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Keepsakes from previous relationships

(35 Posts)
VelvetSnow Wed 20-Jul-11 12:41:54

Everyone has a past, I absolutely accept that.

Yesterday DP & I were moving furniture in dd's room and on top of a massive wardrobe was a shoe box full of photos/cards/letters etc..

We opened it together and started looking through the things and there were photos of DP as a younger man with girlfriends etc (quite a few different women tbh smile) The most recent photos were of him and his most recent ex - from about 10 years ago.

Now, the photos do not concern me at all, as I have a box of photos from the past and they have all sorts of people in them. (including my ExH)

The thing is and I'm not too sure whether this bothers me or not but he had kept birthday cards with lovey-dovey sentiments (of course they would be lovey-dovey, they were a couple for years) and also love letters, but from this person only.

I'm not saying at all that he still has feelings for his ex, I know he doesn't, I gave you the above description as a reason for my question really, I suppose what I'm asking is...

Would/Do you keep things from previous relationships after such a long time, even when you're in a completely new relationship and have children together.

I don't keep things like that as they don't really mean anything to me anymore, would you feel "put out" if you came across something like the cards/letters as described above?

I don't think I'm planning to say or do anything about this, I just want to process exactly how I feel about it tbh. And I know if I was upset about it I could tell DP and he would understand.....looking forward to seeing what you think to be honest.

hairylights Wed 20-Jul-11 12:49:51

Yes. I have a memory box specifically for this purpose. I left my husband but I can't wipe out the happy memories... There were good times and he was a big part of my life. I no longer have feelings for him but there were happy times.

RabbitPie Wed 20-Jul-11 12:53:50

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

lou33 Wed 20-Jul-11 12:57:32

The only stuff i have left from a previous relationship are my kids.

I haven't made a conscious decision to get rid of it, i just am not one to hold on to things. I have memories.

WowOoo Wed 20-Jul-11 13:02:59

I can understand how someone could feel put out.
Both Dh and i have a box with previous relationship/times of our lives stuff in it.
I don't really look in his and he doesn't look in mine.
I have streamlined it recently. Trying not to hold on to things!

Dh has to look at an artwork that was made by an ex of mine. We're all friends ish now and dh has agreed that is most excellent. Perhaps he actually doesn't look at it ever....Don't think i'd like artwork drawn by his ex on our walls. But, to be fair I'd have to wouldn't I?

ShoutyHamster Wed 20-Jul-11 13:07:36

I'm a keeper of everything, if your DP is too then nothing to worry about! - for me, it's not really about the person at all, it's about me. My timeline, my reminders of bits of my life. I've even got stuff from waste of space boyfriends from my teens! When I look at them, they don't remind me of the person so much as that part of MY life.

Perhaps he didn't really have lovey-dovey stuff from the others, perhaps it was just her style. If he has endless mementoes, it's more likely to be that he's a memory hoarder, I'd think.

VelvetSnow Wed 20-Jul-11 13:32:31

He's more inclined to keep gig tickets from years ago rather than cards or letters, that's why I was a little shocked tbh.

It would be hypocritical of me to ask him to get rid of them as I have a box full of photos and I have kept my wedding dress & albums, we have talked about previous relationships and he has always told me that he does not dislike any of his exes, and would quite gladly have a coffee with them if they met in the street - his attitude is that they spent time in each others life, it didn't work out and they moved on.

It seems to be the done thing actually to keep a box of memories so I'm not going to say anything about this because realistically it's none of my concern.

Thanks for the responses so far grin

ShoutyHamster Wed 20-Jul-11 13:41:10

If he's a gig ticket keeper I am not at ALL surprised that he has kept love letters!

I don't think you've got anything to worry about.

chubsasaurus Wed 20-Jul-11 13:44:09

I do. Currently the photos/letters/cards from very recent ex are in a box outside my new room (shared house) becuase having them in htere feels strange

startail Wed 20-Jul-11 13:50:22

I have plenty of pics of me and my xBF, DH is in one of them. They are student memories as well as memories of a relationship.
My favourite picture of DH was taken by his one serious X. It's on the book case in here, I put it there. He loved her, it wouldn't of worked. Years later he found her on the web, they swap Xmas cards, DH asked if he could. I don't mind she ended it and has a husband and DCs.
Anyway DH has always had to put up with me keeping in touch with a Dfriend, who would have liked to be more.

