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#1 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently discovered love letters and my SO's wedding ring... along with the hundreds of photos of his ex on the computer...

I confronted him about the photos a while back and he told me he wanted to keep them for DSS. I said fine but could he please store them somewhere else other than our home (like at his sister's house or something). He said okay, but the photos are still there.

The love letters and the ring I confronted him about today... he explained that he was also keeping those for DSS, while that seems reasonable enough, I still feel hurt about it.

It especially hurts to see photos of their wedding and pregnancy... things that I want so badly for my SO and myself (that he denies me)... seeing him do those things with another woman is very painful. I feel like I don't measure up, I've always been a really confident person so this has really lowered my self-esteem. I just hate being surrounded by their past in my own home.

Am I being unreasonable? Has anyone here gone thru the same things?
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#2 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:43 PM
 
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So are you saying he will not marry you or have a child with you, and those are both things you want? If that's the case, I think THAT is the issue - not the letters and photos. You are probably feeling insecure because you are not getting what you want from your relationship.

That said, I do think it's unreasonable for you to expect him to keep photos of his ex "out of the house". Like where should he keep them? He was married to her and they do have a child together and I can understand why he would want to keep those photos.

As for the ring... I can also see why he would want that. Same with the love letters. I'm not sure I would save love letters for a child to read (even as an adult) but I'm not really as sentimental as most, so I can see why/how someone else might.

I think you need to ask yourself... would you be as upset about these things hanging around if he were meeting your needs in the relationship? I suspect if you were married and having your own child, you might not care so much about his past.

I can feel the pain in your post. I hope things get better. Is he open to counseling? If not, go alone. It can really help a lot.
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#3 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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I think I totally understand where you're coming from, *and* I can one-up you on the horrid stuff my DH's crazy ex did to me.

When we started dating, she hadn't "let go" of him, because she claimed they had a child together (turns out that the child wasn't his after all...long story). She would call me and tell me I was "stealing her man", and threaten to beat me. Afterwards, she'd call me in tears saying she was sorry and that I had to be understanding. Then, she sent me their wedding pictures, AND pictures that she had of them having sex. DH had no idea how she'd managed to keep stuff he'd so carefully destroyed, but it was too late, the damage was done. I later found out she was an unmedicated manic depressive, but I didn't care....I was SO MAD that she got to do things with him that I hadn't: marriage, kids, living together.

Needless to say, I was devastated. I went on a rampage. Everything of hers that he still had--her CDs, videotapes of her with her child, pictures--I destroyed. I cut into tiny little pieces without regard for anyone else but myself. I can't say I'm proud of what I did, and you show remarkable restraint with regards to your partner's possessions. Would he be so complacent if you left your old love letters and pictures of your exes lying around the apartment? I'm not sure...

I really think that you should ask you partner to be more considerate of your feelings. It doesn't cost much at all to rent a safety deposit box at the bank; all he needs is a small one to place all the documents and items he wishes to keep for his child. Then all he has is a tiny key to keep safe for later. Or, perhaps you'd prefer it if he hid all the items somewhere you weren't aware of, so you wouldn't be tempted to try to access the box. Whatever the solution, you are totally justified to feel hurt and to request that something be done right away.

Also, may I ask why he denies you marriage and children?

Perhaps if he's not ready, you could do something different. DH wasn't ready for marriage yet, so we got promise rings and had a mini ceremony just between us. It wasn't marriage; it was different, but it made me feel special. We couldn't try for kids right away (even though I felt I wanted to be the one to bear his children), so we got cats instead. There's a way to take your partner's wants/desires into account without making him feel compromised or pressured.

Good luck!
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#4 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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Thankfully, my husband doesn't have anything like that from his previous marriage, as he doesn't want any of it.

Does he look at the photos much?

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#5 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Needless to say, I was devastated. I went on a rampage. Everything of hers that he still had--her CDs, videotapes of her with her child, pictures--I destroyed. I cut into tiny little pieces without regard for anyone else but myself. I can't say I'm proud of what I did, and you show remarkable restraint with regards to your partner's possessions. Would he be so complacent if you left your old love letters and pictures of your exes lying around the apartment? I'm not sure...

I really think that you should ask you partner to be more considerate of your feelings. It doesn't cost much at all to rent a safety deposit box at the bank; all he needs is a small one to place all the documents and items he wishes to keep for his child. Then all he has is a tiny key to keep safe for later. Or, perhaps you'd prefer it if he hid all the items somewhere you weren't aware of, so you wouldn't be tempted to try to access the box. Whatever the solution, you are totally justified to feel hurt and to request that something be done right away.

