Author Topic: Pictures of the Ex  (Read 5988 times)

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mbbored

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Pictures of the Ex
« on: February 18, 2012, 12:09:02 PM »
Yesterday I finally sat down and emptied my shoebox of pictures, sorted them and put them in albums. These pictures cover 10+ years of my life, including the 5 years I spent with my former fiance, which led me to wonder, what do people do with pictures of their ex?

As I flipped through, I excluded all the couple-y pictures: the two of us posing at a cocktail party, in front of the Christmas tree, cuddling on the couch, etc. I did keep all the group shots: a whole bunch of us at the same cocktail party. I also kept pictures from our travels if he happened to be in a picture of a very cool thing, for example, him in front of an ancient Buddhist temple in China, that I have no other pictures of.

But what do I do with the couple pictures? I don't want to display them or put them in an album, but I feel like throwing them away would be like attempting to erase our time together, and I don't need to do that. And is it weird to keep pictures of just him from our travels?

Black Delphinium

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 12:48:05 PM »
I'd scan them into the computer, put them onto a cd or flash drive, then put that with your important papers, and get rid of the physical copies.
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Dindrane

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 12:48:47 PM »
I've never been in exactly this situation before, but I don't think you need to keep the very couple-oriented pictures.  Getting rid of them would not be an attempt to erase your time together -- after all, you're still planning on keeping group shots and the travel pictures.  What you would be doing is prioritizing the space around you to hold only things that you actually care about.  Because you are no longer in a relationship with this person, there is no need to keep mementos of the relationship that has ended.  You wouldn't be getting rid of them out of malice or any other negative emotion -- it would be a lot closer to indifference.

As for the travel photos, I don't think it's weird to keep them.  After all, as you have certainly realized, you can't erase your ex from your life.  If there are a few photos of significant things you want to remember that have him in the picture, whatever.  I might not personally display such pictures, but I probably would keep them.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 01:44:11 PM »
I like how you did your sorting.  I don't think it is weird at all the keep the pictures with just him, if you want to keep the background of the shot.

I also like Black Delphinium's idea of what to do with the coupley ones.
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jpcher

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 03:44:45 PM »
Maybe I'm odd . . . but I would really like to have photos from my first wedding (Ex took the album).

Even though it's 30 years later, it was still a huge part of my life and I don't have any photos of that event.

Keep some photos . . . in the shoe box/envelope hidden away in your closet. You don't have to put them in an album for display, but years from now . . . maybe when you're talking to your kids about your life . . . I know that my DDs are interested in my past life/marriage . . . but I have nothing to show them.

Kaypeep

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 03:53:19 PM »
I agree with JPCher.  I'd just keep them in a box somewhere.  Maybe put them in an envelope and keep them with other pictures in a shoebox, the ones you don't put in albums but don't want to throw away, either.   You can ween them down if there are a ton of them, and toss some, but I wouldn't get rid of them all entirely because it's a big part of your past.  The only time I'd suggest tossing them all would be if he were toxic/violent and you need to forget him entirely and void him from your life.

Xandraea

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 04:02:40 PM »
I agree with JPCher.  I'd just keep them in a box somewhere.  Maybe put them in an envelope and keep them with other pictures in a shoebox, the ones you don't put in albums but don't want to throw away, either.   You can ween them down if there are a ton of them, and toss some, but I wouldn't get rid of them all entirely because it's a big part of your past.  The only time I'd suggest tossing them all would be if he were toxic/violent and you need to forget him entirely and void him from your life.

Definitely agree with this, or Black Delphinium, who suggested archiving the photos on a disk.  If you're keeping hardcopies that you want to last (to show your children someday or whatever), be sure to get an acid-free photo box to pile them in.  It is a big part of your life and unless, as Kaypeep said, the relationship was toxic and better forgotten, you shouldn't attempt to erase it. It is part of who you are now.

Gumbysqueak

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 04:52:23 PM »
Keeping them in public photo-books is wonderful.  DH has volumes of photo books and I do too, though he had many more long term relationships.  They show a life well lived and no reason to toss out pics of wonderful times.

Side note. Wish he had more of his photos from his first marriage. We don't have baby photos of the boys as babies.

Dindrane

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 04:53:28 PM »
If mbbored wants to keep the pictures, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.  Five years is a significant portion of anyone's life.

But I also don't think that mbbored should feel in any way obligated, by anything, to keep them if she doesn't actually want them.  Pictures often represent memories, and for good reason, but they're only mementos if mbbored sees them that way.  If she doesn't actually want to keep them, they are clutter, even if she scans them and puts them on a CD or a thumb drive.

In addition, I don't think that getting rid of objects that are no longer meaningful is automatically equivalent to attempting to erase a past relationship.  It is possible to decide there are objects representing a previous relationship that are no longer valuable or meaningful without wanting to forget the relationship ever happened.

