That’s an old column you’re referencing, and since you say you’re going through something similar, my guess is that you’ve been doing some Google research looking for other “brides #2” who don’t like that their fiancés still have photos from their first weddings. But your reading comprehension has failed you in this particular case because nowhere in my response do I imply that it’s “mind-boggling” that a “woman who is about to be married to a man would be annoyed to live with his old wedding pictures.” What I find mind-boggling is that said woman would deface the photos behind her fiancé’s back in a drunken fit of rage as her girlfriends egged her on.
You do see that there’s a pretty big difference between feeling a “hint of frustration” over something and actively destroying that which you are frustrated over, right? And since YOU are probably feeling a hint of frustration, let me take this opportunity to urge you not to cross the line into behaving like a lunatic. Be a grownup and discuss with your fiancé what’s bothering you, and offer a few solutions that would ease some of your frustration.
As for the idea that I have to be a second bride to understand what being a second bride must feel like, that’s a pretty narrow viewpoint. I would hope that compassionate people have the capacity to imagine the circumstances, challenges, and journeys of other people’s lives. It would be a sad, isolating world if the only way we had to understand each other is by walking the very same paths. Even people who traverse the same roads aren’t necessarily sharing the same means of transportation or moving in the same pace or direction. While sharing similar life circumstances can certainly help us be empathetic, it isn’t the only way to gain a wider understanding of another person’s feelings, nor is it even the best way. The best way I’ve learned to appreciate where someone is coming from is to ask open-ended questions, be a good listener, and use my imagination.
Doing that, I am better able to understand both sides of an argument. I can see how a second wife might feel insecure about her husband holding on to mementos of his first marriage, and I can imagine why the husband might feel hesitant about erasing any physical reminder of where he once was and how far he’s come. I hope, for your own sake, you can release some of your insecurity and instead tap into compassion for the man you’re about to marry. Accept that he had a life before you entered the picture and he may, on occasion, want to remember parts of that life, if for no other reason than to make him feel thankful for everything he has now.
You can follow me on Facebook here an Twitter here.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Napoleon1066 September 12, 2012, 2:13 pm
Sounds like the LW needs to work on their reading comprehension skills. Might I suggest an SAT prep book?
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 2:19 pm
Exhibit 2,012 in bittergaymark’s ongoing comprehensive study which will ultimately — and officially — proclaim women everywhere to be “The Immature Sex.” Go ahead ladies, start proving me wrong. And please — hurry up about it!
Lydia September 12, 2012, 2:42 pm
You can also feel free to start proving US wrong that men aren’t immature.
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 2:52 pm
Actually, a good number of the letters here rather loudly already do that…
FireStar September 12, 2012, 3:17 pm
and don’t you think a good number of comments here prove you wrong already? Or are you just so focused on the train-wrecks that prove your theory that all sane voices are immediately dismissed?
TaraMonster September 12, 2012, 3:25 pm
Word. Nothing says “comprehensive study” like examining a website with a primarily female readership as a way to compare the reactions of men and women!
Not to mention that the issue of Which Sex Is More Likely To Be Train Wrecks At Relationships is actually not an issue at all for anyone except BGM. Less “comprehensive study” more continued quest at cherry picking information in order to feel some sort of emotional superiority. /eyeroll
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 3:29 pm
The fact that so few around here “get” sarcasm continues to amaze me. Is all youth this humorless? I mean, seriously, it astounds me sometimes how thick many people are around here. Go watch HEATHERS as a refresher course — stat!
FireStar September 12, 2012, 3:35 pm
Darling, it can’t be sarcasm when you proclaim it ALL THE TIME as gospel truth. You are going to need an asterisk or smiley face or something to try and pull of tongue in cheek for the things you say on the regular with a straight face….so to speak 😉
see? just like that….
Astronomer September 12, 2012, 4:06 pm
As much as I disagree with your sentiments about women, I really like being referred to as “youth.” It’s better than getting carded at a bar.
