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What Did You Do With the Photos?

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You are the curator of your own history, so I’m curious — what artifacts have stayed and what’s gone? Or is it all moldering in the back of a closet somewhere?

One of the hardest things to do after a divorce and the decimation of a shared history, is go through the photos. There you are, looking so smiley and clueless.

I suppose now in a digital era, you can just delete some jpgs, or suck it up into the Cloud and file under “Fuckwit” for future war crime tribunals.

But others of us have entire audio visual libraries with our kids, our parents, grandparents, nieces and cousins.

Did you save it, chuck it, give it to your kids? Burn it in a giant pyre and dance around the flames? Leave it on the lawn for the raccoons?

I’m sure some newbies are going through this — if you have a creative solution, or some solace, pass it on.

TGIF, CN!

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Ask Chump Lady

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  • If it was just me, I’d have chucked it all. But I’ve got two small kids who were just 3 and 5 when everything imploded. I kind of feel like I’d be erasing their history and where they came from by getting rid of everything. My own as well I guess. We were together from when I was 17 to 33. So I’ve boxed everything up, photo albums etc, and it’s currently in the back of a wardrobe in the spare room. It’ll probably go to my parents house when I move house shortly. Fresh start and all that! But to hand for when the kids are older and if they want to look.

    • That’s the perfect solution.

      I did this, and let the box sit for about three years. I’m just now going through it, setting aside anything that has XW in it (for the kids, if they want it, in the future), and am in the process of framing pictures with only me and/or kids. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it just after the discard, but it’s OK now.

      I’m setting aside XW’s childhood photos. I’ll return them to her if she either (A) starts treating me with some respect and consideration, or (B) offers me something in exchange. It feels too mean to burn them, but I know her well enough that it’s stupid to voluntarily surrender anything that might get me some leverage in the future. Maybe I’ll use them to get back the certified copies of the kids’ birth certificates that she temporarily “borrowed” from me a year and a half ago.

      • Involuntary Georgian,
        As far as I know, you could order your own copies of birth certificates from the county where your kids were born. I think they are certified as well.

        • Hi IG. Unlikely she’ll ever give them back to you. I know it’s unfair but order your own set and never ever “lend” them to her. Like my ex she’ll try to claim she never got them and you have some responsibility to provide her with anything kid related she asks for.

          My ex also played games with passports. Once he didn’t give them to me until the morning of our flight to the Bahamas. So the day after my children turned 18 I supervised them in obtaining their own passports making sure they filled out the form and paid the fee themselves, ( later I gave them money for it). I reinforced that this is their own legal document and no one else’s and instructed them to keep it secure from everyone including me. I did this in a joking way saying I don’t want to be tempted to assume a new identity.. This got the message across without pointing a finger at the ex.

    • I have photos as a couple, and they are some of my favourite photos of myself ever taken. My son edited him out with photoshop and replaced him with Jon Hamm.:)

    • I took a few and ripped them up. It felt great. I saved the rest. They are in a type and there for the children if they ever want them.

    • Gave wedding photos to my ex MIL who I am willing to talk to still; she’ll give them to the kids if they want them in the future. Otherwise there are plenty of photos of me and the kids without their dad; all the engagement photos of he and I were thrown in the trash happily when I sorted stuff to move out.
      Out of sight, out of mind!

  • I keep them in a box marked “ancient history” in case my kids want to look through them one day. It’s their history, too. It happened, I learned, I grew.

    • I don’t have kids, but I think this is fair. I know I’d want those memories. The divorce has nothing to do with the kids, and when they are older they can choose to do what they want with the photos.

      I threw out all physical photos of my XH and I. All the digital stuff (wedding photos, regular photos, and wedding video) are all together in a file folder on the computer…but I wouldn’t care if the computer had a melt down and lost everything in it. I’d probably consider it meant to be if that happened haha

    • I’m dealing with this now – very timely! No marriage, no kids, just together for 4 years and living together for 2 of those.

      I’ve got a box of letters and cards. I can’t look at them the same but I also can’t bring myself to throw them out/set them on fire. Not because I have any sentimental attachment to him or want to get back together (oh hell no), but because it reminds me that I wasn’t imagining things.

      I bought a few nice storage boxes from IKEA for general tidying purposes and I was inspired – I put all the letters in one box. It’s got two slots for handles which I use as a postbox. I’m a write-it-out-to-get-it-out kind of gal, so whenever I feel like crap or angry or I’m just processing the effed-upness of it all I write it out often in letter form, and “post” it in the box. Helps me feel better, gets it out my system. And if I ever want to look through it one day I’ve got the whole picture.

      Also I recently discovered a box of old photos and cards from school in my parent’s attic. Going through them ten years later has really helped put some of the issues and memories I had back then in perspective. I’m hoping this will do something similar for me in several years time.

  • I haven’t done anything Haven’t looked at family photos in 5 years. I do take photos with my kids now( I was hardly ever in photos too busy taking them of him with the kids. I will have to eventually deal with them and will offer any with him in them to the kids.

    • NewLady,
      Ditto on the I was too busy taking the photos. My xh rarely did anything with our kids unless I more-less forced him. Every single time he did anything even by our kids I snapped a picture. So I have tons of pics of just my kids and the rest are of xh with kids. There are only a handful of pics of me with our kids. Only a few times would he take a pic, even though I asked him to a lot. After awhile, I just gave up even asking.

      If anyone would look at our family pics before xh left (including my kids when they’re older) they would think xh did a lot with our kids and I wasnt even around. No one thinks about who was taking all these pics. That does bother me.

      • That’s my story too..hardly in a photo…took them all…

        He would never take the photos.. but would make a big drama out of me taking them … .

        He’d also make stupid faces – tongue our etc – if I tried to take ‘ nice photos – so no really nice family pics… just lots with him being a jerk if I asked him to smile – or better ones which I took when he was not aware..

        Yep. If anyone looked at the photos – they would think he was a single parent & I never did anything with my kids – the complete opposite to the truth!

  • I am saving the photos for the kids. I can’t look at them anymore and I loved our photos and albums. It was a big deal for me to have pictures of the family, but I was the one taking them. Always me behind the lens so Xhole is in most of the photos. Should have clued me in that he didn’t want me in the picture from the start. Some of the photos I am in I look sad or angry. That’s when he took photos, usually after some big rift and he was trying to make things up to me. So much pain documented for all to see.

    • It just occurred to me that the few photos that I have that X took of me while we were together he took mostly when I was angry or upset. Or I was spackling hard for the camera while he posed us for happy family shots. I am not the most beautiful, photogenic woman out there, but it was like he was intentionally trying to take photos of me were I looked as unattractive as possible. It could just be that he’s a terrible picture taker, but I also think it was a way to devalue me to himself and make me more insecure.

      So, I have kept a few photos of ‘us’, hidden away in a container with other historical items of that time for my son to have one day. But the rest have been torched. The pictures, the cards and letters (full of lies), the dreams he painted which he never intended to fulfill. All up in ashes, literally and figuratively. But I’ve used the ashes as compost in my beautiful new garden of life without him in it.

      • Skunkcabbage _ Love this – “But I’ve used the ashes as compost in my beautiful new garden of life without him in it.” YEA!

      • THIS!!! My ex started posting photos of me on Facebook that were extremely unflattering. I told him I didn’t like it and to stop it! He’d say, “But I like the photo, I think it’s cute.” Now I know it was around the time that the coworker entered the scene…it was the start of the devaluing…

  • I was surprised that my ex left his first wife with their 15 years of photos *red flag* but even more surprised that he left me and our two kids after 15 years with all the photos too. It really spoke to his *double covert lives of lies* so I’m keeping them. Bizarre!

    • My fuckwit also did the same thing to his previous wife/family.
      I tucked the wedding pics in a box when he was packing.
      In another box went bags of cards and letters that he wrote to me over the 15 years
      I just didn’t want that stuff, it means nothing

      • I did the same thing. He left me for a 24 year old subordinate when I was 39. We started dating in high school. Prom pics, love letters, ticket stubs…they all got tucked into his boxes that I packed bc I wanted his SHIT out of my house as soon as humanly possible. I hope they served as little hurt bombs later, but doubt he gave a damn.

        • I did exactly the same thing. I put them in his Christmas box – All the over the top loving cards and letters and framed pics. Of course my fantasy is that he opens the box with Schmoopie to decorate their tree, and she sees all his wild proclamations of affection and devotion to me!
          My daughter stored the other pictures in a special file on her computer.

      • Yes, my ex left 20+ years of photos with his former wife after he left her. I took that as being the respectful thing to do because he was the one leaving. When they are done they are done and just want to move on.

        • This exactly: “When they are done they are done and just want to move on.”… People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have zero empathy. They don’t mourn because they don’t feel. They mimic feelings. And when they are done, it is as if you never existed to them. Example: After Mr. Sparkles left me for the OW, his first wife decided it was necessary to tell me that she fucked him throughout my marriage and now that he had left me she thought it would make me feel better to know… I brought it up to him and he just gave me that cold dark eyed stare and shrugged… my therapist called that out as NPD behavior. Chilling.

          • The cold, dark stare. Oh, do I know that cold, dark stare. At first I interpreted it as pensive, deep thinking, or clueless, or perhaps inquisitive. Flash forward 26 years married (28 together) and the cold, dark stare is simply callous, uncaring, arrogant, cruel, condescending, detached, and defensive. My fkwit cheater is a doctor with an ego the size of Montana – FYI I’ve heard him and so so so many of his colleagues say how they hate patients saying “MY doctor…” they say we don’t belong to anyone. Many Doctors have that kind “how are you” mannerism in the office but roll their eyes behind patients back – they also joke when a patient says it feels “weird” that’s another inside joke about how stupid we mere mortals are. Yes, I remember the cold dark stare well.

  • Cheaters like to rewrite history. Share photos with ex. seeing the photos is a reminder to what the fuckwit is really like.
    There is a cliche where there’s no sense there’s no feeling. Also more helpful I find immaturity breeds like of empathy.
    You can change yourself but not ex.
    Ex said he was going to become financially responsible. that would be good, took him long enough.
    Some people don’t grow up

    • Financially responsible? Nah, that never happens. 10 years later my ex is still up financial shit creek without a paddle!

    • My ex is in her 40’s, and has never lived entirely financially independent. Her whole life, she has always been dependent on her father, or me, or both.

  • Like leftovers in the fridge that you don’t want to throw out cause it’s a waste of food, but you know you aren’t going to eat it. I just leave them till later when you know they have to go.

    They aren’t food so you’ve got some years to ignore them for.

      • I put out-of-date leftovers out for the possums and raccoons. The thought of old X ephemera passing through the digestive system of a possum, with the inevitable outcome, makes me laugh.

          • skinwalker,

            Whoah, lighten up. Ivyleague is NOT getting “pleasure from abusing animals”.

            Chumps need to support each other – no angry blasting, please. Save that for the narcs.

          • Skinwalker,
            She was JOKING! It’s not something she did. Thinking about xh being in a pile of shit is FUNNY AS SHIT! Lol

  • You can tell a lot from body language in photos, especially wedding photos. Some couples (the ones that don’t have a cheater in them) lean in towards each other and seem completely united right from the beginning. When you look at my wedding photos my cheater is interacting with the photographer, not me. He almost looks as if he’s in a different set of photos. So it is quite interesting keeping all those albums, just because you realize, looking at them, that the red flags were there all along.

    • Yeah, this issue of “leaning in” is a tough one for me, because our wedding was beautiful. (A same-sex wedding in the US in 1998, so it wasn’t legal at the time – but we still had 100+ guests, and it was clearly a wedding.) Almost everyone in attendance has told me at one point or another that it was the best wedding they have ever attended – a lovely ceremony, delicious food, and a great party afterward. STBX and I both look very happy in all the photos, no issues with anybody leaning away. The problem was that STBX was 23 at the time of our wedding (I was 25), and she never matured emotionally beyond that point. She’s a covert narc, emphasis on covert, and her brand of fuckwittedness leans toward utter confusion about what’s appropriate in a long-term mature relationship, as opposed to stonewalling or open assholery. I’m sure she honestly believes she can be fully in love and present with more than one person at a time – she told me she “compartmentalizes” really well.

      In reality, it turns out she wasn’t so good at compartmentalizing after all. I knew that something was wrong during both her affairs, and I occasionally felt devalued between them. (A lot of the devaluing was so subtle that it didn’t always register consciously for me – the main red flag was my constant fatigue, which no medical specialist could diagnose.) STBX’s first affair was short enough that I discovered the truth before I was even able to formulate the right questions. The second one, many years later, happened right after STBX’s mom died, so I didn’t ask the questions because I thought I already knew the answer. But STBX remains, to this day, and after years of both individual and couples therapy, extremely confused about how to treat me with respect, even though she would be delighted if I were willing to spackle some more and do the “friendly divorce” thing. She would love to “lean in” to me in a photo even now. She has an image to manage, after all.

    • Omg, I spent hours dissecting body language in all the photos after DDay. There was often (after 1st few yrs) a tiny little bit of a space between us – I would’ve never noticed it until I started looking. – the sides of our bodies were not glued to each other. And Yes, the wedding photographer also had to tell him how to engage with me in the pics- he was just standing next to me until she coached him. I still don’t know if I’m making too much of that and how! But it doesn’t matter anymore.

    • I washed my car with my dress and cut the rest into cleaning rags. I had plenty of pictures of him because he really really loves himself..I took some of them to the shooting range for target practice. Big big fun!

    • The same here. Even before DDay, I realized that he never put his arm around any of us. Instead, he stood there with his arms by his side. At his retirement party a “family “ picture was taken with me literally dragging his elbow towards me. After I had left, he had a picture taken with schmoopie ( yes, she was there) and he had no problem holding her waist!

  • During the early phase I tossed a good chunk of intimate items; photos, keepsakes, the like. Almost to create a moat of protection.

    Then during the move out (sold family home) I tossed the next round of keepsakes.

    But to newbies, pause there if you can. Because if you can hide away treasures for a while, it get easier to go though and consider.

    I think I lost a family photo or two that I wish I hadn’t.

