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Confessions: My new wife wants me to get rid of stuff I bought with my ex

 She says I either sell or give them to someone (Photo: Shutterstock)

I’m 31 and have been married for three years. Before my current wife, I had one with whom we had bought household items. We parted ways after disagreements and we are no longer in contact. Now, the current wife doesn’t want to see any of these items including chairs, beds etc. She says I either sell or give them to someone because I used them with my former wife. Please advise me.


What the readers say:

To be on the safe side give the items to a friend or sell them to unknown persons because this will bring bad memories to your family or wife and she will be referring to bad omen on this. Or it will turn to abuse and may cause fights or bad relationships. But some may be treasures or special gifts you can reserve these for visitors or friends to use. Or you may explain to your wife that they have no relationship to your previous girlfriend. 

{Onyango Outha }

If she doesn’t want to see anything your former bought, no matter what you tell her, you may be in for some rough ride. It is never strange for people to feel some sense of insecurity, especially when they still see things which they believe would still take you ‘down memory lane’. There are even those who have burnt letters and photos of their perceived competitors, just in case it helps in the healing process. However, some of us have still gone ahead and rebuilt or reconstructed the ‘bridges’ and had the flame rekindled. Therefore, my take is that you sit your wife down and reassure her and remind her that disposing those things may not be enough to keep off her: it’s in the heart. Alternatively, give her the items to keep but let her replace them with what she believes will make her feel safe. 

{Tasma Saka}

Martin, sorry for the disappointment from your first marriage. Sometimes life never gives us what we really desire. It instead comes with bitter pills and sweet ones in unequal measure. This situation always calls for sobriety before one moves from one step to another. What has caused sudden change in how you people operate? Why have the items changed your style of thinking and reasoning? What has come over everything? Something seems amiss. Sort out issues early and once for all otherwise the previous is almost happening again. Let her categorically tell where all these discomfort is coming from. All said and done, discuss with your new wife your likes and discomforts early to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. Let her equally reject all these items when she has full replacement! But if all are to be settled by you, then let her go slowly. Only bite what you can comfortably hold in your mouth and chew. 

{Ouma Ragumo-Sifuyo}

Boke says: 

Dear Nathan,

Is your current wife aware that you too got influenced by your ex-wife in some way? What will she do to you since she is not able to point out those aspects? You see relationships never leave people the same. Well, that is on a light note.   

There are no rigid rules on how to adjust and move on after a divorce as well as how much physical changes of your environment that a new spouse can demand or accommodate. This is a case of doing as the situation serves.  

While it is favourable to you that she understands that there are no clean slates after a divorce, you too need to understand her need to feel comfortable in that home. 

Our choice and taste for household stuff just like our choice for fashion, cars and many other things are influenced by our emotional state, temperament or personality. So it should not surprise you that your  current wife desires a change because that is not her choice. Actually she wants to feel that that space is hers and reflects her authentic personality. Otherwise she will feel like an intruder, a stranger of some sort trying to fit in. She simply needs to have her personal signature in that house.  

Then there is the obvious feeling of insecurity, where she gets the impression that she’s got to do better than her predecessor. It is not an interesting position to be in. 

Try and find a middle ground, see what you can dispose of and what you can keep. Part of the compromise will be for her to make do with cheaper furniture. This is if you did not have a prior budget for the same and the fact that you are likely not to get a good price for your used household. 

Otherwise you do not need to have a big fight over this. This change could be therapeutic even for you. You just never know.  

Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology 

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