Keeping the Pictures: Am I Holding onto the Past?

Keeping the Pictures: Am I Holding onto the Past?

Amusingly, it appears it was last January that we were doing some clean-up and Hubs asked about why I was keeping photos from my relationship with my ex. It must be the time of year because I was in the basement again this past weekend cleaning out some old boxes (to add new stuff…).

While I was down there, I pulled out the box that has my wedding album in it. Not my last wedding. The first one. With my ex.

Flower was down in the basement with me and she asked if she could look at it. As she looked at the photos, she marvelled at how young everyone looked. We came across a photo of my cousins, all now in their twenties, and a few of them now with their own children. She had trouble adjusting to the fact that her friend Max’s dad was once a kid her size.

While they weren’t memories that I wanted to relive, I didn’t begrudge her curiosity, and I answered her questions as best I could. As I continued to do what I was doing, I answered her questions and giggled a bit internally as she said “eww” at the picture of our first married kiss.

I did, however, have a slight sense of regret the next day when she talked to her father on the phone later. She told me after the call (I never listen into their private conversations) that she’d told her dad that she looked at the photos.

I would never, ever ask her to lie about what happens in my house. However, I know that her father has ridden himself of any and all evidence of our relationship with the sole exception of our children. And my first thought upon being told that she’d relayed I still had some mementoes was that my ex would likely view that as evidence that I still have feelings for him. Even though that is very clearly the farthest thing from the truth. And although I tried to hide it, I cringed internally at that realization and wondered if I shouldn’t have let her look at them.

The photos are (in my mind anyway) something in my past. They only affect my present (and my future) because of what I’ve become, and who I’ve become in light of who I was then. They are a blurred reflection. They do not represent me, as I am now.

I cringed, in part, because my ex will view them as a weakness. Something he can use to manipulate me in the future. And maybe the fact that I did cringe means that it is a weakness. Because if it did come up, I might feel the need to defend myself. And maybe I am defending myself.  Justifying yet again the reason I feel the need to keep those photos.

What’s your view? Should I just get rid of the whole lot? Would you keep them? Should I have let her see them?

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4 thoughts on “Keeping the Pictures: Am I Holding onto the Past?

  1. Keep them… there must have been some happy memories and some moments in those past chapters that helped make you the person you are now. I still have all the photos from all my past relationships and they are now far enough past that I can look on them with fond memories

  2. Hi Liv,
    I had a similar thought process, and it’s not so much that you’re holding onto them or it’s a sign of weakness or defense. Those pictures are a memento, a record of your past, and are part of Flower and Puck’s story. The other people in those photographs are their family. I had a similar urge to purge all the wedding pics, but I kept two albums, one a thin one made from shutterfly way back when after the wedding, and a personal one given to me by my BFF who is a pro photographer (included bridal shower/bachelorette pics). I did it because the pics have people who I love in them, the same people who are still with me today. Also, because they are part of the family and kids do wonder about the past.
    Happy New year!! <3

  3. Preserving the special moment is a sign of healthy outlook towards life. Because we know the truth, yet we have the courage to look into our past and admire the good. It also helps us to learn from past mistakes. I too have tons of pictures of my past.

  4. It’s really an interesting one. No divorce here but I’m a pro photographer! So I have photos of exes, and should anything happen to Cassidy or with him (god, I hope not), I’d keep those photos for the kids.

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