Is it OK to keep love letters, old emails, mementos, etc. from past relationships? Are there legit reasons to hold onto these objects de amour from an old flame? Or should all those ticket stubs, romantic texts and faded photos be tossed out in exchange for a blank page with your new love?
Chic Geek says:
I'll keep anything that someone makes for me. If a girlfriend goes to the trouble of making me something from the heart, I'm not going to throw it away. Partly because I'm a pack rat, and partly because it's a physical piece of my past. So much of our lives exist online and in digital files stored in cameras or on computers. There's something to the old shoebox filled with photos, keepsakes, etc. I'm not digging out the old cards, mixtapes, artwork, etc. and staring at them longingly or putting that one song that reminds me of my ex on replay. But it's nice to know that it's all there.
I would be lying if I said the items I've kept didn't lead to some awkward conversations with girlfriends. We all like to think that the person we're with came to us like a newborn baby, unsullied by past relationships. The truth is, we come to new relationships carrying the marks of our past, be they physical objects like love letters or mix CDs, or simply memories of the good times and bad. Ultimately, it's just stuff in a box. That's the best way for you (and your guy) to think about it.
Sure, these things have some sentimental value, especially if you're a big smelly loser who will never receive another love letter before you die, so you gotta hang on to that "I like you. Do you like me? Yes/No/Maybe" note from first grade. (Oddly enough, I sent Carrie a similar note recently, but was smart enough to leave off the "Maybe," because they'll always check the "Maybe" if you give 'em that option. BTW, I'm still waiting for an answer, C.)
I had some pics of old girlfriends when I got married, but within a month or two they mysteriously disappeared, along with half of my shirts, most of my posters and all of my bachelor furniture. Must've been a burglar. Those were awesome posters.
Funny Guy says:
As someone who wed their first girlfriend, I don't have a ton of mementos from exes. Tragically, I'm forced to invent them, penning love letters to myself, friending myself on Facebook, using bogus accounts and leaving angry messages on our home machine about certain children I may or may not have fathered. So far my wife hasn't noticed, but I'm having a blast.
In theory, I think people should absolutely be allowed to hold onto reminders of past loves, as long as those reminders aren't the exes themselves, or worse still, standards they created for your next partner to live up to.
Girl's BFF says:
While I don't think that you should put old pictures of an ex on the coffee table once a new man or woman has entered the picture, I don't think the keepsakes should be discarded either. My past helped inform the present, for which the new person is attempting to forge a future. Or something. Mostly though, it's because it's my crap and I like my crap. I don't need a good reason. It's mine, mine, mine. Now, if you catch me perusing old love letters whilst shedding tears over a frappuccino, then that's a problem. But that's only because I don't like frappuccino. I keep stuff because I like history. If it's a good enough reason for America, then it's a good enough reason for me. Viva la revolution.
Reformed Player says:
I keep all of my old love letters, and various romantic mementos from the past in the same place I keep my cat's paw -- in an ark made out of dinosaur fossils that I keep in a booby trapped crawlspace.
I expect my girlthang to do the same thing.
Gal Pal says:
So here's the thing. I *may* have asked this question for personal reasons. I *may* have been outraged upon finding personal items from a guy's past relationship. I *may* have thrown a tantrum about them loud enough to wake the neighbors. At least until I remembered a little box of letters, books, postcards, used paper cups, locks of hair, etc., that *may* be stashed under my bed.
After reading the guys' responses, this is me admitting I *may* have been wrong about this.
Do you have keepsakes from a past relationship?