Everyone handles grief differently. Some are very proactive about fighting through it once the time comes, while others prefer to take their time, really sitting with and honoring their emotions before moving forward. Some will hang onto mementos related to that grief as reminders, and some will sever all reference to what happened. None of these responses are wrong, just different.
The only thing that's wrong is interfering with someone's process of dealing with grief. Unless they're genuinely harming themselves, no one should come in between a person and the way they move through sadness.
Losing a partner or spouse is one of life's biggest tragedies. It's an indescribable pain that can stay with us for a lifetime, keeping someone stuck where they were when that person passed, unable to move on.
When that person does eventually feel ready to move on and perhaps welcome a new partner into their life, it makes sense that they'd want to honor their previous spouse in whatever way feels comfortable for them, keeping their memory alive after their passing.
Against Better Judgement
While most people are incredibly respectful of such a thing, there are those who think of an ex as a threat, no matter how that ex left the person's life. This innate, uncontrollable jealousy can lead to some questionable actions.
This is what happened to an anonymous man who turned to Reddit for help dissecting the situation he was in, asking for a third-party perspective to decide who was in the wrong, himself or his girlfriend.
His post was titled, "AITA (Am I The A**hole) for kicking girlfriend out after she deleted dead wife's pictures from my phone?" Already, it starts off heated.
"My (25m) wife died 19 months ago. It was real hard on [me] the first few months but finally started putting myself back out there," his post began. "I met [my] girlfriend (23F) 7 months ago. It was going pretty well and she moved into my apartment around 4ish months ago. In hindsight we probably rushed this."
Her Own Rocky History
He explains that his current girlfriend has been cheated on before, making her a little "overprotective and clingy." He allowed her to have the password to his phone in order to ease her mind a little bit, and that's where she found a photo of him and his wife.
When she asked who it was, he explained honestly. "She seemed to take it well but was a little bit awkward about it."
Then everything changed just a few days later.
Gone So Suddenly
"Fast forward 3 days and I go to take a shower and leave my phone on charge in the bedroom. I come out to see my phone unlocked. Weird but I let it slide. Later in that day I go through my photos to upload a new profile picture to Facebook. All the photos of my wife and me and her together are gone without a trace. [...] I knew it was my girlfriend.
"I confronted her about it and she started yelling. She said I need to get over it and get rid of all the reminders of my wife because she was here now."
"She also called me really creepy for 'having nude pictures of a dead girl'. (Granted I probably should have deleted those a long time ago but I didn't want to because they were special to me, might be [the a**hole] on my part there)."
Still, he was furious. "I told her to get out. She stared at me in disbelief as I told her again. She packed some stuff and left. I went to my room and cried. I woke up to many missed calls and angry texts from her and her friends for calling me the [a**hole]."
Lost And Confused
"This might not have been a big deal but she permanently got rid of 95% of the pictures of my wife. I still have some printed like the wedding and some vacations, but I'm still missing a big chunk of them. I feel like she deleted a part of me as well."
He agrees he might have been a bit rash and doesn't want his girlfriend out of his life completely, now worried that he might have been wrong for kicking her out. "I do miss her though and want to talk but I’m confused. Reddit, am I in the wrong?"
They Have His Back
Thankfully, the comments were very supportive of him and his reaction, not finding him to be in the wrong in the slightest.
"Those were your private photos of your deceased spouse and I am so sorry. That bunny boiler had no excuse to permanently delete what a) did not belong to her and b) you can never get back. [...] Get well rid of her," read one comment.
"She's jealous of your late wife. As in the one person you can literally never ever cheat on her with. She completely ruined memories that you cannot get back due to her own insecurities and need to control you and didn't even apologize," explained another.
There's Still Hope
The most popular comment simply read, "Don't let her back in your life, she needs therapy for her issues."
Beyond passing the requested judgment, there were also plenty of people offering advice for ways to get the photos back. See, even if you delete a photo off a phone, there's usually a backup version of it available somewhere, even if you can't see it at first. This community of commenters was determined to help this man get his photos back.
Too Far Gone
What the girlfriend did was drastic and extreme. To erase the memory of someone who was so dear to another person because you're jealous of their presence says far more about you than it does the person who kept those photos to begin with.
We can only hope that in him kicking her out, she had a bit of a wake-up call and can recognize that these jealousy issues have gotten out of hand, even if her trust has been broken before.
Hopefully, the author can retrieve the photos, continue to heal, and find someone who respects his wife for who she was in his life.
To learn more about your own needs and how to fulfill those of your significant other, you might want a birth chart reading. By unraveling the secrets of the stars, you can set yourself up for future relationship success. All you need is your date of birth!