A relationship with an ex is what it is, ex, over, and in the past. Whether temporarily or permanently, the closeness and intimacy between you and the person are no longer there.
After break up, one desires peace and would want to get a grip on life once again. But there are those exes who will not let you be and keep sending you gifts. So, should you accept a gift from your ex?
It’s inappropriate to accept a gift from your ex. Whether things ended calmly between you two or not, or if you remained friends after breaking up, there should be no room for you to accept any gifts from them.
Gifts carry meaning and have strings attached to them. That’s why the size of the gift counts less when weighed against the thought behind it.
Even though gift-giving is a thoughtful action, receiving gifts from your ex can keep you in a back-and-forth non-progressive state for a long time. This article puts this into perspective and explains how to respond if your ex sends you a gift.
What does it mean when your ex gives you a gift?
During my college days, I had the worst break-up experience. It ended in insults and curses; you’d wonder if these two were once in love. After the break-up, there was a long silence between my ex and me for several months until my birthday.
That evening I received a gift with a note on the side from him. You know what happened. Every emotion associated with him came rushing back. I’ll tell you what I did with the gift. But before that, why did he send the gift?
There are reasons why your ex would give you a gift, whether on your special day or any other day.
1. They want to rekindle things and get back to you
Gifts carry a sentimental value, so if they intend to get back with you, they’ll find a gift that knows will move your heart in that direction. They may not need to explain much afterward because the gift is enough to relay the message.
2. They got the gift before you broke up
These carry a message like ‘I had it for your birthday’ and are mainly sent a few days after the break-up. At this point, emotions from the break-up could still be too strong, and the end goal would be to try resolving things.
3. They want to use the gift to manipulate you and remain on your good side
Gift-giving has proven to be a great way to keep someone grateful to you. An ex with selfish reasons can keep gifting you to keep you close enough as a means to their expected end. It isn’t kind to think of it in this light, but it’s a possibility.
Should you accept a gift from your ex?
I did not accept the gift from my ex. I wrote a small note with smile emojis on the side and sent it back. The message read, ‘we shouldn’t gift each other anymore’ and left it at that.
It could be because we ended the relationship on very unpleasant terms, and I didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. However, I think once the relationship is over, there’s no reason to keep hurting yourself and revisiting the past in the name of gifts.
My decision was definite, but you could be having considerations. So let’s talk about how you can respond should your ex give you a gift.
Consider the type of gift and the occasion
Flowers on Valentine’s Day would send a different message compared to a book from your favorite author. It would appear normal and thoughtful for a friend to send a gift on your birthday than on random days.
If you consider the circumstances and the type of gift, and you feel it’s nothing out of the ordinary, you can go ahead and accept the gift. However, you should know that taking the gift leaves the door open for more gifts and more contact.
Be open and ask questions
If you’re outright rejecting the gift, there’s no need for the questions. But if you’re considering keeping the present, it’s okay to ask why they sent it to you. You don’t have to be so formal about it. You can say, “Thank you. What is it for?” The answer you receive will help you understand his motive. You’ll also have an easy time deciding whether to keep this gift and entertain similar actions from him in the future.
If his gifting act made you uncomfortable, this is where you open up and let him know how you feel about it and that you want to move on. The gifts could be a constant reminder of your relationship, which can slow down your healing and move on process.
Accept the gift and let it slide
You’re probably not like me, so in the long run, you decide to accept the gift. Do it politely and move on unless you want the relationship to continue. Continuously praising the gift and thanking him will only paint a desperate picture of you.
If you’re not hoping to get back with him, maintaining your dignity and respect is paramount. Therefore, handle the situation maturely and let it be.
Is it rude to return a gift from an ex?
You’re not entitled to accept gifts from your ex. So, it’s okay to say no to the gift and send it back. But do it politely. You’ll only disgrace yourself if you return it unceremoniously, throwing it on his face.
A break-up is emotion-intensive, and these emotions can linger around for some time. A gift from your ex is likely to trigger them further and cause an unpleasant reaction. It’s essential to be calm and respond to it reasonably.
This applies to gifts sent after the actual break up and not the gifts given during the relationship.
The dilemma comes in when it’s about returning gifts you had already received before the break-up. Should you return them? Such items hold sentimental value, and keeping them with you can constantly stir up emotions from the past.
A painting across your room that was a gift from your ex can be a constant reminder of the good time you had together and how thoughtful he was towards you. Keeping it there will tie you down to constantly re-living the past.
The best thing to do would be to keep it away or gift it to someone else. As satisfying as it would be to throw it back at your ex, someone who needs it would appreciate your thoughtful action if you gave it to them. Choosing the positive vibe over the negative will bring more peace to you.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with returning the gifts. You can pack everything they gave you and you don’t want it anymore and drop it off. You can include a note explaining your actions so that they understand your reasons for returning the items.
Before deciding what to keep, resell, give away or send back, take time to categorize them as yours, theirs, and what belonged to both of you. You can also reach out to find out if there are things they want to be returned. The goal is to amicably get rid of things that remind you of each other while still respecting each other’s feelings and emotions.
Some gifts have to be returned because their value is pegged on you being together. They hold meaning to the family and are passed on from one generation to the next. They are things like an engagement ring or a necklace belonging to the grandmother and given to you. Such a gift would not have any meaning after break up, so it’s best to return them.
Should you thank your ex for a gift?
Saying ‘thank you when someone does something thoughtful to you is common courtesy. So, no matter what your response is towards the gift, always say thank you.
Being thankful doesn’t mean that you accept the gift. You can send the gift back with a ‘thank you note and your reason for declining the gift. If you choose to keep the gift, you can send a ‘thank you note only and leave it at that.
If you’re hoping for things to get better between you two after the gift, you can accompany the ‘thank you note with a message that explains your thoughts. It’s essential first to find out what’s been going on with the person after the break-up. They could have already moved on to another relationship, and the gift was only for the occasion and not to suggest a reunion.
The Bottom line
A gift is given or received willingly, and no one should force you to accept it. If you’re uncomfortable accepting gifts from your ex, be clear about it and leave no room for assumption. Your sanity and peace of mind will do you well more than a gift ever would.