"It's not surprising that nearly half of us keep some kind of visual memento of past partners -- this goes for partners who were divorced or died as well -- a photo generates strong emotions as it unleashes memories of past attachment and times," Corinne Sweet, behavioral psychologist said in a statement.
A survey for Friends Reunited, a social network, indicated 21.6 million Brits have held onto photographs of former partners following a break-up.
Women were more sentimental than men, with 61 percent claiming they keep the photos as they highlight a part of their life they don't want to forget, versus 56 percent of men.
But men may be hiding more from their partners than their mates realize -- 20 percent in a current relationship who have photos of their ex-partners said they have hidden photos of an ex due to fear of disapproval from their new partner, compared to 9 percent of women.
However, 12 percent of men said they kept photos of their ex-partners because they still have feelings for their ex, compared to 5 percent of women.
"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.," Sweet said in a statement. "Emotionally mature partners will be able to accept you have a past love-life."