General Question

casheroo's avatar

Is it inappropriate or weird to send things back to an ex years later?

Asked by casheroo (18086points) April 20th, 2009

So, we’re moving and I have to go through soo many old boxes. I found a lot of stuff from exes. I’m totally a packrat, so this stuff has been in my parents attic for years.
I found pictures, and really don’t want to keep them. But, I don’t want to throw them out because I’m weird like that.
I asked my husband if it was weird if I just mailed them back..he said that’d be really weird. I don’t see why though. I like having pictures to remind me of memories or see how ridiculous I looked back in high school. So, what should be done with these photos?

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40 Answers

robmandu's avatar

Holy crap, that’d be weird if an ex send me pics of us together years later. It’d raise all kinds of questions about intent, regardless of whatever face was put on it.

elijah's avatar

Just throw the stuff out. You will look like the crazy ex if you send it back. If he wanted certain things back he would of asked for them immediately after the breakup.
You could always have a bonfire and roast marshmallows.

nancela4's avatar

I agree with Elijah…. it sounds like perhapssss ya saw these things and they made you think of him and you want to know what he’s up to? Either way Rob&Elijah are right. The past… next!

asmonet's avatar

You could call them, and ask if they’d like it back.
But sending without warning raises all the questions rob mentioned.

I can see though why you’d think it was a non issue, considering you’re over them and they’re in your boxes. But imagine being surprised with pictures of your and your ex boyfriend from four years ago in the mail. You’d be confused.

casheroo's avatar

they aren’t pictures of us together, just of him.

asmonet's avatar

Oh, then I’d just send them, and say I found them while moving with a phone call. No big. :)

casheroo's avatar

@nancela4 lol I don’t want to know what he’s up to…this was a long time high school.

Facade's avatar

Probably, but I’d still do it.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’d just toss them. I wouldn’t want to hear from an ex years later no matter what the reason. It will stirr up crap no matter what. Burn them.

ShauneP82's avatar

I guess that depends on what you are looking for. Are you out to get a reaction it might not be thought of as weird but offensive.

nancela4's avatar

Cash – Oy vey! Leave it alone! lol…eh, who knows… you send it, it reminds him of you. He’s single, you’re single, you get together – “Harry Met Sally” all over again! ;)

casheroo's avatar

@nancela4 No, the point would be to get rid of the photos instead of destroying them, because I have issues with destroying photos. I’m married, and have moved on. I don’t want a reaction. I just want to get rid of some junk in the attic! lol

LuckVIII's avatar

Just toss them out or burn them. Wondering if you can donate the pictures to IKEA for their model room display.

exitnirvana's avatar

For the sake of not destroying the pictures, perhaps contact him in a casual manner prior to sending them to him outright (i.e. email, aim, facebook). If he wants them back then send away, but if not I’d just toss them…

robmandu's avatar

Let’s try this tack: are the pictures especially noteworthy in some way?

Does dude have really awesome mulletness going on? Is he wearing some super fly disco gear? Is he standing on the peak of Kilimanjaro?

Or is he just sitting in nondescript chair in a nondescript room chilling with a PBR?

What makes the pics worth keeping? And moreso, worth the effort of looking dude up, carefully approaching the topic, and eventually mailing over the pics?

casheroo's avatar

@robmandu Hmm, I didn’t think that much into it. I was just going to send them to his parents house, where I’m pretty positive he still lives. I mentioned this to my husband and he said that it’d be weird. That thought didn’t even cross my mind. The pictures are from shows he did back with his old band, he was really into it. And yes, he has crazy dyed hair in most of the pics haha. I guess I didn’t think it would be a big deal, because I hadn’t thought it through. that tends to happen a lot

robmandu's avatar

Crazy-ass old band pics are indeed worth keeping. Especially if you don’t think he has some representative ones already.

Counterpoint: it’s my opinion that people who still live at home with their parents as adults aren’t as likely to be as socially mature. If you do contact him, be wary. He still might see it as an invitation.

I have decided, apparently, to be of no real help at all.

galileogirl's avatar

Why not just stick them in a mailer and send them with no letter and no return address? That clearly says you are not asking for a response. Better yet if you know his mom’s address, send them to her. Mail them when you move and even if he knows where you are now, don’t indicate your new address.

richardhenry's avatar

If an ex started giving me sentimental old things, I’d assume they were interested again, or something. Just seems weird to me.

robmandu's avatar

@galileogirl, you’re such a stalker. ;-)

casheroo's avatar

@galileogirl I know he’d know they came from me. I wasn’t planning on calling him or anything. Maybe a note but just to say “Here’s some pictures from high school. How you and your family are well” That’s it.

This thread has made me feel like a creeper haha

galileogirl's avatar

No note. He knows what they are. Correspondence indicates an invitation to communicate. Maybe your husband wouldn’t mind but you don’t know the can of worms you would be opening in his life. If you have to write something, send them to a friend or relative and address your good wishes to them and ask them to pass the pics on.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Address the packet to his mom with a short note saying something like: “Husband & I are moving, found these pics, thought you and your son might like to have them. We’re doing well, hope you are also. Take care. Best, Casheroo.”

There. Done.

Next problem!

augustlan's avatar

^^ What she said.

May2689's avatar

Just throw them out.

richardhenry's avatar

@aprilsimnel M’yeah, that would work. The opening with “husband and I” changes the tone.

