Happy 7-months-ish relationship, Anonymous! I would like to begin by telling you that my first-ever girlfriend kept a journal for me during the summer that we fell in love. She wrote in it nearly every day, detailing so many of the moments we spent together, and at the end of the summer she gave it to me to keep. It was one of the most incredible gifts of all time… and it was given to me twenty years ago. I use those italics because holy shit how did I do *anything* twenty years ago, but also to underline this point: I am now married to an entirely different person and I still keep that journal in my house. It is a memento – exactly the word you used to describe the items in your question! – and a very powerful memento of a very important time in my life that I spent with another person who I loved dearly.
Keeping mementos of past loves, in my opinion, is a very normal (and vital!!) part of our lives. We are people, after all, so we don’t remember much of life’s detail as weeks, months, and years pass us by. When we share something important with another person, we grow. The people that we love and have loved are very big parts of who we are. So, your girlfriend holding on to milestones in her life does not mean that she is still in that place today – it simply means that the place she was once in was very important, and she wants to be able to remember certain pieces of it.
Do you have a right to feel upset and jealous?? Of course you do! We all have rights to feel our damn feelings, and finding those mementos stirred up a lot of feelings inside of you – you are jealous and upset, and you also explained that some of these feelings might come from the fact that this is one of your very first relationships. So, you are probably thinking things like, “If she has these things it must mean she wants to be with those other people still!!” (to which I would say no it most certainly does not and please reference my memento-discussion above), or “I am probably not going to be as good of a girlfriend as those other people were!!” (to which I would say: you most certainly *are* going to be a wonderful girlfriend, but you will not be the same as they were, nor should you wish to be – she is with you because you are different!).
My words probably won’t make all of those feelings go away, and I would encourage you to talk to your girlfriend about those feelings – but not in a way that makes her feel she has done something wrong. She hasn’t! You aren’t doing anything wrong by feeling these things either, but you should look to her to help you through those feelings. She might be able to explain to you why she keeps the things she keeps, or she might be able to just say to you, “Hey. I care about you right now, and that is what I want to focus on. I can remember things from my past fondly and not want them back – and I would love it if you could work to trust my feelings for you.”
Whatever you do, don’t ask her to get rid of those memories. Often, in love, the tighter we try to hold someone, the more they wriggle away. The most powerful way to love a person is to let them be who they are right now while also loving the person that they once were (and all that that entails) and the person they are becoming as each and every day goes by.
2 thoughts on “My Girlfriend Keeps Stuff From Past Loves”
That’s a really lovely way to look at it. I had the same problem when I started dating my current partner. She had a lot of gifts from exes and I became insecure because I didn’t understand why she would keep anything a past lover had given her. It took me a while to remember that she was much more experienced with dating and had shared a lot of life experience with other people, which is extremely normal! We’ve actually talked about it (when insecure, I’ve learned that talking about it [NOT ACCUSINGLY] can really help straighten things out) and she explained that, although she most certainly doesn’t have romantic feelings for any of the men or women from her past, she keeps gifts to help her remember the things she’s learned. Dating me shouldn’t mean that she has to forget about her past or that she can’t acknowledge the other people she’s shared her life with. I’d say her past relationships have really helped her become the wonderful lady she is today.
Hey there! I’m so happy you’ve been with this girl for so long! Keep being you! It’s okay to be jealous of her momentos. I would personally just talked to her about it. Jealousy is normal. I would just sit down with her and have a talk. Just say that it makes you a bit jealous. She’ll understand. Everyone gets jealous so it’s okay to be like this. Good luck with it all!