"Dear Couply, 

I found some old love notes that my boyfriend held on to from his past relationships. I feel really weird about him holding on to them but I don’t want to ask him to get rid of them. I’m feeling unsure of how to even address this too. Where should I start?"

I can understand why you're feeling uncomfortable about your boyfriend holding onto old love notes from past relationships, depending on how you found them and if you read them… it can be a bit of a shock!

It's not uncommon to find old love letters from a partner's past. Sometimes, it can be a surprise, and it can be hard to know what to do with them.

Let’s dive in to some relationship advice if you've found your boyfriend's old love letters.

For many people, old notes are harmless relics and memories of people who were once important to us. 

Many people have a memory box. Some might never open it. The point is that it’s a little time capsule of your life, the good, the bad, the big feelings that make life what is it. These are private mini-museums that help you look back and remember little parts of your life.

For other people, memory boxes, and mementos from exes are a hard no. They take up space and serve no function. They prefer the scorched earth strategy and get rid of everything from a previous relationship to start fresh; a new clean slate. Nothing is saved or kept.

Here is the thing. Both of these are right. They are just different operating systems. 

Let’s check in with our audience and see how many people fall into each category.

Do you have any mementos of old relationships?

There are three contextual questions that will add a lot to this. 

1. How the love notes were discovered. 

If you went snooping through your partner’s stuff and reading their diaries. That’s an invasion of privacy! Or, did you innocently discover them in a dusty old box? If so, you can put the box back and move on’ they’re collecting dust for a reason! 

 2. What are your shared agreements generally about exes and mementos? 

For example, if your partner made you burn your love notes but then has kept theirs, well that’s definitely not okay and you need to have a discussion. 

3. Hold this in the context of your relationship. 

Are you secure, happy, solid? If so no worries – put the box back and move on. 

If you’re not fine with it, then let’s dig into why. Is it because you feel threatened or insecure? Do you worry that he's still attached to his exes in some way? Does he talk about them just a bit too much? 

The absolute worst case we might be worried about is that our partner is going through their mementos in the hope of resparking a connection with their ex.  If that’s the context, of course a conversion is needed, immediately.  

Overall, understanding your own feelings and the context around the discovery can help you communicate more effectively with your boyfriend. If you need to, write out how you feel and what your situation is so that you can mentally understand them. 

Ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable, and what it means for you and your relationship. 

Once you've reflected on your thoughts, emotions and your context, you have the next step.

Two choices:

Choice 1: You may have thought about it, realized the box was filed away, he had probably forgotten about it, overall it’s not a big deal and you’re happy to move on. You might have a conversation letting him know you found his love notes or, you feel that actually no conversation is needed. 

Choice 2: You decide you’re not okay and want to bring it up with him. Maybe he made you throw out a bunch of your stuff. Or he is sparking back a friendship with his ex, and the love notes were in a place where he might have been going through them. All troubling and worrying.

In our experience, it’s more than likely a value difference of one person being sentimental and more likely to hold onto mementos and the other person taking more of the scorched earth strategy. Neither of these are right or wrong.

Either way, if you choose to speak with your partner, listen to his perspective and try to understand his motivations and point of view. 

This can still be a healthy conversation that can bring you closer if it’s framed in the right way.