The end of a relationship is always difficult and painful, but no one expects their ex to leave behind a bunch of stuff.
From doing it intentionally so they’d have an excuse to come back, to actually forgetting about the stuff, here are 15 surprising reasons why your ex leaves their stuff behind after a breakup.
Let’s jump right in:
1) They need an excuse to get in touch
They left it on purpose so they’d have an excuse to get in touch with you.
Think about it. It’s a perfect plan!
Breakups can be messy and often, one or both parties have no desire to see their ex after a breakup. So what do they do?
They leave their stuff behind at your place. That way, when they miss you and want to get in touch, they have an excuse to text and even see you. Unless you’re done with them forever and have thrown out their stuff, you’ll probably agree to have them come over and pick it up.
2) They actually forgot their stuff
Sometimes, people actually forget some stuff at their ex’s place.
Maybe the breakup was unexpected, rushed, and full of shouting and emotions.
In that case, you can’t blame them for leaving a bag of clothes or a bunch of old books behind.
Once they get back on their feet, they’ll notice their stuff is missing and will try to find the courage to get in touch and get it back.
3) Get advice from a relationship coach
While this article will shed light on the main reasons your ex would leave their stuff behind after a breakup, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.
With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice tailored to your unique situation…
Relationship Hero is a popular site where highly trained relationship coaches help people work through complex relationship issues, like dealing with your ex after splitting up. Their popularity boils down to how skilled their coaches are.
Why am I so confident that they can help you?
Well, I recently experienced a rough patch in my own relationship, and I reached out to them for help. From the moment I got in touch, I was given genuine, helpful advice, and was finally able to see my relationship issues with real clarity.
I was blown away by how kind and empathetic my coach was.
Within minutes, you could be receiving life-changing advice on why your ex left their stuff at your place and how to talk to them when they contact you.
4) They don’t need the stuff
Maybe the stuff they left behind has no importance to them – maybe they hardly ever used it and we’re planning on getting rid of it anyway.
Check out the stuff they left behind.
If it’s a bunch of old clothes, magazines, or some old CDs, there’s a good chance they don’t need it and don’t even care about it – in other words, it’s junk.
If you don’t like the stuff being around, you can probably throw it out. But if you want to make sure your ex won’t call asking to get back, do them the courtesy of sending a text to check.
I know you probably don’t want to talk to them but you can send a picture of the stuff and write something like, “You left this junk behind, I’m going to throw it away unless you need it.”
5) They don’t care about the stuff
They cared about being with you and their world has shattered after the breakup. The fact that they left some stuff behind isn’t at all important.
Who cares about stuff?
Their heart is broken. They don’t care about a bunch of clothes, books, or appliances.
6) They want you to have their things
If you lived together with your ex and they bought a bunch of furniture or household appliances that they then left behind, it’s probably because they want you to have it.
They know how much you love using the blender or drinking tea in that old rocking chair.
They left their stuff behind with the purpose of you having it.
If you think about it, it’s a very sweet gesture, isn’t it?
They obviously still care about you which is why they want you the stuff they bought.
And that’s not all.
If they are responsible for the breakup, the fact that they’re leaving all that stuff behind could be a way of saying sorry and trying to make amends.
7) Have you ever been to a psychic?
Now, until two months ago, my answer would have been no.
But when I came face-to-face with painful issues related to my breakup, I decided to think out of the box.
Even though I was skeptical about psychics and their knowledge of love, I gave the folks at Psychic Source a try.
It’s one of the best decisions I made.
The advisor I spoke to was kind, understanding, and genuinely helpful.
My love of reading helped me understand an immense amount about where I was going wrong in my love life and how to fix it.
They are incredibly knowledgeable about why exes do things – like leave their stuff behind – and can tell you many of the ways to improve your love life and get in line with your romantic destiny right away.
8) They want to leave a reminder
This one is common for people who have been together for a long time, especially people going through a divorce.
The thing is that they’ll leave something around the house so that you’ll remember them every time you see or use that certain item.
A mug they used often. A pair of shoes they left behind.
It’s difficult for some people to accept that a relationship that they were in for such a long time can cease to exist. It’s like one moment they’re part of your life, and the next they’re simply not there anymore.
That’s why they leave some stuff behind so that you don’t forget them. Even if you move on with your life, you’ll have a reminder that they were once a big part of your life.