Personally, I have pictures of myself with people I used to be friends with.  Some of those former friends hurt me, in the method of their breaking off the friendship.  I don't remember them fondly, and I don't particularly want to have pictures of us together.  I've kept a few (for similar reasons as mbbored -- group shots or pictures of events/places that I don't have other pictures of), but I've gotten rid of a lot of others.  All of them were, at one point, significant parts of my life.  All of them were people I spent a lot of time with.  And all of them hurt me enough that, while I've made peace with the end of the friendship, thinking about it doesn't make me happy.

From what I recall about mbbored's ex, he hurt her deeply.  In her shoes, once I'd made my peace with the end of that relationship, I'm not sure I'd want to revisit it any more often than necessary, and I wouldn't want to keep objects that had no value to me outside of the fact that they were mementos of the relationship.  The fact that my future children (or anyone else) might someday want to see those pictures would not sway me if I didn't have any reason beyond that to hang on to them.


JillyJ

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 06:04:35 PM »
If mbbored wants to keep the pictures, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.  Five years is a significant portion of anyone's life.

But I also don't think that mbbored should feel in any way obligated, by anything, to keep them if she doesn't actually want them.  Pictures often represent memories, and for good reason, but they're only mementos if mbbored sees them that way.  If she doesn't actually want to keep them, they are clutter, even if she scans them and puts them on a CD or a thumb drive.

In addition, I don't think that getting rid of objects that are no longer meaningful is automatically equivalent to attempting to erase a past relationship.  It is possible to decide there are objects representing a previous relationship that are no longer valuable or meaningful without wanting to forget the relationship ever happened.

Personally, I have pictures of myself with people I used to be friends with.  Some of those former friends hurt me, in the method of their breaking off the friendship.  I don't remember them fondly, and I don't particularly want to have pictures of us together.  I've kept a few (for similar reasons as mbbored -- group shots or pictures of events/places that I don't have other pictures of), but I've gotten rid of a lot of others.  All of them were, at one point, significant parts of my life.  All of them were people I spent a lot of time with.  And all of them hurt me enough that, while I've made peace with the end of the friendship, thinking about it doesn't make me happy.

From what I recall about mbbored's ex, he hurt her deeply.  In her shoes, once I'd made my peace with the end of that relationship, I'm not sure I'd want to revisit it any more often than necessary, and I wouldn't want to keep objects that had no value to me outside of the fact that they were mementos of the relationship.  The fact that my future children (or anyone else) might someday want to see those pictures would not sway me if I didn't have any reason beyond that to hang on to them.

I agree with this thought process 100%, however, she did say she didn't feel like she needed to get rid of them, I just think she's looking for reassurance that it's not weird to keep them. 

mbbored - I think it's ok to keep them.  I think it would have been ok to put them in an album, but I like the approach you took instead.  and I think it's perfectly ok that you included pictures of him alone from vacations, etc.  As for what to do with the couple-y shots -  I like the suggestion of scanning them to disk or thumb drive if you are trying to declutter (a constant battle for many of us).  You could even just upload them to an online storage site (Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc) and then not have anything physical to deal with at all.

Dindrane

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 10:32:01 PM »
It sounded to me as though mbbored was planning on keeping them because she didn't think she should throw them away.  I didn't get the impression that she thought she should get rid of them but wanted to keep them.  I could, of course, be wrong, but it doesn't really matter in the end.  If she wants them, she shouldn't feel bad about keeping them.  If she doesn't want them, she shouldn't feel any guilt about throwing them away.


June24

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2012, 01:04:03 AM »
I'd toss them - I think that's more cathartic. I only want photos of people I currently care about.

Ceallach

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2012, 01:24:00 AM »
To me photos are part of history, so I keep everything - even unflattering shots.   Photos are part of the collective story of my life, and one day they're all I'll have to remind me of the people I knew, the mistakes I made, and the good times I had. 

However, if you're not somebody who feels that way, then I definitely see no obligation to keep them!    There's certainly no etiquette obligation IMHO. 
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blarg314

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2012, 01:28:41 AM »

I think if you want to keep them, you can tuck them in an envelope, or scan them into a computer. If you don't want to keep them, you can throw them out.

Although in situations where the pictures may be wanted by someone else (say, for example, an ex with whom you had children), then I would say to tuck at least a representative sample of those pictures away, and offer them to the kids when they are old enough.

mbbored

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Re: Pictures of the Ex
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 02:51:27 AM »
It sounded to me as though mbbored was planning on keeping them because she didn't think she should throw them away.  I didn't get the impression that she thought she should get rid of them but wanted to keep them.  I could, of course, be wrong, but it doesn't really matter in the end.  If she wants them, she shouldn't feel bad about keeping them.  If she doesn't want them, she shouldn't feel any guilt about throwing them away.

Dindrane, you are so sweet to remember my history with my ex, which ended almost 4 years ago (wow!) Also, you perfectly summarized what I felt. I hate wasting things and throwing them away, but I don't have value for the couple-y pictures. I've set aside some group shots to send to a mutual friend of ours (she's terrible about taking pictures and sometimes asks me to forward on photos) but I don't see her having any use for pics of just me and my ex hugging.