Speak On It – Holding On?

From time to time, I receive emails from people asking me what I think about a particular situation, or asking me for my advice on something.  Huh??  Little ole me??  MrsTDJ?  Well, I thank y’all kindly for having so much trust in ya girl’s opinion.  Usually the emails are related to weight loss surgery, obesity in general, and marrying your high school sweetheart.  Cool.  Obviously, all areas that I’m comfortable discussing and sharing insight on.  Outside of that?  Well, my friends say I’m a pretty rational, logical, straight shooter when it comes to sharing my opinion and they often turn to me as a sounding board.

I received an email over the weekend and the writer wanted to hear what my dear blog readers thought. I think I’ll start routinely posting these under a category called Speak On It. I’m especially interested in my male readers, so please come out from the shadows to impart just a wee bit of wisdom on this here topic, m’kay?

Dear MrsTDJ,

I love your blog!  I read often, but I rarely comment since I read from work.  Would you mind asking your blog readers to weigh in on a situation?  I’m engaged to the love of my life.  In preparation for our move into another space, I’ve come across an old box of mine that contains letters and pictures from previous relationships.  I know that you’re not really one for nostalgia (re your baby mementos post), but I tend to love keeping things.  It’s never occurred to me to trash these items, but I’m wondering how my fiancée might react to them.  I am 100% committed to my fiancée.  I don’t maintain friendships with any of my ex’s however there are many fond memories in the box.  I’m struggling with the idea of throwing these boxes away.  I am leaning toward keeping them, but I wouldn’t want to hold on to all this stuff if it hurt my fiancée.  I turned the scenario around, and if my fiancée were holding on to old mementos, I wouldn’t object knowing that he is 100% mine.  Can you ask your blog readers what they think? 

My response is toss ’em.  But, hey, we all know I’m not much for certain types of mementos.  Seriously though, I’d personally feel like my partner didn’t have both feet in if they had a secret stash of love things from previous relationships.  Right or wrong, that’s my emotional response.  I’d feel the need to be rid of those items, even if my partner didn’t have an objection.  But, heck, what do I know?  MrTDJ and I have been together since polka dots were cool. I’m so not qualified to advise on matters of the heart.

Holding onto letters and pics from old relationships?  Problem or no big deal?  What do y’all think?  Let’s hear it folks.


35 thoughts on “Speak On It – Holding On?

  1. I don’t see the purpose of holding on to a box full of stuff because they hold fond memories. Those memories will be in your heart and head if they are THAT fond. They are in the past so that’s where they should stay. This box of things should not follow you into new relationships. Toss it!

    You can say now that you wouldn’t mind if the shoe were on the other foot but if it were to come to pass, I don’t think you’d be too excited to know he still holds on to his past so tightly that he keeps it in a box.

    That’s just my opinion 🙂

    • {coming out of lurkerdom}


      Don’t start your future with “momentos” of the past. Toss the box and move onward and upward is what I say. Wishing you and your fiancee all the best in the future!

  2. I agree with everyone else including Jamal. My advice is to toss it, what would be the point in keeping it? If you feel that strongly about it discuss it with your soon-to-be husband.

    Btw Trip – tag you’re it! Head over to my latest post to see what you’ve been tagged with 🙂

  3. I see no point in keeping momentos from a previous relationship. I think the writer needs to take a long, hard, introspective look at why there’s a need to hold on to them. I did a momento dump of sorts (text messages, phone numbers, emails and such) because the feelings that were attached to those things were directly tied to the relationship. The relationship is over. How about focus on making memories and keeping momentos with your future husband instead. And the fact that you’re asking someone else and not your fiance makes me think that you think he may have a problem with it.

  4. Ooh I like this!!! I would get raid of it because of fiancé/husband finds out he may be a little upset!! Turn the page and let the old stuff go…it’s not part of your here and now…men are jealous creatures…I’m finding out as a newlywed! Good luck friend!

  5. Rashan and I talked about it and can’t come up with a reason to care about the mementos. I’m sure both of us have some things around here somewhere. If you’re not sitting around playing in the box, lovingly reflecting on those times, I don’t really see the problem. If it’s a box in the back of your closet and he doesn’t care, keep it. Rashan said the only thing he would have a problem with is an old engagement ring. Since I don’t have an old ring, we’re good.

  6. Passive — keep the pictures and look at them but them listen to I hate you music but cry with ice cream
    Aggressive — drive by their house and leave them at the door—with a bag of poop

    Assertive —Toss them and then post pics of your new relationship in your home because it was their loss.

  7. Letters I would toss but I am a picture keeper. Married 28 years I still have pictures in my photo album like long lost cousins. I never look at them but husband knows they are there. He has a few I tucked away for him. We laughed at the folks we once dated and thanked God we didn’t marry them. I say discuss it- any signs of objections, facial expressions- toss out!

  8. I don’t see the problem with having a box of mementos. I have a box of mementos and I know there are things in there from an ex. There are also things in there from my so-called 8th grade boyfriend, my report cards, my awards, the pen R. Kelly signed my autograph with, etc. Those mementos from the ex helped create the person I am that my fiance is so madly in love with. They are simply a part of the whole.

    If you have feelings for an ex, holding onto things won’t increase those feeling per se. You can pine after an old flame without having so much as a picture of them. I don’t think the two go hand in hand. The mementos symbolize a time in my life. That’s all.

  9. I think if they are asking the question then somewhere deep down they know it will likely be a problem. What if 10 years after your marriage your children find your stash and want to know why you have pictures of your exs? It is not worth the issues so toss them….. Unless you secretly are still……… Never mind just toss them!