PS: You probably shouldn’t use your Fluther username on the letter. He’ll be a little WTF?

nancela4's avatar

@casheroo – Inre the opening line “husband and I” sounds contrived.

The answer regarding whether or not the pics are noteworthy is a good criteria. Are they with family members? Then mail it to his Mom with the opening line Husband and I… But to him specifically? Nah. Play dumb that you don’t know where he is.

sakura's avatar

I’m not sure on this one.
I made my hubby get rid of pics of his ex when I’d just had my baby coz I was feeling insecure- baby blues etc… and just went crazy one day and blitzed the loft and I got rid of my ‘ex’ pics too, well the ‘meaningful’ ones ie us together etc… some had other friends on and were moment pictures for different reasons than ‘ex.’ I know what you mean about destroying photos it does seem a bit wierd, my mum has heaps and won’t part with any.
What about scanning them into your computer and posting them on a school reunion page and adding a footnote saying originals are available if required?? That way he an message you if he wants them? If he doesn’t get in touch then I’d be tempted to just bin/shred them. A clean and tidy house can equal a clean and tidy mind??!!

Judi's avatar

@casheroo ;
Are you my husbands ex? He would love to have his old stuff back! He left when he got sober 20 years ago. He knew that he had to make a dramatic change or he would drink again. he even left his baby book, in addition to all his moms stuff after she died. I am sure he wouldn’t mind if you called. We would be more than willing to pick it up and even pay some storage fees. He has always spoken kindly of you by the way. One of the reasons I fell in love with him. If he can speak kindly of his ex he must be a pretty darned good guy. The last 20 years have proven I was right.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Sending some things along with a note to say hello- how are you- what have you been up to- here’s all about my life now- oh and yeah, some pictures you might like back, that could be kind of weird but what you’re mentioning is innocent and like Judi brings up, it might really well appreciated. Just a note to say you’d rather the items find a home than be discarded and your name, done.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t see why it would be. It might be more uncomfortable to hold on to it.

Your husband might feel uincomfortable with making that sort of contact with your ex. We tend to get a little weird when exes are involved in any capacity.

aviona's avatar

I’m not too experienced in this area. I guess it just depends on if you view the stuff as his or your’s. For example, I’ve very recently reconnected with an ex . After I had signed his yearbook in high school he had left it at my house. Then be broke up while I was living in Costa Rica. When I came home it was still at my house. I had to give him his yearbook back, of course, but when I read what I had written, I felt ridiculous, since we had broken up, so I ripped out my page!
I’ve recently felt a tinge of guilt about it and like it’s rightfully his, so I gave it back to him and let him read it. He felt like it belonged to him, as well.
So, I guess you just have to decide what belongs to who.

casheroo's avatar

I feel like I’m getting so many mixed responses lol.
I feel like if I send them, he’ll either get soo weirded out, or be appreciative.

I know we broke up in high school (at 15 or 16) but it was an awful awful breakup. The thing is, I got over it years ago, and he seemed to be brooding about it for a long time. He once accused me of stalking him because my best friend lived semi near-by his house, and she and I would walk to her house together. (this best friend was also my maid of honor recently, so I certainly wasn’t using her to “stalk” him lol) I did try to contact him in 2005, when I first joined Myspace, just to say “Hi” and got nothing back…so I assumed he wanted nothing to do with me, which was fine. So, I have reservations that he’ll think I’m “stalking” him again. But, I really just want to clear out old stuff.
I think the issue with this is, it hasn’t been 20 years like in @Judi‘s case. It’s been 7–8 years though.

Darwin's avatar

I agree with @aprilsimnel – Send them to his mom with a brief note such as the one she cited, then move on. By sending them to his mom you aren’t reaching out directly to him but are saying “I have no idea what my ex has done with his life (and I don’t care) but you, his mom, would know.”

chyna's avatar

Mail them to his mom’s house, no note. You said he would know where they came from, so why bother with a note especially since you want no contact. Your husband prefers you to not do it, so this would be a compromise.

figbash's avatar

I wouldn’t feel good about throwing those things out either and I would appreciate it if an ex sent them to me with the option of throwing them out, instead of getting rid of them. I feel like it’s my history too and I’d like the option of having the pictures that commemorate it. Plus, I think you also send a message that you’re not keeping them around anymore.

I’d contact him by email and be really breezy, casual and funny about it and focus on something like “thought you’d want pictures that document your goth phase of ‘92” as opposed to focusing on the relationship you had when they were taken. I’d agree with the above too – mention that you and your husband found them and that he can pitch them if he doesn’t want them.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve had exes give me stuff from back then, and I appreciated it. But then, I like history, and not forgetting it. I’d give them the choice.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I don’t think it is really quite appropriate to send them to your exes. It might be uncomfortable for them and for their families.

If you want emotional release from them you can burn the photos or bury them.

If you really can’t bare to part with them then you can just put them in a box and put them in the attic :)

Edit to add I do appreciate the responses that say give that person the choice. I like that idea.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

if they’re mostly just pictures of him and general high school memories, no big deal. he probably forgot they existed, and would at least get a good laugh. include a note telling him you found them and didn’t want to throw them out, and thought he might appreciate them.

no harm done.

bright_eyes00's avatar

I would shoot them an email saying roughly: “Hey i got pictures of such and such, would you like? I dont want to throw them away but i dont want to hold onto them anymore.” Something along those lines.

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