Also, may I ask why he denies you marriage and children?

Perhaps if he's not ready, you could do something different. DH wasn't ready for marriage yet, so we got promise rings and had a mini ceremony just between us. It wasn't marriage; it was different, but it made me feel special. We couldn't try for kids right away (even though I felt I wanted to be the one to bear his children), so we got cats instead. There's a way to take your partner's wants/desires into account without making him feel compromised or pressured.

Good luck!
Could I PM you with the rest of the story? I have so much to get off my chest that I think I'll bust if I don't tell someone.
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#6 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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Could I PM you with the rest of the story? I have so much to get off my chest that I think I'll bust if I don't tell someone.
Yes, please do. I'd love to read it. We can exchange horrible tales
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#7 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I would be upset. If he wants to keep photos for DSS, I suppose I would try to understand (but truly, it would bug me anyway). The love letters and ring, though, is where I would definitely draw the line. I've never seen my parents' love letters, and I don't get why DSS would need to see his. Especially since that love didn't last. Thankfully, my husband doesn't have anything like that from his previous marriage, as he doesn't want any of it.

I think your idea of storing the photos elsewhere is a great compromise. Maybe he just didn't prioritize moving them? Does he look at the photos? I'd let him know firmly that I want them out of my house.
I honestly don't know why he would want to keep the love letters or the ring for DSS... my mom didn't keep her love letters for me to read and even non-blended families don't keep their love letters for their children (that I know of anyways). He doesn't look at the photos... but I know they are there, and it irritates me to know there are more pictures of them together in our house than of us together.

He doesn't prioritize moving them, they don't hurt him so he doesn't feel the need to take care of it. I know that if I had tons of photos of my ex-husband and letters and whatnot, he would not put up with it.
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#8 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:07 PM
 
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The only thing I keep from my ex is 2 pictures. 1 of DS and him in the NICU and one of him in the woods while on a walk. I dont keep any of the notes or letters becuase they dont hold any good emotions any more. A few pictures I could understand but not letters. The child is not going to read them. :

Mom to '97, '07, '09 and birth mom '00 and wife to my BFF
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#9 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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sweetstepmom, can I ask how long ago his marriage ended? How does he feel about it? Was it a mutual split or did he leave her or did she leave him? Do you think maybe he has some unresolved issues from that marriage (guilt, pain, betrayal, etc) that are making him hold on to those things?
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#10 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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Well, if he's not gazing at the pictures, then I wouldn't think it's as big a deal. I mean, if it's his screensaver, then yes, that has to stop. But if they're just hidden away on his hard drive that's not too bad. Or in some box in the attic. It might be a bit much to ask him to get rid of every single wedding photo. I think what I reacted to in your note was the implied volume of photos -- surely some could go or be stored, if that's their purpose.

Also, context is important. Are they pictures of his trip to Italy, but she happens to be in them? Or are they smoochy lover pics? I would probably resent being asked to get rid of any photo that had an ex, if the context was just my life at the time and he happened to be there. But I don't keep "hundreds of them" and I don't keep smoochy ones.

I would definitely take issue with the love notes and ring, though. That's different.

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#11 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sweetstepmom, can I ask how long ago his marriage ended? How does he feel about it? Was it a mutual split or did he leave her or did she leave him? Do you think maybe he has some unresolved issues from that marriage (guilt, pain, betrayal, etc) that are making him hold on to those things?
They haven't gotten along in a long time, but they only physically separated in June. He and I were friends at the time (we had feelings for each other but had never acted upon those feelings until they got separated), she had been seeing someone else while they were still together and she's living with that guy now. At first she didn't want the split, then she agreed it was for the best, then she tried to get him back, he refused so she went back to the other guy.

He says he hates her and this and that, so I would think those pictures and things would disturb him as much as they do me, but apparently not.... it just confuses me.:
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#12 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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June is pretty recent. It sounds like he needs some time.

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#13 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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I would agree. It took me time to throw that stuff away. Its been 9 years since I left the ex. Things are still really REALLY fresh. Everything probably still hurts.

Mom to '97, '07, '09 and birth mom '00 and wife to my BFF
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#14 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:23 PM
 
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That's a really recent separation and I can see how he is probably still sorting out his feelings about the marriage. Especially since there was infidelity involved. He may "hate her" but he probably is also grieving the loss of their marriage to some extent. I would give him some time.

