Q: My fiance and I have been together for three years and we are getting married this June. His first marriage, which was a disaster and only lasted six months, ended six years ago. They were together on and off for a total of seven years. They do not keep in contact because they never had any children.
My problem is that I found an album of their wedding pictures tucked away in a box in the back of one of our basement closets, which shocked and hurt me. So, when a couple of girlfriends came over not too long ago for some drinks while he was out, we went through the pictures and I ripped a lot of them up while they egged me on.
I don't get it; he admitted it was a rushed and thoughtless choice to get married, and I have heard many horror stories from his family, so why does he want to remind himself of that time in his life?
This is our house together, and I don't think it is right that he doesn't respect my feelings enough to get rid of these things. Am I missing something? Is it out of line to make this request? Does he still have feelings for her, God forbid?
-- P.L., Buffalo
A: You are way out of line for having the audacity to rip the photos up with your drunk girlfriends. Come on. You need to change your attitude about this before you become another woman he and his family share horror stories about some day.
With that said, I can understand feeling uncomfortable about having his old wedding photos in your home, especially if he doesn't have children with her or any other emotional ties to her. If the photos were hanging up around the house or sitting somewhere in plain view, that would be inappropriate. However, tucked away in the basement is a different story.
Still, if it is that big of a deal to you, ask him to box them up and put them elsewhere, perhaps at his parents' house or in a storage unit. Defacing his personal property behind his back because you can't handle its harmless presence says a lot about your character and lack of maturity. This is alarming because, in a marriage, you will face much more difficult issues than old photos.
Besides, no matter how tumultuous your fiance's marriage may have been, he has the right to those memories. There are a number of reasons why he could be hanging onto these pictures. If you haven't asked him about it, maybe now is the time.
Consider that his wedding day may have been special for reasons outside of his bride: family, friends, food, celebration -- weddings are great fun and perfect opportunities to get people together who may have lost touch over the years. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandparents and other important people in a couple's life attend weddings. Some of those wedding photos may even be of people who have since passed on. Maybe he wants to keep them for sentimental reasons that have nothing to do with his ex.
Since you are about to marry this man, you should trust the fact that he is in love with you. You need to let this one go and respect your fiance enough to realize that he is entitled to his memories, good or bad.
To reiterate, as long as he is not displaying these photos around your house or bringing them out to look at all the time, it seems harmless that he keeps them in a box tucked away in the basement.
Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions (www.buffaloniagaraintro.com). Email questions to email@example.com and include your initials and hometown.