Diablo September 12, 2012, 4:24 pm
Pardon me for trying to universalize, but can we agree that both men and women are the “Immature Sex?” I know I am. There’s a great documentary called “Stupidity.” It discusses, among other things, the idea that even the supposedly smartest people do really dumb things fairly frequently. Likewise with immaturity. My best hope is not to be really immature in moments when I can do real damage. The thought of being mature all the time just makes me sad. There’s just no marginal utility in it. [makes raspberry sound]
TaraMonster September 12, 2012, 3:35 pm
Oh the “You Just Don’t Get Me Because I’m So Good At Sarcasm!” line. Well my “comprehensive study” of all your comments tells me you’re not being sarcastic. And if you are, then you’re the one who who needs a Heathers refresher.
That ish you said, as usual, was sexist crap, not sarcasm.
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 3:38 pm
And I rest my case…
CatsMeow September 12, 2012, 5:15 pm
So, this is happening.
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 5:19 pm
Dumbest. Idea. Ever. (Well, maybe just of this week.) Heathers was VERY much a product of its time, to try to recreate that and then say its the next generation is just… unbelievably lame. For starters, Veronica? As a mother? Yikes…
CatsMeow September 12, 2012, 8:52 pm
Right? Don’t fuck with Heathers.
At the same time, I know I’ll watch it. I mean, I have to at least see what it’s like.
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 9:01 pm
I won’t. Eh, it’ll tank.
That said, I’m amazed Bravo is actually doing a show without vaguely haggish reality stars shamelessly mugging for the camera in Hooker Barbie Dresses. Then again, how much you wanna better all the promos feature Plastic Surgically Enhanced Actresses in Hooker Barbie Dresses?
MMcG September 14, 2012, 11:34 am
I know I am late to the this party, but I wanted to throw in that I bought an older draft script of the original movie — and there were 4 Heathers!!! It wsa boggling, the movie was basically the same but with another added level of bitch (and color coordination).
jj September 12, 2012, 6:07 pm
You need to look up the definition of sarcasm.
SweetsAndBeats September 12, 2012, 9:35 pm
Oh my gosh, I just watched Heathers last night! Love that movie to death. Also watched Mermaids. Cher used to be so fricking hot.
CassieB September 13, 2012, 7:43 pm
The simple answer? Yes.
landygirl September 12, 2012, 3:21 pm
I think stupidity is a human trait, not a gender trait. Like I’ve said before, it isn’t that women are more stupid than men, they just happen to write into advice columns more often.
landygirl September 12, 2012, 2:21 pm
Wendy’s advice is as sound as the original response. People have pasts, deal with it.
jlyfsh September 12, 2012, 2:27 pm
yeah, i still don’t get why having mementos from earlier in life would rub someone else the wrong way. i mean sure, if he built a shrine to his ex and had her pictures up all over the house i’d probably be a little concerned too. but, in a box in a closet that he probably hasn’t opened in maybe years?
and getting rid of those pictures won’t erase it from happening. you will still be bride #2 which is probably the real issue here. but, he chose you, not her. there’s no competition there. he’s just keeping photos of his past.
Eljay September 12, 2012, 4:50 pm
EXACTLY!! I could see if he wanted to display them all over the house. For fuck’s sake, they’re in a box, in a closet! Get over it already.
anonymous September 12, 2012, 4:57 pm
I must confess to keeping a few love letters from flings — the ones from my “serious” boyfriends are gone, but the others remain. Does my DH of 20 years care? Heck, no! Do I look at them often/ever? Nah. But it’s fun to know that I was a “catch” at one point. And my kids might get a kick out of seeing them when I’m 90 and in diapers.
Eljay September 12, 2012, 5:28 pm
Haaaa!! I just played that lil mental movie in my head. Too funny. 🙂
sarolabelle September 12, 2012, 2:33 pm
Bride #2 needs to give us an update!
Fabelle September 12, 2012, 2:33 pm
Wow, I remember that letter so clearly– did I really not comment on it?? I had a lot of feelings about that LW & none of them were positive. I mean, the pictures were even IN STORAGE.
“Were you bride #2 by any chance? I’m guessing not” hahaha, this poor writer. Everyone is SOMEONE’S “#2” (which sounds kind of wrong) or #3, or #4, or #73. There are so many pictures on both mine & my boyfriend’s hard drives of our respective exes that we have to warn each other not to open certain folders.
