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Old Emails and a Bad Memory


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Back in 2013 I was sleeping with a woman and during that time we had exchanged emails that contained sexual images of each other along with sex talk/sexting, we did this throughout 2013 and eventually went our separate ways in 2013.

I never deleted those original emails and over the years after completely forgot about them and have not looked at them or seen them since.

Fast forward to 2016, I meet my current girlfriend, and we have now been together for 6 years and have been living together for just over a month and I started to look for a new job. So, while applying for jobs online, I needed to submit my education history and since I have been with my current employer for 10 years, I don't recall what grades I got in school or the years in which I got them...

So, I look in my emails for a CV I have sent previously which I know has this information on, and while looking for the CV, these emails, and images from 2013 pop up in the list of emails as I am looking, and my girlfriend sees these emails and at first is chilled and is curious as to what they are.

As soon as I seen the emails it all came flooding back and I remembered what they were, and I could see that she was really upset that I had them and started asking why have I kept them for 6 years (the length of our relationship). I said I had completely forgot about them as they were sent in 2013, 3 years before I met her and have never seen them since 2013.

She asked me to delete them, and I agreed to do so, but now she wants me to go through ALL my emails from before we met as I don’t know if anymore emails of that sort are in there. I don’t think there are anymore like that, but I can’t be 100% sure.

I told her no, am not going to go through 9,390 emails to look for some emails that may or may not be there from before when I met her.

I told her she could look through them if she wants to but am not going to waste my time in doing so.

She initially agreed to do this but then said she didn’t want to and that I should do it.

Now she is saying if I don’t go through the email she is going to move out and end the relationship.

Any advice or questions would be grateful!

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From the way you responded to her blithely and refused to do what she asked it seems you didn’t acknowledge how hurtful it was for her to see those emails. You didn’t do anything wrong by forgetting to delete them or still having them but you answered her poorly when you appeared to dismiss her concerns and suggest you don’t have time to delete further messages. 

Her reaction also seems like this might not be a first occurrence where she distrusts you or your character. She’s ready to leave just because of emails long before you met. It doesn’t add up.  Do you have recurring trust issues in the relationship? 

It’s sad that the relationship could end because of something like this. I think you offended her in the way you responded and didn’t take time to deal with it and she offended you by threatening to leave. These are not good ways to communicate with one another or fight fair. Apologize and make up and get rid of the photos. Put in the effort and also think about whether she’s someone you want to be with. You both may be on your way out of this relationship due to existing problems before this incident.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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I find emails from 2009 in my old email account when I do searches for an email - not like you described but random, irrelevant stuff and I bet there are emails I had with exes somewhere in there, who knows. 

My husband probably has those too -never gave it a thought -maybe his have surfaced when he's done an email search similar to the one you needed to do. 

I did ask him many years ago to make sure he was unsubscribed to the emails match.com would send him with potential matches -he and his guy friend would get those and joke about them - I was worried -just like it had happened to me -that he'd be matched with someone we knew or that person we knew would be matched with him and it would give the impression he was single.  He did so immediately.  I had no issues with trust and I asked nothing more of him -and this is key -our relationship was 100% secure and stable so it didn't open any can of worms for me.  Seems to be triggering your girlfriend though -your situation.

Just tell her you're not tidy about cleaning out old emails in general so you can't know what's in there and even if you did search and delete you wouldn't know if there was something else lurking.  Sure, delete those blatantly sexual ones I guess - if you can find all of them but beyond that what she's asking doesn't make sense.  I bet she's using it as an excuse -anything else going on in your relationship? 

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Yikes, sounds like your girlfriend has some serious trust issues and insecurities, this is the tip of the iceberg. It sounds like this is going to be one of the 12 labors of Hercules to get her calmed down from this; as others have said it seems like she's looking for an out or worse how easy you are to manipulate.  After 6 years  she should already know your character and trustworthiness, I would be seriously reconsidering the relationship at this point.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

From the way you responded to her blithely and refused to do what she asked it seems you didn’t acknowledge how hurtful it was for her to see those emails. You didn’t do anything wrong by forgetting to delete them or still having them but you answered her poorly when you appeared to dismiss her concerns and suggest you don’t have time to delete further messages. 

Her reaction also seems like this might not be a first occurrence where she distrusts you or your character. She’s ready to leave just because of emails long before you met. It doesn’t add up.  Do you have recurring trust issues in the relationship? 

