I recently remarried and am trying to decide what to do with the pictures of my ex. Should I display at least one framed of us and the kids? Do I destroy them all? Our wedding pictures are beautiful, and it seems so wrong to toss them. My new husband has multiple pictures of him, his ex-wife and child setting around in the living room. He says it’s for his son (who lives with us, too), but it doesn’t really make me feel good to look at him and her together when they were happy. Will our children get upset at us if we don’t put any photos of this nature out at all? I’m at a loss.

Taking a slice out of a picture is sometimes more appetizing than it sounds.

A new marriage should be celebrated. In every way. Part of the celebration is putting the past behind you, at least as much as possible. Of course, you each have a huge chunk of your past residing with you — your precious kids. Having made the choices (and perhaps it wasn’t yours) to dissolve your prior marriages but for certain yours to now attempt life together with someone else, some things will be required of you as a couple, but more importantly as parents to a blended family. The challenges you will face are too numerous to mention, but I would encourage you to embrace each one with the mindset of victory mixed with a heart full of patience. The quandary of pictures is an excellent starting point.

  • Frame some. You do not want to destroy the pictures of your ex-spouse and the kids. Frame a picture of each child with his/her father and place it in the child’s bedroom. Kids are the ones who suffer the hardest fallouts from divorce. They need to have a reminder of a good memory they made with their dad and/or mom. The picture doesn’t have to include dad, mom and child, or even the whole family, but I would make certain each child has a photo with each parent and siblings in order to give him a sense of family and belonging to one.
  • Box-up some. You can’t, and shouldn’t, frame all of the pictures with the kids. There will be some you will need to put away and save for the future. You could do individual boxes for each child, or toss them together in one box so that when your children are older, they can divvy them up among themselves at the appropriate time.
  • Toss the wedding pictures. A beautiful wedding doesn’t always equate to a beautiful marriage. Obviously, something went terribly wrong which prevented you from living out your fairytale. When these things happen, there are always leftover memories — some good, some bad. But the reality is the marriage is over and it needs to be put to rest once and for all, unless you have any hopes or desires to reunite. If so, that begs the question: why did you remarry? So, toss the old, because you have a new wedding album to display.
  • Same goes for him. Your efforts need to be matched by his. It’s already causing you angst to see your new husband and his ex-wife together in a picture. Those sorts of feelings will amplify if left unaddressed. I would not make enemies with his child this early in the game by boxing-up this one, but I would place it in the child’s room and away from the living area. Dad will need to have a healthy but tender conversation with his son should it become an issue. But, perhaps simply moving the picture from living room to nightstand would be fine.

A new beginning is ahead for each of you. Dragging along memories of a past you can’t erase, I understand, is inevitable, especially with young kids. You’ll have a reminder every visitation. However, as I said, blending families presents itself with many challenges. This is the first of many, but neither of you have any reason to look at a “we were so happy” picture of your spouses. It will only serve to hinder your progress as husband and wife. It’s not being cruel. It’s moving forward.

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