Wowzer, there are so many variations of this question, and it is such a common source of relationship strife.
Talking from experience, if I kept a gift from an ex it was because the item in question was one I liked. I didn’t keep it because it held sentimental value. One such item is a ring which is of course particularly controversial.
The ring was not given as an engagement ring or a wedding ring it was bought for me as a birthday gift. I wear it randomly. I have to confess that when I was asked by other boyfriends where I got the ring, who from etc. I told a white lie. I didn’t do this because I harboured sentimentality about the ring’s origin, I did it because I didn’t want them getting their knickers in a twist about nothing and objecting to me having it.
Experience in this regard had taught me that this was one occasion a ‘lie’ was harmless. And to be fair to me, it has been. I don’t make a habit of this behavior I assure you. I am sharing this ‘truth’ so you know I am human and flawed and I share in these dilemmas.
Moving forward however without telling ‘white lies’ you should (in my opinion) be able to keep gifts or even momentos if that is something you feel for whatever reason you want to do. The items do symbolize your life story and you may want to keep things as a record of that. Trophy’s to show the grandkids 😉
If you enter a new relationship you are wise to show the new bf/gf due consideration and keep your ‘momentos’ in a box in the attic. You need to be clear to yourself and the new person you have moved on. If you’re not ready to ‘store’ the items, you perhaps have not moved on.
Gifts you use like a nice coat, jewelry, shoes etc. you (in my opinion) should continue to wear or use as you wish as an item you have that you like. The new gf/bf may object and if they do reassure them you merely like the item, nothing more. If you’re lucky you’ll get a new coat and a new piece of jewelry from the new bf/gf to replace the old ones from the ex ;).
When the boot is on the other foot
I have also been on the other side of the fence in this regard. Many of my exes have kept items from previous exes. Some of them maintained close friendships and one of them bought a house a few doors away from his ex! I must be the most open minded person in the world right? Well yes and no. I knew about these ‘close connections’ before things got too serious with those boyfriends and so I had a choice to accept the situation or to move on.
What I didn’t do and wouldn’t do is to try to change how they choose to live their life, who to be friends with and so on. I did though try to educate them about being sensitive to my feelings in this regard. I did indeed have ‘feelings’ in that I didn’t like any of it. But I figured that was my issue not theirs.
No one should be forced to let go of people they consider to be close friends especially when they have just entered a new relationship which may not last. Same applies re getting rid things of you ‘like’ or wish to keep as memories of your life as a ‘whole person’ and not just the person you were when you met your lifetime partner.
That’s my take on the topic, what do you think and what is your experience in this regard? Have you kept gifts from an ex? Did it cause a problem with your new partner? What did you do?