Getting Your Stuff Back Post-Breakup

I think one of the most awkward things that you have to do is ask for your things back after a breakup… it’s like, doesn’t the person have the common decency to give you back your favorite pair of shoes, you know, the ones that cost $200.

Now, don’t be petty after a breakup and demand every little thing you’ve ever given him back. One, that’s just immature — gifts were given because for all purposes, you had intended for the person to have it forever. So be the classy person that you are, and don’t ask for a gift back… not even that TV you got him for Christmas (hopefully he got you something just as nice). And two, there are some things that you just have to cut your losses with, like your favorite mixed CD.

During a breakup, I try to avoid all contact if possible, except for the dreaded request of wanting something back. When a relationship is over, I never give an ex back his stuff. I figured if he wanted his worn out t-shirts, he wouldn’t have left them behind. I also don’t give them back their things because I think it’s just plain childish. It’s like, you’re trying to hurt the person by showing you don’t care anymore, so here’s all your stuff back that you’ve ever given me because I’ve move on… only, if you really feel that way, why not just throw it in the trash instead???

However, there are some things that are expensive or of sentimental value, and I do believe that you have every right to get those things back. These things should not be a gift, and should be very clearly defined as yours — like your Vera Wang handbag, why the flak hasn’t he returned it yet!?! I would ask for it back.

A phone call is always the easiest method, I think. Don’t beat around the bushes. Be civil and straight to the point. Your agenda is to get your Jimmy Choo shoes back… but don’t call him up demanding your socks, your makeup, your pajamas that you got from Walmart. If there’s anything that he has of yours that can be replaced by Walmart, cut your losses… and who are you kidding anyway, it was just an excuse to talk to him.

This is a tricky one for a lot of people, because sometimes after a breakup there are certain expensive gifts that the other person wants back. I’m a believer of a gift is a gift, end of debate. But, if you really feel strongly about getting something back from your ex, then ask him nicely for it, don’t demand it… and if all else fails, take legal action (however, in the long run it’s not worth it, and most judges will agree that a gift is a gift).

There’s been two incidents where I’ve asked for something back from an ex… I’ll tell you the first one. After a breakup with an ex-boyfriend, I realized that I had left a ring at his house. Now, this ring was actually from a different ex. A few days after we broke up, I realized that I’ve left my ring at his apartment.

I pound on the ex’s door demanding my ring. He claimed he threw all my things away. So I went down to the courthouse the next day and filed a small claims case against him for my ring. My claim asked for $5,000 (the ring cost about $300), but I figured the added $4,700 was for him being a dick. I got my ring back… only to have it stolen when I moved to NC (the irony is too much, I tell you!).

I would never ask an ex back for anything that I gave him, just as I would never expect an ex to ask me back for anything he’s given me… honestly, it would hurt my feelings because despite however the relationship ended, it would mean that none of it was real. I know some people throw out everything that reminds them of their ex, but I’m a sentimental kind of person, I like having fond memories.

From the guy’s perspective, I think the only gift he is entitled to is his engagement ring; but if he’s not asking for it back, then by all means keep it (I totally would!) — besides, it’s the ring he picked out for you… but if he wants it back, and you don’t want to give it up, try to explain to him how important it is to you that you keep it (besides, what’s he going to do with another woman’s engagement ring anyway!?!).

If there is something that you want back from your ex, I’d say wait a week or two when you’re no longer emotional, and to give him/her time to send your stuff back on their own. You don’t want to wait too long, because honestly if a guy called me up a month later asking for his leather jacket, I would flat out say to him, It couldn’t have been that important if it took you a month to ask. But don’t hold someone’s things as hostage in the hopes of getting back with them, and don’t throw your ex’s things out to hurt them or seek revenge.

If he/she hasn’t returned your stuff on their own, then pick up that phone and make that awkward call. Only you can decide if it’s worth getting your stuff back or dealing with the regret of contacting the ex. Hopefully, if he’s the great guy he thinks he is, or she’s the great gal she thinks she is, you’ll get your stuff back. Good luck!

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