Sue Jones September 12, 2012, 2:38 pm
I was a bride #2, and I did not care at all that my husband had stuff from his first wedding and marriage (which only lasted 5 years) still around. The biggest thing that he had “around” at the time from that marriage was his young 5 year old son, so I HAD to have a civil relationship with his ex so that we could all co-parent my stepson. I did draw the line when my husband wondered if he just should recycle his old wedding ring to “save money” instead of buying a new one. (and we didn’t get rings until after we got married…) I nixed that, but he still keeps the ring on his dresser because he likes the ring (silver, kind of new-agey and it does have a cool semiprecious stone in it – not my style but it was his at the time) but I don’t think I have ever seen him wear it…not that I would care if he did… I just think that the more accepting you can be about your fiance having had a past, and vice versa, the better for everyone, and the better the prognosis for the marriage.
LANY September 12, 2012, 2:43 pm
Women like these women are the women who give women a bad name… 🙂
WWS. Everyone has a past – good and bad. If any woman is so threatened by a photograph of previous events (or even an entire album of photographs) that she wants them destroyed, there are some serious insecurity / jealousy issues going on, and the second wedding should probably be cancelled before the groom has to start looking for a third wife…
BriarRose September 12, 2012, 2:50 pm
If I get married again someday, I’ll have a husband #2, and if he were to do something to destroy items from my previous marriage, I’d be pissed. I kept my dress, pictures, and wedding rings. They will all go to my daughter. If she wants to use the rings/dress, she is welcome to, or she can keep them for her kids, or sell them. I WANT her to see the pictures of us on our wedding day. It’s her history, too. And who doesn’t love seeing old pics of their young looking parents?
Oh, and my best friend is divorced and her ex-husband got remarried to a crazy lady. Like me, they were saving the wedding rings to be passed to their daughters someday, until crazy new wife went and PAWNED the rings without permission from anyone. My friend had to go pay to get them back, and still hasn’t been paid back by the ex-husband or crazy new wife. Don’t be that crazy lady. Accept that he’s with you now and that’s that.
landygirl September 12, 2012, 3:23 pm
She must be awfully hot for her ex to put up with such crazy.
Sue Jones September 12, 2012, 3:44 pm
OR probably just good in bed. And some guys think crazy, controlling and bitchy is sexy.
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 3:58 pm
True that. Gay or Straight far too many find batshit crazy and controlling bitches sexy as hell somehow. I don’t get it. But it’s a very real phenomenon. One we fortunately don’t see much in women with, say, total assholes… oh, wait.
SweetsAndBeats September 12, 2012, 9:39 pm
I don’t understand it much, either. I have a coworker who told me he couldn’t friend me on Facebook (its a very informal workplace and I already have a coworker filter on my posts) because his live-in girlfriend watches his profile “like a hawk” and “would ask 30 questions a day”. I told him I was sorry for him. He just shrugged his shoulders. I understand that once there are kids involved (which there are) and long term relationships built that you compromise on some things, but he always knew that she was like that. I just plain don’t understand it.
Steeze September 13, 2012, 8:54 am
i have to say, my bf uses the excuse, oh my gf wouldnt want or i have to check with her all the time when he doesnt have a polite way to decline people. i assume i must sound like a cray cray but honestly, i dont care.
i hate when people call women crazy, you dont know the whole story. when someone tells me a woman is acting crazy, i always ask well what did that poor lady have to endure.
and honestly fb is a source of a lot of cheating. if my bf was active on it and adding a bunch of hot girls and chatting away i sure as hell would take notice. no matter how innocent. come on people, fb is evil.
BriarRose September 12, 2012, 4:07 pm
Combo of he doesn’t want to be divorced twice (and have everyone say, “See, you shouldn’t have married the lady who was your “friend” while you were married and you moved into your house immediately after your divorce”) and then she managed to convince him that they should have a baby, so now she’s pregnant. Yet does not have custody of her two kids from her first marriage, because she’s THAT good of a mom. Don’t ask me. I truly don’t know why he puts up with it. And she’s really not that hot close up. Far away, she looks decent, but close up…hot mess. My poor friend is a saint to put up with the bullsh*t so her daughters can still see their dad.
