From the inbox comes the following:
I’m a recent widower and am in a new relationship. My girlfriend, who is divorced, has asked me to remove photos and posts on my Facebook timeline related to my late wife. I don’t mind taking down photos in my home but am having a harder time with the Facebook photos and posts because they’re snapshots in time. I want to move forward with this relationship but this seems to be a deal breaker for her. Is her request reasonable or am I being too sensitive?
Don’t Know What to Do
Hi Don’t Know What to Do,
I’ve posted about what widowers should do with photos in the home and how to update social media accounts once you’re in a serious relationship (see here, here, and here) but I’ve never heard or anyone asking a widower to delete past photos and posts from their profile.
Everyone has a past and thanks to social media, it’s something that anyone who is friends with you can access. I don’t know if you’re girlfriend’s been scrolling through past photos and feels that she can’t measure up to your late wire or if she did a similar purge after her divorce and feels that you should do the same. Maybe something else is going on. Whatever the reason, I see no reason to delete past photos and posts unless you’re constantly looking at them, commenting on them, re-posting memories, or find that they’re otherwise stopping you from moving forward with this relationship.
If you haven’t already, set aside some time to talk with your girlfriend about why she feels this way about the old photos and posts. Listen to what she has to say. This doesn’t mean you should remove the photos and posts but at least it will help you understand why she’s feels that way and whether it’s your social media behavior or something else that spurred her request.
In the end, if the past Facebook photos and posts are still a deal breaker you need to decide what’s more important: her or the posts. Personally, I don’t see a reason to remove them unless they’re pulling you back to the past instead of moving you forward. Her request borders on asking you to completely erase your past. Part of dating a widower is accepting the fact he was married and a small part of his heart will be for the late wife. If she can’t accept that fact or that your past lives somewhere on Facebook servers, then she shouldn’t be dating a widower.