What do you do with gifts past loves gave you? Do you keep them? Chuck them if the relationship went so sour that you can't even bear the thought of keeping any remnants of that relationship in your life? What do you do when you see gifts that your partner's past loves gave him/her? Do you ask him/her to keep these items away, or do you throw them away yourself?
I pondered these questions for a long time. Even though I'm now married, and happily so, I admit that I still keep a box or two of items given by past boyfriends. I don't have them with me in Australia, but they're still in the cupboard tucked away in my room at my parents' house. I've had relationships that ended amicably, and also one that ended badly, but I still keep the items they gave me regardless. Should I have thrown them out? I didn't bring any into my marital home, of course. They belong to the life I left behind.
With the first boyfriend I had, believe it or not, I kept everything he gave me. Even though I do not display the framed photographs anymore, some of the items in the room are still there. That person was my first love, and was part of my life for over 5 years. I didn't see the need to have to remove them.
The next relationship bit the big one. After it was over, even though I didn't throw the items he gave me away, I stored them in a paper bag, and shoved it deep into my cupboard, so that I may never see them again. And for a long time I didn't even want to take them out.
Yesterday, I took out a photo frame that my husband once bought to keep a picture of himself with an ex-girlfriend. Back when I first asked him about the frame (a couple of years ago, methinks), why it was kept away and not used, he told me what it was used for. I felt a twinge inside, and it wasn't good. I was actually jealous of something which happened a long time ago, and that it was still there in the wardrobe. I felt as though its presence was mocking me. Tim would have chucked it if I wanted him to, but I simply told him to leave it alone. After all, it belonged to him, not me.
Back to yesterday. I finally took the photo frame out, and I felt nothing. In fact, all I saw was, simply, an unused frame. There was no twinge, no mocking. It was all in my head. Rather than putting it to waste, I printed out a photo of us, taken at Brighton Beach, put it in the frame, and placed it on my side table.
That was when I've made the decision, that when I return to Malaysia next, I shall finally take that paper bag out, and donate the items to charity. I don't need them taking up space in the cupboard anymore.
It felt really good.