Any way you can slow things down? I notice you use the phrase "he denies me" when it comes to marriage and a baby. But with such a recent separation, I'm wondering if maybe you need to scale back your expectations of him. Maybe him holding onto these things is his way of saying he's not ready to move on 100%.
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#15 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's a really recent separation and I can see how he is probably still sorting out his feelings about the marriage. Especially since there was infidelity involved. He may "hate her" but he probably is also grieving the loss of their marriage to some extent. I would give him some time.

Any way you can slow things down? I notice you use the phrase "he denies me" when it comes to marriage and a baby. But with such a recent separation, I'm wondering if maybe you need to scale back your expectations of him. Maybe him holding onto these things is his way of saying he's not ready to move on 100%.
Well as far as marriage, the only reason I have any expectations on that is because he has told me numerous times he wants to marry me and grow old with me and that I'm the love of his life, etc. But for some reason when I bring up engagement or even the subject of promise rings he pulls back and tells me not to rush things...:

As far a baby, neither of us is ready for one right now since we're still settling in to this new life but I mentioned that I wanted to have a baby EVENTUALLY... he said he didn't want anymore children and that I should just focus all my energy on DSS...
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#16 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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Well as far as marriage, the only reason I have any expectations on that is because he has told me numerous times he wants to marry me and grow old with me and that I'm the love of his life, etc. But for some reason when I bring up engagement or even the subject of promise rings he pulls back and tells me not to rush things...:

As far a baby, neither of us is ready for one right now since we're still settling in to this new life but I mentioned that I wanted to have a baby EVENTUALLY... he said he didn't want anymore children and that I should just focus all my energy on DSS...
I know it seems confusing, but he is telling you exactly what he wants.

He wants to be with you
AND
He wants to wait to get married
AND
He doesn't want another child.

He is telling you what he wants. I think you should do an honest assessment of what YOU want. Can you wait for marriage? Is it acceptable to you to not have a child of your own? I would not advise holding out for him to change his mind about another child. He might change his mind, and he might not. You should be preparred for that if you remain in the relationship with him.
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#17 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know it isn't the end of the world, even though I would love to have one, I think I can live without having my own child, I don't think I am even physically capable of having a child (past health problems), its just the fact that he thought she was good enough to be the mother of his child and he doesn't feel that way about me, you know?

Its a genuine feeling of inadequacy.

As far is marriage/engagement/commitment, I've made up my mind to give it time (not unlimited time, but as much time as I feel is reasonable for him to get over her) - after all, he is playing house with me and his parents call me their future DIL - I just sometimes feel like a fool, like I'm good enough to sleep with but not good enough to commit to.
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#18 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:43 PM
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I know it seems confusing, but he is telling you exactly what he wants.

He wants to be with you
AND
He wants to wait to get married
AND
He doesn't want another child.
First of all, : This seems to be waaaaaay more of a problem than the pictures.

Secondly, I'm a jealous neurotic type that threw a data disc at DP once then locked myself into the bathroom to cry because said disc had pics of DP's ex-gf and romantic songs and jpegs of flowers and such on it.

And said disc was buried at the bottom of a box of other random DP-had-been-hauling-them-around-forever crap, AND unlabeled, so I'm pretty sure that DP didn't even know he had it.

But I'm melodramatic like that. :
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#19 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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I know it isn't the end of the world, even though I would love to have one, I think I can live without having my own child, I don't think I am even physically capable of having a child (past health problems), its just the fact that he thought she was good enough to be the mother of his child and he doesn't feel that way about me, you know?

Its a genuine feeling of inadequacy.
Sorry but this is a big deal; don't try to ignore what you're feeling. It's TOTALLY legit. Men don't understand sometimes how important *the possibility* of having a child is to a woman. If you can't conceive, and you've tried and tried, and maybe you decide to adopt, that's one thing. But if your loved one says "No", that's completely different. He's denying you the choice.

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As far is marriage/engagement/commitment, I've made up my mind to give it time (not unlimited time, but as much time as I feel is reasonable for him to get over her) - after all, he is playing house with me and his parents call me their future DIL - I just sometimes feel like a fool, like I'm good enough to sleep with but not good enough to commit to.
Also, you're good enough to raise his child with him but not good enough to marry and conceive a child with? What does he think you are? The nanny?

