Engaged: What to Do With Photos of Ex-Girlfriends

Should I hold on to pictures of old girlfriends now that I'm engaged to be married? I've had a few relationships before this one that never resulted in marriage. I don't like the thought of destroying my photos of those girls, but I'm pretty certain that my bride-to-be would react strongly if I don't get rid of them. What do you think I should do?

You don’t necessarily have to destroy photos of old girlfriends, but at the same time, you shouldn’t be “pulling them out” to show your fiancée. We think there’s a way to strike a healthy balance on this issue. A great deal depends on the type of photos you’re talking about. Pictures taken of you and your old girlfriends together could be considered mementos of significant events or tokens of cherished memories, especially if those relationships ended on a fairly positive note. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to keep portraits or glamour shots of old flames. Hanging on to photos of that kind can only lead to trouble.

That being said, the critical thing in this situation is not what we think, but what your fiancée thinks. We hope you have the sort of relationship where you can discuss this question openly and honestly. If you don’t, we’d suggest that this could be a major red flag.

If you feel that you are unable to talk to your fiancée about an issue like this, your relationship obviously needs some work before you head into marriage. If you’re hesitant to discuss the photos because you fear that she would be intensely jealous, that is definitely a cause for concern. On the other hand, if you’re comfortable bringing this up and your fiancée simply prefers that you don’t keep the photos, it would probably be best to honor her wishes.

In connection with this last thought, we should mention that we highly recommend premarital counseling. Most couples today spend thousands of dollars on their wedding day, but don’t invest anything in the future of their marriage relationship. It’s always a good idea for engaged couples (or even those who are dating seriously) to seek counseling before they move into marriage. With that in mind, we want to urge you to find a good marriage-and-family therapist and set up a series of counseling sessions. Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department would be happy to discuss the options with you and provide a list of qualified marriage and family counselors in your area. Call us for a free consultation.

The counseling process should include a personality test such as the PREPARE/ENRICH Premarital Inventory. You can find a sample test online at

You’ll need to invest a certain amount of time and money in this process, but if you think about it you’ll have to agree that it’s worth spending a few months in premarital counseling to make sure that your relationship is as strong as it can possibly be. Doing so can save you a great deal of heartache down the road.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Premarital resources

The First Five Years 

Sacred Marriage

The Book of Romance

Creating an Intimate Marriage

Preparing for Marriage



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