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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
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    3,010

    Default Holding onto old "stuff"?

    I went back and forth between posting this under an alter, then figured, the heck with it.

    I've been purging our house in prep for our big move after the holidays. DH has a bunch of totes in the garage without labels. When I called him to ask what they were, he responded with "stuff from Iraq", so I've been avoiding them.

    I got to the garage yesterday, and dragged one of them into the living room, it weighed about a million pounds and when I opened it, it was full of pictures, letters, old jelwery, etc from his ex-wife and old girlfriends.

    I knew that he kept his old wedding ring and a picture in the bottom of his closet organizer, but I wasn't prepared for this!

    I always threw out everything after a break-up, even if it wasn't a horrible relationship. His first marriage was AWFUL and lasted about 4 years. I asked him if he wanted me to throw it away and he got really defensive, but the lid back on the box, and took it back out to the garage. He then refused to talk about it again. When he came back in I told him I wasn't going to push it that night, but I did want to talk about it again, because it bothered me.

    I really am not okay with carrying around 40 pounds of ex-women forever, and I don't think that it's really mentally healthy for him to be hanging onto that much stuff. I don't know how to bring it up again in a way that won't start a fight. He doesn't have any contact with any of them and he doesn't really ever bring them up.

    He's a wonderful husband and father, and I'm not insecure in our marriage in the least. Maybe I'm overreacting, but that was A LOT of stuff. I was okay with the ring and picture in a baggie, but I'm really not okay with a whole tote full of wedding pictures, love letters, etc.

    I don't think that he lied about it, because there were three other boxes full of Iraq stuff that I don't mind hauling around.

    Should we talk to a marriage counsler? Should I just not bring it up again and put the bin to the back of my mind? Should I just prepare myself for an epic fight?
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2006
    Posts
    2,896

    Default

    It never hurts to get counseling form a reputable therapist. Obviously, there are some unresolved issues on his end. Not to say that it implies he is unhappy with you, but not being able to let go of his youth, his past whatever.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    2,035

    Default

    I am saying this as someone who is positively allergic to having lots of "stuff" laying about & who calmly threw away my wedding dress & ring, amongst other things, when my marriage went to poo...

    I'd just let it be. If you are secure & happy in your marriage, it really isn't causing you any harm. Some people are very, very attached to "things" that represent a phase of their lives, even less-than-good phases, and it can be comforting to them to have those "things" as a reminder of who they were, where they have been & how far they've come. Pushing the issue may create problems & issues where none lie. I would let it go.
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


    3 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    16,747

    Default

    Not saying I wouldn't have felt the twinge too, but..... Sweetie... he married you! He chose you!!! By your own admission he's "a wonderful husband and father." <3

    And if the children are from the previous marriage, perhaps he's saving that stuff for them when they're grown? Just guessin....

    You focus on him & what you two have now. Thank God for the man you have and focus on the blessings. Cuz afterall, is it truly worth fighting over?
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    5,884

    Default

    I have a couple old letters/gifts/trinkets from ex-boyfriends in my suitcase full of memories... said suitcase is pretty much all high school stuff, and it's kind of a nice little morale-booster every now and then to go through it and read that sort of stuff. But my husband knows it's there and I tease him about it lightly; we also went through a bunch of his old stuff from high school girlfriends when we cleaned out his old bedroom at his mom's house, and we could joke about that. I would also throw my old stuff away if he so much as hinted that it bothered him. So I don't think the issue is so much the stuff, more that he wanted to hide it from you and that he doesn't want to talk about it.

    I would try approaching it as mildly as you can... let him know that you understand keeping some attachment to the past and it's not the content of the box that worries you so much, it's that there's so much of it, and ask him if he could spend an afternoon--with or without you--paring it down to a couple of keepsakes so you're not lugging around 40 lbs of baggage to a new home.

    If you keep it reasonable and he's reasonable about it--maybe a little cranky, but understanding--that's fine. If he continues to get really defensive or upset or deflecting blame, that's a red flag for a marriage counselor, I would think.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Location
    Evansville, Wisconsin
    Posts
    3,081

    Default

    Personally, if he isn't spending a bunch of time poring through that stuff, I'd just leave it be.

    My dad is on his third wife now, and last year he found a whole pile of pictures he'd saved from one of the trips to Europe he and my mom took before I was born. My father is a great photographer, but he liked taking pictures of scenery so my mom isn't actually in many of the pictures. He took a bunch of the scenery shots and made them into a little coffee table book, and he sent me one to give to my mom. She was very happy about that, and liked reminiscing about the things they saw there (though of course she also remembered a few things my dad did that annoyed her).

    There's no chance in hell that they have any kind of romantic aspirations towards each other, but my point is that the years they were married and all the other memories of trips and things don't just go away because the other person isn't in your life any more.

    And some people (I'm one) are just "savers". I think I still have photos of ex boyfriends floating around here, and I've been happily married for 8 years now. Some of the memories I have are good, bad, or just plain amusing, and it is definitely possible to reminisce without relighting that old flame.

    There might be some kind of compromise that both of you could live with, though. Personally, I'm more attached to old photos than other stuff. Love letters I can ditch pretty easily.

