I found pictures of my husband's ex-girlfriend hidden in his dresser drawer

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.

What would you do or say if your spouse kept pictures of his former flame in one of his dresser drawers? What if he visited that dresser drawer to look at those pictures every chance he got?

That's exactly what happened to me when I was married. I caught my husband looking at pics of his ex when he thought I wasn't around, and it happened often enough that I could call it a habit.

Now mind you, this woman didn't pass away; they just broke up. To be more specific, she left him. So why did he have such an attachment to her photos when he was married to me? That's the question that's plagued me for many years.

The first time I saw him looking at her photographs, I was furious, but I kept my displeasure to myself. I figured it was a one-time-only thing; I was wrong.

Besides, I asked myself, who am I to decide what another person may or may not look at? I may be a jealous person, but I am not a controlling person. I believe there is a world of difference between the two.

Even after I realized it wasn't an isolated incident, I told myself: If this is what he enjoys, just let him be.

My husband and I dated for nearly two years before we were married, and we remained married for almost five years. Yet, in all that time, he never stopped looking at his ex-girlfriend's photos.

I met her once, my ex-husband's ex-girlfriend. My husband and I were still dating. It was during a summer heatwave, and we were standing by the side of the road waiting for a parade to pass when a girl walked up to us and asked for a light. I didn't learn until later who she was.

I think if my ex-husband had caught me gazing longingly at my ex-boyfriend's pictures while we were married, he would have become agitated. It was definitely a case of double standards, but I didn't tell him that.

Once, after catching him looking at those photos yet again, I thought about buying picture frames and displaying them in our living room to make a point. Then I thought better of it. What if he liked it?

I left the photos where I found them, but I considered replacing them with an equal number of photos of myself. Surely that would have sent a powerful message.

Once again, I decided to leave things the way they were. It's too bad because that would have been hilarious... or maybe it would have started a disagreement. I think I made the right decision.

I never caught on that I knew about the pictures in my husband's dresser drawer. I chose to ignore it just as I ignored so many other problems throughout our five-year marriage. In the end, it didn't matter anyhow. We've been divorced longer than we were married.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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