Which Stuff From Your Ex Should You Keep?


I was cleaning recently and I found a couple of love letters from my high school boyfriend. Aside from being annoyingly well-written (he’s a writer now so this makes sense), they were passionate and sweet and full of the desperation and immediacy only a high school romance can conjure. They made me smile and tear up as I read them.

So even though we don’t really talk anymore and are completely over each other, I’m keeping the letters. They’re a nice reminder of days gone by that I’m sure I’ll want to look at when I’m old and decrepit and no one wants me. It’ll be like when Elderly Rose lovingly touches that nude drawing Jack did of her when she was young in Titanic; I’ll need to remember my suitors of the past.

But I’ve heard people say that when a relationship is over, you should burn all remnants of it and sprinkle lye so nothing can grow there again. I guess it depends on how the relationship ended. I say, don’t be so hasty. Some reminders of your ex are worth keeping.


Keep these! Even if it’s painful now, you’ll want to go back and look at them ten years down the line. Don’t read them when you’re swimming in regret and red wine, but you know, wait until some time has healed the wounds and you can read them with nothing but a wistful smile. This goes for emails and text messages too in case your ex didn’t fancy himself a soldier fighting on the front lines of the Civil War.

(Side note: Letters are so romantic! Take note from this guy and write your lady some letters so she can have them when you die fighting the Confederates or something!)


Is it okay that I still sleep in some of my ex-boyfriend’s clothing? I have pajama pants from one ex and two pairs of boxers from another. Do I have to toss these even though the relationships were both more than three years ago? I say no, because they are very comfy. But I haven’t told my current where these items came from because he hasn’t asked. It’d be weird to be like, “So these shorts came from my ex. Is that okay?” I just wear them and keep them, with no sentiment attached.

However, if you’re still sniffing their old T-shirts for hints of their musk, maybe you should toss these. It’s not healthy to hold on to their clothing if it still makes you feel close to them. You can think about them briefly when you pull on those sweatpants, but you can’t then clutch them while weeping. No matter how cozy they are.

Sex Toys

I feel like these should be thrown away if they were meant to please one specific person. If you bought this sex toy for you, by all means keep it. But if you bought it for one person’s very niche pleasure, maybe let them take it when they go? Or toss it. Or at least give it a thorough cleaning. Nope, actually. Get rid of it.

Everything Else

If you didn’t return their video games or books or something they might want back, that’s kind of a dick move. Don’t keep their records or their favorite teddy bear.

But do keep books they gave you (those mean something) and pictures. Don’t look at them all the time, but you’ll want to reminisce some day when it doesn’t hurt (like when you’re 40 and married and long past all these shenanigans). I regret tearing up pictures that I could have now gotten a kick out of. I’m glad I found those letters from my high school boyfriend even though at the time, they probably broke my heart. It reminded me of where I’ve been with love, and where I’m at now. Even if they were an a-hole, it’s a good reminder of how you survived.

Like I said, you’re going to be Elderly Rose one day and you’re gonna wish you had that nude drawing of you from 1914, no matter how much it hurts right now. I promise. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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Gaby Dunn

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