Again, make him turn the situation around. If you had pictures of your ex with whom you had a child--a child that you were asking your SO to raise and to contribute to financially, would he feel as "manly"? I'm sure he'd feel exactly the way you do, and he'd do almost anything to feel adequate and legitimate.
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#20 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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My dh and I discussed this way back in the beginning of our marriage. If we got rid of every photo of our (respective) ex's, it would be erasing huge parts of our past - trips around the world, birthdays, etc. We didn't feel comfortable doing that. We did get rid of quite a few however.

Just a few weeks ago, we finally went through our garage and we both shredded stacks of old love letters. I had no idea I still had any from my ex, but I found a 2 inch thick file of them in a box.

We have, on our communal bookshelf, multiple photo albums, many of which my dh's ex-wife made. We won't toss them - for some, they aren't ours to toss, pics of her family, her grandfathers funeral, etc. Our intention is to go through them and mail her the one we think she'd want, put aside the pictures we want and then toss the album, since it's one of those sticky ones that ruins pictures.

There are lots of pictures of my ex-h on our other computer, a fair # on this, mixed right in in my photo software (these have come via email from SM, or were taken at "family" functions), and stacks of pictures of us and stuff in random boxes. The intention is to go through them, separate them - no need to keep ones of us hugging, for example, or the ones of ex-h on our honeymoon shaving (wtf was I thinking taking pics of that???) - and put the others in a box for ds.

Ds already has a box under his bed full of stuff from our marriage. My wedding dress, veil, ring, etc, our wedding album, our wedding invite, and other random stuff. I kept this stuff for him, mostly because growing up there was never any reference to my parents marriage. I did not see a picture of them together until I was 19. I was given my mothers wedding dress as a teenager, and I still have it. It is nice for me - good for me - to know that I was conceived in a loving relationship. My parents did love eachother, it wasn't some one night fling, they married, they were together for several years. I didn't know these things until I was married (to ex-h) myself. So, I'll keep these things for my ds. I want him to know that his daddy and I did love eachother, and we were over the moon to have him. I want him to know that we had good times before his birth, during his birth, after his birth, etc.

Anyway, thats why I've kept all of those things. I don't hide it from dh, though we both try to respect eachother by keeping those things in non obvious place - the box of all that stuff is under ds's bed, where it isn't easily seen. The hiding it is what would irritate me. Dh held on to *boxes* of love letters from this one girl he dated and was adament that I not read them, touch them, etc. That was weird. FWIW, dh and I have lived together for 3 years next month. We procrastinate, apparently. And aren't very organized, apparently.

I wish I had some advice for the rest of your situation.
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#21 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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its just the fact that he thought she was good enough to be the mother of his child and he doesn't feel that way about me, you know?
No, he already has a child and doesn't want another. No reflection on your worth.
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#22 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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So you have been dating since June and you guys already live together? That is intense.

I would not worry about the pictures or the ring or anything. My SO has photos of him and his son mom together in his son's room, and I thought it was so nice that I am making similar things for my son. I still have all our pictures from our wedding, and my rings, but not because I want to be with my ex again, but bc that was a huge part of my life and I always want ds to know he was concieved in love.
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#23 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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[QUOTE=choli;9863826]No, he already has a child and doesn't want another. No reflection on your worth.[/QUOTE]

Bolding mine... I thought this was very important and should be repeated.
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#24 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 07:58 PM
 
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I have cards and letters that my former spouse gave me. I also have the wedding rings. I kept them for the children. I think the reactions here are pretty childish.
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#25 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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I know it isn't the end of the world, even though I would love to have one, I think I can live without having my own child, I don't think I am even physically capable of having a child (past health problems), its just the fact that he thought she was good enough to be the mother of his child and he doesn't feel that way about me, you know?

Its a genuine feeling of inadequacy.
Alot of people in this thread say it's no reflection of your adequacy. They're absolutely right. But I'm also in the exact baby situation for you and I know how it feels. I have no advice, but I couldn't read that without sending you

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#26 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 08:09 PM
 
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I've moved on from my first marriage without regret. I'm now married to a great guy. I have no children with my first husband. There are things in my house from my ex. I've got a box of stuff from our wedding. I haven't opened the box, it is just sitting in the basement, but it feels wrong to dispose of something that once meant so much. I've got my old wedding rings to. They are just sitting in a drawer. They are worth money, its not like I'm going to throw them out and selling them would net a small fraction of the original cost. One day I'll probably get around to pulling out the stones and having them reset as earrings.

