This Is Why You Absolutely Need To Throw Out Your Ex’s Stuff

A woman in a checked shirt sits in contemplation as she watches the sunrise through trees.
Leon Biss / Unsplash

One day I carefully packed up his stuff and put it in a box. Anything that was his, anything that he had given me, and anything that reminded me of him. I carefully folded and organized each item, then I shut the box and shoved it into the back of my closet. I put it where it would be a pain to pull it out, so I wouldn’t.

Out of sight, out of mind?

I was proud of myself.

Those first few weeks I deliberated taking the box out and unpacking it. Putting all that stuff away had been emotional to begin with, maybe it was bad, maybe I should unpack it. But I didn’t. Then, I slowly forgot about the box. It sat in my closet, only to be seen on the rare occasions that I turned on the light and looked for things in the pile of stuff. Sometimes I would take out the box and stare at it, never opening it. I would put it back in its place, no matter how much the box haunted me, I always forgot about it eventually.

Last week I started moving. I moved most of the stuff out of my closet on the first go, but I didn’t move the box. I left it there.

Today, I spent a few hours cleaning the old apartment, and I looked around to see if there was anything that I had missed. I opened the closet and the box was staring at me. So, I hoisted the box and shoved it in the trunk of my car. As I drove home I thought about what I should do with the box. Throw it away? Shove it in my new closet? Did I really need those little gifts that he gave me? Did I really need that shirt that I never liked to wear, but he loved?

In the box is one of his favorite shirts. When he gave it to me it smelled like he did in the summer. I wondered if it still smelt like him. But I didn’t smell it. When I talked to him in winter he asked if I had the shirt. I lied and told him I didn’t. So now I am stuck with it. I’m stuck with the whole damn box. The problem is this: there are things in that box that I want, there is a book in there, there is a sweatshirt that I love in there, but there are a number of things that I don’t want, that I don’t need. I have to open the box to find what I want, I have to open the box to sort through it.

I don’t want the box anymore, just like I don’t want him anymore. But I am afraid to open that box, and flood back all those memories. I don’t want to open myself up to him again. I want to compartmentalize him in my life as I have done in my box. 

But it is not that clean, because someday, you have to open the box. Or at least, I do. I am sure that I will run into him someday, we grew up in too small a town for me not to. I put that thought aside months ago, like I did the box.

I didn’t take the box out of my trunk. I unpacked and brought everything up to my new home, but not the box. I could have moved it, in fact, I had to move it to get to other things, but I always put it back in the trunk. I can’t run around town with the box in my car, haunting me.

So now I have this fucking box in my life.

The thing is, I can do whatever I like with the box, I have complete control over the box. I can deal with it whenever I like, however I’d like to. But you can’t do that with a person. People are so unpredictable. I could never guess what will happen when I see him next, he will be different.

But so will I.

Emotions are tricky that way.

Eventually, I removed the box from my trunk, walked across the parking lot and threw the whole thing in the dumpster. I don’t need all that crap from my ex. I wanted to stop thinking about it, to stop worrying about it. Overthinking is a disease in itself. TC mark

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