    These days, x has the actual photos, I have digital versions and am slowly putting together albums, displaying kid pics my way, etc.. and I’m not triggered by the occasional family photo or memory.

    • Yes, all 3 phases are important to healing:

      1-Burning/shredding/disposing of those things that are symbolic of ridding you of the cheater and their place in your life.

      2-Quarantining the rest so you do not daily or accidentally come upon them as reminders of good or bad times.

      3-Archiving. This happens as meh occurs and as you have the time and energy to sift through the quarantined items.

      With the kids, displayed framed photos in their room of the wedding and them with their father doting on them. I wanted them to know our family was real, they were born out of love, and they were wanted.

      As the kids enter their teens, I am slowly replacing those photos with the things they are interested in, and just placing those framed photos in the closet or under their beds. They can decide in future how they want to treat those relics of their childhood.

      As for electronic photos, that was a fraught experience for me since ex cheater (unwittingly?) left a lot of inappropriate things (dic pics, BDSM selfies, sexting messages, violent fantasies, calendar events) to be discovered later (thanks Apple family accounts, ugh) that the kids and me should not have to see. I called them time bombs, and I had to have sessions where I archived them for future litigation, and purged them from all our electronics when the kids weren’t home. I did it knowing that I wouldn’t inflict those things on anyone I cared for, and having a professional do it for my lawyer was goint to cost thousands of dollars. I developed PTD from those sessions, and would cry to my sister after each one, so not sure it was worth it.

      I found things that NOBODY would be okay with their children being exposed to, but after 3 lawyers and $38k in legal fees and private detectives, I threw in the towel. No matter how disgusted or outraged the lawyers I hired were with what I was showing them, they kept asking for more, warning me that 50/50 custody is the default where I live, and you need direct evidence of physical harm to get a change in custody. So for my own peace of mind, I called it quits, and am focusing on being a present and sane mom for them. I’m using the money I would have spent on a court battle (he’s a lawyer with no shame) investing in their college funds (he provides nothing) and health care savings accounts (for mental health treatment they are going to need after being raised half the time by a sociopath).

      The last stage of my recovery was going through the sanitized bucket of electronic photos from the beginning of our family, and deleting all his selfies from the Apple iCloud accounts. My rule was, if it has a picture of at least one kid in it, it stays. Otherwise, there is no need for me to archive pictures of him or his family or friends that don’t have the kids in them.

      My ‘meh’ level has increased a great deal since completing this process, which has taken 3 years. Hopefully, the kids are benefitting from my Meh too.

      • I really like that idea – no kid it gets deleted and tossed. I’m doing that also- actually going to have my sister do it for me because I would have PTSD too. Thank you.

      • Yep—3 years here too. High five!

        And I’m really proud of myself.
        I really like myself.

        Newbies— you will too.

      • I really like the idea of deleting pics of the ex if there is no kid in it. I’m at the 2.5 year mark. I kept the house, so there has been a process of going through all the stuff. I’ve done that and gotten rid of anything of his that doesn’t belong here. I’ve also done some decorating to start transforming the house and make everything new again, which has been really helpful. Half my house has now been painted, art work changed up, furniture re-arranged.

        The final frontier is now the years of digital photos on the computer. I always meant to create photo books over the years, don’t we all? I’m finally going to sit down and do it with the goal of having gone through it all over the next six months.

        So glad you feel that you have reached a state of “meh”. I’m getting there too and hope that surviving the organization of the pictures, albeit likely to be a painful process, will also be very cathartic.

  • Strangely, after 20-plus years of marriage, I don’t have lots of photos of my STBX. This is something I’ve considered bringing up with my therapist, because I wonder if it’s characteristic of narcissistic abuse.

    The wedding album is packed away in a storage unit to be fuel for a bonfire once the papers are signed. I’ve deleted most of the photos from our last two trips—the scenery, there were none of “him” or “us.”

    I do have, however, three photos I can’t seem to delete. They were taken before DDay, and he’s smiling and laughing and there’s no sign of the nightmare I was truly living. I don’t think I’m at the point where I’m ready to 100% erase him from my life. Part of me wonders if I’ll ever get there.

    • I still have some photos on my Insta, we were together almost 10yrs so I don’t want to just delete them because those years were part of my life. Besides I also like how I look in them!!

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with keeping some photos. I have all our photos in a file on my computer, none of them are hanging up or in albums. The only place any are displayed are on Insta and they are from years ago, 7 total. They will stay up, because again I like how I look AND I’m not going to completely erase all those years. They were lived and during better times.

      It’s different for everyone.

  • The photos with him are boxed up for my daughter. She can decide what to do with them when she’s older. Cheating slimed every. single. nanosecond of my life with him.

    One thing I did that helped me was to print out a paper copies of a photo I previously thought of as “handsome”. I got a Sharpie and wrote captions like “I am OK with hurting you.” “I lie about everything” “I am untrustworthy” etc. I made a book out of them and it helped break the spell of who I thought he was.

    Upon awakening this morning I was thinking about how 27 years of my life feels like a dream that never happened. How cheating is the perfect crime in that blows up a person and their entire life, present, past, and future. Without laying a finger on them. And a whole lot of people will jump in and blame the victim.

    • Right!! Why is that? I was the victim but he had people blaming me, even though he cheated on me twice and I stayed with him after the first time!!!! I burnt all of the wedding pictures, except a handful and put them in his box of stuff that he had to pick up from my home. What he did with them I have no idea. I love your idea!!

      • What also makes no sense is why the CHEATERS are so angry with the CHUMPS when the cheaters are the ones who LEFT US?!?!

        It seriously makes no sense at all.

        My XH and I had gone through all the hard stages of drafting up and signing the agreement of who got what, etc and going our separate ways. When it was finally time to file for divorce (after the separation time was complete) he was crazy angry with me?

        It took everything I had not to be like, “Bro, you good? You wanted this remember?”

        I did secretly love it though because I was cool as a cucumber and he was seething lol

    • Velvet–

      Potent description. Sort of like those futuristic bombs that kill everything that breathes in an entire city but leave structures and flora untouched?

    • I feel like that sums it up. The cheating blows up a person’s life past present and future. Theres no way around it. I know so many say it’s a new chapter and I got out. Things should get better etc. But you know I feel like he took something from me. Innocence. Hope. Optimism. Trust. I’ve certainly pulled myself together financially and quite comfortable now. Kids and I moved to a great city and bought a home. And got another graduate degree to now work in field I enjoy. But I haven’t met anybody since divorce. My circumstances make it challenging and I guess I don’t have a lot energy or confidence to invest in that search at this stage of life. I wanted to have a companion as I git older to travel and enjoy different experiences. Seems unlikely to happen and I feel a lot if that can be attributed to what he did. I think I will always be skeptical if peoples I intentions and commitment if I even found someone to have a relationship with.

    • The cheater blew up my past and present, yes, but he only ruined one of the many futures i could’ve had: my future with him, which would’ve sucked anyway since he turned out to be a turd.

      And now, i get to determined my own future. And despite the shitstorm hell of divorce, I’m still pretty excited to write my next chapter!

      When i was feeling suicidal i realized: I’ll probably be a footnote in his life now that he has his AP, but if i end my life now he’ll be my last chapter. I couldn’t accept that! Sol i decided to continue living because soon he’ll just be a footnote in MY life.

      • I knew someone would leave a comment like this about the future being blown up….

        He did blow up my future, as could many acts of violence. I didn’t say it is the future I planned on for financial security because we own a business together. I have been a full time parent for over a decade by choice, and that business was my retirement plan. I do get to plan a new future where I will be better off because I won’t be shackled to a traitor, no doubt. But I am still angry and terrified watching the security I planned and put in 20 years building go up in a blast detonated by my so-called husband. It takes a very long time to get centered, calm down, regroup and rebuild.

        No planned future is ever guaranteed…..I had one cousin drown at age two and another cousin die from leukemia at age ten…it’s still scary and painful to watch future hopes vaporize into the mists of time and have to replace them.

      • I understand the feelings about your future dreams being exploded. I faced that too. Along with many other hard things about the divorce process. I had to face the hard reality that he spent our assets on stuff he hoarded and then removed from the house. Who knows what he did with it. He may have sold a good portion of it and never reported it as income to the divorce lawyer. Why would he, he’s entitled to do whatever he wants! How could I prove what he has done? What it was actually worth once it is no longer able to be appraised? I couldn’t prevent him from removing more things from the house until he got ugly. My lawyer would NOT let me. So I just was reduced to watching things leave or trying to find something that had been there yesterday but is now missing. I’m just forced to share what I have documentation for in my assets while he keeps trying to hiding his assets. The system is rigged. Cheaters are playing the system like they did the marriage. I don’t care how well prepared you are. Trust me, CL is correct. Trust. That. They. Suck.

    • I feel the same – like it was all a dream. And I don’t know who I was because I am such a different person now from all the trauma and fear.

    • Haha Velvet Hammmer! I did the same thing with our massive wedding portrait; it was such a beautiful photo but I wasn’t interested in keeping it so I have him a makeover and wrote similar sentences as you did, and eventually burned it along with all the keepsakes, ticket stubs, cards, love letters….. so many lies and broken promises, often admissions of how poorly he treated me too…. looking back I wish I’d paid attention to that and taken action on it. In the end I’m happy to be out.

  • On dday, I smashed the photo of him and me that had always hung in the bedroom, stomped on it, then threw it in the bin.

    I slung *all* the photos of us, including the wedding albums, into a black bin bag and threw it into the garden shed, which included a whole lot of his crap from his army boxing days.

    He was told by my solicitor to come and clear out the shed or I would have the lot removed by a house clearance firm.

    Fucktard duly did so, and took the bin bag as well, not sure why, maybe he didn’t know what was in it? 🤔😂

    I have idea what he did with it, NC is a wonderful thing.

    I sold everything he had ever given me that had any monetary value, (not a lot) 😁 and put it in my solicitor’s fund. Anything else I either gave to charity shops, or binned.

    So now I sit in my dear little new home, surrounded by things *I* have chosen, and there is absolutely *nothing* in my home that is associated with that evil piece of shit. It’s wonderful! 😈😂

  • When my divorce was final, I had to give him the “family” car. Before it left my house, I filled it with trash from his garage. I filled it to the brim with his oiled towels, tools and the crap I no longer needed or wanted. It was his way of helping me pack up and sell our home. He could take his crap with him, whether he wanted to or not. This was the only form of revenge I took.

    On the front seat I set our wedding album and a family photo album his mother made. It was my symbolic goodbye and felt really good. I have no idea what he did with it.

    A few years later (8?) I went through all the photo albums and any photo of him, I gave to my son and told him to do with them what he wanted. All the others I kept. I was the photographer. He wasn’t interested in maintaining any of our history but I was going to maintain it for our children. They are now digitized and on hard drives.

  • I had a lot of pictures on my current smartphone. I deleted a bunch of the ones my x was on about a month after a separation. Then I had to stop. I resumed about a week ago and deleted the rest. Even the pictures where she’s pregnant. Those were the hardest to delete. There must be a hard drive with older pictures somewhere in the house. I doubt I’ll ever open it again.

    • I know what you mean about some photos being harder to get rid of.

      For me it wasn’t photos but his old voicemails. I had them saved from even when we were first dating, yup I kept them all.

      They were painful to delete, I can’t even describe how much I cried.

  • I went through photos and set aside duplicates of the kids and anything with HIS family. Then I gave those to him. I was quite nice to the fucking fucker. And the rest I will keep for my kids. Because even though I want to puke when I see the fuckers face, it is my kids history and roots. So I swallow the vomit back down and grin and bear it.

  • No worries on my part. He left with all the photos including the wedding album. He only returned the poorer quality photos. Never saw any wedding photos returned…pictures of my deceased grandparents and my late father gone.
    Apparently the two decades of marriage was only his life with the kids. His wife was just the nanny and housekeeper. I’m not in most of the photos because I took them. And I went through a lot of the pictures he returned. Can’t find any of the pics of my kids as toddlers (and I took tons).
    Luckily my parents and my SIL took photos and saved lots for me.
    Makes me feel like a ghost in my own life.

    • I am sorry your EX took the irreplaceable photos of your extended family.

      I have the same problem in regard to photos of myself with the kids when they were young. They all feature the kids with the EX because I took them. I do not think he ever said, “Now, let’s take one with you in it.” Fortunately, my mom took at least one or two a year of me with the kids.

    • Wasjustanotherchump–

      If you’re in the US, “Stolen History” is apparently an actionable offense. A friend who’s an attorney is suing a hostile family member to force the sharing of old family photos.

  • I destroyed nearly every one in phases over the last 4 years- mostly via shredder- satisfying. There is now only one I keep because I love the photo- all 7 of us on vacation on horseback. It was our Christmas card one year.

    I figured my kids were old enough to have their own photos- all have phones and they had some special photos in their rooms. My albums are for me and eventually when I am gone they will get them as what was important to me and fuckwit is no longer.

    My son who has no contact with fuckwit still has a collage photo up in his room of him and fuckwit on a hunting trip when he was 11. I guess that reminds him of the good old days.

  • My divorce was 18 years ago. I kept all of our wedding photos, but cut his face out of all of them. I looked too good in those pictures when I was that young to get rid of them completely!

    • 🤣😂🤣😂 I did the same thin because I felt the same way. I also made collages and covered him up completely!

  • I left him something. My STBX has a real issue with photographs (being in them, looking at them… yeah he has issues). After he left and I throw all of his clothes in a box, I slipped a photo of us at our wedding in his robe pocket. I like to think that sometime around the lonely winter months he will reach for his robe and find his sweet chumpy ex-wife smiling at him and that it might cause some sort of collateral damage after the fact. But then again probably not.

    Im definately saving my months of journals, filled with gut wrenching emotional pain, and the texts he sent me after he left on d-day (all about HIM and what he was going thru) as a reminder to me the day he comes around and wants to be ‘friends’

  • The division of photos ended up being a point of contention during our divorce proceedings.

    Early on I’d raised it as a problem. “What do we do with all the albums?” Initially he’d said we could simply take some pictures of photos with our phones because “who looks at them anyway.”

