In most relationships, there is an ex-partner. However, if one is content with his or her current partner, why would they keep photographs of their former love-interest? Agnes Arigo writes
The presence of an ex-partner in any relationship is something that cannot be ignored. Many people keep photographs of their former partner, even while in other relationships.
But if you have moved on, why should you live with your ex’s traces?
Some people say they want to keep memories.
Maxwell Tazenya, the acting headmaster, Kireka Grammar Junior School, finds no problem in keeping photographs of a former partner.
“I would keep them for remembrance. The problem would arise if you are married to the person and you cheat on him or her with someone, whose photos you go ahead and keep.
Then it is wrong because this can strain the relationship,” he says. “But if I met you when I already had those photographs, I would keep them.”
Happiness Akampurira, a police officer, says as long as one explains it to their partner from the beginning, it is okay. “I do not think there is any problem, especially if I told my wife about my former partner,” he says.
“It only becomes difficult if I had not told my current partner about it, then she finds pictures of my ex and I in my old albums,” Akampurira adds.
However, keeping photographs of your spouse can have repercussions.
Gift Nassasira, a businesswoman and mother in Kampala disagrees with the idea, saying it breeds jealousy. “Such photographs should be left in the past since they can make your partner suspicious of you. And anyway, if you already left the person, why would you still keep their photographs? You look at them and then what?
Wish you had stayed with them?” she wonders.
Nassasira feels that by the time there is a breakup, things have totally failed. “Keeping pictures means there is something more dear about the ex than the current partner you have,” she adds.
Olive Ankunda, a student at Uganda Christian University, agrees, saying: “I would not keep those photos or even encourage anyone to keep them.
The photos may only remind you of your ex-partner. Discarding them strengthens your relationship and creates trust and security in the relationship,” she says.
Getting rid of the pictures is not necessarily a sign of hatred. “If you are still friends with your ex-partner, you have to set strict rules and boundaries. Talking with him or her is okay but do not keep the photos. They can destroy your relationship and make your partner jealous,” Ankunda says.
For Aggrey, a businessman in Kampala, the decision highly depends on the nature of the relationship. “Is it a marriage or just dating? If we are in a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship and I am not yet too sure about you, I would keep the pictures,” he says.
“It also depends on the nature of my current relationship. If my spouse is not okay with the whole idea, then I guess I would get rid of the photos,” he adds.
Your current relationship can easily become strained over pictured from your past relationship
Agree on how to handle it
According to Ruth Nalwoga, a counsellor at the Guidance and Counselling department at Makerere University, photographs of a former spouse can be kept in a current relationship for many reasons.
“It depends on the person in the relationship. He or she may still be attracted to the former partner and so keep his photos,” she says.
She also explains that there are times when a relationship gets so bad, yet the couple already has a child.
“Someone could decide to keep the photos if he or she has a child and feels that there is need to show this child the photo of their father or mother,” Nalwoga explains. “Children ask many questions as they grow up.
They need to know who their parents are and what they look like, if they are being brought up by someone who is not their biological parent.
The child has to be given a chance to see their real parent. When the parent cannot be traced, photographs come in handy,” she adds.
Similarly, Dorothy Nabunya, a marriage counsellor at St Andrews Church, in Ntinda, says there is no problem with people keeping photos of their former partners. She, however, emphasises the need for partners to talk about their former partners and notify each other if there are any photos that the spouse may not be aware of.
“If you are in a relationship with someone, one of the things you should discuss before getting deep in the relationship is the issue of ex-partners,” Nabunya says. “Each of you should tell the other about what transpired between you and your former partners and the reasons for your separation.
If you have pictures of these people, you should show your partner and agree on either keeping them or discarding them,” Nabunya adds. She says the bottom line in a relationship is openness.