9) They want you to suffer
Believe it or not, exes sometimes leave their stuff behind because they want to make you suffer.
Maybe they’re angry at you for ending their relationship. Maybe they’re angry with you for breaking their heart. Or maybe they can’t forgive you for cheating on them.
So they leave behind their stuff, hoping that you’ll feel guilty and miserable whenever you see it lying around.
The best way to avoid feeling guilty or miserable is to just get rid of the stuff. Send them a text message asking them if they want their stuff back. If they don’t, give it to Goodwill.
10) They’re having trouble accepting the breakup
When a relationship ends and an ex doesn’t want to face the fact that it’s over, they might leave a lot of their stuff behind.
In their minds, the breakup is only temporary and after a cooling-off period, you’ll be back together and things will be back to normal. So, why would they take all their stuff?
The truth is that they don’t want to accept the fact that you are no longer interested in them or have found someone else.
If this is the case, you have to be really firm and make sure that they understand the situation as it is.
11) They’re planning on coming back to get it
Maybe they didn’t have time to grab all their stuff and are planning on coming back to get it.
If they left their favorite sweater or a bunch of old books that had sentimental value to them, it means they plan on coming back to get them at some point.
Maybe they’ll wait until a time that’s convenient for you, or maybe they’ll come over while you’re out and reclaim their belongings without even having to see you.
12) They’d rather buy new stuff
Your ex might not want to use their old stuff anymore. Maybe it makes them think of you, which makes them feel sad.
Instead of looking at stuff that’s full of memories of your old life together, they’ve decided to leave the old stuff behind and get new stuff.
A fresh start = new stuff.
13) They want you to find it
Maybe they deliberately left it behind because they want you to find it.
They know that if they come back to get their stuff, it may give them another shot at being with you.
You see, they’re hoping that you’ll miss them so much that when they come to get their stuff back, you’ll run into their arms and all will be forgotten and forgiven.
Their hope is that while going through their old things, you’ll remember the good old days and how well you got along in the past and realize what a big mistake breaking was.
The bottom line is that they’re hoping that leaving their stuff behind will get you to make up.
14) They don’t know it’s their stuff
It’s possible that they left stuff behind thinking it was yours and not realizing that it was actually something they bought.
In my experience, it happens, especially in long-term relationships. When you live together for a long time, you tend to forget who bought what and you stop labeling things as “mine” and “theirs”.
So, while you may be asking yourself why they left some things behind, they think of those things as yours and aren’t even thinking about them.
15) They’re gifts from you
Are the things that they left behind gifts from you?
If your ex has left behind everything you ever got them, it could be a slap in the face.
They’re obviously upset about the breakup and by leaving the stuff that you got them behind, they’re trying to hurt you by pretending that they don’t care about you or your gifts.
Love rarely runs on time.
And even when it shows up, you often get hit with sudden surprises and nasty twists and turns.
That’s why I decided to speak to one of the gifted people at Psychic Source.
As I said earlier, they actually helped me a lot.
The particular issue of my ex wanting to hurt me didn’t faze them at all.
They can help you in text chat, a call or a video call and it costs much less than you might think.
What should you do if your ex left stuff at your place?
A lot of people ask me what they should do if their ex still has stuff at their place.
It’s one of those questions that doesn’t really have a right or wrong answer because everything depends on your personal situation and how you feel about your ex leaving stuff behind.
There are a few ways to go about it.
You can either:
Take the stuff back, ask them to come and get it, or throw it out.
Which one you choose will depend on how you feel about your ex and why they left the stuff in the first place.
Let’s look at these options in more detail.
1) Ask them to come and get it
If you’re annoyed that your ex left some of their things behind, you can always ask them to come and get it.
Just text them saying that you found some of their things and if they want them, they should come (at a time that suits you) and pick them up.
Make sure you tell them that you’ll throw the stuff out if they don’t want it.
2) Take the stuff back
Another thing you can do with the things your ex left behind gives them back. It’s as simple as that.
If you don’t want them around, just take them over to your ex’s place.
It doesn’t have to be a big production; just drop the stuff over one day when you’re in their neighborhood and get it over and done with.