    But then he *demanded* original photos. He’d said he wanted to choose 50 pictures. I think he was trying to show the judge/mediator that he really cares SO MUCH about this family.

    I can safely say that during our 35 years of marriage, he rarely took photos. Even our honeymoon album is filled with pictures of him, not me. I would joke to my kids, “Here are pictures of Dad on his honeymoon.”

    I ended up taking all the photo albums because dividing them seemed too difficult (time consuming and emotionally triggering) during a rushed move and, as my daughter put it, “He doesn’t deserve them.”

    I told the lawyers that once I was settled in my new place, I would gather photos for him, which is what I did.

    Honestly, I was able to use it as a bit of leverage to get him to agree to other things during the divorce proceedings.

    Chosing photos to give him was tough. I did it quickly until I had a full medium-sized flat-rate USPS box. (It felt good to give USPS some business). I didn’t go through all the albums. I set aside an hour and just did it.

    To be honest, I left out a few photos that showed him having a good time with the kids because he emotionally abused them, and I knew that photos of them smiling would support his narrative that he was *a great dad*.

    But, in the end, just as I was about to seal the damn box, I tossed in a few of those “look-at me-I’m-a-great-dad” ones.

    Chumps gotta chump.

    • “Here are pictures of your Dad on his honeymoon” LOL!!!!!!!!! That’s a good one, just goes to show he was selfish from the beginning, ugh.

      My XH and me didn’t have children, so I threw out all the physical photos and now I only have one file on my computer with everything in it.

      When I cleaned our shared computer, I only left him a few (maybe 10) of our wedding photos on it for him since he was keeping the shared computer. Those are the only photos he will ever have because I don’t think he deserves any of the other ones.

      Doubt I’ll ever look at that file folder on my computer. Maybe if I get married again someday, I’ll delete the file. For now it will just sit there, I don’t really care what happens to it at this point

      • I left behind zero photos of myself or the kids. I even cleared out any digital ones on his phone and the computer. He didn’t want us. He doesn’t get to keep using us after he threw us away.

        I put one framed photo of my son and his dad in his bedroom room. My son promptly threw it away. I kept one wedding photo of us for each child and photos of the kids and him for the kids. I I packed those in a box that the step daughter I am no longer allowed to see and my son can decide what to do with once they are grown. Anything else linking us photos, gifts, all of it (other than my divorce papers) I trashed.

  • The night of DDay I got out the shredder and systematically shedded every single photo with him in it. It helped my tremendous anger subside as I watched his face being shredded one by one. He had destroyed 40 years of memories and I wanted to destroy them now too! 3 and 1/2 years later I’m 75 happy with my new home and freedom and he’s dead!! Karma my friends Karma!

    • Wow, good for you! Sometimes I feel like am the only over 65 chump out here. To be left for someone half my age and to start my life over at 65….I wonder sometimes if I can keep going. I’m sorry that you’ve had this horrible experience but thanks for sharing. I appreciate your strength and clarity.

      • Senior Chump, you’re not the only one.

        Dday was 3 years ago, when I was 64. This year I’ll be 67.

        You *can* keep going hun.

        ((hugs)) 🤗❤️

        • Same here Senior Chump: D Day 3.5 years ago – Divorce 3 years ago and I will be 68 next month. My ex always controlled all photo ops on vacations, gatherings, etc.(him never smiling) and then spent days getting them framed a certain way for “display” in our home. After our divorce I took the photo that he arranged to be taken in front of the Taj Mahal in India and had my 2nd wedding photo placed in it with all my and my now wonderful husbands family in it with us – all of us smiling and cheering together! Shredding the Taj Mahal photo and many others with him in it helped me heal.

  • When my ex wife left she left 24 years of photos and 8mm camcorder tapes, a ton of tapes documenting her pregnancy and then the kids sports, vacations, holidays etc…her grandparents that have since passed on yada yada she didn’t take one and never asked about them…which I found insanely weird. I haven’t looked at any of the tapes but I have them in case the kids want them. I’m actually thinking of getting them onto DVDs since I’m not sure the kids (adults now) know how to get hook up the camcorder to the TV haha! I used to enjoy watching them and my sons sports events and daughters dance recitals etc, it’s been 6 years since I’ve even taken one off the shelf

    • My ex took a large framed photo of us with his family and our mutual friend who helped him move out reported back to me that he was so paralyzed as to what to do with it that friend had to tell him to put it away for the time being and deal with it later. Of course I also heard that friend had to tell him where to put his furniture and the real estate agent had to end up picking his apartment for him (!) and telling him he was going to live there for six months and then he could move if he wanted, because he literally acted paralyzed about it.

      So maybe they just cut and run on the pictures and belongings bc they can’t deal with the decisions that we’re forced into. That they forced us into. I imagine there would be a shit ton of guilt associated with sitting there and looking at your spouse smiling from pictures knowing how you destroyed them. Cheaters aren’t good at owning their shit or doing any actual emotional labor.

  • I saved all the wedding photos etc for my kids. I dont care what they do with them . Other photos I edited him out or trashed. Luckily he isnt in a lot of photos because he was usually not around. Cheating takes time!!! Cheaters are all the same. He left behind all the pictures, keepsakes the kids made for him. It just didnt rank up high on his list of things to take. But he sure took his Jordan sneaker collection!! #priorities

    • Same here. He just wasn’t around all that much. Every once in awhile there’s a photo of him and son, hardly any with me in them after the wedding. It’s mostly pics of son that I took while we were out having fun or him at school or doing activities. Narkles the Clown was elsewhere, looking back, who knows where? I sure didn’t. Pics of me and Narkles the Clown are mostly destroyed. What’s the point. I kept some of our travels so son can see we were happy once upon a time when I was on the pedestalbefore the devalue. I kept the family portrait up for six months so son wouldn’t have too much change. Now there is no sign of him here. As for the other stuff he left behind. I took anything breakable (kitschy bible saying on glass cube, glass Christmas ornament, framed drawing of John Wayne-yes, really) to an outdoor shooting range and blasted it. I admit I enjoyed it.

  • I deleted all photos on my social media and phone except one. I kept a photo of us smiling and laughing at a blues night concert. I keep it because he was absolutely miserable that entire night. I could tell he didnt want to be there with me. I knew he was always at the bar with this girl from work when I worked nights. We were with friends and he made everything so awkward with his mood. When the camera turned on us, I pick me danced and tried to get him to have fun. He laughed to get a good photo. We were not having the good time it looks like. I keep that as a reminder that the photo is a lie and our entire relationship was a lie.

  • The ones on FB were deleted. There are a few I printed out just before he walked out and which I had planned to put up in our new house, the day I find those they’ll be burnt too. The best part about him leaving me with newborn was that all of my memories with my son are untainted. I did my baby shower alone, gave birth alone, all that so there’s no imprint of him in my life as a single parent. This post made me realize this as a blessing!

    • Queen, you’re so fortunate not to have your memories of your son tainted. Wish memories of my son were untainted with ex’s presence.
      Speaking of body language being telling, from the day our son was born any photos of ex with our son, ex is posing for the camera, as if he’s the focus of the photo. There’s not one photo of ex looking at our newborn. As our son got older, ex continued to make himself the center of attention in photos of the two of them. Ex has an unnatural fake wide smile that he uses in photos. Think Johnny Bravo. I also took the majority of the family photos so there aren’t many of me.
      The few that Satan did take of me were taken on purpose to be unflattering, photos of my thighs, sitting on a hotel chair, so they look wide, at the end of a long hot day, my behind as I’m on the escalator, or my mouth wide open as I’m eating, scratching the side of my nose then telling people I’m picking my nose. Another telling photo story I just thought of is on our honeymoon ex had the video camera, I hadn’t really paid much attention to what he was taking video of, I assumed it was of the resort. When we got home and settled in to watch our honeymoon videos, a majority of the video was of females behinds, on the beach, restaurants, walking.. newly wed Chumps first step into Chump blabber, “he was just joking.”

      • Wow, brit, he really sucks. Good riddance to Satan, and I’m sorry that you have those memories attached to your honeymoon and your life as a newlwed.

  • I was always the one to archive pictures from our phones and cameras etc. onto the computer and external HD. I have over a decade’s worth, from even before our children were born (Eldest is now 7). I recall dutifully completing a backup of files and pictures in early January 2018, a couple of weeks before I told XW that I wanted a divorce.

    I have many thousands of pictures on my PC now, and I have consolidated them as much as possible (gotten rid of duplicates, sequence shots etc). I have been getting rid of most pictures of XW in bursts when I can, and only keeping a few of e.g. her alone, her with me, or her with our children, basically for their sake as they grow up. I usually took the pictures and was in them much less, so I have kept the ones of me I like – especially with my two children – for posterity.

    XW had a habit of taking selfies almost every day and body shots, so many of the pics archived over the network were of that. She sometimes sent them to me, but not always, and around the time of DDay in Fall 2016 (both before and after), I received them as an afterthought, once she had sent them to the AP first (I have timestamps).

    I have kept all the evidence I gathered on her antics: phone bills, message screenshots, pictures she sent (the filename corresponds to timestamps on the phone bill etc.), not because I am bitter, but because I want the truth to remain in case my children ever ask for more details on what happened.

    It’s defintely a work in progress.

    • I did the same — message screenshots, pics, etc. everything’s in a cloud-based folder as a complete record of what happened. At the time it was therapeutic for me to develop as full a picture as I could of what ACTUALLY happened, how the pieces all started coming together, how I reacted at each point, etc. I haven’t looked at any of it in ages, but it’s comforting to know it’s there in case the day ever comes when it’s needed or wanted — by my daughters, or whoever.

      • Same here. It’s there in case son asks. He may never and that’s fine but since his dad paints me as the one who left (because I filed) as well as mentally unstable (because who would leave him) as well as a drug abuser, alcohol abuser, or whatever nonsense he comes up with at the moment, cause of that I’d like to think there will someday be a reckoning of truth.

        • AllOutofKibble, sounds almost identical to ex’s description of me. Add pathological liar, or anything negative, it doesn’t matter what it is.

  • Nobody’s mentioned videos yet (meaning pre-cellphone camcorder vids) . . .

    Like photos, they are such an important documentation of our daughters’ lives — to this day they look at them constantly — that I could never dream of ditching them even if KK is omnipresent in each one.

    When KK left she of course took the high-end professionally transferred CD versions for herself, without any discussion, leaving me the original micro-cassette originals (which I can no longer play) and the self-transferred low quality CDs. I never expected anything different, and I didn’t raise any sort of stink about it — I can have them transferred again at cost.

    But it just goes to show the mindset of a cheater walking out the door: “I’m taking the best of what we have accumulated together, and leaving the rest for you.”

    • Bingo. My X Asshat took the best framed pictures of our daughters when he abandoned me, feeling so entitled to the best and leaving me the rest. They were completely my doing- I took the pictures originally, selected and sized, and framed them. He decided they were his and packed them up when I was away on a business trip along with the rest of his crap.

      Fortunately our adult daughters saw what he did and immediately told him hell-to-the-no they are not his and that he had to return them. He did. I said I would scan copies for him but after finding out about the OW, half his age, I decided I was done wifing for that colossal fucknut. He never asked about them again after returning them.

      Most interesting is that my daughters and I can’t help but notice that he only took pictures of the girls from their toddler days, pre-school age. Not a single picture from elementary, teenage, or senior pictures, all similarly framed and easily absconded with if he wanted them. Clearly he did not. It summed up exactly the long discard we all felt during their lives and we realized he checked out of being a father when the girls stopped being his adoring kibble dispensers and started to develop their own distinct personalities. By the time they were about 8YO he found them defective and lacking and he was done with them, preferring to chase much younger ho-workers for kibbles.

      His daughters are NC with him and he will not know his grandchildren. But at least he is happy.

  • I have the photos stored away. So many life events that are important to me (birth of my children, preschool plays, wedding events with MY family and on) have him in the pic too. Won’t throw them out – but at same time, I don’t enjoy looking at them. It’s a painful reminder of his duplicity.

    I’m saving it for the kids if they ever want them down the road.

  • I took every photo with him not in it. I left the family photos on the wall and all the wedding photos with him. It made me smile a bit leaving him the wedding photos because I was the only one who participated in the actual wedding.

    • We had two wedding albums. I think one was one we’d made for his mom, who returned it to us. Haha. “The tit is dry in that woman,” as the therapist put it.

      Anyway, I left that album for him and noticed he threw it in the trash in our office on the day he came to pack stuff. But then I noticed he put it in his “to keep” pile.

      The man is/was all over the place emotionally.

      I kept the wedding album. I don’t know. I think it’s the historian in me.

      I’ll probably never look at it.

      Tangentially related question: What have people done with their wedding rings?

        • Good for you!

          Just before the pandemic, I brought my rings in for appraisal. The jeweler offered so little that I didn’t bite. I have three relatively small diamonds (one larger than the two others that flank it). Now I’m considering converting the smaller diamonds into earrings for myself. I can make a necklace out of the larger one. I think if they are repurposed, I can feel mighty and not associate them with him.

          I’ll sell the remaining gold for cash!

          Alternatively, I might do what you did. That sounds satisying. The pandemic has put a break on all these decisions.

          • Took it off on Christmas days after reading his facebook messages to his schmoopie and left it at my friend’s house.

      • I still wear my wedding band, I just wear it on my right hand now. It and my engagement ring are the only real diamonds I have so I don’t want to get rid of them.

        My engagement ring is beautiful and it represents a lot to me, so I’ll never get rid of it although I’ll never wear that one again probably.

        Maybe my niece will want it someday, not sure. Either way, I won’t just get rid of them. His rings might be tainted cuz he broke his promise but I see my rings still shining bright and holding true to the promises I kept throughout the marriage. My rings are so as beautiful as ever.

        Maybe I’m alone in this thinking?

        • It’s yours to do with what you wish- your story.
          I also like to think there was some meaning, love and good intention when rings were exchanged- even if fuckwit wasn’t capable of seeing it through – for more than a minute in my case!

      • Traded it for our kitchen table.

        He demanded the ring back at mediation. Not in Texas, sucker! The ring was not very valuable and I really needed our table.

