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To think it's not normal to keep so many photos of your ex?

(33 Posts)
arcticmonkey81 Mon 15-Jul-13 12:18:30

DP has been divorced 2 years and seperated for 3. We've been together just over a year. A few weeks ago I came across a folder on his computer full of hundreds of photos of his previous married life. Years worth of holidays, days outs, garden shenanigans, just 18 years worth of happy memories. Now I can understand him keeping pictures of his kids growing up of course and even the odd pic of the kids with their mum and the odd family shot but amongst these pictures were loads of just the two of them, hand in hand on a beach, laying on a bed together, kissing on the sofa, dancing at parties - proper 'couple' shots. Why would he keep these? I don't have pictures of me and my ex together, I just have a couple of him with the kids.

Anyway I never mentioned it to him. BUT - just been in the garage looking for something and there are more photo albums in there full of his ex. It's a bit gutting to think he feels the need to cling on to these memories not to mention the shock of seeing him in his 20s and 30s looking so happy and in love with a gorgeous 20/30 year old woman. Of course I knew he was married and of course I knew he loved someone before me and they were happy at some point but all the photos? isn't that a bit odd?

Also I remember him saying a few months back that he'd just found his wedding ring hmm he added "I might as well sell it". Well - I can guarantee that if I had the energy to search that garage properly I'd find it hidden away somewhere.

Looking for honesty, AIBU or is it odd to cling on to so many old memories in such a way? I'm wondering if I should mention to him that I find it hurtful that he has so many pics of his ex hidden away on his pc.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 15-Jul-13 12:23:37

Its not at all odd, some people prefer to bin photos others don't.

Either way it is not something that is up to you he and only he gets to decide what he wants to do with his personal things.

When you get together with someone that person will always have history it does not just erase because you don't wish to be reminded of it.

Chattymummyhere Mon 15-Jul-13 12:24:18

I think when it comes to 18years of your life you can't just throw all evidence away... You say about keeping ones with the children etc but what about when the children want to look at these photos? Surely its not a bad thing for the children to see mum and dad was happy together they loved each other etc...

They are away in the garage/in a folder on the pc not hung up all over the house looking at them everyday.

mynameisslimshady Mon 15-Jul-13 12:24:44

In 12 years of marriage it has never occured to me to delete or throw away pictures of any of my life before dh, I know that I have pictures of me and some ex boyfriends stashed away somewhere, and there are photos of dh with some of his exes too.

I don't think its weird, in fact I would think it was more weird if he made a huge point of throwing them away.

A few old pictures can't harm your relalationship.

Chattymummyhere Mon 15-Jul-13 12:25:39

Too add if it was nudes of his ex then I would have a issue but this just sounds like life photos

arcticmonkey81 Mon 15-Jul-13 12:26:00

Ok fair enough. I guess it just comes down to my insecurity that he still loves/misses her

musicismylife Mon 15-Jul-13 12:27:47

Hi op, 18 years is a long time to be married to someone and he has only been divorced for two years. I wouldn't expect him to get rid of any of the photographs any time soon. They were obviously very much in love but he is with you now. Who's to say that you and him can't have 18 years of happy memories too (I know that last sentence was a bit cringe-worthy)

He probably hasn't even thought about needing to throw them away or that he pics are upsetting you. The pictures are about his past, you are about his future.

ouryve Mon 15-Jul-13 12:27:51

It took me 10 years to be able to face sorting through photos with my ex in. Even then, I had awful dreams after doing it.

And if you have children (which I didn't, thankfully), then it's not fair on them if you completely ditch all the photos of their other parent, which they may want, in the future.

badguider Mon 15-Jul-13 12:28:16

I haven't thrown away any photos of exes and wouldn't unless I had really bad abuse memories associated with them.
I have all my university photos somewhere with my boyfriend of the time, and photos of a long-term-relationship I had in my 20s. They are important because they were MY life, the men in the photos and in my life at that time were not right for me in the end but they were and remain good men so I wouldn't erase my/our history.

PareyMortas Mon 15-Jul-13 12:29:37

When I got divorced it felt wrong to throw away the massive folder of wedding photos, so I packed them into a box for the ex to deal with. A few year later he said he held onto them for a while before getting rid. By that point neither of us wanted to get back together, it just felt a bit wrong so soon. I sold my engagement ring, but not for about five years. I don't think it's anything to worry about.

2rebecca Mon 15-Jul-13 12:30:11

I still have my wedding ring from my first marriage. Why wouldn't I? I wouldn't deliberately destroy any pictures of my ex. My husband has photos of him and his first wife, that's OK she was part of his life for a long time and the mother of his kids. It's good for kids to know their parents were once happy together.
If their marriage had been great he wouldn't now be married to me.
I don't think trying to erase your past is healthy. I still have photos of several ex boyfriends, they are also photos of me when i was younger and more attractive. I don't want to destroy them.
You sound very insecure. he's with you now, you can't change his past you have to accept it.
If he was pouring over old photos regularly I'd worry but it sounds as though you had to go looking to find these photos.
If there are problems in your relationship I'd sort those out, otherwise just leave the photos alone.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 15-Jul-13 12:33:10

I have still have boxes of photo albums with pictures of my ex. Why should I throw them away? I don't look at them, they're just there.