  10. The reader says she “came across” the box while preparing to move…which means it wasn’t something she looked at often. In that case, get rid of it. You didn’t even realize you still had it until you came across it, so you it’s not like you’ll be missing it. Hold on to fond memories in your heart, but not in a box.

  11. I may have to go with everyone and say toss ’em. After all you’re getting married and starting a new journey together. No sense in bringing past baggage (good or bad) into the future with you. Take one more trip down memory lane and let them go…far far away…in a dumpster…where you dispose of the ashes. LOL

  12. I’m surprisingly torn on this one. A huge part of me wants to say toss ’em, but then a part of me sees the value she may get from keeping them. Although from the past, those things are apart of her “story.” I’ve blogged for years about my dating escapades, my deep feelings for an ex, etc. I’m now in a relationship with a man I adore and hope to marry, but I wouldn’t go back and delete any of my blog postings. Now this comparison may be shaky, but I think it’s similar. At the end of the day, if it’s going to negatively impact her relationship she needs to get rid of it. Her future marriage has to take priority over everything else. I know I just went full circle with my answer…sorry, lol.

  13. I say keep it. Go to the bank and put them in a safety deposit box. They are yours and you are keeping them because you want them and they mean something to you…that doesn’t mean that you have to keep them in the same house as your man. Tis all.

  14. I say keep the box, too. I have a similar box full of keepsakes that I unearthed last weekend while I was moving, and maybe my boyfriend and I are unconventional in this regard, but we went through the box together. It was kinda cool. I had a chance to talk to him about my past in detail. The conversation actually brought us closer. It helped him to know me a little better than he had before I found the box. Even if you don’t want to share the contents like I did, I don’t think there’s any harm in being nostalgic and saving tangible parts of your past. Everything you’ve been through made you the woman that’s 100% committed now, so why get rid of them? Talk to your fiancee’ about it.

  15. New male reader here…

    I find it interesting a lot of you ladies think there is nothing wrong w/ keeping things from an ex stashed away. Whether your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend (hey..don’t act like this is new) is aware or not, it’s not respectful to hang on to things/mementos from someone in your past that you shared those same, less, or even more feelings for. It’s one of those things that if you found cards, old couple pictures, letters w/ lipstick prints…y’all would feel a certain way too. Match a name w/ someone on his facebook, everytime he gets a cut on his face..swear it was from rubbing those lipstick stained envelopes on his face remembering her kiss, seeing him hold her the way he does you.

    Yes, it takes maturity to be able to deal w/ things like that, but you shouldn’t have to. It’s not your responsbility to accept their baggage or understand their attachment. I am a sentimetial guy, I keep everything my current girfriend gives me. I was married prior to this relationship and w/ that marriage went my “mementos” from that marriage. I loved my life w/ my ex wife, got the best thing that’s ever happen to me (my son), my parents, her parents, family…all still have pictures up, any given day a mutual friend on facebook may post a flashback picture of us, but I didn’t hang on to none of that. There is no picture, card, or memento that could sum up my relationship with her that i’d have to hang on to it & look at it to “remember” how I felt…why, would I want to? Focus on your new life, relationship, mementos…leave you past in past.

  16. I have a box of mementos somewhere in our house. Hubby knows the box exist, and he still has pictures of his ex. We don’t spend time staring at them and wondering ‘what if…”, but we chose to keep them. It was just a decision we made. It wasn’t based on continuing feelings for the relationships that once were. I think it was based on some good memories and relationships that led us where we ultimately wanted to be.

  17. We discussed this last night and my wife, MrsTDJ, asked me to share my thoughts.

    If my fiancee wanted to hold on to these things, I’d feel that she had an emotional attachment to them. Anything beyond a picture at the 8th grade school dance or your first Valentine from kindergarten holds significance. If the items we’re referring to are from significant, adult relationships (sexual or non), I’d have a problem with that.

    I think the writer should take one final look through and move on. Whatever tears and laughs the items in the box bring up will always be in her mind. Having a physical representation seems like she is trying to keep a connection to those people.

  18. Let it go!

    I believe she should only keep things from her current relationship, those memories are the ones that count. I would be very curious if I found a box of my hubby’s ex’s things.

    Clear the clutter.

  19. I say toss it. What are you holding on to? Keeping those memories just keep you in the past. Is the past more important than your future??

  20. The mementos were in a box collecting dust before you rediscovered them. Guess where they’ll be if you choose to keep them? Still in a box collecting dust. Please throw that mess away.

  21. Toss.

    From experience, and not even marriage, but long-term relationship and I held onto some old memories (pics, letters, whatnot) … and when the relationship ended she proclaimed that she should’ve known better from my “holding onto past romances.”

    Maybe she had a point?

  22. Dang! I’m late!
    I say keep ya stuff. The vast majority of the comments say to get rid of the stuff. Most of the reasoning behind that is to please someone else. The reason to keep or get rid of the stuff should be from within. Doing it to feed the other person’s insecurities is a bad way to start a marriage. Someone who loves you for who you are would not ask you to throw away what makes you who you are. We are the sum of our experiences.

    I too found a box of memories. I was looking through my mother’s attic and happened across it. Daily life had put it’s existence almost out of memory. I spent some time reflecting. Read a few letters that I wrote and received. Looked at some pictures. It was a good bit of nostalgia. Made me appreciate the experiences that created the man I am. I marveled at how much I had grown and matured. Truthfully the time I spent with that box was more about me than who I was with. I put everything back in that box. Stuck that box back where I found it. I probably thought about it once before just now. That old box in my mother’s attic.

    Dangit! How did you manage to get me to mini-blog in your comments section? I haven’t done that in years!

    The Late One…

  23. Pingback: A Little of This and A Little of That | Just Another Day with MrsTDJ

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