To shred or not to shred

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2008
To shred or not to shred
Mon, 06-08-2009 - 3:00pm

I have saved IM's between my H and his EA partner, and I think I am finally ready to send them through the shredder. I am hoping this will be a huge relief and a help to moving on. But, I actually went to do it the other day and couldn't go through with it.

I was wondering what experiences others have had with getting rid of vs. keeping evidence.

BTW, it's been 18 months since d-day (but that was about other betrayals) and just over a year since the last known contact with the EA partner.

The reason I printed these out and kept them in the first place, was because my H was not admitting that the relationship was inappropriate. I was so afraid that they would start talking again and that he would just say I was over reacting. I felt I needed hard and fast evidence to prove that I was not.

A few weeks ago, though, my H wrote me an email admitting to how inappropriate it was. He listed specifics including the fact that he lied to me about the relationship and that the lie was calculated and planned. It lifted a huge burden and went a long way to helping me see the true changes in him.

So I guess that email now serves all the purposes the IM's served. It "proves" the inappropriate nature of the relationship (in a different way) and it helps me remember what we are over-coming (I tend to minimize and sweep things under the rug).

Anyway, any thought you have or any experiences you wish to share are much appreciated as always. My H is out of town this weekend, so I'll probably do the shredding then. Any ideas for a ceremonial send off would be appreciated as well.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2008
Mon, 06-08-2009 - 3:10pm

I'd say shred it. I held on to a piece of paper with her cell phone number and full name written on it for over a year so I could check our bill. It was a huge relief the day I let that go. I also continually worried that one of children would find it and question me about it.

Now, I have to decide what to do with the journal I kept, all I need is for them to lay their hands on that thing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Mon, 06-08-2009 - 3:26pm
If you're sitting on the fence about this decision, there's a reason for that.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2007
Tue, 06-09-2009 - 2:20am

I agree with the last poster...if your not sure if want to get rid of them....then just wait.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2009
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 6:28pm
in my opinion you should keep them a little longer. someone else said that if you must ask that question the time is not yet right. be patient with yourself but also realize that you in most cases should not revisit that painful past unless you have a valid reason. good luck
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-28-2007
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 7:22pm
I agree with the other posters. Keep it, you will know when your ready to get rid of it.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!
Avatar for cirrus1993
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-12-2003
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 11:56pm

I say shred. It has been 6 mos for me and I had printed out all the emails I found initially, and I have hand shredded them into the trash after I found them different places again during cleaning the house. Finding them again was painful. I even saved some on my computer which I had dh delete for me because for some reason I wanted to hang on to them, even though just seeing the subject line made me want to vomit. Its like you want to justify your pain because it still hurts, and I even made dh re-read them sometimes when I came across them. But you have to let it go. You really do.

I think you know when you are ready though, sometimes I would want to refer back to something to get more info or make sense out of it as if there was any sense in cheating, which as I read somewhere down this road "you can't make sense out of non-sense".

I am rather hippocritical though as I write this, because I still keep the photo of them together I got from her facebook. I dont know why. I think about deleting it every time I see the folder I have it in and I havent looked at it in almost a month, but I dont delete it. But just the fact that I am thinking about it, probably means I am about ready to let that go too.

Avatar for pater_familia
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Thu, 06-11-2009 - 1:48am

I'm in the same boat with the phone record. Ugh! I actually went through them again today and was thinking about posting a similar question. All these are can only be classified as self torture.

Two things. Did you hire a lawyer in all this? You might give them to him in case you need evidence for the affair.

You might do what I'm thinking of doing, and just letting my spouse know that on such and such a date, we are going to revisit all the evidence, we are going to take a deep breath and look at it all together. "YOU (my spouse) are going to let me cry and I am not going to attack and you, and we are going to own what you did. When we are done, I'm going to shred this stuff and If you will do this with me, and help me understand what happened so that I no longer have to sit and wonder. You are going to look me in the eyes, own this and apologize, and I'm going to accept what you did as a very big step toward forgiving you. If you will do this with me, this way, I believe you can heal this wound in my soul, I can let this stuff go, and we can move on."

Sorry, I'm like running to the pain lately. Maybe that isn't healthy for everyone.

So yeah, I went through the phone records. It's all there, the phone calls that they made to set up their nights together. The phone calls to say, "I'm just outside," "I'm on my way" or "I know we said good bye but I can't let you go just yet." I know all the conversations, she told me. She walked me through many of them. Woof!

We had a big moment of healing this morning. She's been freaked out about intimacy because she feels that her sex drive was part of what got us here, and she was able to articulate some of this which really set me at ease. I kept jumping to the worst conclusions. So I picked her up at work this morning in the van. I made her get in the back seat with me in the parking lot and I just set her on my lap and held her and stroked her hair and told her that I was her best friend whether she knew it or not. I'm just going to hold her like I did when we were dating and try and talk about the kids and our future. It was lovely.

So why the freak did I go through the phone records? What the blazes is wrong with me???


5 kids ages 15-9, D Day: August 5, 2008


We have five kids. Our D-Day was in August, 2008.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2008
Thu, 06-11-2009 - 5:13pm
I agree with other posters. When you are ready to shred the pages, you will know. Right now it is enough that you are thinking of being able to shred them. That alone is a powerful step! But as long as there is a tiny voice inside you that isn't ready to shred, then don't shred. No one else can push you on this-- only you can decide when you are ready. Do it at your own pace and in your own way. Who knows? You might even only shred one page at a time over a course of months, or you might keep everything for another year- doesn't matter. Do what is right for you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-01-2008
Thu, 06-11-2009 - 5:48pm
I held onto everything for 4 years! Until I was ready to let it go and I must admit it did feel good to let it all go! But I guess I needed it until I felt more secure.. I just woke up one morning and deleted and burned everything I had with out a second thought!