Why do exes leave their stuff behind? During your relationship with him, there were so many things that found their way into your home. It’s quite normal when you’re sharing your entire life with someone.
Your past relationship was with a person you thought would stay with you forever. You didn’t think that he would ever leave so you let him bring his stuff around all the time.
After so many nights he spent at your place, it’s no wonder you keep finding his hoodies hidden deep in your closet. Whenever you find these things and they still smell like him, it’s like an arrow going straight through your heart.
Your ex-boyfriend is still an open wound. The thought of him always makes you wonder whether you could’ve done something to prevent your separation from happening. Now, you’re trying to bring the no-contact rule to the front stage but you can’t enjoy your single life when he’s still not coming around to get his stuff.
You need to forget him as soon as possible because the pain, misery, and anger you feel toward this entire situation are not enjoyable in the slightest. Your life seems to be stuck every time you get home and you see all those small reminders of your time spent with him.
So, why do exes leave their stuff behind? What is he trying to get out of this?
Why do exes leave their stuff behind?
1. He wants you to suffer
After a break-up, there are so many different reasons for petty behavior. Your ex hasn’t come back to claim his things because he wants you to suffer!
He knows that his belongings will make you think of him every time you lay eyes on them. You’ll feel a pang in your heart and it’ll never do you any good to keep them around.
That’s why his pettiness isn’t allowing him to see reason. He only wants to see you hurt.
If you were the one to finally end the relationship, then he probably did this as a way to take his revenge. It was so important for him to see you struggle that he didn’t care that his things were at your place.
He’s even ignoring your text messages because he knows how much it frustrates you to have to go through this for such a long time. It doesn’t get easier as time goes on either because it only creates more stress for you.
That’s exactly what he was hoping to gain. You’re crying your eyes out every single time you smell him on his clothes, so you can’t even get used to him being gone from your life.
2. He’s angry but not done
Why do exes leave their stuff behind after a break-up, as if there’s no value in those things at all when actually, they have such a deep meaning to them?
I’ve never actually done this myself but a few of my friends said that they would leave some of their things behind because they were angry. They weren’t done with the relationship but they were in so much pain that they wanted to cause some type of damage.
I even had a friend who had an on-again-off-again relationship but she always wanted her ex back. She would never admit that their relationship was toxic.
For that exact reason, she would always leave valuable things at his place just to be petty and mess with him. Her ex kept those things for a while before he actually contacted her, which was then her opportunity to rekindle the flame between them.
This is an awful manipulation tactic that has nothing to offer besides mutual anger and suffering. Your ex isn’t even sure anymore whether you’ve thrown his things into a fire or if you’ve kept them.
3. He’s looking for an excuse to see you again
When you’re thinking, “Why do exes leave their stuff behind?” you have to understand that most of them see this as a security blanket. They leave behind anything valuable enough to start a conversation again.
Your belongings are a gateway back into your life. Once enough time has passed, he’s going to want to see you once more with the excuse of getting his things back.
Your ex wants to see you again before he moves on. Even if he’s considering getting back together with you and starting the relationship anew, this little trick is perfect.
He has a sure-fire way of getting under your skin under the pretense that you’re holding on to his things. You want to enforce the no-contact rule but he’s not giving you that luxury.
Even if you were in a long-distance relationship, if he wants his things back, he’ll find a way to get them back. Right now, he’s just showing you that he’s going to torture you a little while longer.
4. He forgot about your stuff
What are the chances that he just isn’t thinking about those things? If he left something important like a laptop, some of his important documents, or other things that do have value, then he’ll need them back. There’s no way he could forget about something that important.
However, if those things have no value, then he’ll just leave them behind; for example, if you found some of his clothes in your closet. He would leave these things at your place so he didn’t have to bring an overnight bag every time he came over, so now there’s a dedicated little area in your closet that’s filled with his stuff.
He’s probably not even aware that those items are missing. He probably forgot about them the very moment he brought them over.
At this point, though, it could instead be just a sign of his laziness. He can’t be bothered to think about these things and he’s just finding ways to avoid any type of interaction between the two of you.