It’s sad that the relationship could end because of something like this. I think you offended her in the way you responded and didn’t take time to deal with it and she offended you by threatening to leave. These are not good ways to communicate with one another or fight fair. Apologize and make up and get rid of the photos. Put in the effort and also think about whether she’s someone you want to be with. You both may be on your way out of this relationship due to existing problems before this incident.

I appreciate the time you have taken to read and respond.

I agree, I didn't act correct when this happened and immediately became defensive because of the way she acted to something that happened before I met her. From the way she was talking, she was talking as if I have actively been hiding this from her even though I told her I had not.

I even said to her, 'If I am hiding this from you, on purpose, why would I look through my emails with you there looking at them with me?' Doesn't make sense.

Our relationship to this point has been solid, we have been talking about getting married and the day before this happened I was in a jewelry shop looking at wedding and engagement rings. I want to spend the rest of my life with her and she has said she wants to spend hers with me.

I know her ex/ex's have been absolutely horrid and she can't let that go. I helped her a lot in the beginning because of how f**ked her ex's had messed her life up, abusive and mentally f**king with her, but I have done nothing to her to make her not trust me. 

Edited by JBAKER2009
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1 minute ago, JBAKER2009 said:

I appreciate the time you have taken to read and respond.

I agree, I didn't act correct when this happened and immediately became defensive because of the way she acted to something that happened before I met her. From the way she was talking, she was talking as if I have actively been hiding this from her even though I told her I had not.

I even said to her, 'If I am hiding this from you, on purpose, why would I look through my emails with you there looking at them with me? Doesn't make sense.

Our relationship to this point has been solid, we have been talking about getting married and the day before this happened I was in a jewelry shop looking at wedding and engagement rings. I want to spend the rest of my life with her and she has said she wants to spend hers with me.

I know her ex/ex's have been absolutely horrid and she can't let that go. I helped her a lot in the beginning because of how ***ed her ex's had messed her life up, abusive and mentally ***ing with her, but I have done nothing to her to make her not trust me. 

I’m sorry to hear this. I’d put the marriage plans on hold and not buy any rings. She overreacted very badly and I’d reconsider whether a life with her is a life like walking on constant eggshells because you’re making up for all the past wrongs of ex-bfs that you have nothing to do with. 

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20 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I find emails from 2009 in my old email account when I do searches for an email - not like you described but random, irrelevant stuff and I bet there are emails I had with exes somewhere in there, who knows. 

My husband probably has those too -never gave it a thought -maybe his have surfaced when he's done an email search similar to the one you needed to do. 

I did ask him many years ago to make sure he was unsubscribed to the emails match.com would send him with potential matches -he and his guy friend would get those and joke about them - I was worried -just like it had happened to me -that he'd be matched with someone we knew or that person we knew would be matched with him and it would give the impression he was single.  He did so immediately.  I had no issues with trust and I asked nothing more of him -and this is key -our relationship was 100% secure and stable so it didn't open any can of worms for me.  Seems to be triggering your girlfriend though -your situation.

Just tell her you're not tidy about cleaning out old emails in general so you can't know what's in there and even if you did search and delete you wouldn't know if there was something else lurking.  Sure, delete those blatantly sexual ones I guess - if you can find all of them but beyond that what she's asking doesn't make sense.  I bet she's using it as an excuse -anything else going on in your relationship? 

I appreciated the time you have taken to read and respond.

We met online also and we both deleted the app we used to meet each other and have never had any trust issues.

I think she honestly thought I would back down, and go through my emails, because of her threat to leave over it. I think she regretting saying that. It's still very early and feelings are rough right now.

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I agree with Rose and especially since these exes were many years ago at this point! It shouldn't be on you especially in this kind of case.  You likely will have to look through old emails if for example you want to plan some sort of engagement or wedding reception to find contact info and you don't need this sort of thing coming up at a time of what should be joy and excitement.

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9 minutes ago, Coily said:

Yikes, sounds like your girlfriend has some serious trust issues and insecurities, this is the tip of the iceberg. It sounds like this is going to be one of the 12 labors of Hercules to get her calmed down from this; as others have said it seems like she's looking for an out or worse how easy you are to manipulate.  After 6 years  she should already know your character and trustworthiness, I would be I seriously reconsidering the relationship at this point.

I appreciated the time you have taken to read and respond.

