothering you. This will be a real test of the relationship, and if your partner understands you, they will have absolutely no problem sitting and talking things out.
It requires vulnerability on your part to tell them your fears and insecurity. Moreover, it will require empathy on their part to understand where you are coming from.
This way, you both are going to take a role in each other’s healing process. Understand this is not about blame and shame. It is about understanding each other and trying to work on building a stronger relationship.
Coming to my next step.
11. Stop Digging into Bones
Remember, your partner is worthy of love regardless of their past. Thus, you need to stop digging bones and focus on what you have now.
Moreover, you can play a role in their healing journey and show them that their future is full of love and nothing like their past. Never hold their past mistake over them and let go of your idea of an ideal partner.
Embrace what you have and stop scratching their wounds by bringing their past over and over again in front of them. However, As we evolve, we try to become a better and wiser version of ourselves.
Understanding that their past was important to teach them the necessary lessons and to learn from their experiences.
12. Acknowledge that this is your issue
Everyone has a different value system, and it is not necessary that your partner should have the same learning as you. You both have different upbringings, and it is your conscious decision to be with them, so you need to understand that you have to work on yourself.
Because they don’t live in their past anymore, it is you and your thoughts that have been causing the trouble. It is something you need to work on internally. You need to own this problem before you start moving forward.
This issue doesn’t belong to your partner, and their past is their right. It belongs to them, and you can’t change it. You must find a way to make peace with it if you want to move forward in this relationship.
Accept that your partner cannot fix this problem for you. However, no one can expect you.
The Bottom Line
I would want to quote Mother Teresa “ Love is to be real, it must cost, it must hurt, and it must empty us of self.
Now, if you want some time and space to reflect and accept what you are feeling, by all means, take it. However, you cannot blame someone for having a past it is their right, and you can’t punish them for that.
Put yourself in their shoes and see their perspective. No one has any control over their past, and thus, you need to stop the blame game.
You are your own redemption here; it will just take a bit of time, self-realization, and soul-searching.
Real love means accepting the other person with their flaws and making them feel good about themselves.
Before rushing to judge your partner, consider your own past; it might be different, but it has made you the person you are today.
Similarly, all of your partner’s past experience has shaped the person you fell in love with, so start accepting that person truly. Lastly, Carpe Diem and embrace what you have.
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