        • Sold them back to him claiming they had doubled in value and the pawn dealers wouldn’t recognize that. Told him to keep for our daughter and told her he would.

          A week before D-day I had flung them across the kitchen table when he tried to get ultimate control over me by threatening to leave me and live by himself rather than being faced with my ‘demands’.

          My reply: I refuse to live with someone who doesn’t even want to try anymore. And I have no doubt when you move into your small furnished apartment there will suddenly be a girlfriend in the closet.

          Set up camp in the basement. An hour later he was down there begging me to put the rings back on and come to the bedroom. I did the next day but also started my investigation.

          Re photos, I spent hours going through all and removed each one that had me or a family member in them. Returned the rest to him. He has wedding pics but only of himself. Yeah dude,that’s your future.

          While doing so I realized that he had meticulously catalogued all his exes from the age of 16yo and fwb in boxes and divided by holidays or other events. I shared a box with his former ex. The printouts were all dated from our marriage. Apart from the fact that I had the most boxes there was no difference (GermanChump Italy 2004, GermanChump graduation 2006 etc). What a proof of shallowness. I took all pics and stashed them away. I refuse to be part of his collection.

          Informed his best friend about how much time the man obviously did have. Claiming to be overworked constantly but double life and curator of a huge jar of hearts collection.

  • She wanted to battle over these.
    I got her kicked out of the house because of a violent out outburst, so I had control. As the divorce wound down, she said she would sort through them and take what she wanted. No way was I going to hand them over to her cheating, lying self. I gave her 1/3 at a time, after I had removed a few with me and sons. She took some, returned the box and I gave her another. This worked out OK, although she hated it. Mine are pretty much all digitized now.

  • Timely post for me. I want to move out of state soon, and I have a huge box of photos I need to weed through. I sold my share of the house to the ex and moved out, taking with me at the time only the baby book that I’d curated. After I left he digitized all the photos, and gave me a big box full of the originals (no offer to share the digital versions–of course he’d been promising to digitize them for years when we were together but had never done it). Our son, aged 30, says he doesn’t care about photos, but I think later in life he’ll change his mind. However, he’s not in a position to store the box (nor does he want it) and I’m not willing to take it with me. I know there are photos of my son in that box that I want to keep, but I also know how upsetting going through them is going to be.
    Any suggestions on how to make this less painful gratefully received.

    • There’s a saying I’ve been holding onto as a chump: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

      I’d try to focus on accepting the pain (because of course it will hurt) and lessening the suffering instead. Like having a trusted loved one with me as i sort through the photos. Picking a time to do it when my emotions are manageable. Giving myself permission to start and stop anytime, and practicing lots of self compassion.

      You may be surprised Adelante, as i was, to find you feel nothing much finally seeing the photos. They were, in the end, no more hurtful than my own memories.

      I hope you’ll find the photos of your son!

      • You might be right that I am anticipating pain worse than I’ll actually feel. When I see the photos of him standing next to me while I’m giving birth I have a strange feeling that the person is a stranger. Which I guess is appropriate.
        I think maybe going into it with a “keep/toss” mindset, not lingering, and seeing how I’m reacting before I decide to do it all in one fell swoop or in stages might be wise, too.

    • That he won’t share the digitized photos is ridiculous. There’s no end to the assholery of these entitled jerks.

    • Since you wanted them in digital format anyway, why not buy a decent scanner and hire a teen neighbor or ask a family member to scan them for you? Much easier to keep and then you don’t have to see any images until you are ready. I am sure there might also be someone doing this online as well, that is bound to get pricy. A good scanner off of Amazon would solve your problem.

  • Some things have stayed, some things I let go of, some things we split.

    Of course, destiny would have it so that on the day of what would have been out 1st year wedding anniversary, we were sorting out stuff in a double move, me back into our old house, him out of it and into his new, bigger one.

    I still have the rose from our engagement night.
    It’s 3 years later, it’s fine.

    I’m probably not a good example of mighty there, but I needed to be back with my memories, for an indefinite time. That’s how I grieve, it takes me very long, but it’s the right thing for me.

    • Quetzal, you do what you have to do! Give yourself as much time as you need. Everyone is different.

      I hope going back eventually helps you move forward. I get it.

    • I still sleep in one of his shirts, can’t not do it. If I meet someone else someday I’ll have to retire the shirt. Till then I sleep in it.

      Maybe it’s not good for me, but I fond comfort in it. It’s all I have left of the guy who never really even existed, If that even makes sense. Which it doesn’t.

  • I thought I might throw my wedding album but never got round to it. Most of the other albums are mine anyway from before I met him as I was an inveterate traveller. I was talking to my nephew about it not so long ago and told him I would keep my wedding album because in it is the only photo I have of my ENTIRE family. And he said “not true, dad (my brother), had buggered off to listen to the cricket in the car when that photo was taken so he’s missing”! So I guess it’s not worth getting sentimental about it. I’ve just kept everything because my kids can take what they want later. And oddly enough, every time my kids come to the house they get the photo albums out – not looking at their dad, mainly just their own photos!

  • I sorted through 100s & gave him all the ones of his family taking out any I was in & threw them out. What a chump I was as he didn’t ask for them, just thought he’d want them. Urr

    Day after dday I put our large framed wedding photo in the trash. I saw him walk by & look at it. I asked he what he thought about it & all he said was, “not good.” What a fucker.

  • I put all of my old albums and wedding photos in the back of the tallest shelf in a very tall closet. I have no desire to look at them, but also felt the kids might want the albums one day. Mostly they were made with a company online that still has the digital album — I always mean to go back and reprint them just with pics of AH removed!

    I used to have a box in the basement marked “Special Wedding Stuff.” It held extra invites and printed menus, ribbons, party favors, a swatch of bridemaid dress fabric — just random little bits from our wedding. When AH moved out, the box disappeared. To this day, four years later, I have NO IDEA why he would cheat on me with his intern, leave me to pursue twu wuv, then steal the wedding stuff box??? Like is it sitting in THEIR basement now?

    • What these cheaters do is hard to fathom.

      I’ll take a stab at it:

      *he still wants his old life (cake!), and the album gives him some tangible evidence of that.
      *he’s cruel and wants to deprive you of something he assumed you would want
      *he wants to copy what you did for his next wedding (sick reasoning). I bet you have good taste.

          • You guys are great! Thank you. I mostly can leave this stuff behind after four years, but that “wedding stuff” box really still gets me. Did I mention he married the affair partner visibly pregnant on my birthday within months of our divorce? Classy. Perhaps they recycled my spare party favours? 😉

            • That is incredibly low, Maisy. Glad you’re rid of that jerk. And I wonder if affair partner/now wife will think of you every year on her wedding anniversary?

            • Narcs love to ruin birthdays & holidays, 364 other days weren’t available for their wedding?! Just more triangulation!

  • I will save any pictures of cheater for my kids. Cheater left pictures of the last time he saw his mom alive in the hospital. He also left a picture of me that he had in his wallet. Trying to erase history much? He takes pictures of himself with kids, as he said they are his life. Fake disney dad. Im the one that raised the kids and im there for them. Any cards I find from him I will shred.

  • I cut him out of the photos I wanted to keep. The one photo I couldn’t cut him out of I pasted a picture of the dog over his face. The dog was a lot more loyal and loving.

  • I have photos and other things boxed up somewhere, along with what I call my special “box of lies” containing all the cards, etc. he gave me over the years. I tried to go through them when I first moved out (2 years ago, DD 3 years ago), but it was too painful.

    A few months ago, he dropped off a bag full of photos and other stuff (drawing the kids made, etc). Told me to go through it and keep what I wanted and then feel free to “throw the rest out.” His dismissive “trashing” of our life together triggered me.

    I took that bag & put it away to deal with at some point. As I did, a photo fell out. It was of me and the kids when they were young, while we all on vacation on a tropical island. The kids and I look so happy, loving, and beautiful. And I thought, if *THIS* wasn’t good enough for him, nothing ever will be.

    I took that photo and framed it. I looked at this morning, and despite all the pain and trauma, I know it was not about me. I freely gave my heart and my love to try and build a life and family with him. He is a toxic, dysfunctional man who doesn’t even know what he had, or what he threw away.

  • I took down the wedding portrait and the painting a friend did of us. I handed him his pre-marital photos (baby pics, etc.) that was on display when he was moving out. I still have annual holiday photos with his family sitting out and the photo books that he put together since they are really photos of the kids. He is in them because he is their dad but they aren’t about him so I could care less. All of them will end up with the kids.

    My favorite photos are pictures of the kids that I took on holidays or vacations he didn’t participate in and my favorite photo from our wedding is actually me and our son (yeah, did it backwards). It does reinforce that he wasn’t interested in being with me and the kids but he always showed up, smiling big, in group photos with HIS family. Now that I think about it I don’t think I have any casual photos of him with my family at all.

    • I took all the family photos. I left all of his “atta boys”, Army commendations, service photos and Football Photos. He has yet to ask for any of the family photos. He won’t because it truly was all about him.

      I tried recently to sort those photos and had a melt down like a toddler needing a nap. Once I was through crying, screaming and kicking my feet, those photos were boxed up and put at the very back of the closet. My sons can deal with those when I’m dead.

      I already burned all fourteen cards and letters from our thirty six years together. My homemade wedding dress I’d thrown in the trash decades ago. I threw the dress out when I discovered he was cheating in the first months of our marriage. I should have thrown him out.

  • I took the chance to do a ‘ritual’, as a way to manage emotions. Rituals can be constructive or destructive, naturally i chose the latter.

    I methodically removed about 30 photos of us out of their beautiful frames, carefully tore them all in half exactly where my image was in the photo, left the pile of torn photos in our ex-home for him to find, and kept all the frames for future use.

    Why waste the frames, I’m sure my future partner and I will look great in them 🙂

    And yes, the ritual was helpful. Meditative even. I didn’t do all that in anger, just focused determination. I buried more of us with every rip, i grieved us with every tear.

  • The wedding photos from 1992 are waiting to get burned in my backyard fire pit. We originally put together the fire pit by digging a pit (I know. Duh), filling it w/sand and surrounding it w/concrete cinder blocks to make my younger daughter happy at that point (w/some help from younger daughter). We were trying to make her happy due to us having to downsize from a beautiful, modern colonial to a 1932 fixer-upper on a busy main street in our New England town (i.e., w/lots of attendant background noise), all due to my continuing inability to find another high paying job, whether or not it was in my profession.

    Background: After over 20 years of dealing w/shitty work environments as a pharmacist, my mind & spirit couldn’t take it anymore (never mind as a deep introvert, retail pharmacy was not a good place for me to work personality-wise). In addition, the entire landscape of the job market in pharmacy had completely changed by this point, and new jobs were no longer easy to find (I had found out the hard way at this point that money doesn’t make you happy, but a lack of it could sure make you unhappy).

    I was burned out, and I had gone into a deep depression, as I couldn’t figure out what to do next to preserve our lifestyle and home for our family. After almost three years of struggling financially, we eventually downsized into the said fixer-upper in the same town, because the XW was a local politician (and still is, in a higher position no less), and didn’t want to lose her place in the local political scene.

    So, we took the only house we could afford and that I could agree to stomach at that point. Satisfying the XW’s desire to preserve her local politician position severely limited our ability to choose a worthwhile house to downsize into at that point. But hey, when you love someone, and you feel very responsible for the situation you’re all in, you bite the bullet and try to make them happy. Not to mention, the kids didn’t have to deal w/new schools, which I knew was an undeniable benefit. I had found work at jobs that paid me less than a quarter of what I had been paid previously in pharmacy, but I was at least contributing to supporting the family.

    I don’t claim to have been happy about where we ended up, and where I’m now living and in sole possession of (yeah, I was the one who made 3-4 times what the XW made for at least 15 years of our relationship, and accumulated enough retirement money to buy her out when she exit-affaired me for her richer, older boss, in order to give me and my son some stability). I struggled to accept that this was our new reality, mainly because of me.

    What I didn’t do was hide that I was unhappy w/our situation (to the contrary, it took me a good year to really start accepting this ugly situation. Not proud of that, at all), or decide to have an affair to make myself feel better and abandon our love, relationship and family like the FW XW.

    So now as of yesterday, all three of our kids (not just our one minor, 14 yo son) are on vacation in Maine for 5 plus days, all of them together w/their FW mother and her POS affair partner. This is the first time in over three years that they have all gone together on a vacation (Ugh). I was good; I told my kids I didn’t want to know any specifics of where they were going, and I told my son to only call me if he wanted to (when he’s w/his mother during our 50/50 custody split, we usually communicate every night by phone).

    Anyway, I’m thinking I should try to use the fire pit to burn the wedding photos while they’re all away. Seems like a good time. Soft divorce was granted in 12/18, absolute divorce in 03/19. D-day was 4/17.

    I should mention that last summer, while my son was away on vacation w/his FW mother and the POS former boss AP, I DID burn the wedding dress the XW had been saving all these years (I think she thought to offer it to our daughters, assuming they got married, were interested in it and it fit?), but that she callously left behind when she exit-affaired me and moved in w/her boss (he still was her boss at that time. She lost her job soon after that. But it’s ok, because they had PLANNED for that. Puke!). She’d left that behind along w/me, and a majority of shit we’d gathered together in over 24+ years.

    In the early daze (pun intended) of the pick-me dance, one of the few moments I had of lucidity prompted me to find her engagement and wedding rings (that she’d also left behind, and rarely wore, but would eventually want) and keep them, since she couldn’t respect me enough to leave our relationship as an adult, and chose to blow apart our love, vows and family. When she found out I’d kept them, she was pissed (too fucking bad), as she thought she might offer them to our daughters (bizarre, I thought). Turns out neither of our daughters wanted them when I asked. Who could blame them?

    Okay, I’ve blown off some steam. Thank you CL and CN, for letting me vent (as usual). I hope you all are safe, healthy and happy, but I worry that many of you aren’t. Even so, please accept my best wishes and hopes for all of you. Stay strong, be mighty, and reach out if you need to vent or want advice. We’re here for you.

