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Gift Etiquette: Give Presents Back After Breaking Up or Keep Them?

Note: This blog post was published in 2013 on my relationships blog. I've decided to stop posting on that website and republish this story on Ooooooo La La! 

The relationship is over, now what?
Oh, breaking up is so hard to do. Do we box their stuff up and throw it in the trash? Do we keep their box of items and hold it hostage in our house? Or, do we do things the nice way and just give them the "junk" back?

Also, if you receive an extravagant gift - let's a diamond ring - do you feel entitled to give it back?

.... I say... pawn that ish! Just kidding, lol. (Well, this is an option). 

Sometimes two adults that break up mutually, and maturely can keep it civilized and simply arrange a time where they can meet to give each others items back. Unfortunately, not all breakups are this nice and easy.

Give Back Gifts?

No way! Those were gifts during the relationship so why should you have to give them back? 

If you received a diamond ring, clothes, etc. from a guy, they are rightfully yours. You're not renting these items, they were presents. They don't expire when your relationships is done. You have the right to keep any and all gifts.

What About An Engagement Ring?

Now when it comes to engagement rings, that can be a little tricky. Some women feel like if the engagement is called off, and if it was called off by them, then they should return the ring. Others feel like the ring is theirs so they can keep it, especially if the engagement was called off by him.

I really don't know what to say about this one because I've never been in this situation. But, personally, I don't think I would keep the ring. It's not like I'm going to wear it. I'm not going to keep it in my jewelry box as a reminder of a failed engagement/almost marriage. 

So, yes, I would return an engagement ring.

Giving And Getting Back Personal Belongings

Is the dumper supposed to ask the dumpee for their things back? 

I think if someone dumped me and then asked for their things back right away, this would entitle me to trash your items. 

First off, give me time to get myself together. Second, when I finally pull myself together, then I'll think about sending your things back on MY time. 

There isn't a set time frame on when you can get your items back or give items back.

I'll admit, I can be very vindictive. I never had a good breakup. I realized I can't be friends or even cool with an ex. No matter how hard I try to get over it, there will always be those sour feeling in me, that's just the type of person I am.

But then again, the quicker you rid yourself of his possessions and reminders, the quicker you can get on with your life and not have a reason to think about him.

Also, sometimes during breakups "the stuff" gives one person an excuse to come back over. Only you know your ex and know which items they kept, or what items you still have of his. Weigh your options.

If you don't want to see him again and if the items aren't that expensive, then who cares, let him keep it. If we're talking about a brush and a couple of shirts, no biggie. But, if you were practically living with the guy and you have a lot of your items at his house, or he has a lot of stuff at your place, then the right thing to do is return his stuff and get your items back.

  • If they are gifts, you keep them.
  • If they are his personal belongings or he has yours, then give them back and get your stuff back, depending on if you care to have your belongings back. Just remember, you may have to see them again during this process.


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