Dear Miriam

I have been married almost 40 years. This may sound unusual, but I have kept all or most of the letters that my wife (then my girlfriend) wrote to me during our courting days.

I was rooting in the attic recently and what did I come across but a bundle of letters that I had written to her during our courtship.

I suppose you could call them love letters. I was amused that she thought my written expressions of love were worth holding on to, but I know from where I found them that she is unaware of their existence.

My predicament now is I have never read her letters to me over the years and I don’t particularly want to read my letters to her. They belong to a bygone era, but what to do with them?

My first reaction would be to destroy both sets as neither of us would want our next of kin finding them when we have passed on – I would be highly embarrassed to think of my children reading mom and dad’s teenage love letters.Destroying both sets of letters would give me the assurance that they would never fall into someone else’s hands.

I could get rid of her letters to me, but do I have the right to destroy my letters to her? Could I have a read of both sets of letters before I do anything or are they her private property? Or should I simply give her back her bundle of letters to do as she wishes? James

Dear James

I should declare that I am a bit of a romantic! Personally, I think it is special to still have those letters. But I do understand that they are private and why you would prefer that your children did not read them.

I would tell your wife that you have found the letters and explain your concerns. Certainly, she must make the decision on what she does with her own property. But why not plan an evening to have a nice dinner, open a bottle of wine and read the letters together for fun/nostalgia?

You may find you feel differently about destroying them after actually re-reading them. Even if not, it would be a chance to reminisce about that part of your life and if you both agree to get rid of the letters, you can do so together.

Other options might be to hold on to them, but leave instructions that they are destroyed after you pass, or to digitise them (ie scan them and store the files on a memory key, but destroy the physical letters).

I’d be interested to hear what you decide. Either way, take that trip down memory lane together first.

Reader writes: ‘she is controlling him’

Dear Miriam,

Referring to your letter of the edition of 15 July (‘My son is having a vegetarian wedding meal’.) I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it. My husband said: “God help that poor man, she is controlling him and the whole show already.”

I have been at many weddings and always at the end of the invitation, it says if there are any special dietary requirements, please state it on the acceptance card or text or email.

I think she has some nerve even to think about an all-vegetarian menu.

I do back the future mother-in-law 100%. Do not hesitate to confront the couple together. I would not give a full wedding present of €200 or €250. The majority of the guests won’t be having the meal if it’s vegetarian. They will probably go for bar food and rightly so. Kathleen

‘the enjoyment of the wedding guests is being completely ignored’

Dear Miriam

In reading about the planned vegetarian wedding, it seems the enjoyment of the wedding guests is being completely ignored.

The menu could have both vegetarian and meat options, otherwise the meal could be a complete disaster.

After all isn’t marriage all about compromise? The other thing is how things will work with the couple when married, as the groom seems to be a secretive meat eater. It might be better if they thrashed out the whole thing before the wedding.

It is a little bit alarming that the groom left all the planning to his bride. Will this be the same in marriage after the wedding or are alarm bells ringing loudly? Tom

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