    • Hey, thelongrun, if it’s any consolation, their long weekend in Maine might not be as glorious as you think. I’m just over the border in NH, and we (and most of ME) are dealing with chilly rain today (think constant drizzle and 61 degrees). Tomorrow the miserable heat arrives, so it’s certainly not going to be the ideal time for a family vacation here.

      I hope you are able to fill your time with something that beings you peace.

      • eirene,

        For whatever reason, this didn’t show up as a response for me until now. It IS some consolation, so thank you. All I know is that they were supposed to spend roughly 5 hours of driving time from the Burlington, VT area to somewhere in Maine. But I really do appreciate you letting me know that it might not be a great trip weather-wise for the two adulterers. I don’t wish that for my kids, but I guess they’re stuck w/them in that situation and there’s nothing I can do for them, really. Sigh.

        The rich, asshole AP (who in the spring had to resign his job as the head of a state college system) had a family home on a Maine island that he’d bought out from his family members. I thought I’d gathered he felt the need to sell it following his D-day/divorce (I only overheard things from the kids, unasked for, that made me think that), so it’s possible I’d gotten that wrong. But maybe not. I think it’s a longer trip than 5 hours. It shouldn’t matter to me, but when they’ve got my kids, unfortunately it does. Working on that.

        My older daughter doesn’t get along w/the POS AP. Again, unasked for, but according to my son, her mother recently took her aside after she visited the two of them for her almost weekly laundry visit, and told her she wasn’t being nice enough to the asshole. And my daughter vtold me right before they left on this trip that her mother asked her to come, but now she was starting to regret saying yes to her. I’m working on getting to meh about things like this, too. But right now, it does warm my heart to hear that.

        As for doing things to fill my time w/peace, I’ve been semi-successful w/that. I’ve got the two cats the XW left behind (but that she originally brought into our family w/out consulting anyone). Well, I love them anyway, and they love me for feeding them. I get lots of purrs and cuddling up on my lap. I’m working on finding a new job, as I chose to be unemployed after being furloughed, but have enough money to get by for a few months. I’ve got a book that claims I can reinvent myself for the job market, and I figure if I could reinvent my life after the FW XW left me for her “twu wuv,” I can do that too (lots of encouragement from all the great stories of CN). And I’m working on learning to write professionally. So, I’m trying!

        eirene, I hope you’re doing well right now in NH. I have a lot of fondness for that state. I also hope that you’re further on your journey to meh than I am, and Tuesday as well. Wishing you and your family peace, happiness and good health. You brightened up my day, so you can count that as a good deed for the day. I’m very grateful to you. Sending good vibes to you and your family as well. Take care.

    • Thanks longrun for telling your story. She must be mentally ill to leave a guy like you behind. I wish you absolutely all the best.

      • chumpedchange,

        Like eirene above, thanks for your kind words. About a week after D-day (the FW XW walked out not quite two weeks after it, as part of her plan w/the POS AP), when I was desperately trying to reconcile w/the FW XW, and we had an argument about our 24+ years of married life (which had not happened that often throughout the marriage, probably because I was willing to realize I loved her despite her imperfections, and chose not to argue about things I should have because of that love, and she came from the position of not being honest enough w/me to tell me what she resented of my many imperfections, which she never overlooked, it seems).

        In the middle of this argument, she came out w/the statement where she said, “I think there’s something wrong w/me.” Ever the chump, and still in the beginning part of my shock at what she had done to me, our marriage, and our family, I bit my tongue and didn’t say “You’re right!!” Instead, still ridiculously hoping to reconcile and playing the pick-me dance, the best I could come up w/was to say, “I don’t know that there’s something wrong w/you, but you’re definitely different.”

        Oh, how I wish now I hadn’t bitten my tongue. But that’s what we do best as chumps. We continue to care, even when they’ve run us through w/their evil actions. Ultimately, it’s her loss. For all my problems and stupidity, I truly loved her. I doubt she’ll ever get that. And that’s her problem. God forbid she should realize she was at least half the problem in our marriage. She wouldn’t listen to the marriage counselor about things like that shortly after D-day. I doubt she’s matured enough to accept that now.

        So thanks again, chumpedchange. I wish you the very best as well. You also brightened my day, so that’s a good deed for you as well. I hope your ex someday realizes what they lost in you; a caring, loving person. But even if they don’t, you will thrive. I’m sure of it. Best wishes to you and your family, may you find peace (meh?), happiness, and Tuesday sooner than me. Take care, and accept the gratitude of this chump, please.

  • I will most likely keep the wedding photos. Believe it or not there isn’t many with just the two of us. My parents divorce was bitter but after they died I was glad neither of them destroyed them. As a child, it was nice to see them happy for once and youthful even though I know it was doomed from the start. My maternal grandparents didn’t smile so looking at them reminded me that they didn’t approve and maybe parents do know a little something.

    I will keep our wedding photos since he couldn’t bother to be next to me at the reception, even during dinner. And how he couldn’t find our hotel room while I waited. FLAG flag flag

    I like the reminders on the ones that are just us from VelvetHammer. But I need to go through these someday. Just not a priority

    Does anyone remember having to beg to get just pictures of the two of you? And the fuckwit made it mostly about them in a shitty pose with sunglasses and a cigar? Or something like that?

    • THIS!!! Yes I remember that!

      XH hated taking photos with just me and him. He would make faces in the photos to ruin them on purpose or he would make a face of pain as if taking a photo was killing him.

      So many photos ruined because he couldn’t be bothered. Oh but if it were one of just him alone, he’d make sure to put on the charm and look great. Such a jerk.

      I never understood either. I thought having a beautiful wife you’d want to show her off? Guess not.

  • Oddly enough, just after D-Day cheater complained about the box of old photos I have of my life before him that contain, among others, pix of various old boyfriends. The nice exes in any case.

    To me those old photos are just images of my history and pretty neutral. But his hypocritical complaint reminded me of a really old Levi’s commercial where a guy’s girlfriend paints on and steals his jeans to use them for part of her art exhibition. When the guy attends the opening, he realizes the many, many pairs of painted jeans on display represent the men his gf has “had.” He’s just one in a long lineup.

    As a teen I probably thought that was a fair play twist on the usual male “playah” trope. Now I’d probably find the ad queasy. But so would cheater.

    I’m not sure what bothered him– that he’d just end up relegated to my past “specimen case” (not THAT many lol), meaning no more or less to me than the others had?

    In other words, he may have been projecting a harem-keeping mentality onto me. I also wonder if he noticed that absent from those old bf pix were any images of the one past bf who was abusive.

    Maybe cheater feared being in the condemned and deleted “abuser club” while the nice guy pix remained.

  • This one hurts. I’m still stuck when it comes to our “history.” It’s so painful to look at pictures from family vacations, major events, etc. and know that he was lying/deceiving/cheating on me the whole time. Both of my parents died when I was young, so having lots of family pictures was something really important when I had my kids. I didn’t want them to miss having pictures of their parents.

    I don’t know what to do with the pictures. They are still so painful for me to look at.

  • I allowed myself to keep items that would fit in a copier box. Slapped a sticker on it with the word “Memories” and put it in storage.

  • 30 years we were together. But hardly any pictures of us together or even just me. He didn’t take pictures of me, or us, he didn’t care. So a few days after he left, I went to the friends house where he was staying. He wasn’t home. The friend let me go into his room. I sat there a minute then I started looking through his things. I found he took one photo album. It was a kayaking album with mostly him in the pictures. He Didn’t grab any pictures of the kids or grands. Nothing of me of course. I immediately went back home and destroyed all wedding photos. I put other albums away and three years later, I went through and gave pics of he and the kids and grands to the kids and grands. That’s it.. 30 years gone like it never happened. And with him only taking pictures with him that were of him….. that tells everything you need to know.

  • I slowly toss out more and more. They are just about all gone now.

    I find that over time, I don’t really care to relive most of those times. It’s almost like they happened to someone else now.

  • I packed up albums that were specifically his – there were a couple and gave them to him. My kids decided that the pictures belong to them – their childhoods, their pictures. He was pissed but I did not relent on the my young adult kids’ wishes, after all he had did enough of that to give them trust issues, I was not going to add to their angst by giving in to his demand for pictures. They are currently residing in my basement in plastic tubs waiting for the day the kids want to deal with them…..at this point I doubt that I will ever open the tubs – I get a physical response just thinking about them.

  • Many here express keeping the pictures for the kids if they want them later. I’m interested to hear from those of you further down the road, have your kids expressed wanting to see or have the pictures?

    I tossed the wedding album in the skip with my wedding dress 4 days after d-day. I still have a cd of digital prints and am torn about chucking it now.

    • I have two boys so I’m not sure they’ll be that interested in my old pictures. BUT I took all my mom’s photos and have got many of them in albums (not all though) as I LOVE them. That’s why I keep my stuff, just in case someone further down the line would like them!

    • Yes, my son wanted them, he made some CDs. I mean it is his history too, so he made some stuff for himself and his kids.

      He also made some for me, using pics of when I was young. Reminds me I wasn’t always old. 🙂 Where did the years go.

    • My parents split up and I kept my parent’s wedding album. I also want my own childhood photos. My kids, age 10 and 12, are at that stage when they really like looking at photographs of their family members when they were younger. They laugh at the hairstyles and clothes and cars. They can’t believe that their parents or grandparents were ever so young.

      More recently, I have started showing the kids their pics of when they were babies and toddlers. They are really enjoying seeing their baby videos. Yes, there dad is there. And, I have taken the opportunity to mention to the kids that I was really happy during those times, but looking at the pictures can make me a bit sad. I’m not mopey when I do it. It’s more about my attempt to have my children understand and be aware of emotional journeys so they understand that relationships hurt when they end so they learn to have respect for relationships in the future. It’s also so they know that experiencing emotions is normal and human.

      Pictures/videos provide an amazing opportunity to honour their past and discuss what our present means. When these items no longer hold relevance for the kids, which might happen when they get older, then they can get rid of it.

  • This is such a great topic-because it’s something that doesn’t necessarily come to your mind while you are setting up your new life.

    I moved out so I didn’t put any pics of my exhole in my new house. It was really strange for me to go back over to pick the kids up at his place and see that all of my pics were taken down. I wasn’t hurt-it just felt weird.

    All of the photos of him on my phone and computer I deleted. If the kids were in it-I saved them.

    He did a total asshole move tho-about a month after I moved out, he gave me a box of photos while I was at his house. They were all of the two of us.

    I thanked him, took the box, dumped them in HIS trash can and drove off.

    About a week later-he again have me a small stack of photos of just us-I should there, flipper through them, handed them back to him and said, “Yeah-I told you that if there were any photos of you and me-you could throw them away-I don’t want them.”

    He never gave me anymore pics of us again 😁 (it took a couple of times for him to understand-he’s a slow learner).

    • My asshole ex kept showing up with “things” I might want after he threw me and our son out of the house (once it was women’s clothes that were not even mine!!) I finally told him there was not once single thing left that I would ever want – including him – and he finally quit.

      • That is AWESOME!!

        My ex will bring crap over when he feels like do a little cleaning in the 3 car garage that in 15+ years we were never able to park a car in because it was full of junk.

        The last box I got was various booze that we had bought duty free on a cruise to the Caribbean….IN 1995.

  • There is an advantage to keeping photos.

    My ex remarried a few years ago – very shortly after the divorce, not to the woman he’d been cheating with (the new wife doesn’t know he already cheated on her). But let’s put the facts aside because optics are everything.

    The happy new couple’s Christmas card that year featured photos from their wedding in Napa. One photo was a human pyramid – how fun! how charming! The smiles and the laughter!

    About a month ago, my kids (in their 20s) were over for dinner and something came up so we looked at the wedding album. I’m sure they hadn’t seen it or remembered . . . but there was a photo of their dad and the groomsmen, in a human pyramid. The supposed originality of that human pyramid in Napa isn’t so unique any more. Their dad is a one-trick pony and the fact that history repeats itself is pretty sobering.

    • Agree with the 1 trick pony- even the over-the-top adoring cards I got from him in over the years became a tad repetitive and unoriginal! But since they were all loving messages I didn’t care at the time.

  • I didn’t have kids with my Whore Fucker, so there’s no one that will ever want to see these photos.

    That said, I still have them, all shoved in a box in the back of a closet. Yes, he was a complete lying waste of time fucktard for those 20 years, but they were still also MY 20 years, and there’s no erasing that. I was authentic during all those years, and I have no intention of pretending I wasn’t.

    I guess the box will either end up in a garbage can next time I move, or when I die. Whateves.

  • I found out that ex-wife went through all of our photos just after we got married. She binned all of the ones of me with old girlfriends – which didn’t bother me at the time – but I was rather confused when I found out (much later on) that she’d kept all of the ones of her and her old boyfriends.

    Oddly enough, her AP (and the guy that she walked out on me and our kids for) was ….. you guessed it ….. an ex-boyfriend of hers.

    I guess that I should have seen that coming.

  • I still have a box of Fotomat envelopes that contain about 15 years of photos (out of a 25 year marriage), mostly of my daughter growing up. There is only one photo in which I look truly peaceful and happy, and that was taken before marriage, before his facade began to crack, and before the revelation of his true deceptive nature. ExH kept that photo of me in his office tucked away in his desk drawer, and he mailed it to me after our divorce. My daughter saw it and was in awe of my evident happiness (and my youthful, non-haggard appearance). The poor kid has memories only of my forced cheerfulness in my desperate attempt to keep my family intact.

    Looking at the memories is like slowly ripping off a bandaid: painful but necessary in order to heal. Just wait until that pain is no longer excruciating, and do it a little at a time.

  • A friend of mine had a framed family photo in her living room for years. Parents and four kids. After D-Day I noticed it looked different. I peeked closer and saw she had pasted George Clooney’s face over her ex’s face. So funny.

    • I left our wedding photo on the wall for ages because I just forgot, but eventually I pasted a cartoon clown over his face too. Got rid of it now though!

  • It’s so interesting how many of you say that you’re not in many of the photos because you were the one taking them and the ex never took any of you. Same. I used to beg him to at least take pics of me with the kids when they were babies so I’d have some memories. The few he took were always out of focus or I looked crappy. The only decent photos I have of me with my babies were taken by my parents. In contrast to my brother who was always capturing beautiful moments of his wife and kids, and displayed them all the time. Very telling.

