What to Do With Gifts From Ex: 7 Ways to Approach Break Up Etiquette

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There is much discussion when it comes to what best to do with what to do with gifts and items that an ex gave to you during the course of your relationship. On one hand, you have people who believe that depending on the circumstances behind why the relationship ended, it is wise to give back the ex things that they got you during the course of the relationship, especially if those things are expensive. On the other hand, we have people who argue that whatever it is that was given to you during the course of your relationship is yours to keep despite how the relationship ended or how expensive the gift was. But why is it still looked down upon when you sell jewelry from ex especially if that said jewelry was an engagement ring?

The truth is, there really isn’t a clear-cut answer to this because no two relationships are similar. How you decide to handle what to do with the gifts you got each other during the course of your relationship should be something you and your ex discuss and agree to.

Some people do not mind never getting back the gifts they got you while it may satisfy others to know that you no longer have the thing that they put so much thought into when they were deeply in love with you.

Allow us, therefore, to play devil’s advocate:


The truth about keeping gifts from ex is that more often than not, it only holds you back and slows down your healing process because every time you see the thing that your ex bought you, subconsciously or even consciously you start thinking about them. This can slow down your healing process and you may start to hold yourself back from moving on and seeing other people.

The biggest benefit of getting rid of your ex’s things when you go your separate ways is that it will keep you from holding onto a past that no longer serves you. Out of sight, out of mind is a cliche for a reason, and the less you see their things the quicker it will be for you to leave your relationship in the past and start to move on. Here are some tips on what to do after a breakup to help you start healing and moving forward.


On the other hand, keeping gifts that your ex gave you during the course of your relationship is such a sweet gesture and it symbolizes growth and maturity, the fact that you can be able to look at all these things that hold sentimental value and reminisce about your relationship – they are a reminder of what was once good and a sort of hope that you will find someone just as great if not more. Keeping these memories is a great way of keeping your ex and the relationship you shared close to you even when you have let them go, mentally.


Now that you know that there are both pros and cons to keeping and getting rid of gifts from ex, here are some of the options that you have in regards to what to do with gifts from ex. Just remember, whatever you decide to do, make sure it is in your best interest and that you are not trying to please anyone else.

Generally, the unspoken rule is that the person who has been dumped is expected to get their gift back from the person who has dumped them, however, if the person being dumped cheated, then the gifts belong to the person dumping them.

Who Ended the Relationship_

Source: Today.yougov.com


Donating the gift that your ex gave you is probably the noblest and neutral thing you can do with your gift especially if it is something that your ex wanted to get back and you did not want to give it back. Giving it to someone else is a good way to ensure that neither you nor your ex gets to have the thing.

This sure beats sending anonymous gift to ex especially after a breakup even when it is just to return the thing. By giving the thing away, you put a distance between you and your ex whilst also ensuring that they do not get the thing for whatever reason they wanted it back for. And the best part about this is that you are sure they will not go back and reclaim the donation you just made.


If you ever find yourself thinking “my ex girlfriend bought me a gift that I do not want to keep around anymore” but you also do not want to go through the hassle of having to contact her so that she can come to get her stuff or that you can go and drop it off, then the next best thing is to sell the gift.

Selling the gift is amazing because you get to make some money off of it – and if you had a particularly hard breakup, then you can view this as consolation money for all your troubles.


Now, as we have previously discussed there are some pros to returning gifts after a breakup, however, it is perfectly okay to keep the gifts that you like from your previous relationship especially if those gifts are helpful to you in your everyday life. For example, if the gift that your ex got you is a car that you use to commute to and from work every day, it makes no sense whatsoever for you to return it just because you have broken up with them. This is a thing that makes your life easy and if it is in your name and they are not asking for it back, do not let your ego get the best of you – keep the thing if it makes your life easier.

It is also okay to keep a gift from ex if you just like having the gift and you have sentimental value for it. It doesn’t always have to be a big and important gift that is worth keeping. Sometimes, the small insignificant gifts can mean more and it is perfectly fine for you to want to hold onto them.


