What To Do With Gifts After A Breakup?

I oftentimes advise people to put away all gifts after a breakup so they can protect themselves from emotional setbacks. Fortunately, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Not all gifts are detrimental to our health so we’ll go into a bit more detail this time and discern when it’s okay to keep the gifts after a breakup.

Gifts can be different sizes—small, medium, big and they could mean little, a lot or the most to you.

The longer you are in a relationship with a person, the more likely you are to receive gifts from your significant other. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and special occasions are usually the times when couples exchange all sorts of presents and give back to each other.

After the breakup, couples are left with all sorts of gifts and they wonder what to do with them. Their first thought is to get rid of all reminders and move on as fast as possible. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.

As you may have noticed already, many gifts don’t make you feel much about them. More often than not, you only see them as items to benefit from. That said, there are, however, some gifts that you should not hold on to.

What to do with gifts after a breakup

Some say you should throw away all gifts or destroy them like some sort of deranged maniac. My advice on this particular matter would be to never act on impulse alone and think twice before you act.

You may really despise your ex for what she has done, but burning your ex’s letters or stabbing his fluffy bunny with knives and needles isn’t going to make things any easier on you. At least not in the long run. The most going berserk is going to provide for you is temporary satisfaction and a false sense of retribution.

Throughout this article, we will classify gifts into two different groups— harmful and unharmful. Once we are finished with that subject, we will learn how we can protect our heart and discern what to do with gifts after the breakup.

Please note that everyone has different harmful and unharmful gifts. A gift you may find harmful, another person might not. There are, however, a few types of gifts that are predominantly dangerous to our health.

Harmful gifts

Harmful gifts are the kind of gifts that bring back memories of your ex and at the same time, create powerful emotions. When you decide to inspect your ex’s gifts, you feel this nostalgic, bitter-sweet feeling in your stomach and chest area.

Once you cave in to the temptations of the gifts, all hell breaks loose.

The moment you examine the gifts, powerful feelings start rushing back to you. Suddenly, you remember the positive memories associated with the particular gift. Soon after, nostalgia kicks in so hard, you instantly feel sad or perhaps even depressed. You also begin to miss your ex’s good qualities and moments and feel the need to get back with your ex more than ever.

Feeling down is not unusual for you as a dumpee when you look at old gifts. As a result of anxiety and depression, you overvalue certain memories and feel unbelievably sad. The realization of the separation seeps in again and you’re back to square one—where you started weeks or months ago.

We can say this strange phenomenon occurs due to the state of mind you are in. If anger is a powerful state, then depression is a feeble state.

Since your thoughts are racing through your mind in order to help you reach a happier state, you would do anything to soothe your anxiety. You think to yourself, “If I look at the gifts, I will feel better.

These thoughts are anxiety-driven and are always very bad for you. It’s primarily your brain convincing your body to give you the drug. All you have to do is cave in to the temptation to look at the gifts.

The depressed stage can be reached very quickly when you deliberately resurrect nostalgia from the past. Similarly to stalking and asking questions about your ex, keeping your ex’s gifts has the same intentions. The gifts serve you as a medium to “help yourself feel better,” when in reality, they do exactly the opposite—hurt you more when you already feel weak.

Looking at your ex’s gifts won’t empower you or give you the impression that everything is going to be alright.

Apart from acquiring information about your ex, looking at gifts is your worst deteriorator to your health when you’re in no contact. The moment you look at them, you can say goodbye to your progress and embrace the pain.

As a dumpee, you are already prone to setbacks without looking at gifts. That’s why intentionally looking at gifts shouldn’t be on your to-do list as regressing back to a previous emotional state doesn’t appear enticing at all.

In other words, looking at gifts after a breakup is like banging your head against the wall and simultaneously expect to feel better.

Before we discuss how you can avoid self-inflicted pain, let’s first take a look at the most common harmful gifts after a breakup. As a dumpee, you most likely have some of these in your possession.

What to do with gifts after a breakup

As you can see from the infographic above, the gifts that hurt the most after the breakup are the ones that mean the most to us. Things, such as letters, text messages, photos and videos tend to have the biggest emotional impact on us. They hurt because they come “from the heart.”

Looking at these gifts reopens old wounds and sets us back emotionally, closer to the breakup. For that reason, removing them out of sight is the best option for your own well-being. Do this right from the start and you will recover as quickly as possible.

Unharmful gifts

Unharmful gifts are items we receive from our exes which don’t hold any or much sentimental value. Gifts that don’t create any emotions when we look at them can be deemed as “safe” to keep.

As you can already tell, anything that doesn’t cause you emotional pain is safe to keep. Each dumpee has its own gifts that cause little to no harm.

