A few days ago I told my fiancé that I was going to clean out the closet. I found a box labeled wedding pictures, and curious to see a younger version of him and the kids, went through the box. I stumbled upon a handful of pictures of his ex-wife, some fully nude and others half nude. I sincerely doubt he realized he had them. I contacted his ex-wife, (who’s actually become a friend of mine, after years of petty bickering), and explained the situation. I emphasized that I didn’t think he knew he had the pictures, and asked her what she’d like me to do with them. She was horrified, and ask that I bring them over right away. I brought them to her, and she was furious, she is convinced that he went through these at some point after their divorce and purposely kept them. Fiancé has also explained to her that he didn’t know he had them.
The problem is, he is absolutely livid with me. He’s accused me of snooping and “hunting for something,” violating his privacy, and getting him “in trouble” with his ex. He said I have no right to go through his things, and that I shouldn’t have told her anything and simply thrown the pictures away. I tried to tell him that I was only doing what I thought was the right thing, and that I would want someone to do the same thing if it were me memorialized in film. He has placed the blame for this fiasco squarely on my shoulders, and I just don’t think that’s where it belongs. At this point, I’m at a loss and need an objective third opinion. Do you think I was snooping? Did I do the right thing by contacting her, or should I have just tossed them? Am I to blame for this fiasco, or does he need to share some of this?
At this point, we’re not even speaking to one another, I’m hurt and at a loss. — Photo Finder
Your situation reminds me a little bit of a letter I answered many months ago from a woman who was pissed that her fiancé wouldn’t get rid of photos from his first wedding. So, she took matters into her own hands and one evening got drunk with a girlfriend and ripped up a bunch of them while her friend egged her on. I’m sorry to say, but if it were a contest, your story might just win the crazy cake here. I can’t tell if you’re in denial of your jealousy or if you’re truly so naive as to think you were doing the “right thing” by reaching out to your fiancé’s ex-wife, behind his back, and bringing her naked photos of herself — photos that your fiancé likely took himself while he was married to her.
Whether he knew he had them or not is beside the point. It wasn’t as if he stole the photos from her. It wasn’t like he was some peeping Tom creep who sneakily took photos through her window or something. He was married to this woman. Maybe they even have children together (you mention wanting to see younger version of “the kids,” but it’s unclear if the kids are your fiancé’s and ex-wife’s…)! So, he had a few nude photos of her that somehow made their way into an album of keepsake pictures. Maybe they’d been there before the divorce. Maybe he “went through them after the divorce” as his ex-wife seems to claim, but regardless, they belonged to him. He didn’t relinquish ownership of photos just because he signed divorce papers. The photos were his to do whatever he wanted with.
Now, I can imagine the shock and perhaps even horror you must have felt finding these photos. I certainly wouldn’t want to stumble on nudie pics of any woman from my husband’s past in his possession. How awkward! But you know what’s so, so, SO much more awkward than simply finding photos I shouldn’t have to see? Showing those said photos to the poor woman who’s the subject of them. Imagine the embarrassment of your husband’s ex-wife to learn that not only did her ex-husband still have these pictures somewhere in his possession, but that his fiancée saw them — and not just saw them and quickly put them out of sight, but studied them, looking at them and thinking about them long enough to decide how to handle the situation. God, if I had been the ex-wife in question, I’d have been mortified!
This is definitely a case of what the ex-wife didn’t know didn’t hurt her. She should have been left out of this completely. Instead of dragging her into it, the “right” thing to do would have been first to ask your fiancé if you could look at his wedding album. But, let’s face it: who among us when faced with a partner’s wedding album in our own home wouldn’t let curiosity get the best of us and take a peek. It’s not exactly like going through someone’s old love letters or something, so I’ll give you a pass on that. But as soon as you saw those nude photos, you should have quickly tucked them back into the album and brought them to the attention of your fiancé later, saying, “While I was going through the closet today, like I told you I would, I found some photos that made me really uncomfortable. I’m sure you didn’t even know you still had them, but now that you do, I’d feel much better if you could get rid of them.” Because, while it’s unreasonable to ask a partner to get rid of wedding photos, I think it’s completely reasonable to ask him to trash nude photos of an ex (one possible exception: he’s a photographer and the shots are part of his work/collection).
The key here — the very, very important key — is that you should have gone to your fiancé not to his ex-wife. He’s the person in this equation who deserves your loyalty the most. By going behind his back, you betrayed his confidence, and embarrassed not only him but his ex as well, potentially creating tension and drama between two people who possibly even co-parent together. Huge mistake!! You completely overstepped your bounds, and you owe your fiancé a big apology. Let’s just hope he’s man enough to accept, forgive and move on, and that the damage created between him and his ex by your indiscretion isn’t long-lasting.