Does my DH freak out about these things? No. Its a box sitting in the basement. He knows that I love him, that my first marriage was a horrible match, and that our marriage is so incredibly strong. A box that I never open doesn't mean a thing, but I appreciate that he doesn't make me destroy something that while a mistake, was still a significant part of my life and history. In fact, he even suggested that the tiara from my first wedding would be an ok addition to a kids dress-up box or a halloween costume.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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#27 of 49 Old 11-29-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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I have a box of special things from my time with my ex. Photo's, jewelry that he gave me,
drawings he drew, etc. I put it all into one box and I thought I would give it to dd someday.
These are all memories of the good times between her parents, I think she would like to
see that there was once love between us.

It doesn't mean I still lust after my ex, or that I am holding on. If I didn't have a child with
him I would have gotten rid of everything. I hope someday to be in another relationship and
I hope that he can understand why I kept this box of memories for my dd. It has nothing to
do with anybody but my dd, myself, and her dad. I don't think that him keeping these items
should reflect any bad feelings in you. He is with you. Truthfully I think the items are a
symptom of other issues in your relationship. If you felt totally secure in the relationship
the items couldn't take that away.

I have love letters from my parents from when they were young, and they are priceless to me.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#28 of 49 Old 11-30-2007, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for responding. As I said before, I will give it more time as it is still a fresh situation. She lives almost next door to us and calls everyday - I guess that only adds to my insecurity.

Someone said my reaction was childish, but I disagree - my SO WOULD NOT be a happy camper if I kept photos and letters from my ex-h in our home, so it feels quite unfair that I should have to tolerate this from him.

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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
Alot of people in this thread say it's no reflection of your adequacy. They're absolutely right. But I'm also in the exact baby situation for you and I know how it feels. I have no advice, but I couldn't read that without sending you
and thanks. Its a painful feeling to fall in love with the one person you would someday want to have a child with, and they refuse to even discuss it.
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#29 of 49 Old 11-30-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sweetstepmom View Post
Its a painful feeling to fall in love with the one person you would someday want to have a child with, and they refuse to even discuss it.
This is a much more important issue then the photos, etc.

I think you need to think long and hard about whether this is right for you.

Love is not enough to have a happy life with someone ... especially the "falling in love" love which is all exciting, passionate and overwheming.

It is very, very difficult to be happy with someone who does not want the same things in life as you do ... especially major life issue things like having children, approach to life, religions, parenting, working, etc.

This guy has barely had a chance to even begin processing the emotions of ending a marriage that involves a child. If he wants to be a father to his kid, he needs to work out away to communicate with his ex and co-parent. And none of that is easy or pretty. He probably has no clue what he really wants for the future yet.

If you were my daughter (and I have to girls in their 20s so I could be saying this one day soon!) I would hug you, take you by the shoulders, give you a shake and say "Slow Down!"

You are running headlong into something that could cause you a lot of pain. You're feelings of insecurity are absolutely rational ... and they are trying to tell you something ... so LISTEN!

You're not feeing insecure because he is a jackass or doing anything unfair or hurtful TO you ... he's just not in a place right now where it makes sense to be sure of what he feels.

When someone goes into AA, they tell them to avoid making any major decisions the for the first year they are dry because they need sometime to just deal with that.

I've often felt people who are divorcing should do the same thing ... give themselves a year to deal with the profound changes that occur in your life when you divorce, especially with kids, before you make any more huge life decisions.

You know, if you and your SO have something that is going to last beyond the falling in love stage, going slow won't make a difference. On the other hand, if this isn't right for you, going slow will save everyone involved a lot of pain and bitterness.

So OP, my advice is to forget the photos, ring, etc and listen to your gut ... listen to what the insecurity is telling you.

Good luck.
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#30 of 49 Old 11-30-2007, 10:50 AM
 
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As a general comment ... not directed at anyone specific ... I think it is unfair for one person to demand that an SO cut out a part of their past to prove their love.

Mr. Offwing and my marriage is the second for both of us. We both have our old wedding albums, photos of our exes, wedding bands, etc. in the house. For me to hide or destroy that kind of stuff would be to erase a huge part of my life and my girl's life. For my husband, it would be like pretending events that made him the man I love didn't happen.

Feeling that kind of jealousy and insecurity is about the relationship today, not the relationship in the past. Photos of the past are not a risk unless you can't trust the other person in the relationship. Either they really aren't as committed to you as they should be and the fears are justified or the insecurity is a personal problem that is having an impact on your relationship ... which ever it is ... that is the problem, not the past.

I think it comes down to a matter of trust. If you don't trust your spouse/SO I think you have to ask yourself why and deal with that. Because that is what is going to hurt you.

Hang in there everybody!
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