My friend Jennifer once told me she was going to film a puppet show using all of her dumb ex-boyfriend's left-behind socks and underwear and send him the video. What do you do with the detrius of love lost?
Some people keep a shoebox or drawer of old letters and photographs. Some people throw everything away, for a clean slate. For others, a combination — throwing away the crap and keeping only the truly meaningful items. Now, there's an art project called the Museum Of Broken Relationships which serves as a destination for mementos. According to BlackBook:
Everyone is welcome to donate the material remnants of love lost, along with the story behind the object. Submissions are anonymous, and have ranged from the expected love letters and faded photographs, to more unique donations including a leg prosthesis and a gall stone.
Obviously the way you feel about how the relationship ended affects how you feel about the items. My friend Jennifer was going to call her video "Congratulations On All Of Your SUCKsess." But maybe instead of dirty slacker socks, you have a really touching letter, or a well-intentioned piece of jewelry, or goofy but lovable stuffed animal. If the relationship is over, why keep it? Are you building love archives? Do you need a physical remember of your relationship, or do you just want one? What purpose do these items serve? Warnings? Memory triggers? Instigators for bouts of nostalgia? Could you argue that if one needs a little gold locket to remember an ex-boyfriend, he's maybe best forgotten? Could it be an exercise in letting go of the past to send something to the Museum?
Of course, although the person associated with the item may dictate the way you treat it, it's important to realize that they are not one in the same. And most objects are mundane and meaningless when taken out of context. The caption on the stuffed animal above — an exhibit in the Museum — reads:
"I love you" – WHAT A LIE! LIES, DAMN LIES! Yes, it's like that when you are young, naïve and in love. And you don't realize your boyfriend started dating you just because he wanted to take you to bed! I got this teddy bear for Valentine's. He survived on top of my closet in a plastic bag, because it wasn't him who hurt me, but the idiot who left him behind.