What Does It Mean When Your Ex Returns Your Stuff?

There are a few reasons why your ex returned your stuff. Either: 1) They are over you and want to move on. 2) They do not want to be reminded of you. 3) They do not want a new dating partner to see your things. 4) They want an excuse to see you.

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The end of a relationship brings much pain, including confusion about what things mean (and non-things, too —like silence.) After all, this is the same person you knew more about than anyone else. And now it is as though you dated a stranger.

Why Return Your Stuff?

It is common to interpret every action and inaction for hidden meanings: What does it mean when they call? What does it mean when you don’t hear a peep?! And yes, what does it mean when they return your stuff? If you’re suddenly getting all your sweaters back, here’s why:

1) Returning your possessions signals that your ex is ready to move on. Yes, ouch. But, if he or she no longer has positive feelings for you, they won’t want to keep your things around.

2) Your ex is dating again and doesn’t want to bring new people home and have them see your stuff lying around. Another ouch, sorry. It’s horrible to imagine someone you love no longer feeling the same way for you. Although, if true, getting your stuff back could help begin the healing for you. You know, getting closure…

Of course, there are many angles to consider here. And not all of them are bad for your ego.

For example:

3) Your belongings trigger painful reminders for your ex. No one wants reminders placed all over their home when a breakup is traumatic. Seeing your stuff only serves to remind them of what happened.

Whether your ex wants a clean slate to move on or a chance to compose themselves, temporarily removing reminders is a rational move.

Of course, if seeing your stuff lying around causes your ex pain, that’s a sign there are still feelings there. And so, finding a box of your stuff can signal you still have a chance to reconcile.

Indeed, if your ex looks sad when you pick up your stuff and they admit seeing your things hurt them, that’s a sign your story may not be over.

This brings me to the fourth reason:

4) Your ex returned your stuff as an excuse to see you again. After all, there are not many socially acceptable ways to see each other after a breakup. Your ex may be reaching out because they want an excuse to see how you are doing.

Think about how your ex reached out and how the “handover” happened. Did your ex insist on giving your stuff back in person? Even if they could have got a friend to do it?

As you can see, there are a few valid reasons why an ex will return your stuff, both positive and negative. While it is tempting to assume the worst, it is better to keep an open mind. Maybe it means the relationship is over for good, maybe not. It is likely too soon to tell, and sometimes you’ll find a spark a little further down the road. But, if you get a clue your ex misses you or hangs around longer than needed? You should explore your options.

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Fair enough.

About the author: Michael Fulmer is a breakup repair consultant and relationship coach. He publishes the Ex-Communication newsletter to inboxes all over the world. He also runs the Breakup Dojo, where he teaches you to make the right moves to outwit your ex’s negative feelings. Michael has been undoing breakups since 2011. No fancy suits, videos, or fake smiling photos. You won’t find Michael featured on Youtube, either.