Should Exes Give Back the Gifts

Hey T,

Me and my Sister were watching some show, and in it, two people had recently broke up and the ex-boyfriend was demanding that the ex-girlfriend return all the expensive gifts he bought. But the ex-girlfriend wouldn’t budge, and kept telling him no. Which got me to thinking. When a couple breaks up, do you think people should return gifts?

Curious for the Future

Dear Curious for the Future,

Thanks for writing to me.  The question you’ve asked is one that men and women, heterosexual and homosexual, black and white, have been asking for years.  And I imagine it is a question that will continue to be highly discussed in the years to come.

In today’s society, people break up, become exes, and start to think about the all the time and money they spent in the relationship.  It’s the latter that will have many folks feeling some type of way.  They start remembering the $300.00 they paid for that bracelet, the $200.00 they spent on the watch, and the expensive puppy they picked up along the way, and want to recoup the gifts they shelled out on their one-time love.  And I completely get that.

But here’s the thing.  On general principle, I think when two people break up they shouldn’t expect to receive gifts back from their exes, nor should exes be expected to give them back.  Relationships are like investing in the stock market in a way.  You commit your funds to something you hope will bring about great dividends (marriage).  However, sometimes it’s a bust and you just wind up with life lessons and memories.  That’s just the way the cookie occasionally crumbles.   And like making investments, once the coins leave your hand, they are out of your hands.  Good or bad!   You know the risks.

Hope folks listen to me good when I say this.  Healthy relationships are NOT about money!  So don’t ever put yourself in a finically uncomfortable position trying to buy gifts to impress your mate.  Real love will give you “ooos and ahhs” over “diamonds and pearls” (RIP Prince), but will give you honest commitment over simple signs of adoration.

Going forward.

  1. Everything I said above, I stand by. EXCEPT, when we are talking marriage.  Listen, there are state laws governing divorce, and that’s that!

As always nothing but love,


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