When my last boyfriend and I broke up, we still had a significant amount –- like trash bags of shit amount -– of each other’s clothing, personal items and gifts he was too lazy to take. I expected, like any person who values their things would, that we would select a date and exchange these goods. But, instead, despite my numerous attempts to pick a time and day, my things were held hostage for weeks.
There were a few rare times he actually agreed on a set plan to meet (somehow with a job in which he only worked Friday and Saturday nights, his calendar was always full), but then something would come up, like his bike suddenly stopped working, or he stepped in dog poop or his phone combusted into a million little pieces that his cat then ate and needed to be rushed to the vet.
There was even the time he threatened to throw my things in the garbage because, well, how else was a guy who once threw me out of his apartment at 1 AM going to handle a breakup? And, naturally, he followed up with a half-hearted apology, letting me know that his cat and him sometimes sniffed my bag of clothes before going to sleep. Uh, what?
Even when I did eventually get some of things back, they came in bits and pieces. One earring without a back, mismatched socks, underwear I didn’t even remember purchasing. Each became another excuse to keep the dysfunctional ending of our two-year romance going on and on and on. Each another reason to have to see one another.
And the one thing that still remains, that after six months of being broken up, he still can’t bring himself to get, is a painting a friend did of the two of us for our one-year anniversary, when we were actually happy. The best part is that he never even wanted the damn thing when we were together; Instead of hanging it up on his wall, it stood against my desk, collecting dust.
Every other week or so he’ll claim he’s going to come retrieve it. And every other week there’s another excuse why he can’t. So in my closest it sits, face against the wall, awaiting its fate in a garbage can (cause god knows I ain’t lugging that thing with me to another apartment) because its owner refuses to accept the finality of our toxic and chaotic romance.
This wasn’t even my first experience dealing with an ex unwilling to make the swap. My boyfriend before that was in complete denial of our breakup. He would call me saying, “We’re going to be together,” and “This isn’t really the end,” despite my insistence that it was in fact over, for good, after three long months of attempting to call it quits.
After I started dating a new guy, I finally convinced him that he needed to return my stuff, but he refused to do it with grace. He grabbed my face and tried to kiss me after handing me a giant plastic bag of my things. I had to actually push him off of me and practically run back to my house.
And the boyfriend before that went a whole different route. Instead of returning my things, he pawned them off to his new girlfriend, who then made it a point to let me know how much she loved my junior prom dress. How classy of you, bro.
My roommate and her monster of a fling, who destroyed the relationship with verbal abuse and then wondered what went wrong, uses the things he left at her house an excuse to speak with her, and usually yell at her more. The 2 AM drunken “I’m coming to pick up my fucking stuff tomorrow” texts are never up by sober actions the next morning.
Instead, he holds it over her head, as if she’s getting some gratification out of storing his VCR and crappy space heater in her room. Even when she offers for one of our other roommates or me to hand it to him, it’s never good enough. That would make it too easy on her, something he’s clearly trying to avoid.
Boys and girls (although I haven’t seen any of my girlfriends engage in this type of behavior, I’m sure many do), refusing to pick up items from your exes won’t bring them back. Instead, it will frustrate them and make them want to burn your belongings in a fiery rage. It’s time to grow up and do the whole closure thing like the rest of us -– drinking until you forget the other person’s name, drowning your sorrows in a box of cronuts, or moving on and realizing that your ex is an ex for a reason (I recommend option three).
Plus, having a bunch of your ex’s stuff at your place is not going to help you in the dating department. Imagine going to some new guy or girl’s house and seeing their old beau’s sweatshirt hanging up in the closet or underwear on the side of the bed (this really happened to someone I know). It’s kind of a major turn off and will just lead to uncomfortable questions or ignored phone calls.
I guess after three of these “Sure you’ll get your stuff back! Nah, just kidding, it’s mine forever now bitch” incidents, maybe I should learn my lesson and stop leaving my stuff at boyfriends’ houses. But I’d like to think that guys really do start to mature somewhere around 23, so that these type of problems don’t continue to pop up. Please, please, please let me be right.