Why I Keep Mementos from Past Relationships

Some people admit to secretly going through their spouse’s emails, texts, and even mementos from past relationships.

Have I ever felt the need to do that?  Nope, not once in 9 1/2 years.

My husband and I have always been respectful of each other’s past and the tangible items that go with those memories.

For example, I have all my love letters since the 2nd grade when a boy named Daryl asked, “Do you like me?”  I never returned his letter.  I didn’t know how the dating game worked when I was eight.

Love letter from 2nd grade.

I also have prom dresses and pictures, books with concert stub tickets, and letters from when I dated my high school boyfriend.  Don’t give me that look. Yes, I keep this stuff.  And you know what? I’ll never get rid of them.


Because those memories and experiences made me who I am, and they made me happy. Why would I toss those parts of my life in the trash like they never mattered?  And, I don’t expect my husband to throw out mementos of the people and things that made him who he is. (I kinda-sorta love who he is.)

We’ve showed each other quite a few of our personal things, but would I allow him to go through my things…alone? Totally. Would he allow me to? Totally, to the second power.

Would it be pretty? I don’t know.

But, it’s not about how we’d feel going through each other’s things.  It’s about how we feel when we go through our own things, as long as those feelings are innocent and don’t conjure up emotions that could affect your current relationship. (Those are things you might want to consider getting rid of.)

Every so often, I love to read the letter from my junior high crush. Or sift through and laugh at one of my old best friend’s colorful, dirty joke infested letters.  They still make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. (Image is NSFW if you work in a church.)

How could I ever part with such sweet mementos? (1997)

Even though my husband and I are honest with each other, we still deserve a little privacy.  There should be some healthy division, and we sustain this by allowing each other to hold on to some of the past, and to live a life in the present knowing there won’t be an invasion of privacy.

If your trust is reciprocated (unlike this poor woman’s), it should be easy to keep your grubby little wandering hands off each other’s things. Get rid of mementos that are Adam and Eve without the leaves, squirrel away your little stash, and let your spouse do the same.

Let go of the reins of the uncontrollable past, and have some faith in each other.

This kind of respect and trust will take your relationship a very, very long way.

What do you think? Is it okay to hold on to things from past relationships?

One comment

  1. I think the same way. I’ve kept most things that were given to me, or pictures, or letters, whatever. It’s not like I flaunt any of it. I just keep it in my binder. I would never make someone throw their stuff out. What if someone gave me an ultimatum…my stuff or them…and then we broke up? I’d be so mad!!!

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