Author Topic: Giving back stuff and moving on  (Read 4600 times)

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Tea Drinker

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2012, 03:50:16 PM »
I agree, give back family heirlooms (including engagement rings) or things that were borrowed rather than gifts (whether that's a book or a computer printer).

Beyond that, if you can't bear to look at it, find a good cause to donate it to, or trash it, quietly or dramatically as suits you. Quietly: the saved cards can go in with the rest of the paper recycling. Dramatically: burn them. After a painful breakup in my late teens, I flung a small gift dramatically into the East River, as a way both of getting rid of something that reminded me of the ex, and symbolizing "I am done with this relationship." Even then, I didn't involve my ex in the gesture: the whole point was to distance myself from her, not to communicate.
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onyonryngs

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2012, 04:27:33 PM »
Giving it back to the person, especially a friend, really seems like a PA attention-getting move rather than a cleansing of the spirit.  Quietly donating or selling the items is understandable, but there doesn't need to be a huge production.  What are the current friends supposed to think about that?  Humm... On the other hand, I'd start buying gifts that I know I'd like too just in case a hissy fit was thrown and I'm getting it back later.

VorFemme

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2012, 07:53:28 PM »
When I broke up with my first really serious BF just after high school (we were planning to be engaged rather than engaged due to my age - he was about a year older) - I burned his letters (risque - especially considering I was a preacher's kid and living at home) and put the one or two items of jewelry (silver pendant from a trip he'd made - after 37 years it's hard to remember what else there might have been) and such away with other items that I didn't wear (high school graduation was about two months before we broke up - I had gotten several gifts that I didn't end up wearing much). 

I returned anything he'd loaned me and made sure that there was nothing to raise an eyebrow with a future husband or children finding the "old love letters".  Because they weren't the kind of things I wanted my parents finding, either.....fortunately for me, they didn't go looking for things like that - but I wasn't going to risk them being found if I was in the hospital or something....yeah, THAT bad in places.  Ben Franklin's advice on choosing a mistress was the least of it...looking back..."what was I thinking" comes to mind.
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MummySweet

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2012, 08:17:58 PM »
Several years ago I broke off an engagement about eight weeks before the wedding.  I know that I hurt the man very badly, but I just wasn't ready to make the commitment.   He took a job that took him out of the country for about six months, but when he returned we rekindled our relationship and things seemed to be going really well.   He was committed to another job across the country and had to leave for that, but we had plans to visit each other, including specific dates and purchased air tickets. 

He was unable to come back for the first visit to me.  When it was almost time for me to visit him, he got "funny" on the phone about how busy he was and maybe it wasn't the best time.   I was starting to get the message and we both dialed back on talk of seeing each other, but we still talked on the phone frequently.  He was more often the originator of the calls because he was on the road quite often. 

Then one day a large padded envelope arrived, about a week after I had last talked to him.   I opened it and it contained every piece of paper, every photograph, and every other sentimental memento that he had collected from our time together. (He kept all the bigger, more expensive gifts that I had given him.)   It also contained an invitation to his wedding that was scheduled to occur three weeks later.     

Looking back I think it was dramatic payback.  I understand that he didn't want to keep it and wanted to start his married life "clean", but he could have done so by way of the circular file. 


cass2591

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2012, 08:40:01 PM »
I had a painful break up years ago, and my ex had given me a lot of jewelry. I also had a lot of pictures of him, us, his extended family, etc etc. My first inclination was to dump the pictures and sell the jewelry, although I knew there would be little return. My friends talked me out of it, just advised me to put it all away and reassess down the road, and I'm grateful I followed their advice.

I still have the pictures, which I find nostalgic. I started wearing the jewelry again after, I don't know, maybe a year? I still wear it  today because it's classic, and I don't think of him when I see it.

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Venus193

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2012, 09:17:12 PM »
Returning things to an ex is cruel and often childish.

