Returning gifts to your ex: good or bad idea?

After separation, we are led to ask ourselves in spite of ourselves several questions, from the most pragmatic to the most existential, about our life after this relationship. A love story that lasts for a while leaves traces, memories, habits, from which you have to detach yourself in order to move forward. And among all these questions, can arise the very concrete one of the gifts offered by his ex. While this is not the main post-breakup concern, that question comes up sooner or later. Returning gifts to your ex: good or bad idea? What your ex gave you, what should you do with it? Is there a rule to follow, a manual? Does it depend on the gifts, their value, their symbol? Does it depend on the reason for the breakup, your personality? And you, the gifts from your exes, you kept them,

Returning gifts to your ex: good or bad idea?

We don’t give back a gift

You know what they say, to give is to give, to take back is to steal. And so we can assume that it works for gifts. To offer is for an indefinite period, without exchange, nor refund, nor conditions of return to the sender.

When we give a gift, we don’t expect it to come back to us. And when we receive it, we are not supposed to give it back to the person who gave it to us.

So from there, the answer seems straightforward. No, you don’t give your ex back the gifts he (or she) gave us when we were in a relationship.

Yes, but…

We are not talking about simple friendly gifts but rather gifts that can have sentimental value and therefore bring back memories that we would prefer to mourn. We realize that it is not that simple and that the question may therefore merit reflection depending on the situation, the type of gift, the cause of the breakup, etc …

The question of the value of the gift

More rarely, certain gifts can have a significant financial value (such as a piece of jewelry for example) and we believe that we will be more comfortable if we return it to our ex. Even more if it is a family gem (no pun intended, we are talking about the famous ring inherited from his grandmother or the brooch of a grandmother, not the jewels of a man!) .

More seriously, here are the 2 scenarios where giving a gift to your ex may be questionable:

1 / A high-value gift shortly before your break-up

If just before the separation, your ex nevertheless gave you a very valuable gift, the question may arise. Maybe your birthday, Valentine’s Day, or Christmas was just before you broke up, and despite everything, your ex gave you a valuable piece of jewelry, a designer watch or bag, or more. Even if this gift was intended for you, you are uncomfortable with its price and you prefer to give it back or at least talk to it about it. So as not to cause an unnecessary argument or have your act misinterpreted, ask your ex-partner, due to the closeness of the gift and the separation and its price, if he wants to get that gift back.

2 / A gift with sentimental value for your ex

As we mentioned previously, if your ex gave you a gift with a strong sentimental value for him, a family jewel as is sometimes done, the question arises strongly. This kind of valuable jewel is passed on within a family, from father to son, from mother to daughter, according to heredity. When your ex gave it to you, everything was going well between you, you were probably talking about engagement or marriage. In any case, your relationship was serious enough for you to project yourself together and this gem was a symbol of commitment. Alas, your story did not hold up. In this precise case, it is fashionable to contact your ex to ask him or her if he or she wishes to recover this object or family jewel, regardless of the cause of your breakup and which of you two decided it.

Read also: My ex is slow to get his things back: why and what to do?

Returning gifts to your ex: bad idea!

Otherwise, the most common, giving back gifts from your ex is a bad idea.

Your ex doesn’t have to claim them

At the time you received them, your relationship was real, a priori sincere, and above all these gifts were chosen for you. They are therefore personal and belong only to you. You don’t have to return them – whether your ex wants them or not for that matter – because they are part of your story.

If the question that arises is “should I return his gifts to him because he is asking me for them?” “ Apart from the examples of valuable gifts mentioned above, the answer is no. We do not return a letter, a personal jewel, an item of clothing, a book, photos, a CD, a decorative object … And if your ex wants them, it’s pathetic and immature on his part!

Returning to him is not obligatory to turn the page

Conversely, don’t think that you have to give them back at all costs to move on. At the time, separation can obviously upset you, make you sad, angry, disappointed. And so, these negative emotions make you want to let go of anything that reminds you of your ex.

But we know that when emotions overwhelm us, we have to wait to make a decision with a rested head, otherwise, there is a strong chance of regretting our choice. And then you are going to make this decision for the wrong reason.

Read also: 15 messages to reconnect with your ex after radio silence

What are the bad reasons to return gifts to your ex?


If it is your ex who initiated the breakup, it is normal for your ego to be affected. Even if your feelings were sincere, you cannot prevent your ego from reacting and thus being ruled for a time by your pride, from feeling upset, humiliated, rejected. The feeling of abandonment or rejection can make you react badly. So to avenge yourself as best you can, to show him that you are moving on, out of bravado, you tell yourself that throwing the gifts he gave you in your face will relieve you. Bad idea, you risk making a fool of yourself, cracking up in front of your ex, and above all, regretting it afterward.

Make your ex react

Conversely, your goal is to get your ex back because you still love him and do not accept this breakup. Only, for the moment, either your ex is not receptive or you know that it is too early to make a big statement to him or her back. So to arouse a reaction, you try a game of poker, by returning his gifts, hoping that this will allow renewing the dialogue or better still, will serve as a trigger to realize that your separation is a mistake. Hit or miss…

Forget it

Many people think that in order to forget your ex, you have to erase all traces of him in his life. And so that would include gifts made by her ex. Everything that connects you to a common past has become unwanted in your daily life and giving gifts to your ex seems the best solution to you. To mourn the old relationship that is still too present emotionally, parting with all the memories seems like the right thing to do. There is important symbolism in the gifts made by his ex. Often the only vestiges of a finished love story, gifts can therefore symbolically still represent your ex. Whether you still love him or on the contrary, he inspires you with negative feelings now, as long as your emotions dictate your behavior, the decisions made will be bad.

Read also: How to forget your ex quickly? 5 things to do absolutely

What to do with gifts given by your ex?

You will understand, except in exceptional cases, it is not useful or saving to return your gifts to your ex . You may very well find an intermediate solution to mourn this relationship, turn the page of this story, and rebuild yourself.

Just as your memories with your ex are stored in a drawer of your memory, you can decide to put away his gifts out of sight and out of your thoughts.

Depending on the nature of these gifts, their value, and their symbolism, you can simply store them in a cardboard box, a box and put them at the bottom of a cupboard, in a garage, in the attic, in the cellar, at your parents’ house or your best friend time to mourn.

If some of them are useful gifts and cannot be put away, consider selling them or giving them to an association for example.

Even if you want to forget about your ex, giving it all back or throwing it all away is not the way to go. You may regret it afterward.

The same goes for other souvenirs like photos or letters. While it is obviously necessary to erase old messages and photos from your phone, as for printed photos and handwritten letters, your best bet is to keep them in a box out of sight.

This relationship is part of your history, of your past and who knows, maybe one day you will want to remember it, talk about it, once the sadness or bitterness has passed. 

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