5. It’s not important to him
One of the reasons why exes leave their stuff behind is that they have the money to replace those things. He doesn’t feel the need to come and get anything when he knows that it would just be a lot of stuff and a lot of hassle.
Your ex feels very indifferent toward those things now. They have no sentimental value to him and he doesn’t feel like they’re necessary for his everyday survival.
When he doesn’t want his things back then there’s nothing you can do. However, you can always send him a text message asking whether he needs them.
You can contact him on social media, so you don’t make it face-to-face. At least this way you can say that you took the high road and that you were fair toward him.
At some point in time, he was your significant other and your best friend. For that same reason, you shouldn’t just throw his stuff away without asking him whether he wants it first.
6. You didn’t take your stuff back either
Be honest: Did you go and get your things back from him? If not, then there’s no way he’s being the only irrational being here.
Why would he come and get his own things when you’re avoiding him like the plague? Is his name Corona? Imagine if it really was; it would be an amazing joke.
Jokes aside, go and get your things! You can expect him to come and get his stuff to take back to his place once you get yours.
If you feel like you can’t see him in person yet, ask a mutual friend of yours for a favor. You can make a list of all your things that were left at his place and you can finally claim them back.
At the same time, your friend could take him his things back. You don’t even have to check up on his well-being in this case. You just have to find someone trustworthy enough.
7. He doesn’t want to see you
Relationships end because of many different things. Some people decide to call it quits even when they still love the other person, so it gets frustrating when you need to see them again after so much heartbreak.
Seeing you again would mean that he has to think about every kiss, every hug, every laugh, and every tear that he shared with you. He’ll have to walk away from you and that would be the last time he’d see you.
Once he takes his stuff back, it’s really the end and he’d have to admit to himself that there’s no way of salvaging this. But leaving his things at your place means that he could come back once he feels safe enough to do so.
Another reason why he doesn’t want to see you is that he’s so mad that it would only ignite the anger even more. He wouldn’t want to say or do something that he’d regret later on.
Things you have to return to him
It doesn’t matter why exes leave their stuff behind when there are things you do have to return to him. You have to keep in mind that most of those belongings are probably quite valuable.
Even if you don’t want to see him or you don’t want to know that he exists anymore, you still have to return these particular things, which is why I made a list of everything that shouldn’t go into the trash or into a bonfire.
Hopefully, you’ll rethink your choice of shredding up all of his documents and cutting up his clothes.
1. Borrowed items and money
When you borrow something from your partner during your relationship, then it’s your responsibility to give it back.
“Why do exes leave their stuff behind if they didn’t gift it to you?” Did you ever borrow something from him, like a household item, money, or anything really that you needed at that particular moment in time? If you did, then you should pack it all up and take it back to his place.
If you borrowed money from him, I really do believe that you should give it back to him. This way, you’ll know that you’re ending things with a clean slate.
Imagine if he started telling people that you stole that money just because you didn’t return it. He was hoping that you’d give it back to him at some point in time, so don’t let him have an awful opinion of you. You can end things in a nice way.
2. Important documents
Did you live together? Did he leave his important documents at your place and forgot to take them back home?
You would want someone to tell you if you left these things at their place. It doesn’t matter whether you were in a fight with them because moments like these call for honesty.
Maybe you even saw a recent post of his that said he was searching for them. You know they’re at your place and you should have a little amount of empathy toward this man and take them back to him.
You’re his ex-girlfriend which means that he trusted you enough to leave them at your place. You can let go of your ex’s stuff when they have no value to you.
3. Anything of sentimental value
Why do exes leave their stuff behind especially if they have a lot of value to them? Well, you were the most valuable person to him, so he didn’t mind at the time. If your ex asked for something back, it only means that he’s very connected to that particular item.
It could be something he always talked about, like some plush animals that have certain importance to his life, his mother’s necklace that he gave you, or his grandmother’s ring.
All of these things have very high sentimental value, so please give them back to him. You can’t expect him to give your stuff back before he’s sure he’s also going to get his things back.