Many years ago an SCA friend broke up with a girlfriend of two years.  I don't remember who initiated the breakup but he came home from work one evening to find his driveway filled with everything he had ever given her.  The sweaters were shredded, the jewelry smashed, the books torn into pieces.  It was actually frightening.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2012, 09:34:44 PM »
It depends on the motivation for giving things back.  If you think the giver truly would want the item returned - such as an engagement ring, family heirlooms, etc. - then it's good to be the better person and return them quietly with as little fuss as possible, maybe with a note about "I thought you might want these back since they were so important to you."  On the other hand, if the reason for returning items is catharsis or revenge or your OWN "healing," it's better to just trash/sell the items and be done with it.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2012, 11:18:07 AM »
I also think the giving back everything is overly dramatic and cruel.

Now, I have also gotten rid of things that I received from friends.  Not because I had a real friendship break up, but because the friendship drifted away a long time ago and the item has no value for me.

This person has friendships so volatile that the friendship ends dramatically?  And not just once, either.  That is a little strange to me.
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Lynn2000

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2012, 11:33:07 AM »
Something came up after a night out with the girls.

Whenever one of my girlfriends breaks up with someone she basically cleans out everything that her ex gave her and gives it back. Anything that reminds her of her ex she gets rid of. She even does it with her with friends she is no longer friends with.

I can understand doing that with exes. But I think it is kind of strange to do that with friends you have nothing to do with anymore.

What do you all think?

Going with the majority... returning borrowed/left-at-your-place/heirloom stuff is fine, if done quietly. But returning gifts or anything that "reminds you" of them seems hurtful and drama-causing.

A break-up (romantic or platonic) can really mess with people's heads, though, and I have seen cases where one person wants to return all these things and isn't thinking spitefully--they're thinking that they want this object, with its painful memories, out of the house now, and that they're actually being civil by returning it to the other person, in case that person wants to sell/return it to the store and get their money back. Like that will lessen the sting of the break-up for the other person. They seem to be thinking, "I will not be a petty person who costs my ex money, I will try to be the better person by allowing him/her to recoup some of their failed investment in our relationship." IME their exes do not see it that way--not sure if this points to a fundamental difference in personalities that may have contributed to the break-up, or just temporary insanity on the part of the give-backer.
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DavidH

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 01:22:21 PM »
Returning heirlooms, particularly something like an engagement ring is a nice thing to do.

Returning the other person's items, like a borrowed book or clothing left behind, is the right thing to do

Returning gifts, letters, things like that seems spiteful and can make the person returning them look bad, kind of like a goodbye cruel forum post on line

Throwing out gifts, letters, things like that out to avoid the memory is fine, if it is not done in a large and dramatic public spectacle. 

Sunbeem

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2012, 11:33:23 PM »
Several months after being cruelly dumped (didn't see it coming, and he went about it very very wrongly and drew it out for a while) I eventually got rid of most of the things he gave me that had emotional meaning- the only 2 things I returned to HIM were a heart necklace, and his love letters to me.  The letters because a crazy corner of my brain was (not too seriously) entertaining the idea of doing something vengeful with them, and I wanted them 1)gone so I wouldn't be tempted, and 2) wanted to take the higher road, and figured that would be to set his mind at ease in ease he was worried that his letters to me might someday resurface...  and 3) I figured maybe when he saw them he would feel guilty about all the broken promises/sentiments they contained.  Can't really remember why I sent the heart necklace back; maybe just because I had stashed it with the letters since it was too "romantic" a thing to keep wearing, especially after he dumped me.  I hope it was not interpreted as a jab...

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2012, 12:58:50 AM »
I think this is a "case-by-case-basis" sort of issue, but the question you should always ask is "Why am I doing this?"
 
I get what PPs have said about returning engagement/wedding rings because they are a symbol of a promise that is no longer going to be fulfilled. Gifts are, well, gifts. They remind you of the giver, but they are yours. They are not (or at least should not be) given with the expectation of return. If that was true you would call it a loan, not a gift. Unless they ask for it, I don't see a way to return a gift to an ex without symbolically throwing it in their face. I think it is also nearly impossible to ask for a gift back without coming off as bitter/petty etc.

