What Does It Mean When Your Ex Returns Your Stuff?

TL;DR: There are a few reasons why your ex returned your stuff. Either: 1) They are over you and want to move on. 2) They don’t want reminders of you. 3) They don’t want a new dating partner to see your things. 4) They want an excuse to see you.

Ending a relationship brings various emotions, questions, and doubts. You start to move on, and suddenly, your ex reappears, carrying a box of your belongings. You may ask, “What does it mean when your ex returns your stuff?”

In this post, we’ll delve into the most likely reasons for the return of your belongings.

Whether your ex seeks closure, reconciliation, or wants to tidy up loose ends, understanding their motivations can help you navigate the murky waters of your newfound reality. So, let’s unpack this emotional baggage together and explore what this gesture might mean for you and your ex-partner.

Why Return Your Stuff?

A small mind map showing different reasons why an ex will return your stuff after a breakup

It is common to interpret every action and inaction for hidden meanings. When they call, what does that mean? When you don’t hear a sound, what does that mean? What does it mean when they give you back your things?

Here are four reasons why you might be suddenly receiving all of your sweaters back:

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. Another “ouch.” 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 process 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 start over or time to get themselves together, it makes sense to get rid of reminders for a while.

Obviously, if seeing your belongings strewn about causes your ex pain, this indicates that there are still feelings. And so, finding a box of your stuff can signal that you still have a chance to reconcile.

In fact, if your ex looks sad when you pick up your stuff and says that seeing your things hurts them, that’s a sign that 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 gotten a friend to do it?

As you can see, both positive and negative reasons exist for an ex to return your belongings. 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 that your ex misses you or hangs around longer than needed? You should explore your options.

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.