    I also noticed that he had absolutely no photos of me in his FB feed the year leading up to the affair, but plenty of him with his female coworkers….ehem.

    I took down our wedding photo and some couples photos on DDay and gave to him as he was packing up. He left them on the dryer in the garage when he left. All others are in a box now.

    I keep getting memory reminders of digital photos of him. I’ve started to archive them in a hidden folder as they come up. One day when I have the time I want to crop him out of the good ones to keep some family memories. At first I didn’t remove everything and told my kids that we had a beautiful wedding and a good marriage, at first, and that they were born out of love. Now my oldest wants nothing to do with him, so I don’t push it.

    • When my ex took pictures of me they were never flattering, I believe now it was deliberate. He was extremely vain.

  • After my youngest son’s funeral, my eldest son and I went through the album and boxes of photos and cut cheater ex out of all the photos. Made a nice little pile. Then we took them out to the back yard and I handed him the matches and a lighter fluid and he reduced those loathsome photos to ash. Afterwards we watched the wind blow most of the remnants away. What was left was walked on by our comings and goings until they were ground into the concrete and washed away by rain. It felt good to reduce Chester ex to that level of inconsequentiality.

  • 1. Removed all pictures of him or him and I from my FaceBook. Any I have missed that pop up in memories I hide
    2. Removed all pictures of him from framed pictures. I have a family picture wall and he was very upset his picture is not hung on the wall.
    3. The first summer with him gone I had new family pictures taken professional.
    4. I gave my daughter all our hard copies of pictures and she is scanning all but him and giving those to our son. They don’t have the same father.
    My computer is full of pictures of amazing places we traveled and I have not tackled that one.
    I must confess I did do a small ritual bonfire in the kitchen sink.

  • Wedding photos are in the album in the basement.
    If I share an old photo I crop out ex if possible. My 15 yo daughter takes great enjoyment deleting her dad.

    Fora year or so photos made me sad. Now I occasionally show the kids books, etc from years ago with all of us. We had 25 pretty good years. I don’t want to forget them or remember them differently…

    I keep my Facebook memories and they don’t make me sad, they make me wish I could go to concerts, universal studio, etc. And they remind me I am actually happier now…who knew.

  • After my first marriage to a cheating fuckwit, I threw the wedding photos and all the other photos away. Years later, I wish I’d kept them–there were pictures of my friends, of my family, of the dress my mom made. So I’m not throwing away the photos. They are in a box. Besides, I found one recently that reminded me of how creepy he really was, and that helps. Same with mementoes. I gave away a ring Fuckwit #1 gave me, and wish I’d kept it because it was beautiful and I wouldn’t care now where it came from. So I’ve kept my jewelry from him and will have it reset eventually.

  • I took the photo boxes without talking to stbx about it. Sorted them the Christmas week after the divorce, this was about 3 months into no contact. No kids, anyone else that would look at the photos will be setting up a memorial service. There were very few photos from stbx life before our marriage, but I found a couple cards he’d written to other women using the same catchy phrases of affection he’d used with me. Seemed odd that he kept cards he’d written, rather than cards written to him. I boxed up a bunch of photos for him that were duplicates or I didn’t want. I wanted to keep our wedding album, but at the time was afraid still for my personal safety, so decided it was easier on my mind to make a few copies of photos for myself and give it to him. A mutual friend delivered the box. So it is done. It was an emotional hit to go through the photos, but there was a sense of freedom when it was done.

  • I shredded every last photo of our 15 year history…It was all faked, I’m convinced, with a narcissistic Machiavellian fake person who doesn’t bond with anyone. No kids, so it was an easy decision. I still feel disoriented, 6 years later, from my relationship with this person. It ruined my life…burned it down. Destroyed my finances, destroyed all of my friendships, and destroyed me emotionally. I think when a person is capable of doing that much damage to someone and then skipping away nonchalantly, ecstatic in fact…they are bordering on psychopathy. I wish I could forget it all, and I certainly don’t need photos reminding me of any of it. Lesson learned.

    • I hear you. Right now I’d gladly shred any pics involving STBX too, except that we have kids. I don’t think I have many photos of myself with the kids that don’t also include STBX – I was the one who took most family photos, so am not often in them myself.

      • Hey LezChump. Thanks. Mine was a same-sex relationship too. She’s the “spiritual” type who has everyone convinced she’s so loving and kind.🤮 The gaslighting and smear campaign almost did me in. 20 year friendships, poof, up in smoke. I still feel shaky inside knowing people like her exist and can fool just about anyone.
        Good luck with your divorce…I’ll be rooting for you.

        • Thanks, Wutever – best wishes to you too! Sorry it’s still hard after 6 years, but I get that some long-term mindfucks will take a while to heal. Am hoping I at least have more energy one of these years. My STBX was a little New Agey, but mostly superficially the academic queer-feminist type. That was when she was mirroring me, though – who knows what personality she’ll conjure next? (It probably will involve mirroring her new partner, whoever that is.) If you want to talk more, come find us on the Reddit group – r/ChumpLadyNation!

      • I’m the Photoshop queen. I can Pravda-ize any picture, remove or replace people, give someone a third arm or two heads if the mood strikes. Youtube tutorials are useful. 😉

    • Spent 15 years with the same type person. Claimed to be the devil during the divorce. I felt like since nothing was real and he had no problem destroying my life (My life is better now and so is the children’s), destroying his photos was a small gesture in gaining my sanity. It doesn’t erase the past it just tells the truth that it was a lie. I have kids and was very big on photos. When going through photo’s after divorce I realized how few photo’s of him even existed maybe 100 total. I sent them through the paper shredder or delete button on the computer. No regrets!

  • Kept the pics that had me and my son in them, (sent my son e copies) the rest I gave to my son, who was already grown when we divorced. I told him he could go through and take what he wants, but not to throw them away. I would take them and store them in case the grandchildren ever asked for them. I did ask him not to give any pics to his dad that had me in them, as he disposed of me and devalued our whole marriage, so he didn’t need any pics of me.

    He kept them. We didn’t have gobs of pics because in those days we couldn’t afford many pics. I don’t really care what pics he gives to his dad now, this was years ago.

  • the jerk broke into my self-owned only, never marital new house and stole them all, along with other precious things. They are sick people, and I’d already promised and was planning to copy the ones he’d want–say of his family members, etc. No, he took them all. I have almost no photos of our daughter’s childhood.

    • What a bastard! I wish healing, peace and love for you, and the fires of Hell for him. Stay strong. We’re w/you!

  • I threw away or burned the wedding photos. However, I think my daughter may still have copies of them. My wedding dress, and gifts, cards, etc. Anything from him are gone. I kept the marital home, but you would n’t recognize it now. Most of the colors/ furniture has been changed or replaced.I want absolutely nothing to do with the years I wasted on that person. When I threw him out. Because he wouldn’t leave. It took him 2 years to even pick up the remainder of his things. By then, they were in a storage unit. Who leaves their life belongings for 2 years? I’m talking clothes were left hanging in the closet etc. Like he was just gone for the weekend. These people are really damaged. You want to know what he had a fit over? A casserole dish!! Never asked for any photos, keepsakes from the kids. It’s a shame the said casserole dish couldn’t be located. lol

  • I’ve often thought there should be a line of greeting cards called “Infidelity” using all those smiling holiday photos with captions inside like “He banged the nanny the same Christmas Eve” -or- the beautiful wedding photo with caption inside “ biggest mistake of my life”. 🙂

    • Jo, you just started a Quarantine side hustle with that. Bravo, looking forward to you making your first million.

    • Jo,
      I wanted to write to you the other day but the site didn’t have a reply button so that I could.

      I read about how your ex asked you for oral after revealing what he did with the prostitute. My heart tore up reading that. I know exactly how you feel Jo. I too didn’t come from money, worked really hard to go to college and then get a career and move-up within it. This was all before I met my XH. There was blood, sweat and tears to get to where I was in life when I met him.

      Never in a million years would I have thought I’d basically become a doormat in the bedroom to a man. After my XH’s 2nd affair, I resorted to obeying all his “wishes” in the bedroom. I for some sad reason thought it would keep him faithful to me if I became more “fun”. The really sad thing is that my XH never complained about lack of sex. In fact, he would brag that our sex life was amazing and healthy. Yet he still cheated, it didn’t matter what I did. The freedom he was allowed to have with my body didn’t do a damn thing, all that pain for nothing (and I say “pain” literally).

      I’m very embarrassed about the way I let him treat my body. It will probably haunt me for years. I often listen to the song “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans. I sometimes have hard moments when I think about those times in the bedroom and this song helps me to process those feelings and get through the tears.

      You’re not alone. I too was a desperate woman trying to save my marriage in humiliating ways. Really hurts.

      -Hugs

      • Thanks for reaching out and I’m sending you a cyber Chump sister hug. I’ve decided that all the physical interactions with my fkwit that had me doing the pick me dance and buying lingerie had a silver lining. I may have been used and frankly abused ( yes, know the pain) I searched for the 34AA push up bra, tried to look beautiful etc etc etc – now…..after DDay and learning about the hooker habit for 26 years my silver lining is that the disgusting bedroom gymnastics were at least were a form of burning calories, I joke to myself that it was a cheap disgusting Pilates class but I was burning calories – that’s about the only positive thing I can come up with. He got Cake. Well, I’m getting Cake and ice cream – my beautiful dogs, my life. No more of those blood tears, no more of that gripping, clenching in my chest with the “So when I was here, he was really there?” as you piece the time line down years down mindfuckery lane. Karma will ark back on all these men. As a professor used to shout in law school lectures, “Don’t get mad people, get smart”. I was told by a few close friends “I was too nice”. Well, if that’s my crime than I’m accused, sentenced, and convicted, he will never make me a bitter woman. Smile on and step high. Living Well is the best revenge.

        • Love the “don’t get mad people, get smart” line your professor used, it’s so so true.

          I’m 100% convicted and plead guilty for being a loving, loyal and fighting for our marriage wife. I didn’t stand defeated and throw in the towel until I found out about the THIRD affair.

          I stood strong in my vows and even sought the difficult road of infidelity forgiveness (twice) as the bible teaches. By the third round of infidelity, I was at peace with finally being able to say enough is enough and seek the path of divorce (something also the bible says is justified if you can’t move past a hardened heart).

          I can, with ever fiber in me, stand tall on my judgement day and say “I did everything I could. It did’n’t matter to XH”.

          So your friends said you were “too nice”, perhaps we both were. At least we tried right? At least it shows we were fighting for our marriage. Maybe that’s the wrong way to think about it, seeing how it all turned out now.

          I do know this much, my XH was a mess the day I left him and months after. He tried in the most random ways to find me and get me to see him, to try to still have some sort of connection with him. That tells me he knows he screwed up & he will have to live with that regret, NOT ME.

          I’m living as best I can with the pandemic going on. I’d still rather live how I am now than have my heart torn apart more and more each day.

          Glad to hear you’re doing well Jo, my cyber chump sister 😉

          Alice

  • 21-year marriage here…2 kids…I was an amateur shutterbug. D-Day was 2015; I bailed out right then and there on D-Day; now divorced. Tons of photos and I’ve kept every single one though I’m conflicted about the pics with XW in them. Somehow it seems unfair to my daughters to destroy those photos…it’s THEIR history too and she’ll always be their mother.

    If nothing else, seeing those photos always leads me to conclude that my picker needs to be closely supervised.

  • When I was stuck in the house with ex, in the midst of taking down photos and packing things up, I removed photos of us and cut my face out of them (an odd choice since I suppose most people would cut out the other person’s face). I just didn’t want my face in any photo with him in the context of a lie. Apparently he complained to his brother via text, who made a joke out of it by putting Patrick(from Sponge Bob)’s face in the hole where my face was. (You can see what kind of support I got from that side of the family.) Poor ex was distraught that I wanted so badly to remove myself, while still stuck in that house with him. He was “worried” I would destroy the wedding album *I* made, but no — as others have said, since I have a daughter, that is being kept in a box for when she wants to see it (especially since it features many of my friends and family). I also had made an album with a montage of her first 9(?) months, which of course features both of us. Of course I kept that too, despite his presence in the album. My daughter and I are making new memories and there are new photos, but I am not going to erase that part of her life or the part of my life I entered into in good faith, which led to her existence. I think saving the important/landmark things for her and tossing the fluff makes sense for those with kids. I will say that cutting up those photos was so therapeutic.

  • I have no photos, momentos, or any gifts from him. When I discovered the reason he left me was because he had someone else, I went to his place (we weren’t married) when she was there, walked in and dumped everything on the couch. I told her that she wasn’t his first cheating rodeo, that he was a chronic liar and owed me money he had no intention if repaying. I told her that shed’d be his next victim. Apparently she left him a few years later and “completely broke his heart.” Karma came knocking.

  • Thanks for your ideas, everyone!

    The phrase “you are the curator of your own history” is powerful, but also a little triggery for me, because that was the exact excuse STBX used when she was refusing to delete photos of her AP from affair #2 in 2018. (We are both women, and academic historians.) She argued that she should get to keep mementoes of her own history, and it took several months of going to therapy and pulling teeth (figuratively) before she was persuaded that it was horribly disrespectful to me. (At one point, she agreed to delete the photos, and later I found that she had just stored them in a different place. This was the time during which she was gaslighting me hardest: when I asked to see her iPad as per our agreement, she said, “what do you think you’re going to find on there?” Answer: it was not just the hidden photos, but also a dump of saved texts between her and the AP.) The photo thing was just one of the many obvious issues that STBX has seemed very confused about throughout this long process. Funny how all of them involved disrespecting me, and devaluing my perspective and preferences. And she’s a lesbian feminist, well-known on our home campus and reasonably visible in her field. (Anyone can be a fuckwit!)

    I plan to upload all the family photos in digital form to shared folders in Google or Dropbox, so that all extended family members can access them as they choose in the future. STBX might find the time to scan the photo albums at some point – if some more time passes, maybe I’ll have the bandwidth to do it myself. I agree with other chumps above that I’ll keep the physical photos in boxes for a couple of years and then go through them when the pain is less acute.