WilsonFrickett Mon 15-Jul-13 12:33:35

I have every single photo I've ever had taken - it wouldn't cross my mind to bin any of them. If they were all over the house, then I could see your point but in a folder in his pc and in a box in his garage is quite different to pics on display.

You wouldn't have seen them if you hadn't gone looking for them...

ThePeppermintHippo Mon 15-Jul-13 12:34:30

YABVU although I understand where you are coming from.

To me, photos are something that you never throw away. Sounds like your DP is the same. Doesn't necessarily mean he is still in love with his ex wife or anything of the sort.

I have loads of photos going back years which obviously include exes in them. I would never go back and remove those pictures and edit the people out of my life. hmm

ilovechips Mon 15-Jul-13 12:42:26

Hmmm, difficult one. When I got together with my DH he was still good friends with his ex wife, they had been split for about a year, they used to regularly chat and text - not about their (grown up and left home) daughter, just general stuff. I was very uncomfortable with it but came to realise that if he could just cut out someone who he had loved and been married to for years then he wouldn't be the person that I love. I didn't ask him to stop for that reason, and also I wanted him to want to stop, if you see what I mean. As it happens the contact got less and less anyway and is now non-existent, not because of a falling out just the passage of time...

Now me on the other hand, whenever I find a photo of exH I can't destroy it quick enough!

SarahAndFuck Mon 15-Jul-13 12:44:21

It's his life, his history, so it's fair enough if he wants to keep it.

The albums are in the garage or stored on the computer. He's not using their "couple photo's" as his screensaver or mounting them on canvas all around the house.

So I think he's keeping them for the right reasons. He can't erase his past by deleting the photos. If he still had feelings for his ex it wouldn't matter if he threw the albums away.

I can see where you are coming from but I think you are worried without reason.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 15-Jul-13 12:47:43

YABU I like to think I'd keep photos of me and DP if we split up so our DC to have them if they wanted.

When my parents split and then divorced my mum chucked out everything. Martial bed, wedding dress, burnt the wedding album and ditched a lot of the photos of them together. That's up to her of course but would have been nice to see some pics of them together (dad left when I was 1 so have no memories of them together, happy or unhappy).

Luckily my gran kept an album of wedding pics and loved to go through it with me, telling me over and over how much it all cost her and my grandpa grin

DoJo Mon 15-Jul-13 13:08:14

I think the problem is that you are thinking of them as pictures of his ex, whereas it sounds more like they are pictures of him, from his life before he met you. Of course his ex will be in many them as they obviously spent most of their time together, but why should he get rid of photos of himself just because he isn't with her any more? Just think of them like photos of him in a house he no longer lives in or wearing a pair of jeans which no longer fit - they might have been what he wanted or needed at the time, but they aren't any more.

shewhowines Mon 15-Jul-13 15:09:20

YABU They are a record of his previous life - good and bad bits. Why would you even think about deleting memories? His past has made him the person he is today. He has a history. So what?

I like looking at old photos of mine, even though I wouldn't want that life now. Its nice to have your memory jogged.

I think it says more about your insecurities, than it does about him.

ShoutyCrackers Mon 15-Jul-13 15:14:33

You again ?

You were posting about this a few weeks ago. Identical thread

StuntGirl Mon 15-Jul-13 15:21:00

You're asking him to essentially throw away all evidence of his life before you... yes YABU. If you're insecure you need to talk to him, or look into dealing with that yourself.

Tiptops Mon 15-Jul-13 15:45:59


18 years is huge portion of his life, and even if the relationship has ended he obviously has happy memories from that time.

CuChullain Mon 15-Jul-13 15:47:58

I was having a bit of clean out of the attic a few years back and came across a box full of old photos. Myself and MrsCuChullain had a good giggle going through hundreds of pics of me over the years, my school mates sporting all sorts of bad haircuts and fashions, old rugby team photos, birthday parties and general snaps of my life. It was a bit of a memory lane trip although I felt a bit awkward when we finally came to about 20 photos of me and my ex on holiday looking all happy and loved up. MrsCuChullain studies these seriously for a few moments before looking up at me and saying " are so lucky with me.....she has nothing on me" before bursting out laughing.

People are allowed to cherish happy memories, even if that includes the ex. At the end of the day there was a reason why they went out together, even if it did not work out in the long run, you cant expect someone to forget a large chunk of their life or not to look back fondly on memories that dont include yourself..

maddy68 Mon 15-Jul-13 15:50:13

They are his memories. Both me and my dh have loads if photos of our past lives. Normal I would think?

happyyonisleepyyoni Mon 15-Jul-13 16:23:20


My DH never destroys a single photo, even ones he took to use up the roll of film. He would think it akin to book burning.

I expect it has not even occurred to your partner that he still has the photos, if they are just boxed up in the garage/on the computer.

I don't think many men would invest the same emotional significance that you have in objects like this.

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