My brother and I have these conversations about how to properly dispose of the items associated with past relationships. His way, and it seems to be the way of many males I've spoken to, has been to gather up all old letters and photos and have a giant bonfire. I struggle with this idea. For a few reasons.
First of all, I'm not a fan of fire, although I've made greater peace with it in recent years. I grew up quite pyrophobic. Thanks to pyromaniac boyfriends though, I've been slowly initiated into the realm of fire-lovers, or at least fire-admirers.
Secondly, is it entirely necessary to obliterate all outward signs of a past relationship? In my experience, you can burn up all the old mementos you like; the experiences you share with people in relationship do not disappear so easily.
A few months back I went through and deleted a ton of email/msn correspondence and photos off my computer from past relationships, both romantic ones and friendships from the jw life I no longer have. It was cathartic. But really, the memories remain.
I am thinking about a summer bonfire for the more tangible leftovers. Perhaps it will be a symbol of release of the past into the great wide ether. Or, at least, a foundation for roasted marshmallows.