3) Throw it out
If your ex doesn’t come to pick up their stuff after you’ve asked them to, or if it’s in a terrible state and can’t be used anymore, then don’t feel bad about throwing it away. If it’s trash, then that’s where it belongs.
Do you have to return your ex’s stuff?
What if you don’t want to give back their stuff? Do you really have to?
You don’t have to give anything back, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
How would you feel if you left something at your ex’s and they didn’t want to give it back to you?
How would you feel if they threw it away?
If your ex left something at your house and asked if they could get it back, you should let them have it. Refusing to give it back is just being childish.
If your ex did something terrible to hurt you and that’s why you broke up, I totally understand your desire to throw away their belongings, especially if they have any kind of value. But believe me, it’s best to resist that urge and be the bigger person.
What stuff should you give back to an ex?
There’s a kind of unspoken breakup rule that you should give back certain stuff.
Think of it this way, what stuff would you want back?
If your ex left some money at your place or lent you some, then you should give it back.
2) Borrowed items
If you borrowed anything from your ex while you were together, anything from a book to a laptop, then you should give it back.
It’s not yours to keep or do with as you please.
3) Work documents
If your ex left anything related to their work at your place, you should give it back.
It’s their property and they’ll need it.
4) ID and other paperwork
If your ex left their ID or any other important documents or paperwork at your place, you should give it back.
These are legal documents and not something they should be without.
5) Valuable things
From a valuable piece of jewelry to a collector’s item, if your ex left something valuable at your place, you definitely need to give it back.
6) Items with sentimental value
If your ex left something with sentimental value, like a family heirloom or a photo album, then you should give it back.
No matter how silly you think their item might be, if it means something to them, then they deserve to have it.
7) Anything they ask for
If there’s something that I haven’t mentioned above that they left behind and want back, then you should respect their wishes.
If your ex doesn’t want their stuff back, can you just throw it away?
Yes. You can throw away your ex’s stuff if they don’t want it back and if it’s trash.
If your ex’s stuff is worth something, like a rare book or an antique, then you should probably try and sell it and make some money.
What if you left some items at your ex’s place?
If you left something at your ex’s place that you want back, then you should ask for.
Be polite and respectful when you contact them and tell them that you’d like to come and pick up your belongings. Hopefully, they’ll give your stuff back, just like you’d give their stuff back to them.
But if they don’t want to give your stuff back, then you have to ask yourself if you really want it back. If you can live without it, then it’s best to just let it go. If it’s stuff that has value, then that’s a different story.
If your ex refuses to give you back something of value, then you can either go with some friends and try to make him give you your stuff back, or, you should contact a lawyer.
How do you give your ex their stuff back?
This depends on how you left things with your ex and how you feel about seeing them:
- Now, if you parted ways as friends, then you can tell them to stop by to get their stuff. Or you may want to meet them for coffee and give them back their things then.
- However, if you are still emotional over the breakup and have no desire to see your ex, then you can ask one of your friends to help you out and take your ex’s stuff back to them.
What if your ex bought a lot of the furniture and household appliances?
If you lived with your ex and they bought most of the furniture and household appliances, then you need to talk to them and see what they want to do.
Do they want to take the stuff with them?
Do they want to leave it?
If you want to keep it, you should offer to pay for it, that’s only fair.
Should you give back the gifts that your ex gave you?
Now, here’s the million-dollar question: do you have to return the gifts that your ex gave you?
The answer is no.
You can keep them if you want to. You don’t have to return anything that they gave you, ever.
This is a tough pill for most people to swallow because they’re so used to returning gifts after a breakup or divorce, but guess what? You don’t have to!
Your ex gave you those things which makes them yours to keep.
Even if it was a pricey gift (like an engagement ring), it’s still yours and you can do whatever you want with it.
If your ex has a problem with it, then tough luck! It’s not your fault that they’re being childish and trying to make themselves feel better by making you feel bad about keeping something that they gave you.
Well there you have it, we’ve covered everything from why your ex leaves their stuff behind after a breakup to what you should do with the gifts they gave you.
But breakups can be complex and understanding an issue can be just the beginning.
I mentioned Psychic Source earlier. I recommended them because of my own positive experience, and I’m optimistic they can do the same for you.
Their spiritual advisors understand an enormous amount about breakups and dealing with exes.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
The above link will give you $50 off your first session - an exclusive offer for Love Connection readers.