Life after divorce – What do I do with all the pictures?

what do I do with all the pictures
Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash
Linda Simpson
Linda Simpson –
Divorce and Parenting Consultant
Writer and Speaker

What do I do with all the pictures?  For twenty-four years I have been the one to keep a record of our family life. I was the one always taking pictures. We were a picture-taking family. I have frames full of pictures everywhere. And they are all over social media. We had family pictures taken every year. Our wedding picture hangs on the wall of our bedroom. A year ago, the affair surfaced. It had been going on for a few years. It hurts when I realize family pictures were taken when he was involved with someone else, living another life. Now, what do I do? Some make me angry because he would have just been with her when the family event happened.  Where do I begin to get rid of them?

 

Accepting that it is almost impossible to delete every family picture from your life is your starting point. You are facing a challenge that we all experience during separation and divorce. Separating your past family life from your future life will be a process.  Be patient. Think it out. It will take time to find your own best way to disengage from the pictures of the life you have lived.
Wedding photos are a good place to start. You can view these photos as having some family history significance and pack them away. If you feel strongly, they can be thrown out. Ask your children if they may want them as a keepsake of a life together that was started in good faith.
The early family and holiday photos from before social media can be shared with your former spouse if he wants them. You can divide photos that feature him and keep the ones that feature you. It might be a good time to give the old photo albums a good clean-out.
Social media posts are an even bigger challenge. If you have shared pictures, then they are on other social media sites. You may feel a certain catharsis by deleting pictures you no longer want on your social media sites. Unfortunately, these photos live elsewhere and may appear again. You will not be able to eliminate these pictures completely.
Pictures in picture frames in your home can be removed and replaced with pictures that have a happy reference.
Pictures are visual reminders of happier times. Letting go of the power they might have over you is an important step. Remember that they are pictures and that is it.
What often happens in these highly emotional times is that we can fixate on things like pictures and give them far more power than they deserve. They can be triggers for sadness. It may be difficult but challenge yourself to let go of this power. Our personal power is never more important than when we are finding our way to a new future after divorce. Letting go of a marriage and a shared history is in part a mental exercise. You have control over your thoughts around these pictures.
Your goal is to neutralize the power they might have. You can do this in a few ways. Consciously block those negative thoughts when you see a picture. It is a mind game but worth it. Remove pictures in your home and social media that are triggers.
And finally, start taking pictures of your new life with the people that make you happy. Avoid posting pictures with an agenda. Your family and friends will thank you for it. When we do try to inflict pain in any way on our former spouse it only creates more for ourselves. Chances are that he has no room for envy or remorse and has moved on in his new life and is not looking back.
Put all your energy into facing forward too and creating a new you that has let go of the hurt and anger. It is your life now and your future. Posting meaningful pictures and living well is your statement to the world that you are doing fine.

We are living through difficult times and if your life has been impacted by divorce contact The Divorce Magazine UK for your complimentary divorce coaching session with Linda. She is a divorce coach who is also a traumatic divorce survivor. Her insights and empathy will help you find your path forward to a brighter future. She looks forward to meeting you – letterstolinda@thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

More articles by Linda Simpson

ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON

“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl 

Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.

As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.

She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.

She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’

In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.

She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.

She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.

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