Astronomer September 12, 2012, 4:14 pm
I like that you’re saving those things for your daughter. My husband’s mother transitioned about ten years ago and is now a man, but he saved his ring from his first marriage (that produced my husband). It’s a beautiful flapper-style ring made out of 10% iridium, a metal that only comes from meteorites, and it’s been in the family since the 1920s. He gave my husband the ring after he proposed so that I could wear it. I’m totally honored to have a piece of my husband’s family history. Also, my mother-in-law is a pretty awesome dude, and I love having something that meant so much to him.
It would have been a damn shame to get rid of the ring, even though the marriage it was last a part of failed. The ring has only positive associations for me, and my mother-in-law likes to see it on my hand.
Eagle Eye September 12, 2012, 4:45 pm
So, please if you don’t mind me asking, and if you don’t wish to answer, please don’t
And I’m going to preface this by saying that I find the intersection between language and identity to be really fascinating and I love studying how people outside of the norms of societies navigate language that is sometimes unfit for the issues that reality, at times, throw at them. (So, mostly I’m a dork who thinks people are super interesting and awesome).
But, does your mother in law prefer to continue to be referred to as a mother? To you or to your husband?
I just have to say that your sentence about how your mother in law is a pretty awesome dude sounds fantastic and amazing! And I’m so happy that he was able to do what was right for him and his body!
Astronomer September 12, 2012, 6:07 pm
Hey, it’s no problem at all! I’m really lucky in that I married into a great family, and I don’t mind explaining. I had to have this conversation with my family and friends before our wedding, and I was always pleasantly surprised at how much of a non-issue it was. It made me realize that the people in my life are a lot more open-minded than I gave them credit for, especially my mom. She’s a very typical, white, middle-aged, Midwestern, retired lady who doesn’t know any gay people (let alone transgendered people) in real life. She’s totally into the in-laws, though, and went way out of her way to make my mother-in-law feel comfortable at the reception.
I didn’t know my husband when his mom transitioned, so this is what he told me about how they handled the Mom/him thing. Although Mom is a “he” in every other respect (legally, physically, mentally, and by address), my husband and his sister sat their mom down for a family meeting. They told him that while they felt supportive and positive about the change, they had to insist on calling him “Mom” still. Mom agreed that he didn’t ever want to give up that role, so it was a decision they all made together. Now, my husband still says “Mom,” I say “mother-in-law,” and my husband’s sister either says “Mom” or calls him by his chosen first name. The funny thing is that he very much is a mom, in that he’s protective and nurturing and concerned in a mother hen sort of way. It’s very, very sweet.
What’s really interesting is that my husband calls his mom a she when he refers to his previous two marriages when he was still a woman. It’s like he divides the gender pronoun he chooses to use between periods in his mom’s life, which I find fascinating from a language point of view. Also, his dreams about his mom are split about 50-50 between his mom as a man and his mom as a woman. I don’t think he has any residual issues, though his mom’s transition led to his second divorce and a lot of hard, bitter feelings between his mom and step-dad which spilled over onto the kids. I think at this point it’s more a function of memory.
I’ve only ever known my mother-in-law as a man, so I guess it’s less of an active mental stretch for me to say “he” in combination with “Mom.” Before I met him, though, I would accidentally slip sometimes and say “she” if I was referring to him as a mother, because it was hard to make the connection between someone who birthed biological children and is also man. But now that I know him well, it’s not a thing anymore.
Eagle Eye September 12, 2012, 8:01 pm
Very cool! Thanks so much! That’s really fascinating the way the words worked themselves out. I’m so glad that your husband and his mother have managed to keep a good and positive relationship and that everything worked out!
aredheadsguide September 12, 2012, 3:01 pm
My mom was bride #2. She actually attended my father’s first wedding because she was dating one of the ushers. (Small town, my home sweet home) My dad and his first wife were married for four years, no kids. Three years after he got divorced he was set up with my mom by their two friends. She recognized him and said “aren’t you married?” She actually made him show her the divorce paperwork to prove he wasn’t still married! Mom and dad married each other four months later and will celebrate their 30th anniversary in the spring.
