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My Boyfriend Still Has His Ex-Girlfriend's Photos


I’m in a relationship with my boyfriend for more than 3 years. He still has his ex’s photos and refuses to remove them. They were with each other for 5 years. He says that he doesn’t have any feeling about her or her pictures but these photos have to be saved because they are his memories and remind him of his past. He also mentions that I will never see them but maybe, after 20 years or so, we will check them together and laugh. I say why shoud he have these photos of being in each others arms, hugging or kissing each other or their portraits. I can’t undrestand it.

Please help me…

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To be honest, I cannot understand it either. I do know that you are not alone with this problem. Some people actually keep in touch with their ex lovers through facebook, telephone and even meeting together. Research shows that these behaviors weaken relationships and lead to their destruction. 

What you need to understand is that there is nothing wrong with you. Everyone has past relationships. However, for lovers to feel confidence and trust in one another, they need to know that the past is over and done. How can you feel confident about your boyfriend if he holds onto photos of his ex girlfriend? You cannot.

Sometimes people keep old photos or maintain contact with their ex because they are unhappy with their present lover. It’s usually the most recent ex that attracts their attention. There is an old saying that you should never get involved with someone who is rebounding from a failed relationship. Other times, people cannot let go of the feelings they had for their previous lover. This does not bode well for the success of the next relationship.

Painful as this might be, you may have to give your boyfriend the choice of you or the pictures. I doubt that you will ever look back on the photos in the future with a laugh. It’s not a laughing matter.

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Ann

    I've keep all the photos of my past. They are my past and I won't apologise for it. They were good times and there is nothing wrong with remembering good times. It's fun to look back at sweet sixteen and old beau and smile. Maybe she should revisit her own insecurity. Is the relationship sound?

  • Lola

    Although looking at pictures of my ex would mean nothing to me, it would be painful to me to look at photos of my partner and his ex. I agree that in order to open a new set of doors, one must close the old set. Nobody likes a draught! If I am in a long-term relationship, I do not want to have to think of some hidden photos from the past! I want to enjoy now and the future with a clear mind!

  • HIC

    Past should be past and shouldn't carry forward to present relationship. I deleted all of my past photos as I feel that I don't need to see it any longer. If it were that happy, we would have been together now. When you looked at photos of both your exes and you together, somehow or rather it will still remind you of her which I feel is unfair to whoever you are with now. Let past be past, show that you really care for the present relationship and show a bit of respect to your present partner by deleting the old photos. There isn't way to delete your past memories from your mind but do you really need old photos to hold on to your past.

    I am in the same situation whereby my present partners refuses to delete photos of his long term partner of four years, his six months girlfriend as well as his one night stand or even the photos of him cuddling the girl that he finds sexy at time. It really hurts whenever I insisted and he refused to delete. Feel that he is still holding on to his past.

  • Anonymous-1

    Today we were cleaning out the attic I seem a box and asked what's this he said of that's my stuff tools and things I said how about the smaller box it was pictures of his previous girls he was with I have no clue why not throw them away I asked and he said no. I believe the past is the past get rid of everything. Am I wrong?

  • Tracy

    I dont think the person raising the issue is insecure, it has more to do with insecurity of the person who is holding onto their past!. It is perfectly healthy to be hurt by seeing your partner with somebody else...its what makes us human. I would be more concerned if it didnt bother me seein pictures of my bf with his ex, i would be questioning my own feelings for him and whether i actually did love him in the first place. Why the need to hold onto this memorabilia anyway? If you are comfortable enough with yourself and your new partner, why do you need reminders of the people you have been intimate with previously? I find that more concerning than someone being bothered by it. How can you possibly know if you love someone if when you see them with someone else it does not hurt? I find this rather baffling to be honest. Insecurity and uncertainty about the future is what makes people cling onto their past. People who have no issues about their past are much more inclined to move on with their lives. You cant live in the past and you shouldnt expect other people who care about you too either.

  • Somebody

    I've read both the original response and the additional reader's comments with mounting incredulity. How about not" insisting that he deletes the photos"? You people really should get a handle on your fears! There's a difference between flaunting such pictures or constantly hanging out with your ex on the one hand, and keeping some old memorabilia on the other. Have you any idea how much you invade and degrade his privacy by demanding this?

    Not cool! And even worse, such "advice" from a professional!

  • Anonymous-2

    Something similar happened with me and the girl I just broke up with. Was just one of the mounting things that led to the split.

    She insisted I delete all my photos (facebook and wipe hard drives) and throw out photos.

    Now I understand everyone has their own feelings towards that and intentions of keeping old photos.

    Mine was 2-fold. These were photos that were laying dormant for I don't know how long. So I didn't give them much thought to go through the trouble of weeding through and getting rid of them. On the other hand, when they did cross my mind, I would think about how they were part of my past. Good or bad. I'm a very sentimental person and hold onto a lot.

    So it's not nessesarily to hold onto an attraction or not being able to get over your ex, it's sometimes just a part of your life you don't want to deny or trash. That's all. And sometimes the other person has to respect that and just trust/believe that it has to do with nothing else.

  • Emma

    I can't believe you people. Or that "Professional". Wow. Insecure much? I am still friends with every ex I have dated. Why not? Just because you couldn't be together doesn't mean you have to hate one another and throw out every last shred of evidence you were ever together. I can't believe that people are so selfish and insecure.

  • Omnis Oculus Videns

    There may be a coorelation between keeping in contact with an increasing stream of ex's and not being able to have a stable and fulfilling relationship...


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