Need some advice


What do you do with pictures of your childrens boyfriends now that they are married? My son in law is sort of jealous (just enough) and I would hate to ruin a fun time looking at the albums due to a picture of my daughter holding hands with a boyfriend before he came into the “picture”. Any advice?


I don’t think I can offer you sensible advice without leading the speculation into five different directions… but let me try.

Firstly, he may be overreacting, but on the other hand, he has some “rights”. Those past boyfriends don’t have any. Therefore, if it causes him anguish that such pictures are brought up in his presence, I think his feelings should be respected.

If he, however, has a problem with the very existence of such pictures, would wish them burnt or something like that, then he’s probably strongly overreacting.

At any rate, reminiscing about past boyfriends serves no good of itself. If it’s regarded as a picture of the lady and the past boyfriend just happens to be in it, then it’s one thing. But if it’s specifically treated as a picture of the lady and her past boyfriend, then it’s essentially reminiscing about the past boyfriends, which might bring some nostalgy and a pleasant memory of auld syne and whatnot, but it doesn’t trump a husband’s feelings. Even if it doesn’t immediately touch his rights, even if the feelings are somewhat unreasonable, those human insecurities should inspire some leniency and the feelings of such close people should be respected. After all, he’s the husband and the in-law. Those guys are not.


I wouldn’t display those photos on the wall, but I would certainly keep the “important” ones in the albums. By important I mean the ones of major events in your daughter’s life, such as her prom pictures. After all, hubby probably went to the prom with a different girl, didn’t he? But if they are just casual pictures, such as photos taken at a party or some such, I would pull those from the albums for now and put them aside. Maybe hubby won’t mind the pictures once they become “ancient history.”

My mother had a very nice picture of me with an ex-boyfriend which she left on display because it was so flattering. This bothered me because when that ended, I was over that guy big-time. She wouldn’t take it down or put it away, so I finally put a picture of myself with the dog (whom I liked much better than the bf!) over the top of it…and until the day comes that she takes the dog picture out of the frame, she will never find the picture of ex-bf and me! heh heh :wink:


I think it’s ridiculous to remove the pictures. Your Son-in-law is being childish.


How many times do y’all sit around and look at these albums, anyway? Not to be rude, but as the SIL, I’d be more annoyed by every trip to my in-laws house involving looking at photograph albums. :wink:
Can’t you just put them up someplace when your daughter and son-in-law come over? Or start at the place y’all left off, if you’ve added more pictures?

I’m just confused about a situation that would call for repeated album viewing, I guess. :shrug:


I’m with JLSacred. SIL needs to grow up and get over it.


Nope. If anyone needs to get over anything, the in-laws need to get over the idea of the husband watching those albums over and over with them. They don’t have the right to expect him to do that. I would hate to turn this thread into a debate, but even if the man is being childish, then it still doesn’t mean his feelings are to be disregarded. All of us have certain weaknesses, certain flaws, things in which we are like children. Those are precious and delicate parts of ourselves and they shouldn’t be trampled.

The pleasure derived from going once again over an album with pictures of past boyfriends doesn’t outrank the suffering which will be inflicted on the husband that way. It’s a simple pleasure vs suffering calculation. Do we really have to browse those albums over and over? If it were a question of whose is going to be on the top, like the husband vs the in-laws, who picks what to do, whose pleasure it’s going to be etc, then one would simply ask whose it were to decide. But if it’s pleasure vs suffering, I don’t think it’s right to expect others to go through painful things just so we could experience the pleasure of their looking at those albums. If we want to look at albums, that’s our thing. But we don’t have any right to make others watch it with us.

If I were married and my in-laws expected me to watch with them some albums with pictures of the wife with previous boyfriends, I would simply refuse. They would have no reason, no good cause and no right to make me watch it. I would be learning no humility nor achieving anything good that way, only inflicting needless further hurts on myself. Once is all right. Twice, maybe. But I don’t think a man needs to look at pictures of his young wife holding hands with previous boyfriends every weekend or anything like that. Let’s choose a different activity to share.


This was my point, too. I don’t understand how often the whole “let’s look at the album” activity could come up.

I know that if it were MY MIL constantly bringing out the albums with pictures of my husband with past girlfriends, she would be doing it deliberately to annoy me. I’m not in any way suggesting that’s what the OP is doing, but perhaps the SIL views it as that…? Maybe it’s not insecurity about seeing his wife with past boyfriends, maybe it’s a reaction to what he perceives as a deliberate insult from his in-laws. :shrug:


I’m neither. I do hope I don’t come off that way - in fact, I’m trying to help here! :slight_smile: I think he might simply be at a loss as to why it happens. For example, if I had images of my hypothetical wife or even girlfriend with past boyfriends displayed to me by her parents consistently, I would think strange things. Are they giving me a hint? Am I being compared? Am I given to understand I have to accept her past? Did they view one of them as a future husband and are they reluctant to let go of the idea? And I’m not a jealous person… In fact, I was sorry to hear how it didn’t work out for my ex with her first crush and I pitied those two being unable to synchronise their affections - even as her boyfriend - when hearing or thinking about it (part of it was because she was a best friend and kind of a little sister, so the boyfriend role wasn’t so predominant in me).

What’s also alarming is that in a normal situation, a healthy and peaceful person doesn’t react emotionally and defensively to pictures of the wife or husband with previous boyfriends or girlfriends. There might be some insecurity there if it’s been just once or twice that he’s seen the photos and seeing his wife holding hands with some guy upset him so much. Pardon using myself as reference again, but I know if I just saw it, I wouldn’t mind. But I can easily imagine how in some special circumstances, it could upset me quite a lot. Favourable comments about the guy, saying some embarrassing things to make the wife blush. On some days I would be able to deal with it and play along, on some other days, I would be deeply hurt. It’s a sensitive matter. Since he’s the husband and their relationship is more important than any pictures, I would be careful not to put a strain on it. Pictures are nice, but there are other things to do or to watch.