The interesting part about this is that my dad wanted to torch all the pictures from his first wedding an my mom wouldn’t let him. She said it was disrespectful and that he could put them in a box in the basement and forget they were there, but no bonfire. I think those photos are still in a box hidden somewhere in the recesses of the basement, never to be opened again!
cdobbs September 12, 2012, 3:06 pm
i had a friend a few years back who found out her husband had saved wedding photos and wedding and engagement rings from the first wife….long story short she flipped out on him and made him swallow the wedding ring!!!!
jlyfsh September 12, 2012, 3:10 pm
Fabelle September 12, 2012, 3:11 pm
You cannot make a story like that “long story short”!! 🙂 Whaaat
FireStar September 12, 2012, 3:13 pm
Are you kidding? That sounds like the reason you give as you admit your spouse to a mental ward somewhere.
landygirl September 12, 2012, 3:24 pm
Did she not realize that it would come out the other end?
6napkinburger September 13, 2012, 10:11 am
That symbolism may actually have been the intended point.
Sue Jones September 12, 2012, 3:46 pm
What a crazy controlling bitch! I hope she still isn’t your friend, or at least, if she is that she takes her meds more regularly these days!
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 4:02 pm
If a man did this to a woman it would be called abuse. And nobody would think it was funny. I also don’t think anybody would quite tell this story with such glee…
Eagle Eye September 12, 2012, 4:05 pm
Yep, that’s horrible and terrifying, I would not be able to imagine myself in such a frightening position.
bittergaymark September 12, 2012, 4:07 pm
Um, that was supposed to be a more general reply to cdobbs’ story here — not implying that you, Sue Jones, feel this way at all..
jlyfsh September 12, 2012, 4:32 pm
yeah i would agree it was abuse. i honestly can’t even wrap my head around how crazy a person has to be to force another person to do that.
Amanda September 12, 2012, 5:22 pm
Sounds like a complete nutjob to me. Hopefully, the husband ran far far away from that psycho.
FireStar September 12, 2012, 3:09 pm
I’m bride #2 for my husband and I don’t get it – so there goes that argument. My husband has old wedding pictures and pictures from a long term girlfriend in a box somewhere. Why would I care? I knew he had a past before I married him. Hell, we were friends for years so I was AT his first wedding taking pictures myself. What does any of that have to do with our relationship?
I can imagine finding photographic proof that your fiance was already married when you had no idea would be shocking – but even then – destroying his property? Just insane.
Michelle.Lea September 12, 2012, 2:28 pm
heck, i’m bride #3 for my husband. it was *me* that wouldn’t let him throw his old wedding pictures out – because he has children with both. I think they should be the ones to decide whether to throw them out.
However.. if i come across my own pictures from my first marriage, i’m ok to toss them now, though i wasnt a few years ago. will i ? i dont know. to be quite honest, it’s still a part of my life with memories. not all good memories, but still. it has shaped the person i have become.
Melissa September 12, 2012, 3:51 pm
From the other side – ladies, how would you feel about getting rid of all YOUR old photos. sure, during a bad break up we want to burn them, bury them, or otherwise forget everything that we went through, good or bad. Because we’re upset. But if you truly cared about the person you were with, learned from the relationship, but ultimately it didn’t work out? You’d want to remember the fond times. I was once criticized for having pictures of an ex on Facebook after we’d broken up. I did take many of them down once I had moved on. Yet, to get rid of every picture? Get rid of the scrapbooks (which contained pictures of us with friends as well). That would have meant erasing 3 years of my life. You can’t pretend the past didn’t happen. And if you’re with someone who needs to erase every memory of a past relationship, are they really mature enough to be in a serious relationship with you?
ktfran September 12, 2012, 3:53 pm
I still have a box of letters and mementos and such from my very first real relationship. I also still sleep with a stuffed animal given to me in that relationship. That box and animal has lasted through several relationships and an engagement. Pretty sure none of them are going anywhere. Even if future mr. ktfran didn’t like them. However, I probalby wouldn’t be with someone who had a problem with me holding on to a piece of my past. Especially something that helped shape who I am today.
