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Purging, or wait?

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Lark posted 6/21/2014 17:19 PM

I was reading another post about keeping items from the A... and it has me wondering if there's any thoughts on holding onto items vs. getting rid of them?

I'm only a couple weeks in... so I am unsure whether I'm going too fast or what in my reactions to what I'm finding. So far my reaction has been an intense need to see, know, read things in detail, turn it over and over and over again, almost in a masochistic way because oh, it hurts. But I can't stop. And then I rage, and then I cry. And I do this on my own, then my husband sits with me and does it with me. Then I rage more. Then I cry more. And more turning...until eventually I feel I know it as best I can and am just tired. And then I want it destroyed so that it only exists in my memory rather than in hand.

I spent days reading and re-reading emails. I read them to myself, I read them to him, I'd silently turn the computer to him and have him read them to himself so I could watch his face while he read them. I memorized lines. I pulled up pictures of our family from the days he sent them. I did this on my own, then I made him look at them with me. I pulled up phone logs of the days he sent the emails, pointing out how he juggled both OW at once.

I agonized..I still agonize. But then I hit a wall and wanted to burn them all. I wanted to read each one once more before burning it... but when we got to the beach, I just took the hundreds of pages and threw the whole stack in. I didn't want to look a them again. He set them on fire and held my hand while we watched them burn. It was cathartic. It was also part of me reclaiming the beach.

I've had moments where I wanted to go reread the emails again... but I'm glad I can't. Them in my memory is enough torture to me and I was tired of picking at the wound. It hurts enough as is.

A watch she gave him, I threw into a charity box - and noted with irony the charity box was named "Community of Change."

I do have to wonder, though, if I'm going too fast in the discover-torture-destroy cycle. I want to burn the phone logs next, but haven't found the energy to print them all out. I don't want to look at them all again, and that will happen when I print them out. But I also want to burn them. If we didn't have kids, I'd take all of the pictures of the last year and burn them. I look through them and it just hurts to know it was all a lie. My entire life was a lie, everything was tainted by them.. they OW were there, in all of those pictures, either because he was with them or midconversation with them and just waiting til the next chance to text them. But I can't delete the pictures because my girls are there.

But then I wonder if I should pause, wait, stand still and keep them somewhere until a future date when I'm not so shellshocked. Will I regret not going through them again and again? I'm not sure.

Skan posted 6/22/2014 11:02 AM

Oh, I can empathize with you! I really can. I threw away so many things, discounted so many memories, photos, memories. Because they didn't feel real to me. The photos he used on his F-Me sites? One I took of him in Paris, the trip that I surprised him with because that was one of the places that he vowed he would go to, when he was a child. Used to provide proof to potential skanks that he was a "world traveler." The wind-blown photo of him, my favorite, that showed him in all of his happiness and joy, that was his "profile" photo. That was taken while we were sailing in San Francisco together. I wanted to take a knife to all of them, smash the computer they were on. I actually threw away our wedding sampler that I made. He found it in the trash and hid it until I could look at it again.

I too, have a stack of printouts and, should we have a recommitment ceremony, I will burn them then. But they sit in a secure place right now. Because I'm just not ready to close that door.

I will say, think long and carefully about throwing away memories that involve your children. For now, I would suggest putting them away in a box and storing it somewhere. Deal with it later, when you're not so raw. When you know if you're going to stay or go. Because as I discovered, when something is gone, it's gone. There are a few things I regret throwing out now, although it certainly felt carthadic when I did that. So try to go slowly. (((hugs)))

Delilah169 posted 6/22/2014 16:47 PM


I have a file at least 7 inches thick. All the poison OW emailed, texted, wrote to me in the beginning. All filth, vomit, cruelty. All the phone records I was able to print out. All the texts they sent each other that I could find. Copies of all the letters I sent him, her. Photos of our pre-A life when OW was our friend and we spent holidays, birthdays, Anniversaries, even went on a cruise with them.

I'm over a year from DD, and I still am not emotionally able to destroy this file. I did attempt to destroy our bed bare-handed. I did dig a big hole and plant a hydranga on a spot in our yard where I found out they had been intimate. I am amazed and proud of you that you were able to purge your written stuff already.

Anything you're unsure about right now, you have some reason as to why you are. I would put it all away somewhere you can't see it every day. You will know when you're emotionally ready to destroy it. You may find later that some things you won't want to destroy, like the pics w/your girls.

Give yourself some time on it.

annb posted 6/23/2014 06:37 AM

I am nine years out and I saved the "evidence." It is tucked away in a safe place.

I haven't looked at it in years.

Personally, I wouldn't destroy anything until you feel 100% sure that the A is over and you are on a good path to healing and can feel safe again.

10yearsafter posted 6/23/2014 07:23 AM

I am 10 years out and I still have some things. I don't know why. I'm sure my fWW has no idea I still have anything.

Lark posted 6/23/2014 10:55 AM

I guess I'm not sure what to keep things like the emails for except hurting myself. I wont be destroying any pictures because those are my daughters' memories too... and my time with them was the only real I had.

Is there a reason, like legal or something, that I should hold onto them? We live in no fault state.

