I'm looking for advice on how to deal with my husband's emotional tie to his pictures and keepsakes from his first marriage of 13 years. He can't seem to part with a couple of boxes of momentos that he has stored at his parents, but now must bring them to our house. I don't understand his need for the momentos, they are not on speaking terms and have not been since before he and I got together almost 9 years ago. He cries when he sees pictures of them together. I've walked in on him going through a photo album and crying twice.
My sister says she would have never dated a guy who couldn't get over his ex. I'm looking for other second wife's opinions.
my spouse was married once before. of course he had memories of his life and I did not ask him to let them go - it's part of life. gradually he gave certain pics to my stepkids as they became adults. photos of the kids were kept of course. I never interferred with how he would handle those items - never felt it was up to me. However I would have had a difficult time if he cried over seeing pics of the ex. And my marriage probably wouldn't have lasted 22 years if that were the case. Crying over children and what was lost is another matter. Now, I'm faced with that same situation in the future - 22 years of my life that I don't plan tossing in the garbage or hiding away. I'll probably pass them on to my stepkids later but not now. just my thoughts.
Sorry, I'm not an ex-wife. I am, however, a devout husband and father. This obstacle must make you feel "second best" and hardly first and foremost in your husband's life. We have but one mortality here. We can either spend it productively and happy or in a state of misery. Everyone deserves the first - including you. I'm sure you love your husband, but he must be confronted with how this is making you feel. He must learn to cut the cord to his past marriage. He should be happy in starting "anew" in the current marriage. Even though it's been nine years it's never too late to change things for the better. Asure him that you are willing to forgive how this has made you feel over the years IF he is willing to discard or be rid of the damaging momentos forever. Anyone who would respect and sympathize how actions like this are affecting their spouse would gladly sacrifice the vice of the past in order to ensure the happiness of the future of both of you.
I would never advocate divorce. However, if he is absolutely unmoveable in clinging to the past then that possibility must remain open for the sake of your happiness and sanity.
Definitely seek marriage counseling. I have just completed instructing yet another course last evening and I promise you that it is worth it. Happiness and oneness can be achieved as long as you are both pursuing a common course of love and prosperity in your journey of life.
Good luck to both of you! If you are religious I would highly advocate regular personal prayer and prayer with your spouse as well. This will help align your spirits to an attitude of common learning.
Did he and his ex have children?
Are there children in the pictures?
I can't let go of various keepsakes from my marriage either, though I let go of my ex-husband a long time ago.
Letting go of a PERSON is different than missing / remembering a lot of good things from a previous life. Life, not relationship. There IS a difference.
I agree that there needs to be a conversation between you and your husband. Listen to him with an open mind. Don't read between the lines. If he says he does not miss his ex, etc., but that the tears are about the kids or something like that, you have nothing to be jealous of.
Don't YOU have good memories from your life before him?
It all depends in this situation, and I don't think we have enough info to go on frankly.
Lynda's response is what I thought - whether or not there are children. I know, as a divorced person, if I think of some of the things my children have gone through, I do feel really bad. (I don't cry at this point, but maybe, if his kids have gone through worse than mine have - or if his idea of what he couldn't give his kids is more than he can deal with - that could explain the crying.)
I have saved all kinds of "souvenirs"/"memories" from old boyfriends, though, and I wouldn't appreciate someone expecting me to get rid of them. I've never left that stuff out and around the house for "the world" to see, but it's all tucked away in boxes; and I'm not getting rid of it - no matter how little those relationships may have meant to me. Those things are just a part of our lives, and sometimes (no matter who or what was in our life, we don't want to feel like we need to pretend that part of our life never existed).
I have my wedding pictures and diamond, and my ex-husband and I are friends - but, really, wanting to keep the pictures (for my kids, but also because it was a big day in my life, and the pictures a positive reminder of an otherwise negative situation) has nothing to do with not being over the relationship.
Sometimes, when you're secure in the knowledge you're well over something, you're also secure enough to save the reminders of the good parts of your past (rather than being feeling like you have to block it all out, destroy all memories, and "prove" you're over it). (Heck, I have a scrapbook of get-well cards and other little gifts people gave me when I had a big car accident. It's not the accident I want to remember, but all the nice cards, notes, and little gifts. I've got cards and a few things from a pregnancy I had that ended in miscarriage, for the same reasons. These were big events in my life, tell the story, and maybe interesting for my kids if/when they ever discover them. (Just kind of keeping "sharing history" . I wish my parents had saved more stuff from their own.)
You should sit down with him and have a heart to heart and find out exactly what is making him cry.
How much time between his divorce and him meeting you was there? I am not saying you were a rebound, but perhaps that could be part of it. Maybe he was not ready to move forward at that point, but did anyways. This is only speculation, as only the two of you can know for sure.
I think that would make me feel bad too, like goldenpath said, 'second best'. He obviously has maintained some sort of emotional attachment to her. It he a really emotional guy?
My hubby still does things for his first wife but I'm not bothered by it. But he doesn't gaze at her picture and cry, though we have pics of her around with the kids. They aren't displayed, though I wouldn't have a problem with it. (She's very mentally ill in a residential home with a very immature mind).
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