    And if this is very troubling to you, maybe seeing a counselor would be helpful. They might be able to help you two reach a compromise about how much stuff is reasonable to hold on to.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2005
    Location
    San Antonio, TX, or thereabouts
    Posts
    690

    Default

    Sounds like this bin of stuff may be the right size for him. Be careful that your assumption of "normal" doesn't default to the way you handled your past mementos.

    If he was digging through old memories a bunch, I'd be bothered. But hasn't this box been gathering dust in the garage? It sounds like your hubby is totally engaged in the NOW with you and your daughter. He sounds like a good guy from your postings. You may discover that the stuff he's keeping sends him occasionally back to eras of his Life, not back to the women he was involved with.

    Don't set your jaw expecting an epic fight, and don't escalate straight away to "OMG we need to see a counselor!" His reaction tells you he was embarrassed. I'd raise the issue again since it bugs you, letting him know that it makes you uncomfortable. Listen respectfully to what he has to say.
    "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"


    3 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2002
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    6,178

    Default

    I would talk to him, not for his sake, but for yours. Obviously this stuff bothers you, and if you don't talk to him, you will just end up harboring negative feelings and resentment. Be honest with how the "stuff": makes you feel , and of course weave it around compliments on how much you love and appreciate him.

    I remember before my second husband and I got married he told me how it bothered him that I still had my wedding ring from my first marriage. I probably would've kept it forever, but since it bothered him, I sold it on eBay, and really didn't think much of it after that. In the end, stuf is just...."stuff."


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
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    Default

    Thanks everybody.

    I don't think that I'm overreacting to the amount, really. It's a 50 gallon tote that's crammed full. I had to drag it into the house. He is more of a packrat then me, so it makes sense that he'd be holding onto lots of stuff. I guess I was just more shocked that it was ex-wife (and girlfriend) stuff and then he didn't want to talk about it. He's usually really good about addressing stuff right away when we have an issue.

    I can just leave it be, if it really means that much to him. I'll put a label on it so I don't keep opening it on accident and put it allllll the way in the back. I guess I just have a hard time understanding it, because I have to purge to move on and if I hang onto old stuff then it means I'm not ready to get past it.

    DD is from our marriage, and that's part of it as well. I don't want her finding this huge box of his ex-wife and all the questions that will stem from that.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,400

    Default

    I'd let it go. My DH is a stuff-keeper and has easily that much stuff from previous relationships. It has stayed in boxes in the basement for the 7 years we've been married and I know for a fact he's not going down there and mooning over it so I don't care. He doesn't throw anything away, it's just the way he is. He also has a huge stack of old college beer T-shirts that are practically rags. They apparently have "sentimental value." Whatever, I keep too much horse tack so we're even.

    He was married for 4 years. Is he supposed to pretend that never happened? Now if he insisted on pics of them around the house I'd put my foot down, but in a box? No big deal.

    I think it is a mistake to not tell your DD he was married before, or even hide the evidence. Family secrets just cause trouble/more questions in the long run. She'll wonder what the big deal is and why it was kept from her.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    9,591

    Default

    Agree with posters who say "It's just stuff"
    And if he hasn't been rummaging through it often, he may have forgotten it was there.

    My own DH was a packrat extraordinaire - when he died going tbrough his office was a monumental task.
    No momentos of his 1st, 20yr w/kids marriage, but I found he had been sponsoring an African kid through one of those (to me) questionable charities.
    Probably would have been cause to argue if I'd known.

    Just because you are married does not mean either of you did not have a Life before or a separate part of one now.
    Your past is your past, his is his and you both may deal with them differently.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,714

    Default

    While you may see 40 pounds of momentos of love, he may see 40 pounds of reminders of why he left.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2004
    Location
    Magnolia, TX
    Posts
    5,616

    Default

    Maybe he just doesn't want to deal with the memories digging through it may produce?

    I'm not sure I'd do in that position. My DH is a picture hoarder and has boatloads of junk he won't part with it. When it comes to the ex-wife though, he threw away everything, including pregnancy and hospital photos, that had her in it. Photos of himself, the kids, scenery... all kept. Photos with any ex... gone.
    Jer 29: 11-13


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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2008
    Location
    Gillett PA
    Posts
    247

    Default

    My hubby is a picture hoarder...good thing they are for the majority on his PC. I dont think he knows what right clic, delete is.

    He is a packrat in other ways. I look at his desk and cringe about the carp that is on it.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tazz001 View Post
    He is a packrat in other ways. I look at his desk and cringe about the carp that is on it.
    Wow...your DH keeps fish on his desk?

    sorry - couldn't resist...
    always have to proof my posts and then edit for frequent typos
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,227

    Default

    I really am not okay with carrying around 40 pounds of ex-women forever, and I don't think that it's really mentally healthy for him to be hanging onto that much stuff. I don't know how to bring it up again in a way that won't start a fight. He doesn't have any contact with any of them and he doesn't really ever bring them up.

    YOU aren't ok with this, YOU don't think its mentally healthy......

    I think its sort of sweet (?).... most guys aren't that sentamental.



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