I was using them to keep actively revisiting the pain, which I needed to do while piecing it together. But I didn't want the material part to revisit after I hit that wall of burn it. And i really didn't want any gifts she'd given him to be in my house, my place

ShockedBird posted 6/23/2014 20:43 PM

I'm sorry you are going through this. My DDay was about 10 days ago, and I certainly understand the desire to destroy things that trigger the worst of my feelings.
You may find that your need to keep reviewing the evidence is so that you can process what happened and decide if you really still want to stay in the relationship. You may want to know everything, while at the same time you'll find things you can't "un-find", meaning that these extra details serve no purpose other than to hurt you.
I agree with the other advice posted here - that you shouldn't destroy things too rashly, because once they're gone they're gone.
Regarding whether you should keep things for legal purposes, you should talk to a lawyer if you think you have anything that might be needed. Laws vary so much by state that it will be difficult for anyone to give you meaningful advice here regarding what to retain if you end up in a divorce suit.
Best of luck to you. You'll get through this. Just do whatever you need to do in order to take care of yourself and your girls.

RidingHealingRd posted 6/24/2014 00:37 AM

I did not have a lot of "evidence" as much of my WH affair was carried on via business phone, computer.

I do have some emails, ones found on his phone on Dday.

Much of my "evidence" is in the form secret audio tapes where I got him to admit and share details of the A.

I shall keep the evidence until the day that he dies. I have multiple copies stored safely away. I no longer look at/listen to the stuff but am at ease just knowing that I have it.

Lark posted 6/24/2014 00:44 AM

For those who have kept things - do you think it helps the R process along, in a way gives you something secure to hold onto? Like, I feel like right now I have no cue what is real and what is not. When I look at text logs (I just have date/timestamp... no content, he deleted that), I realize that the actions are the only thing I know for "real" and the text logs give me that.

then another part of me feels like it'll be hard to move forward if I'm still carrying so many reminders of the pain. The memories are awful enough. The phone logs, if I print them all out and burn them, it'll just be a symbolic burn and way of "closing" that door, as the records will still be there. I already asked the phone carrier if they can delete past logs if we both sign off on it and they said no.

KatieG posted 6/24/2014 02:46 AM

I'm 8 months out, in R, and I still have everything. I have thought of deleting my 'A file ' several times. But now I'm glad I haven't. I don't look at it the moment, but I want it to be there. I also took a break from SI and came back, so things change.

It's such a roller coaster I know I may change and change again depending what happens. When I have read the emails over the months I can feel how I have changed. Initially, I threw up, cried, felt devastated. Then anger, then cried, then smirked, then shook my head, then cried... you get the picture. It helped to know where I was. I see them now as a snapshot in time and remind myself we're not there now.

Also processing stuff takes time. Early on, I would notice stuff I hadn't seen before and it helped me piece it together. It generated questions for me to ask and provided input to the time line. I was also able, after wanting to delete it but didn't, show my WBF and see his reaction, or remind him of dates. I never thought we'd get to that because we rugswept for a while. It feels good to know he's seen it and know that I have it. I asked him delete absolutely everything he had relating to her, so I'm the only one that has it.

Having said all that, if I had deleted it I would still remember, I'd just be in a different place. It may have helped, may not. With all this stuff it's just where we are now.

MakingMyFuture posted 6/24/2014 03:38 AM

Given that my WH tried to delete the evidence I did have so I could not share it with the OWBH, I became paranoid about having the information. I have multiple copies on hard drives and I also uploaded 1 to a secure cloud account so it will always be available should I need it and in case a computer is lost, wiped or something else.

At 1 year 5 months, I've looked back at it with fresh eyes. It has helped me figure out timelines, ask new/important questions I was too confused to ask initially, and also validate some of the things my WH has told me. Now if I look at it, I can see how superficial/shallow and kind of pathetic the entire thing was.

It has also helped though in another way...because I want us to be ok so badly and he is great about being great if nothing happened and doesn't really have any interest in ever discussing/doing work. Looking at what happened reminds me it was real, and gives me courage I need to push for true R and a better marriage instead of just 'going back to the way we were'.

But I do look at at it less. One of the dangers of computers and the internet is that they have a long memory...and there is a bit of blissful forgetting/distance needed to heal. So I look less but always keep it just in case.

12yearsloyal posted 6/24/2014 07:12 AM

I printed out email and put them in a secret file. I am keeping my evidence for a while. I would rather have it then be sorry later. I don't look at it so it does not bother me to have it in a file. I did not want to regret no having the evidence in case down the road for some reason no one believes me that WS had an A. I wanted to document this and I did.

RidingHealingRd posted 6/24/2014 21:45 PM

do you think it helps the R process along

Keeping the evidence did not help or hinder the R for me.

I probably will never need it but if I ever do, for whatever reason, I have it. What if he cheats a 2nd time and I D his ass. It may not matter in court but I would do my very best to use that against him. Exhibit A: Proof of his poor character, lack of integrity, and dishonesty.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I stated in court that he cheated but I had no proof of it, my WH would lie and say he did not cheat.

He knows I have it, he knows I will never destroy it, he knows I would use it.

homewrecked2011 posted 6/24/2014 22:15 PM

Save it. Save some with different friends.

If you ever try to D him, you may need this, even though you NOW live in a no fault state,,,, you might later......

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