Keeping Souvenirs of Past Relationships Is Smart

When I first started dating my husband, I was going through his drawers (natch) when I found some photos of an ex-girlfriend of his. I had never seen them before and they were somewhat intimate, clearly intended for his eyes only. I made him cut them up and throw them out. Clearly I had issues.

More than a decade after that incident, I have some distance and much more confidence in our relationship, and I feel sort of bad about what happened. I have books with photos of ex-boyfriends buried inside, gifts they gave me sitting in my jewelry box, and books we shared on my shelves.

For one woman in The New York Times "Modern Love" column, her boyfriend holding onto his ex's slippers proved almost disastrous for their relationship. She thought it was wrong. But I don't. I wouldn't want to get rid of them, either. And not because I am still in love with any exes.


The fact is, when relationships end, it's sad. But the years (or months or weeks) you spent together don't end. There is usually some form of love there and keeping a souvenir of it isn't that bad.

Imagine breaking up with a best friend and not keeping anything of that person. Some might think that is the best way, but others would want to at least have something to commemorate that relationship.

Breakup or not, that love happened. Also, when two people break up, throwing out the other person's things seems unfair. But so does keeping them.

I have photos of exes. But I did take all the stones from various pieces of jewelry given to me by my exes and made new pieces for each of my six bridesmaids. It was nice for them to have keepsake pieces I designed and it was a nice way to get rid of those stones but still keep their meaning.

Today I wouldn't even balk at my husband having a photo of his ex. He doesn't. But if he did, I wouldn't mind at all. I am secure enough to know that there are some things in the past that I wasn't a part of. I am OK with that.

Do you care if your husband keeps "relics"?


Image via daniel_littlewood/Flickr

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