    I’ve been meaning to make an album of my own FOO/childhood years – that might be a good project for after the divorce is finalized! I was a scrapbooker until my second kid was born, and then my fatigue got even worse, and it was all hands on deck all the time. Of course, I had warned STBX that I was likely to be more tired after second kid, and that I needed some consideration. Her consideration consisted of magical thinking (“oh, it’ll be fine!”), and eventually, affair #2.

  • Pictures document our lives. I had 31 years of photos and memories from the beginning to the end. He never asked for any photos during the divorce. He did ask for his career accomplishment plaques (narc) though. I went through every single photo and decided which ones I wanted to keep and the ones that perhaps my 3 adult kids would want later.

    The extreme anger I felt, my bitter self wanted to throw everything away but I didnt. I took apart the beautiful wedding albumn and put the pics in a manilla envelope (currently in the top of my closet). I never looked at them again. I did throw away His baby book his mom gave him with delight. I went through boxes of photos of the family and kept only the ones that I liked. Some included him and my kids will want them someday (maybe) if not they can toss. Over the last 5 years (since divorce) I have looked at the pics and purged them from my life. I feel like Ive only got the memories I want now.

    When my first grandchild was born 6 years ago, my son wanted to go through our photos to see if there was resemblances. While we were looking he pointed out to me how sad I looked in many family pics. I agreed and acknowledged that during those difficult times if there was a pic of us together my body language was always leaning AWAY from him. Comparing before Ddays and after, there was a remarkable difference in how I looked. SAD. A few years ago I did give him the pics of his parents and his extended family members ONLY. None of the photos had me or my kids in them. Of course 5 years ago when he left he copied all the pics that were on the computer, but none were from our babies and all the memories we had before phone pics. I treasure those. He treasured the PORN pics above the family.

  • I’ve got everything on disc but hard copies of our wedding pictures I put in the shredder and dumped in the cat box.

    We really didn’t have a lot of pictures of us together, so that hasnt been a struggle. I did run across a couple of sappy valentines that I promptly set fire to on the backyard grill

    • Grilling ex valentines sounds like a great activity for the first Feb. 14 after divorce, I’ll keep it in mind! (I can see how it might be different if you’re spending the next Feb. 14 with another partner, but I think that’s highly unlikely in my case…)

      It also might work for Tashlich if you’re Jewish.

      All best to you, K!

  • A couple of years after the separation, I started going through all the photos I had in the attic. About 30 mins in, I couldn’t do any more! They are the kid’s history! I boxed them up and told the kids, both adults now, they can decide what to do with them after I’ve gone!
    To this day nearly 7 years later, it still bewilders me that he never, ever asked for any photos! I didn’t expect him to want any of me! But his kids? I guess it demonstrates to me, what a facade it all was!

    • Same here, Sue. I have all the photos because i took most of them. Hes never asked for any from our 20 years together. But he kept the album i had of me and my grandmother when i was 16. Why? Because he knew, and knows that i dearly want it. Cruel but no feelings otherwise.

  • A friend of mine who works for the National Park Service had access to a civil war cannon. He shot all his ex-cheater pics and divorce papers out of the cannon.

  • He packed up most of his belongings when everyone else was away one weekend. He hired a moving company. It was all planned ahead of time. He took his prized possessions and left me things that were deemed less worthy. He left all the photo albums even ones about his dead siblings. They were apparently meaningless. Things I requested he leave in the house, he purposely took. He then started to live in his own house.

    He would comeback and continue to take things from the house until he began yelling at me to the point of scaring me in front of our children. I almost called the police that day. My lawyer finally said I could change the locks. Photos are on computer hard drives, cloud, phone, albums and books. When my parents divorced, most of our pictures from childhood vanished. I think my father burned them all in revenge rage. He was the cheater. I won’t touch the pictures now until they are older and can decide what they want to do with them. I have not looked at them yet.

  • After 35 years of marraige. 10 years of financial ruin equals a bottle of wine. A shredding machine and a smile on my face. 😊

  • Digital photos (either on my phone, my laptop/desktop, or social channels): I’ve edited her out of any that include her and the family. If it’s just her and I, I will either delete the photo, or edit her out if I like the photo.

    Printed photos, including wedding album and engagement albums: trashed. I debated whether or not to keep these in case my daughters wanted them for the future, but I figure, they can ask their mom to reprint any of these photos on her dime by contacting the photographer.

    Video files: trashed the wedding stuff, and any vids before we had children. I’ve kept vids of the children.

  • Hi friends! Divorced chump and child of chump here. So, let’s get this out of the way – sorry, parents, but your kids don’t want the photos. Tear the ex out of them & save those if you must, store them, whatever, but the kids don’t want them. When we moved Mom (the chump) last year she FINALLY decided to just save the ones in her wedding album that had her, her family and some friends & tossed the rest. “But don’t you want these?” Nope. The poo-brown ruffled tuxes from the 70s are reason enough to toss them, let alone the fact that she looked like a deer in the headlights on her wedding day. The only reason she was brave enough to do this is because we came across my own wedding album one day & she watched me tear myself, my dearly departed grandparents & my friends out of the pictures & we threw everything else in the trash. Dunzo. Truthfully, when my father passes I will have to deal with generations worth of pictures, giant framed portraits & boxes of slide projector carousels, film reels & VCR tapes. There is only one child in the family now and though technically it’ll be her problem someday, I’ll do her a favor, scan some favorites, put them on Ancestry & a thumb drive and DITCH THE REST. Why bother saving pictures of marriages that were painful, parties I never went to with people I don’t know in analog? Why pay the storage fees? Sorry, but no one will want my scrapbooks someday either. I’m ok with this.

  • I threw out boxes of cards and letters and other memorabilia from the Edgar Suit that I accumulated over our 30+ year relationship when I sold the family home right after the divorce. I kept all the photos but didn’t look at them for a solid 4 years after the divorce (which was 3 years post DDay #2). By the time I looked through them last winter when I was organizing family photos, I was meh to the point where they didn’t bother me at all. I’m keeping them for my kids. When (if) I retire, I’m planning on digitizing the important ones and tossing the ones my kids won’t care about. They can keep or pitch what remains as they choose when I’m gone. At least I made it easy on them and have them organized and labeled.

    Time really does heal the wounds. The pain goes away and from a distance it’s just another chapter in your life. For all of you newbies, if you have kids and you have the space, put all the photos away where you don’t have to see them and wait a few years (or longer) until you get to Meh before you decide what to do. If you don’t have kids, I say have a nice bonfire on a cool night and raise a toast with your favorite beverage to gaining a life. 😀

  • I had so many love letters from him and I burned them all. I kept some photos of us before baby and burned some. We look so happy and in love in all of our photos until about a year before DDay my husband looks really old and grey. He cheated for so long though before the DDay that involves him leaving me for her-all the lovely family photos are reminders to me that most of my marriage was a lie. It’s hideous to me to see them but I’ll keep for our child. I’d hawk the ring if I could get a fair price! I burned the wedding dress and I shredded his wedding suit. I don’t know if anyone else has had this but he left and didn’t take any of his things and no photos at all.

    • I hawked my ring set…the jeweler gave me a really good price and I was glad to be rid of it. It put food on the table for several weeks, since ex-ahole had his auto paycheck transferred to a new account I was pretty much destitute.

      It will never cease to amaze me that once they “move on,” they act like their spouse is Public Enemy Number One. 20 years later I still can’t wrap my head around that.

      • Yup Wiser,
        It helps to justify their asshole behaviour. Whatever makes things good for them.
        My exH actually blamed his exW ( she was loyal, he left her before I met him) for cheating on me!!!! He said he stayed with her too long so it wrecked him.
        Can you imagine being blamed for your Ex cheating in the future!

  • I was going to throw the wedding photos out, but people keep talking me out of it. I think I’m just going to give them to my mother, in case the kids ever want to see them. I can’t stand having them in my house any more.

  • XH, who had never taken a picture in 27 years of marriage, demanded that I send him every single photo album so he could take the pictures he wanted. Ha ha, no. He said he would return the albums after he made copies. Still a no from me. Then I was to make copies and he would pay half. Fine, whatever.

    The photos were so important to XH that he had it written into the divorce decree:
    Photographs of Children
    The parties agree and IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that all photographs of the children located in photograph albums, computers, and in the marital residence shall be copied by WIFE upon prepayment of fifty percent (50%) of the cost of said copies by HUSBAND. WIFE shall provide copies of said photographs to HUSBAND upon receipt of full payment by HUSBAND of his fifty percent (50%) portion of said costs.

    He sent me $50 with a note that said “I don’t want any picture with you in it.” I copied @300 photos out of thousands. He never sent any more money.

    I did have to give him two of our four professional portraits of the children. That hurt.

  • Most I put away right away. Some I burned, like a wedding photo. Some I boxed up for XH (he was too lazy to look through much of or even help clean out the house). Some are just sitting in boxes or on the hard-drive and I’ll probably never look at them again.

    More unnerving than having the photos around is my relationship to capture photos and taking pictures now. I take way less, they often don’t have me or kids in them, and I am so hesitant to take any with my new boyfriend. I feel like if my life was a lie I wasn’t aware of, and my photos were lies too and everyone now knows or thinks that I am a faker who was pretending to be happy, so why post anything or take photos? I know I was happy and lied-to, but I am more concerned that others think I was just faking my happiness and I’m a loser who had to do that online. Ugh, I know it’s been a year since my divorce and I should feel differently, but unluckily I don’t and am sad that I still think of my happy photos as lies that I wasn’t even aware of.

  • I burned everything right after the discard. All his photos, every wedding photo or any with him in it. Including every photo of my child with him in it. I boxed up each adult child’s photos and shipped them to them without any father photos except their baby photo album. Can only slightly remember it but it felt wonderful, even now, except I feel guilty with everyone else’s response, lol.

    Had wondered why their father spent a whole weekend before the discard downloading all our digital photos onto his new laptop in preparation to leave me, and go live his life with Gutbuterless. I thought how wonderful he was to want to gather all these photos….he even asked for my phone to take photos off that too. Ugh.

  • First comment…interesting question, “What Did You Do With the Photos?”
    If I remember correctly, all of the photos got dumped into a garbage bag along with the ex-wife’s clothes and assorted personal crap then thrown into the dumpster across the street. She could fish out her stuff (photos included) if she wanted it before moving in with her boyfriend, parents, friends or a piece of street to live on, whichever suited her.

    • Haha Larry that sounds familiar, I threw all my ex whores crap in plastic contractor bags and threw them in the garage and told her she had one week then they were getting taken to the dump. Should’ve left them in the yard for the CN Raccoon Army to deal with

  • I boxed up all our wedding photos, other photo albums and all the cards and letters we wrote each other over the years. My ex used to write me beautiful loving notes in every card. I thought he was such a wonderful guy. Still hard to believe the person who wrote me all those cards became the person who cheated on and abused me and blew up my life and that of our one year old son. Crazy. Anyway, I didn’t toss them. They are boxed and stored away in case my son wants them someday. The way I look at it is I was real, this was a part of my story, and i just don’t think I could throw those things away. I also still have my diamonds. Packed away safely at my parents house.

  • Married 42 years here. My albums sit on a high closet shelf. After DDay, when my cheater was packing his stuff I told him he was free to make copies of any photos, but leave me the originals. He said he did not want any photos. He did not even want any photos of his kids. Asshole.

    Fast forward 10 months. I found a framed photo of his dead mother taken in the 1940s, when she was young and beautiful. I had no ill will towards his mother, but did not want to keep the photo. I texted my cheater and asked if he wanted the photo. He said yes, and gave me his new address. Hmmm… he was no longer living with his AP. but instead in a shitty little apartment in Glendale. He also asked for a photo of our daughter, but not our special needs son. Double Asshole.

    So I sent the photo of his mom, our daughter, and our son. I also sent a professional portrait he had taken of himself when he was 30. I included in the box the wallet sized copy of his portrait that he had given me to carry. On the back of this photo he had written how he would always love and respect me. Triple Asshole.

  • I was in my 20s and 30s for most of the relationship, and before turning into his workhorse, I was fit and stylish. I figured it may be the best I would ever look in life, and I also wanted to remember my experiences in some of those photos (swimming with dolphins, Grand Canyon). I just wasn’t willing to let him take that away from me, too. Not to mention, I may as well have been alone on those trips anyway, for all the fun he was. So, I printed out pics of various celebrities I like (Prince, Elvis, the guys from K.I.S.S, etc.) and pasted their heads over his. Now it makes me smile again when I look at those photos. And after all, it probably would have been more fun to go snorkeling with Gene Simmons anyway. 😉

  • After 35 years married right before I legally threw him out he only took 1 or 2 pictures of our son. We had many albums so he obviously didn’t really care about memories. He had always carried a picture of me in his wallet in a bathing suit from our honeymoon. Before he left I removed it. I didn’t want him to have any pictures of me.
    I destroyed all the photos of the two of us together. Kept
    ones with our son in them together.

  • I wanted to burn the photos (I’m old so most of our pics were on paper), but many folks told me they were photos of my kids’ family and they should get the chance to see them and decide as adults what to do with them. So two years after the divorce, I culled out all the photos that had my cheater ex wife in them (about 90% of the total, including most of the photos of the kids) and kept the rest. Turns out 300 or so photos of your kids’ childhoods is enough. The ones I have, I cherish.

    I put the rest of the photos in two big boxes and brought them to my ex’s house, where she lived with the final schmoopie, and per her instructions left them in her garage. Per my kids I later heard she never touched them, and about a year later the garage roof leaked and ruined most of the photos.

    Since she was unprotective of our *actual* family, no big surprise that she was unprotective of *pictures* of our family.

    I never heard a peep from the ex about losing all those (one would think) treasures, or asking for copies of what I kept (and stored with care). But then, sociopaths don’t do sentimental value.

  • Chump Lady,
    Of all the cartoons/illustrations that have made me laugh…this one made me spit out my coffee…The Sandal’s Resort t-shirt! This one hit home with me! Thank you for the big laugh!!
    Duped

  • It’s strange that the one thing I am at a loss of what to do is my engagement/wedding ring set. It’s a beautiful set.