Here are some unharmful gifts you might have in your possession after the breakup.

gifts after a breakup

Some things on this list may cause one dumpee joy, and another pain. If you get sentimental responses about any of them, identify them as harmful gifts and treat them accordingly.

Deciding what to do

What you decide to do with gifts after a breakup depends on how they make you feel. If they remind you of your ex and drag you down every time you look at them, then it might be for the best that you put them away.

On the other hand, if you are able to use your ex’s gifts as if they were from someone you don’t care about, feel free to keep them and use them too.

Just because your romantic relationship has come to an end, doesn’t necessarily imply you should get rid of all reminders of your ex. If they hurt you, by all means, protect yourself.

If your ex has left you or vice versa and you don’t know what to do with gifs after a breakup, you must first ask yourself 2 imperative questions:

  1. Does using my ex’s gifts annoy or hurt me?
  2. Can I disassociate my ex from the gift and use the gift for its intended purpose?

Once you’ve decided that you can use the gifts your ex has given to you, feel free to do so. Wear the earrings, use the PlayStation, read the books and stay subscribed to your local newspaper.

In other words, there is absolutely no need to get rid of the items or services you were gifted. Throwing away trivial, yet beneficial everyday things would be quite a waste. Why not get some value out of them instead?

What to do with harmful gifts after a breakup?

If seeing your ex’s gifts after a breakup hurts you, it’s essential to do something about it. Depending on the value these items provide, there are a few things you can do with them.

1)Get rid of the gifts

  • letters, photos: discard
  • messages, recordings: delete
  • jewelry: sell
  • books, clothes: donate

2)Lock the gifts away

Electronics, everyday tools and accessories you should seal in a box and store it somewhere out of reach. The basement or the attic is probably a good place to put the box. The farther away and the more locked up it remains, the better for you.

If you can’t trust yourself to stay away from the memories of your ex, give the gifts to your friend and ask him or her to keep them for you until you are completely over your ex. There’s no need to feel ashamed. Simply ask your friends to hold on to the gifts until you decide what to do with them.

If you’re still asking yourself what to do with gifts after the breakup, here’s my answer for you. As long as the gifts aren’t hurting you or stir up some sort of a negative feeling in you, feel free to keep them—even if it’s something handmade and specific for you.

I personally wear a bracelet my ex had bought for me and I seldom take it off. To me, it’s just a bracelet I wear without associating it with the actual person.

If you can do the same and don’t feel overwhelmed, keep the gifts. Use them for your benefits in whichever way they can contribute to your life. If you do, you will concurrently show the world that you respect your ex’s gifts.

Additionally, you will portray the message that gifts don’t bother you one iota and that you’re moving on.

Do you agree with what to do with gifts after a breakup? Have you kept yours or followed the principles mentioned in this article? Please share your story in the comments section.

4 thoughts on “What To Do With Gifts After A Breakup?”

  1. hi,
    thank you very much for opening this space.
    After 3 months of weird relationship, I decided to broke up with that person… someone I though was ok, following the path if love and dhamma..but I was totally wrong..
    After I told him we are done… the day after, last Wednesday.. he tried to suicide..he did it..luckily he is alive..
    We have ni contact at all, and we won’t have it.
    I wish to his and his heart to live happily, and I just wanna move with my life asap, and recover from this violent behaviour towards me.
    The fact is I got so many presents, nice one, specially jewelry with gems stones and handmade, that are difficult to get rid of.. a very expensive watch that I really like, and I think I can detach from the fact that are coming from him, but I am more worried about the energy of it, as it was coming from him.. the energetic field of it… not sure if you know what I mean…

  2. Hi Zan,

    I broke up with fiancé last week. I was the dumpee. We broke up as she became more and more detached from the relationship over the last couple of months. Apparently because she fell for someone else.

    I have already initiated no contact since the day of broke up. I find that your blog really helpful as it gives a clear picture of how to proceed and live on with myself alone during these hard times.

    So we used to stay together and since the breakup she’s moved away. I am planning to pack all her stuff into a box and pass it to one of her friends. The thing is she keeps the proposal ring at my place and it’s with me now. And there is also this memory box which she painstakingly made specifically for me for my birthday last year. So these 2 items brings a lot of emotions and memories and carries a lot of promises made back then. I can’t stand to see it and don’t want it anymore because it hinders my recovery and all those promises made are nonexistent now. I don’t want to throw them away because they do mean a lot personally.

    Anyways, I am planning to pack those into the box as well and had it shipped back to her. But knowing my ex, she will probably reach out to me and pass it back to me.

    For now I don’t want to have any contact with her till I am fully recovered from the ordeal. Is there any advise you can perhaps offer in my situation?

    1. Hi Jan.

      Consider packing up your things and store them somewhere you can’t reach them. You can also give them to your friends to keep them out of sight.

      Just don’t leave them on display.


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