I have broken up with my best friend since childhood, and she was in the middle of helping me redo my house. Now I hate the room she helped paint, and I don't want to hang up the lamps she bought me. I would return them if she asked for them but otherwise I will probably give them away. If I decide to keep the big picture she bought me for my living room as an "early Xmas present," I may perform a cleansing ritual to reclaim is as "mine" instead of "the picture she gave me." Sounds silly I know. But that's what I'd have to do to find peace.

My friend and I have swapped back things we've loaned each other, everything else was a gift that we have to deal with on our own. I will do whatever I need to do with what I own via her, but I will do it alone and for myself. Whatever choices I make about the objects in my life have to be about me, for me, and by me. That is the only way for me to find closure. Whether I keep her gifts or give them away, I need to own the choice.
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Danika

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2012, 02:03:25 AM »
I may perform a cleansing ritual to reclaim is as "mine" instead of "the picture she gave me." Sounds silly I know. But that's what I'd have to do to find peace.

I really like this idea and have pondered doing it in the past. I have yet to find a way to do this, though. I have a few things I bought with my own money when I was out with my former best-friend and I really like them. I just don't want them to remind me of her. I keep trying to think of them as "I bought these on one of our last outings together and they represent closure." That's the only way I can stomach them. Is there another way to get rid of the associations?

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2012, 11:08:05 AM »
Several months after being cruelly dumped (didn't see it coming, and he went about it very very wrongly and drew it out for a while) I eventually got rid of most of the things he gave me that had emotional meaning- the only 2 things I returned to HIM were a heart necklace, and his love letters to me.  The letters because a crazy corner of my brain was (not too seriously) entertaining the idea of doing something vengeful with them, and I wanted them 1)gone so I wouldn't be tempted, and 2) wanted to take the higher road, and figured that would be to set his mind at ease in ease he was worried that his letters to me might someday resurface...  and 3) I figured maybe when he saw them he would feel guilty about all the broken promises/sentiments they contained.  Can't really remember why I sent the heart necklace back; maybe just because I had stashed it with the letters since it was too "romantic" a thing to keep wearing, especially after he dumped me.  I hope it was not interpreted as a jab...

I once read somewhere that in Victorian times, asking for one's letters to be returned was the classic way to state that the relationship was over.  I think in your case, you were not being petty, but following a time honored tradition of acknowledging that the sentiments expressed in letters (and the heart necklace) are no longer true.
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Softly Spoken

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Re: Giving back stuff and moving on
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2012, 01:13:45 PM »
I may perform a cleansing ritual to reclaim is as "mine" instead of "the picture she gave me." Sounds silly I know. But that's what I'd have to do to find peace.

I really like this idea and have pondered doing it in the past. I have yet to find a way to do this, though. I have a few things I bought with my own money when I was out with my former best-friend and I really like them. I just don't want them to remind me of her. I keep trying to think of them as "I bought these on one of our last outings together and they represent closure." That's the only way I can stomach them. Is there another way to get rid of the associations?

I hate to trot out the old "time heals all wounds" chestnut but I think that does play a part. In my experience, the picture in question was bought a few months ago. When I broke up with my friend, I put off hanging it and just let it sit in another room with other decorations I had purchased. Now when I go in and look at all of them together I just see "my stuff for decorating" and not "my stuff and the pic my exbf bought me." I basically let myself literally forget it and then rediscovered it again. Luckily, it is to my taste (I picked it out my exbf didn't pick it out for me) so I can tell myself I would have bought it anyway. I think after a while, you can look at things and think "I bought these on one of our last outings together and they represent closure." Period. :) So if you want to keep something but don't like the association with it - my vote is for burying it or "losing" it for a while. Physical distance = emotional distance.

As far as actual "ritual" (I don't know what else you'd call it - coping mechanism?) if you are impatient waiting for your emotions to scab over: I have taken to striding into the room my exbf helped paint and declaring out loud "This room is mine." When I do finally hang up the picture she bought, I may think to myself, or even say out loud "I am going to hang up my picture in my living room now." Basically, I'm verbally marking my territory, even though I'm the only one here!

I also took a feather and physically 'swept' away the emotional/metaphorical "cobwebs" or "strings" attached to the picture mentioned above.

Whatever gets you through... ;D ::)
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