Another controversial with break up etiquette gifts is whether or not it is okay to regift the gift that was given to you by an ex. Let’s look at it this way when someone gets you a gift, the implication is that whatever it is that they have given you belongs to you upon receiving and opening the gift. Now, when you are together with the person, it might be a little bit rude to regift the gift even if you do not like the item. However, when you are broken up – what you do with the gift is entirely up to you, and should you happen to know someone who would enjoy the gift much more than you do, then by all means regift it to them.

It is the best way to get rid of items that your ex gave you without having to hurt their feelings and making someone else happy. That is a win-win situation!


Sometimes, you do not want to give your ex the satisfaction that comes with giving stuff back after a breakup but also you do not want to keep the gifts they got you, or sell them, or give them away. So what do you do? Easy, you throw the gifts away. Literally. Pack up all the gifts that your ex got for you, put them in one big bag, and head to the dumpster to throw it all away.

This holds true if the relationship was toxic in some way and it did not end well and so looking at all their things makes you angry or too sad and you do not want to have to go through the hassle of donating or regifting just to see people close to you use the gift(s).


Another thing you can do aside from giving your ex her stuff back is to burn all the things that she ever got you. This can be a purification ceremony where you cleanse yourself of all their property and as a way to protect your energy. It is important to note that you should always light a fire in a well-ventilated place and make sure that none of the things you are burning are highly flammable or it may get out of control and you may start a much bigger fire than you intended which is something that you do not want to happen.

Burning the gifts can be so much therapeutic because the fire engulfing the gifts could be symbolic of the fire burning away all your feelings, hopes, and dreams that you and your ex may have shared together. This is why the things you decide to burn have to be significant.

The things that you cannot burn, for one reason or another, but still want to get rid of – you can donate, regift, or throw away.


Giving back gifts after break up is often seen as the noble thing to do; you had a relationship with a person, they bought you things to show you that they loved and appreciated you, the relationship ended, they demanded their things back, therefore, the best and noble thing to do would be to give it back.

Giving back gifts after break up is not only good for you but it also gives you closure with your ex. When you give them back their things, you are closing a chapter with them and you are letting them know that you no longer have room for them in your life anymore – symbolized by your returning of the gifts that they gave you.

It is important, however, to only take this step when you know that you are ready to let the things (and your relationship) go, and also that you are ready to face your ex – a person whom you might still have strong emotional and/or physical attraction to. Never do anything at the convenience of others while inconveniencing yourself.

Giving the gifts back is also one way to show your ex you don’t care anymore about him or the situation that led to the demise of your relationship.


1. Should you return gifts after a break-up?

As discussed above, returning gifts after a breakup is one of the options that you have after a breakup. There are other options that you can choose from such as; donation, regifting, throwing away, and burning the gifts. However, depending on the circumstances of your breakup and whether or not enough time has passed that you are able to look at your ex without falling apart or falling back into their arms again, returning gifts after a breakup is considered the noble thing to do amongst people in society.

The better question, however, should be “can an ex take back a gift” after a breakup? By definition, a gift is yours once you accept it and it might be considered rude to return the gift even after a breakup. Before you go ahead and pack up everything that your ex got you throughout the course of your relationship, consider whether or not your ex is the kind of person that would take offense in you returning the gifts they spent time and money on while in a relationship with you to show you that they loved and cared for you. If the answer is yes, do not return those gifts to them, simply throw them away or give them away, or regift them to some of your friends. You have other options.


In conclusion, this article has debated the pros and cons of giving your ex her stuff back versus just keeping it for yourself or repurposing it in one way or another. While it may be looked down upon to sell jewelry from ex, it is regarded as good manners to return expensive, meaningful, and eventful gifts such as engagement rings back to the person who purchased them – especially if the relationship does not end on good terms. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong if you want to keep those things for yourself. 

Just make sure that whatever you are doing, you are doing for yourself and not just to play mind games with your ex.





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