Unless it’s a special occasion - like a family gathering or possibly prom or something just take them out of the album and put them in a box. Or ask your daughter what she thinks you should do. When hubby and I got married he was in the Navy. Me and his mom packed up his stuff when I was getting ready to move to be with him. I came across some old pictures of him with other girls. I just put them in an envelope and packed them in a box. When I finally got around to asking what he wanted me to do with them he told just to throw them away.
Some people are more sensitive than others -telling them not to be petty isn’t going to change them. Is it really worth the trouble? I’d just tuck them away.


it has never been an issue. I can’t imagine either of our sons-in-law spending time poring over family albums, and if they did come upon pix of their wives with other friends, they are all normal, well-balanced young men who would not react inappropriately to such a picture.


**On a separate note, a piece of advice to those who are reading this thread:

always try to take multiple pictures, some with just family and some with boyfriends and girlfriends or other non-family members, especially at important events or special occasions.

I don’t have any pictures from my wedding that have my sister without her ex-boyfriend in them. And I didn’t like him much when they were** together. Now I’ll have to get proficient with a photo editing program and cut him out, lol.



Ummm right. I knew I did something wrong. Should have asked first if the son in law got to those albums on his own or if it was a family gathering or whatever.


the main question still remains of how often these albums are looked through. If it was just once or twice, the SIL shouldn’t get so bent out of whack for seeing past pictures of his young bride. And if it’s more than that in recent times, he needs to say something to the inlaws of “no thanks, I’ve seen those before.” (politely of course).

My MIL is always trying to show me pics of my DH’s ex girlfriend and we’ve been together over 10 years. She also lets me know when this gal calls, or writes, or her success (good job, married, kid, whatever) and it’s said in a manner that she kinda wishes my DH would have married that girl instead. However, I have pics in an album that I’ve had since I was a kid of me with exboyfriends and I refuse to get rid of them. My DH doesn’t go through them (although our kids do and they ask “Who’s that guy?”) and I won’t get rid of my prom pics because they are nice pics and the guy in them is a super sweetheart. But this album is mine and we have one that is just strictly my DH’s from his youth.

So either the inlaw parents need to stop showing these albums so often or the SIL needs to calm down and either say something to the inlaws to stop showing them or just smile and wave boys, smile and wave. Then get up and go have a beer (or water).


They sound pretty normal. I don’t see why a woman shouldn’t look at photo albums with her mother. If the man doesn’t want to, hopefully he can do the manly thing and go and watch the game on TV. :wink:

I don’t see why this woman shouldn’t have fond memories of times before her marriage that included old boyfriends. It’s silly to pretend those relationships never existed.


I think it is important to point out that the pictures are the property of the mother and reside in her home so the mother has the final say what happens to these pictures. These pictures are the mother’s reminisces and document the life of her family over the years. Some day they will most likely be the property of the daughter and any siblings. At that point the daughter can decide what to do with bf pictures.

Now people have all kinds of methods of putting together albums. Some families include EVERY picture taken, no matter how poor the quality or how repetitive the subject matter. (I think this was more true in the days prior to digital cameras.) Other people only include the best of the best photos in an album and relegate the remainders to a shoe box somewhere. Some people have albums of each type, with the latter type designed to be shared and the former type as more of a historical record or backup.

I would hope that people that people who put together albums for the express purpose of sharing them with others would only chose the more tasteful pictures in general, and of boyfriends specifically. If that is the case, I wouldn’t expect a mother to have to go through old albums and remove pictures because someone might be offended in the future, (including the subjects of the pictures.)

If the album is one of those that has pictures of everything from the delivery of the child until present day then perhaps those albums need to be edited before they are shared. This is as much for the benefit of the daughter as it is for the SIL. There could be relationships that the daughter would just as soon forget.

If the SIL himself goes rumaging through old pictures and happens to find pictures of his wife with her former boyfriends and doesn’t like it, well, then I say too bad for him. This would also be true if he asks to be shown some old pictures. If the mother is showing old pictures to annoy the SIL then she’s being extremely rude. I would suggest that albums which permanently reside on coffee tables should generally NOT feature old boyfriends.


I’d say just have important ones in there and make them far and few between.

My mom has one picture of each prom/dance I went to, one from high school graduation when I was dating someone else, and one from my 18th birthday. But that’s it. She and my dad weren’t fond of previous boyfriends, so their picture-taking of the boyfriends was minimal anyway.


My MIL has her photo albums under the coffee table. When there’s a lull in the conversation, I’ll sometimes pull them out, or the kids will.

It’s a little akward because the ex in my dh’s life was a wife, not a girlfriend. They had two children together, so there are pregnancy pictures and of course all of their family pictures. She was a bridesmaid in my SisterIL’s wedding, so even my SIL’s wedding albums are full of “the ex”.

I can’t asked my MIL and SIL to cut her out of the pictures, or remove the pictures from the albums. That would be rotten for the kids to see. I’ve just quit looking at the darn albums. When the kids pull them out, I leave the room. They can enjoy looking at pictures and I don’t have to hear, “oh, look at my mom”.

If you have the pictures displayed, you might want to put them in an albums. If he’s looking through albums, put them away when he’s there. His feelings may seem silly, but they’re valid to him. (When dh was adiment about not having another baby, I felt like screaming seeing her beaming face and big, round belly).


closed #19

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit