Dear Dr. Bill,
I need to get your opinion on something. I am currently engaged and have had a few relationships before the one I’m in now. As a result, I have some pictures of former girlfriends. I don’t like the thought of destroying these photos, but at the same time I know I’d be bothered if my fiancée pulled out pictures of her former boyfriends. What do you think?
I believe there is a way to strike a healthy balance on this issue. I don’t think you need to destroy photos of old girlfriends, but at the same time, you shouldn’t be “pulling them out” to show your fiancé.
I think a lot depends on the type of photo involved. Photos taken of you and your old girlfriends together could be considered cherished memories, especially if those relationships ended on a positive note.
On the other hand, it’s NOT a good idea to keep portraits or glamour shots of old flames. Hanging on to photos like those can only lead to trouble.
What’s most important is in this situation is what your fiancée thinks. Hopefully you have the sort of relationship where you can discuss this question openly and honestly. If you don’t, I would consider that to be a major red flag.
If you feel that you are unable to talk to your fiancée about an issue like this, your relationship needs some work before you head into marriage.
If you’re hesitant to discuss the photos because you fear that she would be intensely jealous, that is definitely a cause for concern.
On the other hand, if you are comfortable bringing this up and your fiancé simply prefers that you don’t keep the photos, I would honor her wishes.
Thanks for writing, Daniel.
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