I know her ex's fu**ed her up badly emotionally and mentally, but we have been solid!

We were talking about getting married and all kinds just before this happened.

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Take some time to think about this and let it sink in. Don’t marry her or tie the knot just yet. It seems rushed considering she can’t control her reactions or fears inherent of the past. 

Is this the first time she’s threatened to leave or has it happened before?

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Just now, Rose Mosse said:

Take some time to think about this and let it sink in. Don’t marry her or tie the knot just yet. It seems rushed considering she can’t control her reactions or fears inherent of the past. 

Is this the first time she’s threatened to leave or has it happened before?

I am going to hold off for now, I was so close to buying a ring. Was in the jewelers on Saturday, and this happened on Tuesday.

In 6 years this is our first big argument. She has never threatened to leave before or ever questioned the trust between us. 

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3 minutes ago, Coily said:

Has she sought professional counseling for the damage done to her by exes? Before rushing any deeper into this relationship, it maybe time for her to get help past these issues.

That is a very good point, we have not thought about that. 

To be honest, even I don't know the full extent of what happened with her ex's, she has only told me a few things but I think there is a lot more she hasn't told me and I don't want to drag that pain back up.

If this does resolve, I will definitely look in to that, thank you.

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7 minutes ago, JBAKER2009 said:

I am going to hold off for now, I was so close to buying a ring. Was in the jewelers on Saturday, and this happened on Tuesday.

In 6 years this is our first big argument. She has never threatened to leave before or ever questioned the trust between us. 

It takes two for any relationship to work so whether it does or not also depends on you acknowledging that you could have handled the situation with the racy old photos a little better (to her) and her admitting that she has a problem and she overreacted.  

You may find in the coming days that there is more under the surface than previously thought.

It seems strange that she would react this way for the first time or threaten to end the relationship after six years together. I’m sure she knew a marriage proposal was coming soon so why jeopardize a life together or cause a partner(you) to have doubts?

I think it’s best to be prepared and remain open or listening to what she might have to say. You may be blindsided by her telling you things you’re not prepared to hear. Talk about any issues openly and when you’re both at rest or feeling more calm. 

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Well I think your girlfriend is probably being too jealous and also over reacting. I'm not sure if maybe I also wouldn't necessarily like it if I found this but I probably wouldn't be jealous to this extent. I actually am a jealous person but I also know that everyone has a past. And also that it's fine to do whatever and see whoever when people are actually single.

I think if I found some sexy photos of an ex on my partner's phone or something, maybe I'd ask them to delete those particular photos. But I don't think I'd ask my partner to literally go through their whole photo gallery going years back and look for those kinds of pictures.

Unless you're in a relationship with someone who's a virgin and never been in a relationship, we all know that our partner has been with other people before. So while yes it's not great to find these kinds of E-mails but it's also not the end of the world.

I also think to threaten to move out and end your relationship is a bit dramatic on your girlfriend's part. 

However, having said all that....You obviously love this woman, you were thinking of proposing to her. My advice is just to mass delete your whole E-mail Inbox going back a certain time. I actually don't think that would take too long.

I use Hotmail and I usually had a paid Microsoft Office account because I either studied or used it for work. This gave me 50 GB of E-mail storage. Then I cancelled the membership and I couldn't send or receive any more E-mail. I checked why and turns out......I had like over 400, 000 E-mails! Yes you heard right lol I never deleted anything over like 20 years looolll Anyway so I set to delete all the E-mails in all the folders up until 12 months ago. This is all available in the Hotmail settings. It took a few days but I cleaned it all out and now I'm down to the 15 GB you get for free with Hotmail lol

 

Edited by Tinydance
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1 hour ago, JBAKER2009 said:

I meet my current girlfriend, and we have now been together for 6 years and have been living together for just over a month

Sorry this is happening. Of course her demands are unreasonable.

However it seems more like a symptom of bigger issues, particularly that you now don't want to get engaged.

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4 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

It takes two for any relationship to work so whether it does or not also depends on you acknowledging that you could have handled the situation with the racy old photos a little better (to her) and her admitting that she has a problem and she overreacted.  

You may find in the coming days that there is more under the surface than previously thought.

It seems strange that she would react this way for the first time or threaten to end the relationship after six years together. I’m sure she knew a marriage proposal was coming soon so why jeopardize a life together or cause a partner(you) to have doubts?

