Speaking of archiving the past, here we go with the Spring 2012 installment of Dear Sheila! Want some life advice from C.L.A.P.'s resident columnist? Send her your questions at email@example.com. She's ready to get real.
I’ve been cogitating on what has appeared to be a thorn in the side of my new relationship—namely his ex-girlfriend. He (my BF) talks about her a lot, i think he is still processing and that's fine but i can see that a lot of the time he is just on automatic pilot, like yeah if someone was dictating your life for four years, they might still be part of your routine. and then and i don't know this for a fact, but i am pretty sure he hasn't deleted pictures off of his memory card on his camera since before the break up and for the sake of your column lets just say the whole 4 years are not archived yet. the question could be, there is an understandable reason for all of this, but at what time do you archive the past and is it ever okay to ask? and what then is my role: if he talks about her, am i allowed to weigh in with my opinion (usually something like, dude sounds like this was a doomed relationship, dude sounds like you dodged a bullet etc). or do i steer away from the conversation
steer away from the conversation!! avoid getting mired in discussing the ins and outs of his relationship with her AT ALL COSTS bc those are conversations he needs to have with his friends or his therapists, and absolutely not you.
as far as the pictures go. well, is it negatively impacting your life? is he looking at them all the time? does he just have other stuff he needs to deal with besides that and its not at the topic of his priority list? maybe you could just do it for him. like, get a CD rom, put all the pictures on the CDrom, delete them, and give him the CD. actually, scratch that. that's a weird thing to do. let it go. its not a big deal. i have relics from my past relationships everywhere
and check in with him, just in terms of "hey, i don't want to accidentally see pictures of you and your ex now. could you like make it so i don't have to worry about that? and that's all you need to say. and don't say why you don't want to see them, because duh, and you don't want to get into a bigger conversation about life with his ex because YOU'RE NOT HIS THERAPIST OR BEST FRIEND
your his girlfriend and you need romance and mystery and he shouldn't get into the habit of dumping or processing on/with you because that will mess up the burgeoning dynamics of your own relationship.
your relationship needs to develop/flourish fruitfully and with independence from mindfully referencing only his recent past relationship. you need your own patterns
i mean, sometimes you want to get off the main drag of life, and want to go to where the streets have no name. as much as we like to think we live in somewhere as open and liberating as, well, Nicollet ave, 2 am is still closing time and then you might have to drag your ass back to dight ave. and then you wake up on Sunday morning and realize you passed out in the front lawn of lets-be-real-with-our-feelings-strasse. Anyways, it sounds like you’re gonna be fine.