Women are more sentimental than men, with 61 per cent claiming they keep the photos as they highlight a part of their life they don't want to forget, versus 56 per cent of men. But men may be hiding more from their partners than their other halves realise. One in five men (20%) in a current relationship who have photos of their ex partners say they have hidden photos of an ex fearing disapproval from their new partner, compared to only nine per cent of women.
Men also seem to have more weighing on their conscience, as 17 per cent said they 'sometimes feel guilty about keeping photos of their ex partners', compared to just 11 per cent of their female counterparts. They may have good reason for this, however, as more than one in ten men who keep photos of their ex partners (12%) admit they still have feelings for their ex, compared to only five percent of women.
Corinne Sweet, behavioral psychologist said: "It's not surprising that nearly half of us keep some kind of visual memento of past partners; a photo generates strong emotions as it unleashes memories of past attachment and times. The main reason people hide their photos (especially men) is probably due to a fear of their current partner's jealousy, or of evoking comparisons in terms of attractiveness and sexiness, etc. Emotionally mature partners will be able to accept you have a past love-life.
"The point at which people are able to put an ex-partner's photo away (after a split, divorce or death) is usually the time they are emotionally ready to move on. Yet, it is totally understandable for people to keep photos to remind them of previous loves, as, indeed, these images do form part of our life stories - whether for better or for worse."
The majority of us (48%) keep these snaps in old photo albums, but others (31%) stash them in cupboards and drawers, or in the attic (12%). Nine per cent of men say they purposely keep the photos in hidden files on their computer.
Matt Bushby, Head of Friends Reunited, said: "We all have photos from our past we want to keep; whether we want to share with others, or remain private. Old photos are often the best (http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/
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* Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2013 UK adults aged 18+ from 26 - 28th June 2012.
** 43% of UK adults (49,969,000 people) = 21.62 million
About Friends Reunited
Friends Reunited is the original social network with over 24 million members. Launched in 2000 as a back-bedroom hobby to put old school friends back in touch, it swiftly became a British media phenomenon. Today, the site has evolved to celebrate every blast from the past, including old town photos (http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/
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