I'm more sentimental than I care to admit. There are boxes in my closet full of old birthday cards and my best friend's wedding invitation and a picture of a boy I loved. I know, gross. It's easy to be sentimental about objects, though. Your prom dress just hangs in the closet and every once in a while you look at it and think that was a fun night. (Except when that bitch tried to steal my date.)
Here's the danger--all those memories take up space. Sure, that box of ticket stubs isn't doing any harm. It's just sitting there until I take it down from the shelf. But what if you realize that you have a pile of clothes stacked up on a chair because there isn't any room in your closet? What then?
As usual, I'm talking about something besides the notes passed in my middle school hallway and posters of boy bands. (Don't focus on that part. My extensive fangirl history is a tale for another day.) I'm more concerned about being sentimental about people. It can be really tricky...it can turn on you. One thing I've noticed about sentimentality is that it can cause temporary blindness. And with people...I'm worried about hanging on to people because the relationship used to be wonderful, even if it's not so wonderful anymore.
(Sidenote: I think that's why people try to stay friends with their exes so frequently. But we were friends before we dated, I don't want to lose that. Too bad. Honestly--that part does suck. Unfortunately, you can't go back. Your relationship has to transform in some way, so even if you can genuinely be friends, it will be a different friendship that you had before you dated.)
The part I struggle with is admitting that your relationship or friendship or even acquaintanceship has deteriorated--and not in the we're both so busy it's hard to find time to catch up! way...but in a negative way. Then what? What do you do after you open your eyes and say this used to be so great...what happened? Do you try to hold on anyway because you're not ready to abandon it? Do you confront it and hope you can repair things? Do you cut things off and prepare for fallout? Do you slowly stop trying and let it fade away? It's not easy to decide. It's tempting to look at the past you have and try to preserve that. But in the past few years, I've been trying to focus on the present--and on myself. It's very clear that we have to take care of ourselves, because sometimes our long distance boyfriends check out of the relationship with no warning whatsoever. And when something is making you feel like shit, it's ok to distance yourself from it. (Unless that something is your committed relationship, in which case you should first let the other person know you're distancing yourself. LET THEM KNOW, nope I'm not over that one yet I guess.)
I've been on both ends of this. And it's really shitty. You just have to hope that everyone involved will benefit somehow? I don't know. I have no wisdom for you and I can't even make this a funny post. How about a picture of a puppy? Will that help? (If not, see my tumblr for more puppies. Among other things. But lots of puppies.)