LM September 12, 2012, 4:36 pm
LW, are you serious…really? Um, get over it. You so didn’t read the first letter properly and I suggest you go back to college or grade school for basic reading comprehension. If it comes out as snarky, well, it’s meant to be that way. Everyone has a past and he’s with you, right? So… cry us a river, build a bridge, and get over it!
I am “Bride #2” as well for my husband. Even if I cared or wanted to, I can’t get rid of whatever he’s hanging on to from “Bride #1”. That comes in the form of his almost 19 year old son. You can’t and should get rid or ask him to get rid of his old wedding pictures because they are HIS past and HIS MEMORIES and mean something to HIM, whatever that may be. Besides, wedding pictures are expensive. Why get rid of them if he looks awesome in them?
LM September 12, 2012, 5:27 pm
I meant “can’t and shouldn’t get rid…”
mf September 12, 2012, 4:50 pm
Um, if you can’t handle that your husband-to-be has a past, then don’t marry a guy who has a ex-wife! Whether you like it or not, the ex is a part of the package, so to speak. That’s going to be true whether or not he keeps his old wedding photos.
Laura Hope September 12, 2012, 6:12 pm
I cannot imagine asking someone to do that. The marriage,bad or good, was a big part of that person’s life. If someone asked me throw out mine,I would actually question his mental stability.
Cara September 12, 2012, 6:35 pm
Question: Do you untag yourself from fb pictures with your ex?
I untagged/deleted the coupley ones, and left group shots up, because, whatever. But there´s not one picture on fb with an ex and me touching. I feel like that would be weird, and potentially turn new guys off.
gillociraptor September 12, 2012, 7:44 pm
I did exactly what you did. I untagged myself in anything that indicated we were a couple, but left myself tagged in shots where we were with friends. I feel like that’s reasonable/not petty. I like having access to the pictures with my friends, and I like the pictures from the vacations I took with my ex, but I don’t need pictures of us smooshing our faces together and grinning to remember that cool wildlife park we went to once.
Alena September 12, 2012, 8:44 pm
I was upset when my boyfriend left a picture of he and his ex in his wallet once. Actually, I was bothered by it once, and upset by it once. I was bothered when I first noticed it (he had asked me to grab something out of his wallet, and I noticed it tucked into a pocket). He legitimately forgot it was tucked in there. I politely requested he take it out, because toting around a picture of you and your ex everywhere you go is a bit weird, ESPECIALLY when you’re in another somewhat long-term relationship. A few (maybe several?) months later, under similar circumstances, I noticed it again. I was not really pleased that after well over a year of us dating he had a picture of him and his ex in his wallet. His wallet, that he carried with him every single day, and regularly looked in.
I got upset. (In my defense, I was like 19. And my last boyfriend HAD cheated on me, and HAD been carrying a picture of the girl in his car, and blah blah blah.) I felt it was rude and disrespectful, since I had very politely and non-confrontationally mentioned the picture. I didn’t have a total meltdown, but I was a bit upset.
Thing was, he had simply forgotten. He didn’t understand quite what it meant to me. I’m all for him keeping it, it’s his memories… so long as it wasn’t in a place like his wallet.
Maybe it’s because we weren’t married, but I wouldn’t have thought of even taking it out of his wallet on my own, and definitely not destroying it. It’s his stuff. Carrying it around in his wallet was too much, but I totally understood holding onto a picture in a CLOSET. I still thought I was ridiculous for getting upset at my boyfriend, for what I consider to be a much more legitimate reason than old photos in a closet.
Is there a large subset of people who feel no shame for their actions? Is it regularly acceptable to destroy any hints that someone had a past? The things people justify constantly amazes me.
SweetsAndBeats September 12, 2012, 9:43 pm
I can understand feeling that very, very small sad feeling when thinking about his ex. I’ve never been married or dated a guy who was previously married, but it does sadden me a little to think about his ex if I know that she treated him like shit. I don’t know why, exactly, but I wish that all of his exes were just nice girls with whom the relationship just didn’t work out. I don’t like to think that somebody he cared about deeply was a royal asshole to him.
That being said, it shouldn’t go farther than that. Rage? Jealousy? Destruction of mementos? That goes beyond reasonable reactions and into “Check yourself, stop being a [lunatic] bitch” territory. (Lunatic for only the destruction bit)