Helzapoppin Wed 20-Jul-11 14:08:35

Velvet- I can sympathise with those feelings, as I felt just the same when DP and I moved in together. Now and again, I'd find a momento or photograph (or box of them) from his ex (and one memorable shot of her in a bikini, which I bored my friends about for months!) and it would give me a real wobble.

I felt 'put out' because I had built my DP's ex up into someone much more glamourous, sophisticated and generally wonderful than me. Also, the notes etc. were all in Italian so I couldn't really understand them, just the 'gist' which was worse (and I did feel guilty for snooping!). It helped when we bumped into her one day and she looked rather frizzy-haired and was wearing a poncho! I cared much less after that! Also as time has gone on and we have gained more memories (two children, a house, holidays etc.) together, I've felt much less funny about momentoes from other relationships. I know where they are, in a box in the attic, and it doesn't really bother me at all now. I'd be rather sad if DH got rid of them. I've kept a few momentoes from previous relationships, although relatively little from my most long term relationship as i have very mixed feelings about it (does a three grand engagement ring count as a momento? I kept that!).

OnlyWantsOne Wed 20-Jul-11 14:10:31

letters and cards bother me less than the sex tapes i found and made myself watch between my now ex, and his previous partners. Wanker.

VelvetSnow Wed 20-Jul-11 15:13:27

Wow - OnlyWantsOne! Sex tapes, I reckon I'd draw the line at that!

And you watched them!!? Then again I reckon I'd probably torture myself by doing the same thing.

OnlyWantsOne Wed 20-Jul-11 15:27:45

i still have them...

he's an ex now, broke up 4 years ago...

niceguy2 Wed 20-Jul-11 15:33:03

Sex tapes! lol that's one hell of a keepsake! I'm sure your ex's ex's would love the fact you now have the tapes! grin

Anyway, as for keepsakes, i think it's normal but just wanted to say that your DP's attitude about glading having coffee is admirable. I'd do the same too. As badly as things ended between me & my ex, I bear her no malice. We had good times and i'd happily have a catch up over a coffee.

LeQueen Wed 20-Jul-11 16:06:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VelvetSnow Wed 20-Jul-11 16:16:55

LeQ - which one was the artistic type who broke your heart? grin

ameliagrey Wed 20-Jul-11 16:20:12

I got rid of a lot of letters when I got married over 20 years ago- and regret it. When I am an old woman I'd like to read them.

I certainly don't think you should feel threatened by them OP- if anyone wants to re-ignate a flame it won't take a box of letters to propel them in that direction!

GirlWithALlamaTattoo Wed 20-Jul-11 16:31:38

I've got a box of letters in the loft from one ex, loads of photos and all sorts of bits and pieces. I don't look at them often at all, but as others have said, they represent important parts of my life. I was really surprised when my dad died to find that he'd kept hold of a photo of me with an ex who he was delighted to see me split up with (for good reasons.)

I've seen several photos of DP's previous girlfriends, and I'm pleased that he has good memories - the past is a big place!

LeQueen Wed 20-Jul-11 16:53:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VelvetSnow Wed 20-Jul-11 16:54:43

I knew it! grin

SpringchickenGoldBrass Wed 20-Jul-11 17:06:29

Basically, some people are much more inclined to hoard souvenirs than others. It is not in any way linked to their views on monogamy. WRT why the OP's H only has letters from one of his XPs, this could be down to the fact that she was the only one who wrote letters - not everyone does.
I don't think you have anything to worry about at all OP.
But if you were to insist he threw away or destroyed tokens of his past, or even worse, destroyed them yourself, you would have a lot to worry about. Because anyone who behaves like that sooner or later gets dumped and deservedly so.

VelvetSnow Wed 20-Jul-11 17:11:25

The reason I believe that DP only has letters from one ex, is because I believe that his ex may have made him discard of all previous letters and would make sense wouldn't it. (just musings really, not worth comment)

I know I have nothing to worry about, I've literally got it out my system without having to upset anyone (i.e DP) It's completely normal in my eyes, and like I said I would be hypocritical to ask him to get rid anyway.

It's nice to have memories and keepsakes, just like different chapters in life.

HoneyDuke Wed 20-Jul-11 17:19:44

I've got a box of mementos to look through when I'm old!

mrsscoob Wed 20-Jul-11 17:22:33

I think he probably forgot they were there. He put them in the shoe box ten years ago with the photos and probably hasn't opened it since.

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