I think it’s best to be prepared and remain open or listening to what she might have to say. You may be blindsided by her telling you things you’re not prepared to hear. Talk about any issues openly and when you’re both at rest or feeling more calm. 

I didn't react well when this happened, and yes, I could of handled it better, but in the days after I have spoken to her and told her that I understand that seeing those emails hurt her and I apologized for that happening and that was never my intention.

She did know, about the potential proposal as we had spoken about it a week to two before.

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15 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

Well I think your girlfriend is probably being too jealous and also over reacting. I'm not sure if maybe I also wouldn't necessarily like it if I found this but I probably wouldn't be jealous to this extent. I actually am a jealous person but I also know that everyone has a past. And also that it's fine to do whatever and see whoever when people are actually single.

I think if I found some sexy photos of an ex on my partner's phone or something, maybe I'd ask them to delete those particular photos. But I don't think I'd ask my partner to literally go through their whole photo gallery going years back and look for those kinds of pictures.

Unless you're in a relationship with someone who's a virgin and never been in a relationship, we all know that our partner has been with other people before. So while yes it's not great to find these kinds of E-mails but it's also not the end of the world.

I also think to threaten to move out and end your relationship is a bit dramatic on your girlfriend's part. 

However, having said all that....You obviously love this woman, you were thinking of proposing to her. My advice is just to mass delete your whole E-mail Inbox going back a certain time. I actually don't think that would take too long.

I use Hotmail and I usually had a paid Microsoft Office account because I either studied or used it for work. This gave me 50 GB of E-mail storage. Then I cancelled the membership and I couldn't send or receive any more E-mail. I checked why and turns out......I had like over 400, 000 E-mails! Yes you heard right lol I never deleted anything over like 20 years looolll Anyway so I set to delete all the E-mails in all the folders up until 12 months ago. This is all available in the Hotmail settings. It took a few days but I cleaned it all out and now I'm down to the 15 GB you get for free with Hotmail lol

 

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.

I could understand if I had like took screenshots of the emails during our relationship to look back on or if she 'caught' me looking at them for some sort of pleasure, but that's not what happened.

Lol that's a lot of emails! The reason I do not want to delete mass emails is because something in there might be important, my memory is so bad I often email myself to help remind my self of things.

The whole reason this happened is because I had to look back at previous emails for information. If this would of happened before and I deleted all my emails, it would have been very hard for me to find the dates and grades I got in school. I wouldn't know where to start.

 

 

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I would say she is just hurt at the moment. Hence probably "the empty threat" about leaving. And over such a minor thing that happened 3 years before her.

Anyway, you got 2 options:

1) Try to explain to her that it really doesnt matter, that you love her and that its really something from almost 10 years ago and trully "junk mail". Again, she probably wont leave but you are risking to escalate the situation further.

2) Go with the line of "less resistance" and say you did go through emails or actually do it. Would probably fix situation, however, it will also probably give her power to use "I am leaving" whenever something that she doesnt like happens.

So, pick carefully and try to smooth this if you want to stay with her.

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33 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I find the timing suspect.  Perhaps she is getting cold feet then this happened and it’s an excuse for her to start trouble. 

This was my first reaction as well. 

I understand that seeing those images hurt her, and that this hurt was likely compounded by your initial reaction. Still, it seems that something else is likely compounding this as well. Proposal on the horizon, and you've just moved in together after 6 years living apart: that's a lot of new weather of the sort that can stir up anxieties, ghosts of the past, who knows.

Do you have a sense as to whether anything else is stressing her out in life these days? Work, money, weight, feeling adrift? Just spitballing here to open the aperture...

Are things still pretty tense in the house? Hopefully they start to cool down a bit, and, when they do, I'd try to make space to talk—but, really, space to just listen to her. Spend this week going into conversations with a personal rule to not defend anything she says and to ask lots of questions.

Not always easy, that, especially when you likely question her rationality and feel your integrity is being litigated. But what you need to understand right now is the truth about her feelings, hoping to get to the roots together, rather than trying to shift her perspective on the emails. Somewhere, on some level, I suspect she knows this isn't really about emails. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/14/2022 at 7:26 AM, Rose Mosse said:

I’m sorry to hear this. I’d put the marriage plans on hold and not buy any rings. She overreacted very badly and I’d reconsider whether a life with her is a life like walking on constant eggshells because you’re making up for all the past wrongs of ex-bfs that you have nothing to do with. 

^^^ this is spot on

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