Hot Debate: Should Breakup Gifts Go Back to the Giver?

When it comes to the aftermath of a breakup, deciding whether to return gifts is a deeply personal choice. For me, it hinges on how we end things and what those gifts represent.
The Love Central - Hot Debate: Should Breakup Gifts Go Back to the Giver? The Love Central - Hot Debate: Should Breakup Gifts Go Back to the Giver?
Hot Debate: Should Breakup Gifts Go Back to the Giver?

When a relationship ends, it’s not just the couple that part ways – often, a slew of gifts and mementos also need to be dealt with. So, what’s the proper etiquette when it comes to hi returning or keeping gifts after a breakup?

In movies, people burn old gifts after they break up. I did that once. But it would be better to give the stuff away to someone who doesn’t have the associated memories. That’s not a bad plan. Returning gifts after a breakup doesn’t seem like a bad idea either,” says Will Lipovsky, a relationship expert and content manager at First Quarter Finance.

It’s a tricky question and one that has sparked heated debates online and offline. Some people believe that gifts are a symbol of the relationship and should be returned or destroyed after a breakup, while others argue that a gift is a gift and should be kept regardless of the relationship’s outcome.

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Some people believe that gifts are a symbol of the relationship and should be returned Image source Freepik

Team “Return and Regift” Makes a Case

  • Emotional Cleanse: Surrounding yourself with reminders of someone you’re trying to move on from can hinder healing. Returning the gift allows you to create a new space, free from those memories.
  • Karma is a Boomerang: Did your ex shower you with extravagant gifts you never wanted? Regaining them to a friend in need could be a sweet act of karmic justice (or at least a hilarious story on your next thrifting adventure).
  • Financial Fallout: Let’s face it, sometimes breakups happen because finances weren’t aligned. Returning a particularly pricey gift could be a practical step towards financial independence.

Team “Keep it and Keep Moving On” Counters

  • The Gift of Memory: A gift can be a reminder of your journey, even if it doesn’t have a happy ending. Keeping it allows you to acknowledge the past, learn from it, and move forward.
  • The Power of Upcycling: Feeling Crafty? Give that old sweater a makeover or turn a necklace into a new piece of jewelry. Transforming the gift allows you to reclaim its meaning in a way that suits your new life.
  • The Ethics of Etiquette: Returning a gift can feel like an accusation – like you’re revoking the giver’s good intentions. Unless it’s an heirloom or something the ex truly needs back, keeping it might be the more respectful option.

He Said, She Said: The Great Breakup Gift Debate

The internet is abuzz with opinions on this very topic. Let’s take a look at what some people had to say:

Ozanne shares a story on girlsaskguys.com about a guy who believed his ex-girlfriend owed him €30,000:

What reminded me most was years ago, I was dating a new guy and listened to him unload about his last girlfriend owing him almost €30,000. I couldn’t believe someone would have walked off with this much money so I asked him how this happened and why not take her to court for so much money being loaned out. It turned out that all he did was the math of over four years of dating to come up with a figure. This included an estimate of how much he would have spent on her daily during this time, if not an average but also included gas money to get to her and go home before they lived together. He believed she should be paying him back that money.”

Anonymous replied to this post, saying they agree and disagree:

I wouldn’t add up all my common day-to-day expenses spent with a girlfriend and expect that money back. However, if I bought her anything of significant value like jewelry, etc… depending on the break-up, I would expect it back.”

LightsOff has a similar viewpoint, but with a different twist:

Yeah, I don’t get people with that mindset either. It’s a GIFT, you’re not supposed to get it back, even if things go sour and your relationship falls apart. That’s what gifts are. You permanently give something away, whether that’s money, a service, or an actual physical item. Just because things didn’t turn out as planned, it doesn’t mean the person you were with should pay you back or that they somehow otherwise owe you for everything you’ve done to them.”

GMFEO is struggling with the decision to return a sentimental gift, even though their ex hasn’t asked for it back:

I’m going through something similar at the moment. For our anniversary last year, my ex made me a jewelry set out of his family heirloom silver. Despite him not asking for it back, I have decided to return it because it’s part of his family’s history. My mother and friends think I’m crazy, but I feel way too guilty to be able to keep it.”

Sara413 takes a firm stand on the matter, stating:

A gift is a gift – once it has been given, it belongs to the person who received it, end of story…”

The Love Central -
When it comes to the aftermath of a breakup deciding whether to return gifts is a deeply personal choice Image source Freepik

My Final Verdict: It’s All Personal

When it comes to the aftermath of a breakup, deciding whether to return gifts is a deeply personal choice. For me, it hinges on how we end things and what those gifts represent.

If we split on good terms, I might consider giving back items of great value—be it emotional or financial. But sometimes, I might hold onto them as mementos, or perhaps choose to let them go as part of moving forward.

In the end, it’s all about the emotions and memories attached to those gifts. Treating each other with kindness and understanding is crucial, no matter what you decide.

What about you? Have you faced this dilemma? Share your thoughts and experiences—I’d love to hear how others navigate this delicate decision.

From Cleopatra to Carrie Bradshaw: Timeless Secrets to Confidence and Connection in Dating

The quest for love and connection is a timeless human desire. Across centuries and cultures, the pursuit of romantic fulfillment has remained a constant. 

This article explores these timeless secrets through the lens of two iconic figures: Cleopatra, the legendary Queen of Egypt, and Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional sex columnist from Sex and the City.

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