The amount of time it’s been with you doesn’t matter. You should really give his stuff back, especially if it’s somehow related to a family member.
4. Things that simply aren’t yours
Why would you want to keep a reminder of your ex? You two broke up for a reason and you shouldn’t want to have a reminder of that time.
Sometimes, people end their relationship on good terms. The next day you’re crying your eyes out but you still have a very innocent love toward that person.
It doesn’t change the fact that you should take his things back to his place. Give him everything that wasn’t yours to begin with because you’ll feel much better afterward.
Yes, you’ll feel like you’re falling apart. It feels like it’s really the end and there’s nothing you can do to save your relationship. Once he takes his things back to his place, there’s no going back to the relationship you had before.
However, you’ll feel a lot better, I can promise you that. Maybe not today or tomorrow but after a while, everything will be okay.
What you should do with the things he leaves behind on purpose
Why do exes leave their stuff behind on purpose if they don’t want you to do whatever you want with them? You can always find a way to dispose of his things.
Again, you don’t have to shred them to pieces but you could be a little more creative with them. You don’t have to spam his phone by calling and texting him all the time about collecting his belongings.
After a certain amount of time, you can do whatever you want with his things, especially if he says that he doesn’t want them anymore. So let’s talk about your options.
1. Keep them if they’re useful
You can easily use those things that have some sort of value to you if you believe that your life would be easier that way. For example, before my ex and I broke up, we lived together. During that time, he bought a vacuum cleaner and didn’t take it with him when he moved out of the apartment.
Do you think I should have begged him to take it with him? Do you think that I was going to throw away something so useful just because it belonged to my ex? It wasn’t going to happen.
I still use it to this day. It’s functional and he didn’t mind leaving it behind so why should you throw away everything just because it belonged to your ex?
Be smart and hold on to certain items because at one point or another, you could definitely benefit from them.
2. Donate them or sell them
When exes leave their stuff behind, why are we so apprehensive about donating it or selling it? Well, because we’re nice human beings, obviously.
Not to be the passive-aggressive neighborhood witch but this is the time when you can be just as petty as he is. I would love to tell you that kindness is always the right answer to mean behavior but sometimes you can fight fire with fire.
When he’s made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with you or the stuff he left behind, then you have the green light. Take those things to your local goodwill, give them to homeless people, or someone who’s in desperate need of it.
You can definitely leave his books at every bus station as gifts to strangers, if the gift of literacy is on your agenda right now. You could even start a thrift shop online or make an Instagram account and post pictures of all his stuff you don’t need anymore and find new homes for them.
So many people would pay money to get the things that are only lying around your home. You can make great use of that.
3. Call his mom
This may seem radical but hear me out! Are there valuable things of his in your possession right now but you can’t bring yourself to give or throw any of it away? Call his mother!
There’s a good chance that you already met his mom. The type of relationship you had with her doesn’t matter anymore but you could use her either way.
If you have a good relationship with her then you could easily ask her for a favor. On the other hand, if she truly does despise you then she’ll be happy to get her son’s stuff back.
This is a great way to avoid talking to him and to get your point across. You’ll finally be free of his things without ever having to step into his view again.
I know that it may seem awful to bring a third party into this entire ordeal but sometimes you have to do these things to free yourself. I can promise you that it’s worse to hold on to his things than to send a text to his mom.
Why do exes leave their stuff behind? There’s always a reason behind it, even if it’s something stupid like spite.
He was stubborn enough to leave his belongings at your place with no regard to your feelings or the importance of those things in his life. So what you need to do is show him that you’re still kind-hearted and honest like you always have been.
You could pack up his things, put them in a pile, and give him a reason to believe that you’re not that bummed out about this whole break-up, even though you don’t owe him anything anymore.
It’s nice to believe that you should have a good relationship with your ex even when you’re not together but you should be able to make that decision for yourself.
Your ex-boyfriend has shown you the type of person he actually is but try to take the high road and give him his things back. If there’s no way to do that without collateral damage, then being petty over such a trivial inconvenience is completely understandable.
I’m not telling you to be toxic, I’m just telling you to take care of yourself and your boundaries.