My Ex brought me all presents I ever gave him

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My Ex brought me all presents I ever gave him

Unread post by Periwinkle »


I would very much like your opinion on this matter.
My exboyfriend and I broke up 2 years ago because I did something that hurt him very deeply. We had been together for over 4 years. In the weeks following our break up we had a few meetings where we tried to talk out certain things, but it didn't really make any difference.
One day during that time he rang my doorbell and had a load of things that he said he would give to me since he didn't want to have them anymore because it hurt too much. He even taped small handwritten notes onto many things, explaining where they had come from, why they had something to do with me, their significance...
These things included all cards (birthdays, christmas) and notes from me and my family adressed to him, all presents he got from me (and my family), things I had lent him, condoms I had bought for him, gratuitous items from events we had attended, tickets from said events, pictures of us, edibles... the list goes on. Basically every physical object in his household that had anything to do with me he left on my doorstep in a big bag.

At the time I was really, REALLY not in the mindset to deal with it. He had said some things to me which had convinced me there was something intrinsically wrong with me and I began seeing a therapist, and I'm still struggling with that. So at that time I put everything in a box and hid it away.

I have looked at the stuff a couple times in the last two years. Today I got everything out of that box and used the storage space for something else so as to force myself into a decision about what to do with those things.

I think him giving me these things, assembling all of them with the little notes was something he did for himself to purge me out of his life, and I don't mean to criticise him for what he did, but I just don't know what to do with this stuff. It feels like a burden, like a reminder that I hurt him, but... some things are still useful. I'm not comfortable throwing it all in the trash, since I am environmentally minded and also, it feels kinda... wrong. I still think fondly of him and sometimes miss him. When I look at the notes I remember his writing and there are fond memories, even if some of the notes are hurtful. On the other hand, storing it forever feels wrong as well. Gifting it to someone else, donating stuff.... I don't know.

Thank you very much for reading, and if you have any ideas, or just thoughts to share on the situation, I would be very grateful.

PS: What's more, I have dated in the meantime and I guess thinking about the possibility of my partner having a box full of stuff from their ex feels kinda strange as well, which is why I guess I want to make my mind up about this once and for all.
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Re: My Ex brought me all presents I ever gave him

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, Periwinkle. I can understand how you're feeling about all of this, and how confusing it must be to figure out what to do with it.

Really, though, I think it's about what YOU want to do here and what feels best to you. Are you a person who finds rituals helpful? If so, how about something like taking all the notes off, burying/otherwise-ritualistically-disposing-of those and anything in the box you don't want or need, and then just keeping what you do? If not, how about doing it Marie Kondo style, letting go of what you don't want and donating or dumping it, and keeping what you do? You can also keep it if you want. As we grow, most of us will accumulate and keep things from past relationships: in my experience, that's very normal.

I don't think throwing it away means you're doing a bad to the environment. Eventually, when you die, someone else will, so it's kind of a now or later situation, you know?
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Re: My Ex brought me all presents I ever gave him

Unread post by care_witch »


I understand how hard it can be to figure out what to do with items that are connected to an ex or other difficult memories. I've had items connected to exes that I have packed up and moved with multiple times before figuring out what to do with them!

I think it was great that you took some time before trying to figure out the next steps. One thing that I found helpful was to have a friend with me when I was deciding what to do. If you can't have a friend there in person, maybe over phone or video? I also love Heather's idea of a ritual. Sometimes burning or burying smaller items or papers can help cut that energetic cord that the items hold.

I know it's hard to take the time to go through each object but my experience was that I felt much better after doing it!
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