I hadn’t really heard the term, but a dear inquirer used it about his experience of stress when it came to his partner.
This can expand beyond jealousy about someone you love being with someone else.
You can also be jealous of someone’s historical success, the experiences they’ve encountered, the achievements they’ve undergone. In the Past.
As in, it’s not even happening anymore. But you’re jealous as you hear about it.
I myself should have gotten that opportunity. I should have been the one getting that experience. I should have been the boyfriend. I should have been the girlfriend. I should have had that kind of scholarship. I should have gotten that kind of degree. I should have woken up back then.
I remember an inquirer who always felt, because her husband had a previous marriage where his wife had died of cancer, that she was always “the replacement” and she felt pain and jealousy of what her husband’s previous marriage had been.
Good fodder for inquiry.
First….consider why this is troubling for you?
What do you think it means, that the person you’re deeply interested in, this person you love, has had another life, before you came along?
It means they’re comparing ME to someone they knew previously. It means I’m not the first, I’m not the special person. It means they have numerous, general, multiple experiences in their life and I’ve missed out on all of them. It means I’m not 100% important. It means they might have great memories with other people and they’ll desire them again.
I must confess, the only place I’ve personally ever experienced this Retroactive Jealousy is around something to do with accomplishment and success with career or money.
As in….I’m jealous someone else got THOSE awesome opportunities. I didn’t.
Bummer for me. Good for them.
How do I react when I think I didn’t get that experience, in the past, that someone else got?
It can feel devastating. Sick. Soooo uncomfortable.
I leave the person who has sparked this comparison-mode. I want to get away from them. I retreat. I feel very disconnected and separate.
So who would you be without the belief that you should have been there, you should have had that experience….in the past?
Who would you be without the belief that the person you love shouldn’t have been with that previous person?
Who would you BE?
“I’m a lover of what is. It’s so painful when I’m not. There’s nothing we can do about it. It is what it is. And we’re all lovers of reality…..We all want what is because it’s the way of it. And we all KNOW it….How does it feel to react to your own lie??! To something you don’t even believe yourself? We’re attached to this concept. And we think they’re doing it TO us. But it’s nothing more than our fairy tale is being burst.” ~ Byron Katie
Who would you be without the thought that this other person’s story is the better way?
I’d feel quiet. I’d be laughing. I’d be thrilled with my relationship with myself, my own life.
I’d be overjoyed in hearing about other peoples’ life paths, successes, achievements, experiences, mates. I’d be so curious, in a really good way.
Turning the thought around….
….I shouldn’t have been there, I shouldn’t have had that experience I’m hearing about, there’s nothing out of place, nothing is wrong, nothing is missing, all that happened before to this person is perfect and important.
I should have been in my own life, with my own experiences, in this body here.
How could this be just as true, or truer?
Find genuine examples. Notice them.
“It’s living with no net. You do it and you die and your knees wobble and you’re weak like a baby and you’re so vulnerable. It’s so exciting. Much more exciting than your story. It’s love affair, and it goes as deep as it can. The love of self.” ~ Byron Katie
“You are whole and complete within yourself. You do not need anything. You do not need anybody….No clinging, no holding on. If you need it a certain way, you are dependent, and it gets ugly.” ~ Michael Singer
Much love, Grace