anthro
For the duration of my wife's affair, for work reasons I had software operating that kept an external record of all of my incoming and outgoing text messages. They all went to an email folder so they are sitting there just like email threads. 

It includes every message I sent her and every message she sent me. So all the times she checked how long it would be before I got home. Also messages between me and her AP actually, since he "befriended" during their affair for reasons I will never fully understand.

I don't need these records any more.

I need to get rid of them. However I feel like it will be impossible to delete them without reviewing them. But I know reviewing them will open a lot of wounds. It will bring particular dates back to life, bring memories into relief with all kinds of context, and stuff like that. They will have meanings I didn't know they had when I first got them. And yet I cannot make myself just delete them. It feels like rug sweeping or hiding from the reality. 

What do you guys make of this? 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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surviving
I have records too.  We are six years past DDay.  I just can't delete them right now.  Maybe some day, but not yet.  Maybe that is normal.  Who knows?  I haven't gone back to read them, so maybe that is the difference.  But, they are there if I ever want to go back and read them.  
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Keepabuzz
I also have all the texts between my wife and I from years prior to her affair, through her affair, and up until now. They literally take up a substantial amount of space on my phone, but like you, I haven’t been able to delete them, and I haven’t gone back to read them. I don’t think I will glean any new understanding, but I am certain it would be painful. Maybe I will delete them someday, but I’m over 4 years out and I’m not ready yet. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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pea
I would love to know as well. I have a folder in my Google drive with everything related to what 'happened.' Everything from saved Google hangout chats between me and my husband going all the way back to dday, my small chat logged with OW, screenshots of various things, timelines, etc.

If I can't seem to remember something he's told me (I have a HORRIBLE memory) I find myself going back and referencing it which can be good and bad. Good if I can get in there, find the answer and let it go. Reassurance that what I thought was right. Bad if I think I find any sort of discrepancy which could be as simple as saying something in a different way 2 years ago which only raises more questions or gets me bent out of shape and questioning even more. If I learned of anything 'new' (maybe during a conversation he would say something I thought I didn't know before and hadn't thought to ask) I'd go back and scan through all of it to see if it was something we'd already talked about before and just forgot or something I had assumed but was wrong, etc. I had the story in my head and if I felt it changed just a tiny bit I'd find myself going over it over and over again. Ugh. It's really something I'll never make complete sense of so I don't know why I bother. 

Ultimately, I think it's probably harmful to keep all this because I find myself in there for an hour looking for other things I probably wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't gone in there to begin with or I'll read something else that is painful which is not benefiting me in any way. 

I can't get myself to delete any of it either. I know I tried to catch him in lies for the longest time so I felt like if I had it all down electronically that I would know I wasn't crazy, like it was my proof. For me, I wonder if maybe deep down I'm still doing that so I'm scared to let it go. 

Maybe I also feel like deleting it all is pretending to 'delete' what happened. But wouldn't I want that? I don't know, I'm conflicted as well and have also been thinking about it lately.

I'm sorry I didn't help. 
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TimT
When you are ready to move forward and leave the past in the past (I don't mean that the affair is forgotten... just that it doesn't need to be intentionally brought into the present anymore), then I encourage you to get rid of the "records." I think that's what forgiveness does. One transitional step to consider: Put the records into digital format and copy them to a thumb drive. Destroy all other copies and give the thumb drive to your therapist to lock up in their confidential files. I've done that for some clients, which helps diminish the panic they feel over letting go. 

BTW... nobody has ever asked me to give the files back.
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pea
Tim, that's a great idea. For those like myself that don't have a therapist, perhaps loading it onto a thumb drive then burying it in the ground somewhere could be another option. Then you would have to really consider how bad you want to 'bring it back up' to have to go and dig it out. 

Something to think about. Thank you Tim. 
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Keepabuzz
I should add, all of the proof and evidence I have is stored in the safe of a person I trust. If I ever need the evidence for divorce proceedings, I have it and no one other than that one person can access it. This way it can never be discovered and disappear. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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hurting
Those texts etc are gone for me. Some intentionally, others not. If I really tried I suppose I could dig some of them out, but in a way, it is good for me that it’s gone.

I second the idea of putting it all onto a drive somewhere less accessible and putting it somewhere that you won’t easily see or find it. In a safe is not a bad idea. 
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Skelling
When I read your post, the lyrics from Dean Lewis' song "Be alright" came to mind. "So I still look back at all the messages you'd sent
And I know it wasn't right, but it was f*cking with my head
And everything deleted like the past, it was gone."

I had records from my husband's google history. Not what was texted but when and how often. I had his search results from his translations of his compliments to her. Love names.... It was seriously messing with my head. I also had his texts to me at the same time. At some point I just had to delete everything. The weight was too heavy to drag it further along with me. 

Now there were a few times, when I had the urge to go back and look at it and compare.... but couldn't anymore because I deleted it. So at first I was mad at myself, because I deleted the only evidence that I had of what went on and I thought I would need it to compare his answers to my findings to make sure it all made sense in my head. Well i came to the point to understand that no matter how reasonable the evidence....it would never make sense in my head, because I would have chosen a different path. So I had to learn to let it go. Freaking hard and I still struggle at times with it but I believe overall I am better off with all the evidence from the past mistakes gone and focusing on who he is becoming now.
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Phoenix
As a WS I've also kept every single text between my BS and I post Dday. My BS also keeps every single text and anything else (evidence) that has to do with any type of indiscretion or threat he thinks I had. He refers to it often to prove points, etc. I believe I posted this before but he has gone back and listened to my recordings (all of them) numerous times. I think it's just torture. 
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ThrivenotSurvive
At about 18 months, I realized that seeing stuff on my phone and on my computer was doing me no good.  I had gleaned whatever information I could from it and now it was like picking at a scab.  I took it all and downloaded it onto a thumb drive that I put away.  It kept me from having to decide whether to delete it all together  and from ruining perfectly good days.  I think in the two years since then, I've taken it out and looked at it maybe... three times?  Two of which were early on and one after a particularly nasty trigger.  And in those cases - it wasn't a wildly healthy thing to do.  It didn't help me feel better, but it did meet a need to remind myself of the reason for my pain.  

I get that it is hard to get rid of it altogether. It was one of the most life-changing things most of us have experienced.  But I think that having ready access - or keeping it somewhere that you see often - is a bad idea,  It is yet another subconscious reminder of your pain and struggle.  I don't think any of us need MORE of those.  
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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AnywhereButHere
I deleted the emails between my wife and her AP only a few weeks after finding them -  thinking we would 'move on' and not realizing what lay ahead: Denial, revision, deception, mitigation and some gaslighting. I regretted the deletion soon after and ever since. Everyone's experience is different...though it sounds as if you anticipate regret.

Can you store them on a thumb drive in a drawer somewhere?...out of the way but not gone forever?
BH, 5+ Mo EA, DDay 3/8/18
"...regarding all as God after God."
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anthro
The procesd of storing them would mean reviewing them. So it is really the same.

For better or worse, I think I'll sort them all soon. It is sort of self-torturing I guess but equally, the only way to live with this history is to be scrupulously accurate. I don't want a distorted version of our past to grow over the reality. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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