    Some have told me to just sell it. The appraisal for insurance purposes is $13000 so I don’t know what I could get for it by selling it used. The one area that never got completed in the renovations of our fixer-upper house over the years was the kitchen. We bought the house when we married in 2006, and it still has the original 1976 kitchen with no dishwasher. It kept getting put off. My family has suggested that I put whatever money I can get for the rings towards a future kitchen reno. Others have suggested a nice trip with the kids.

    But, I hang on to it more for the kids. Recently, my daughter even asked me about it and I pulled out the rings to show her. She’s only 10 years old.

    My own parents split up when I was 11 years old. I remember a few years later, my mother asking me if I wanted the rings as a souvenir. I told her no and she sold them. I hoped she got something really nice for herself with the money.

    I’ll likely do the same in a few years. And there is something fitting about putting the money into a renovation that got put off for years due to my ex being laid-off twice in our marriage and the three years that I supported him through full-time university studies as he went back to school at age 40 to earn a degree. The kitchen was my domain as I love to cook and it has always been a dysfunctional space. It would be nice to just set it right.

    • I would definitely do the kitchen! We renovated ours from 1970’s style back in 2006 or so, was definitely worth it! When the whore left she left her ring but they weren’t worth near as much but I sold them anyways (mine and hers), took my daughter out to a nice dinner and banked the rest

  • Do it! My rings aren’t as valuable but my kitchen was similarly ignored. We had priced out a renovation but he could never “save money for it”.or anything else. Mentioning saving or budgeting or spending less money was always answered with more spending.

  • For me it was in phases. After I finally reached a point to file for divorce some photos did indeed get tossed into the fire place. After selling the house and moving everything (twice) I’ve had time to go through more photos as I empty out boxes. Old childhood photographs of cheater XW I gave over to her and made copies of our child’s photos and gave the originals to her. A couple of weeks ago she texted me that she was engaged to her new boyfriend (not the AP) and they were going to buy a house (yeah he’s the next victim) so I decided it was finally time to go to the photo albums I have avoided for the past 3 years. These albums contain the visual story of how I fell in love with a woman who turned out to be a fake. I waited to do it while my child was here in the house with me so I wouldn’t become too sad about it. In my bedroom I opened up these albums and as quickly as possible just started to rapidly pull the photos out and plop them into a shoebox that will now live up on the top shelf of a closet in a spare room. I don’t know what the next stage for these photos in the box will be, but I do know I will now fill these nice empty photo albums with pictures of just my daughter and me.

  • This comment is late to the conversation and long, sorry, but if someone sees it I would appreciate a response. My husband is gay although he may always remain in the closet. We are still in the divorce process and he makes giant lists where he decides who gets what from the house even after I have given him all kinds of things, and there are all kinds of false equivalencies and little comments that I am sure are there to bother me.

    Even though he is gay and knew this before we married and never told me and was looking outside the marriage at gay sex ads if not having sex with real people for 30 years (I think he was though), and even though he threatened to divorce me and criticized me mercilessly before I discovered things, then told me he had been thinking of coming out when he was exceptionally cruel, etc., he still would not own it in the end and I had To be the one to file for divorce, and now he makes it like he just doesn’t know what happened, and that I did not value our religious eternal vows.

    In his giant list of things he wants, he lists the wedding pictures and then has a comment, “I assume chump does not want these anymore.” So upside down and he knows it, making it so mean and sick.

    Meanwhile after things came out and I was dealing with the trauma, he referred to me a couple of times as having been a sex slave. Every memory of intimacy to me feels like a sexual assault. I struggle with this a lot. It is very Traumatic and sometimes memories leave me sobbing as I remember my body being used while he was also so cruel and distant. Reliving everything. Lots of rocking back and forth. 30 yrs of memories. And to top it off, is being very cruel in the court system, using the courts to rage and demean and stomp on me.

    He also sent me a letter just before we separated, saying how his greatest sexual fantasies are of me during the time between when I discovered his hidden sexuality And when I cut off intimacy. He knows this was a Traumatic time for me. And he even acknowledges in this weird letter that “I know your experience wa snot the same.” And no it was not. So why does he say My most traumatic time was his greatest sexual fantasies. That is weird, like rapist writing victim from prison, “I think of you all the time.”

    He also told me that in a lot of the gay sex ads he looked at, the people said what he called funny or strange, but it is not lost on me that these are the details he members most: about their fantasies where the men posting wanted the clandestine male sex partner to be married, and to wear his religious underclothing during the sex. I find it troubling that of all the details he shared with me, the ones that stuck with him and that he made a point of sharing, were how the sex was going to be more exciting if it included reminders that the person was married and included sacred religious imagery.

    For me, the idea of him having our wedding pictures, taken in front of The most holy places Of our religion, this seems to me like a part of his sick fantasy, where he will be getting off on these photos. I do not want to give him any pictures from our wedding because this feels to me like part of his “duping delight.” It turns him on to think of my trauma and how he fooled me and used holy symbols and distorted them for me.
    And used them throughout the marriage to suggest I was not trying hard enough and still is using them now to paint me as the villa8n who cares nothing for her religious commitments.

    For him to even ask for those photos and say he assumes chump does not want them anymore It’s all part of his game where he is the victim, when in reality he deceived me from the start. This was not a man who did not know he was gay. He was acting on it not just throughout our marriage but soon before we became engaged, and he never told me anything about it. He told me after I discovered things that he had always known since he was a young teen and that he was never ever going to tell me.

    when we were supposedly reconciling and details were gradually coming out, and he kept say8ng I was not kind and not trustworthy and not forgiving and that I resented him for his personal growth—when some of the most significant details came out during this traumatic time, he made points of increasing his religious rituals and letting me know about it.

    I totally want to wretch and vomit forever, thinking of him having any copies of wedding photos with me in them. It makes me shake because he wants to continue violating me and using me to prove to the world his fake life, while getting Sexual thrills specifically through memories of fooling and using me. Maybe he will invite over his Grindr friends for sex under our wedding photos. So exciting for him. So traumatic for me.

    • There’s a chilling but apt line spoken by Red played by Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption when Red warns Tim Robbins’ character Andy Dufresne about the prison’s resident gang rapists.
      ANDY: Are they homosexuals?
      RED: No, they would have to be human first.

      There is an element of quasi rape in all cheating situations if the perp continues to have sex with the betrayed — or asks anything “spousal” of the betrayed– in circumstances where the victim would not consent if they knew the truth.
      But in your situation it was more than “quasi.” You were raped. You were boiled like a frog, beaten down to smithereens and sadistically exploited.

      He is not “gay” per se. At least I’m quite sure that any wholesome and honest LGBT person would disown him and reject what he has done as aberrant and criminal. He’s a dufferent breed entirely- an “abusosexual”- those who primarily gets off through sadistic control and betrayal. He may be more dangerous than you even know. He may exploit children or other very vulnerable targets.

      You need support ASAP, preferably with a therapist or group centered on sexual trauma.

      You weren’t “kinda/sorta abused.” You were subjected to sexual torture, full stop. Sending healing thoughts and hopes you can find the support you need with people smart enough to understand what this was. Go ZERO CONTACT with this monster immediately.

    • My sister was married to a gay man. He suddenly came out of the closet and was caught having an affair with another man. Perhaps he always was gay. Details are sketchy since she didn’t share anything with me directly. (FOO issues.)

      She wound up getting an STI that lead to cervical cancer. She was lucky that it was caught early. Get to somewhere and get tested. Apparently he wasn’t using any protection. Yours probably isn’t/wasn’t either.

      Get a vicious lawyer. Let them do the talking, ALL OF IT. Yes it will be expensive. I have lawyer bills. I’m aware of how much it costs. What’s your sanity worth?Is this acceptable to you? Those things he’s torturing you about? Could they possibly get misplaced under some old tax returns, manuals for things you own, or disappear to someone else’s property? Not that this the proper way to deal with this issue, but my STBX was happy to take whatever he wanted from our house, daily. My lawyer told me I could not stop him nor change the locks. I was supposed to keep an inventory and a price for the items. Why bother, I thought? He’s taking all the items that have value and selling them. How could prove their value when it has been sold? Like he’s going to handover receipts or records. Off a picture, I took plenty. All the items were used but in good condition. I have to replace whatever I need now with new ones. Don’t hire my lawyer! No fault divorces suck.

      Sorry for the double post. It didn’t work correctly the first time.

      • ChickenChump, Thank you for this! The inventory thing is not working for me either. Husband list how I have “Most of the pots and pans” and all he has is “2 le crueset pans.” He HATES the pots and pans we had for daily use–cheap and thin. My gay husband is playing the victim to justify buying gourmet cookware on joint credit card that I may be paying half for. He is doing this will lots and lots of things. BTW, he says I get the “Bose speakers,” but these are old and broken.

        He is so manipulative and takes advantage of me down to the smallest details. It is so much I can never prove it all, and no one wants to hear it anyway–that’s my experience with the legal system. And I think I have a good attorney!

        No law and no legal agreement can force my husband to be decent. The quiet manipulations are almost impossible to show. He is so so nice in everyone else’s eyes, or if they see some of the lies, they still say “oh poor closeted man” or “poor hurting inner child”–very rarely do people start to see the level of cruelty because most people do not imagine that others can be that way intentionally.

        • You are exactly correct. Unfortunately, it’s not against the law to be an a–hole. This sounds unladylike, but it’s not illegal to fart in an elevator, just in poor taste! It’s not illegal to whip someone the bird in traffic, but it’s terribly impolite. Difficult times will always REVEAL not build character and my fkwit husband of 26 years who banged 25 whores throughout our marriage (D-day was May 2020) has revealed his true character. I have my post-nup written, wrote it myself, he agreed to sign it, says he’s a changed man, says he’s so ashamed, says he doesn’t need therapy, says he could kill himself he’s so ashamed….I suggested he do so.

        • Cancel the joint credit cards yesterday. Close any other financial loopholes he may use to his advantage. Draw up a will power of attorney etc for yourself. Get your ducks in a row. You will be the only one to save yourself from further damage. He can mire you into more damage and take the spoils. It’s happened to me! I beg you to protect yourself.

  • My sister was married to a gay man. He suddenly came out of the closet and was caught having an affair with another man. Perhaps he always was gay. Details are sketchy since she didn’t share anything with me directly. (FOO issues.)

    She wound up getting an STI that lead to cervical cancer. She was lucky that it was caught early. Get to somewhere and get tested. Apparently he wasn’t using any protection. Yours probably isn’t/wasn’t either.

    Get a vicious lawyer. Let them do the talking, ALL OF IT. Yes it will be expensive. I have lawyer bills. I’m aware of how much it costs. What’s your sanity worth?Is this acceptable to you? Those things he’s torturing you about? Could they possibly get misplaced under some old tax returns, manuals for things you own, or disappear to someone else’s property? Not that this the proper way to deal with this issue, but my STBX was happy to take whatever he wanted from our house, daily. My lawyer told me I could not stop him nor change the locks. I was supposed to keep an inventory and a price for the items. Why bother, I thought? He’s taking all the items that have value and selling them. How could prove their value when it has been sold? Like he’s going to handover receipts or records. Off a picture, I took plenty. All the items were used but in good condition. I have to replace whatever I need now with new ones. Don’t hire my lawyer! No fault divorces suck.

  • I have a confession to make. I keep a photo of Snakeface and our oldest son, then about 9 months old, in my wallet. Our adorable blob of a baby boy, wearing a onesie and big grin on his beautiful face, is standing up on our bed, propping himself up on Snakeface as he wakes him up on a Saturday morning. I admit that it’s totally staged, but it’s also totally cute.

    Snakeface has always been a pretty good looking man, and the photo catches him at the peak of his young adult handsomeness. He had lots of wavy dark hair (which he steadily lost over the years) and a ton of dark chest hair that made me swoon when we were happy. I took the picture about a month or so after Snakeface’s first affair came to light, when we were in couple’s counseling and believed we were doing all the right things to save our marriage.

    In that moment, behind the camera, I was hopeful and happy. I know that moment is never, ever coming back, but it was mine, I treasure having it caught on film, and I’m not giving it up.

  • To Sunrise Ruby’s confession – if Trust is the glue that holds our society together as LACGAL suggests than hope is the fuel that moves us forward. I completely understand, appreciate, and empathize with holding on to a photo when your heart was hopeful and happy. If we don’t at least cherry pick the moments from our history that brought us happiness at the time – then we’re doomed to simply limp forward on a broken foundation. Every single photo I have for the 26 years of marriage were under a veil of HIS fraud, HIS deception, HIS lies, HIS whoring. My presence was 100% authentic, my smile was 100% authentic as was my loyalty, honestly, trust, and observance of our vows. I’ve saved every photo I like of myself whether he’s in it or not because it was MY life. He’s stolen so much peace from me – it would be so easy to simply call everything quits – but I will not let him make me a bitter, hard-hearted person. He can push me to the wall but never through it. I’m getting closer to ‘meh’ everyday – ‘meh’ is such a great way to describe the detachment – no more tears or anger – Botox is too expensive!

  • I sorted all of them, back in the day when you had to get photos printed I always got two sets, so I mad a pile for him and me. I tore alot of mine up and burned them, it felt good. I ripped up the photo album and threw it in the dumpster. I had people say your kids might want them but what on earth for? My kids are both married and have kids why would they want old photos of mom and day? They have never asked me for them, if they do I can show them mine if I don’t burn them first.

  • Left his pre-marriage photos behind but took most of the family ones, and the nice wedding album we made just after we were married. I left the yucky wedding one he made when he decided he was a scrapbooking gun. (Eyeroll). We were married for 25 years and they are part of my children’s family history so not mine to destroy. The kids are grown and moved out except for the youngest, so I will put them into a box each for them, along with their baby books and a few keepsakes from their childhood that I saved. They are the custodians of their own memories and can make their own decisions about them. For my own house I made 2 canvases of collages of contemporary photos of my children, a couple of myself, and some of my own childhood photos. I left behind theDVDs my dad made from the video tapes of the kids, but if the kids want them, they know where they are.

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