If you’ve found yourself in a relationship with a jealous boyfriend, it can be quite a confusing and exhausting experience as you probably know. Especially when he’s not jealous about guys in the present, but about guys in the past.

A man who gets all angry and upset about his girlfriend’s past suffers from what’s known as “retroactive jealousy”. And usually what irks him the most is not his girlfriend’s romantic history, but his girlfriend’s sexual history. Learning that a girlfriend once had a threesome has been known to reduce a grown man to tears.

Symptoms generally include:

- wanting to know every little detail about your sexual past
- making you feel like your sexual past is somehow “wrong”
- going through your social media accounts, photos and phone, looking for info
- demanding that you delete certain guys from your Facebook account

To sum up — it’s not much fun. And I should know because I used to be one of these guys. However, I was able to overcome retroactive jealousy and ended up writing a book about how to do it.

In this article I’d like to let you in on what’s causing your boyfriend’s sexual jealousy and what you can do to help him get over it. Hopefully by knowing a little more about exactly why your boyfriend’s jealous, you’ll be able to see things from his perspective and be in a better place to help him through it.

3 Reasons Why You Have A Jealous Boyfriend And What To Do About Them

1. He’s been conditioned to have a madonna-whore complex by society

“Madonna-whore complex” is the term used to describe an attitude some guys have in which they divide women up into either saints or sinners. They believe that the type of girl they’ll someday marry will have only slept with a few guys within committed relationships, or (even better) be a virgin. The other type of women — “sinners”, “sluts” — are great for having sex with, but are definitely not marriage material. A woman can’t possibly have more than one side to her, you see.

Now, this is obviously not a great way to view female sexuality but, in your boyfriend’s defense, the madonna-whore complex is purely a societal construct. It’s not really 100 percent his fault if he’s grown up with society force-feeding him the view that women shouldn’t sleep around. Women are called sluts for sleeping with fifty men, but men are congratulated for sleeping with a hundred women.

What to do about it:

A lifetime’s worth of social conditioning may be hard to shift, but let him know where his judgmental attitude is coming from. Try gently educating him about the madonna-whore complex and why he’s feeling the way he is. Tell him (in as nice a way as possible) that it’s not fair to look down on you in this way, and ask how he’d feel if you judged his sexual past in the same way.

2. He’s insecure about a whole bunch of things

Deep down, retroactive jealousy is just like “regular” jealousy, i.e. rooted in insecurity. Your man is simply acting out because now he’s gained evidence that you once enjoyed having no-strings sex with random guys, he thinks you might want to do it again.

Intellectually he knows you love him and aren’t interested in these guys from the past, but emotionally he can’t stop thinking about them because they represent a subconscious fear that you may cheat him.

This fear is due to a lack of confidence in himself. If he was as self-confident as say, George Clooney, it’s highly unlikely he’d be worried about who you once went to bed with. But instead he’s comparing himself to them and coming off second best, which brings up a whole host of uncertainties in his mind. Was the sex you had with those guys better than with me? Did you have more fun with them than you’re having with me? If you used to go around having sex at the drop of a hat, is the sex we have still special? And so on.

What to do about it:

You’ve probably already let him know that these fears of losing you are completely unfounded, but they tend to fall on deaf ears when someone’s gripped by retroactive jealousy. Rather, try turning him on to the works of personal empowerment gurus like Eckhart Tolle, David Deida, Sean Webb, Corey Wayne, Noah Hammond. These guys and others have more than enough info on the tools and techniques he can use to become “a better man”.

3. He’s asked for too much info or you’ve given him too much info

Guys are often keen to know all about a new girlfriend’s sexual past (don’t ask me why), but then struggle to cope with the answers. And women can often be guilty of oversharing, whether their boyfriend has asked them about their past or not. In general, this is because women tend not to get particularly hung up about a boyfriend’s sexual history and so think it’s fine to tell him all about theirs.

In other words, having “the talk” may have seemed like a fun idea at the time, but can often backfire. Hence now he can’t get that image of you having sex with a hook-up buddy out of his head.

What to do about it:

Well, there’s not much you can do about it. The cat’s out the bag, so to speak, and that’s why he’s being tortured by your sexual past. Remember this, though: jealousy kills, but the ammo is information. So try not to tell him anything else about your past.

If he asks again just tell him, nicely but firmly, that you’re not going to. This retroactive jealousy is due to his fear of losing you, and down to his own judgment. Details about your sexual history will only add fuel to the fire when what he really needs to do is work on his self-confidence and attitude.

For a more information about how to get over Retroactive Jealousy check out my website and book "How To Stop Being Jealous Of Your Partner's Past In 12 Steps".

Author's Bio: 

Jeff Billings is the author of “How To Stop Being Jealous Of Your Partner’s Past In 12 Steps” and founder of the course "Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy 101". RetroactiveJealousyCrusher.com a website devoted to helping people get over their partner’s sexual or romantic past. His work has appeared in Huffington Post, Mogul, FemaleFirst and many other online platforms. He currently lives on the south coast of England with his wife where he enjoys writing screenplays and watching movies.