Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by Angela Vaz

Breakups are really hard and painful.

And when a relationship comes to an end, it can be messy.

There is so much to think about and it can feel like your entire life has been displaced.

You have to focus on moving on and rebuilding a huge part of your life.

And then there is the issue of the “stuff” that your ex has left at your place and vice versa.

And you’re probably wondering why he hasn’t asked for this stuff back.

You want to give it back but you’re waiting for him to reach out to you first.

You’re curious, and maybe even hopeful.

Is he just forgetful?

Or is he holding on to the hope of getting back together because picking up his stuff would mean the end of the relationship?

In this post, I’m going to talk about some possible reasons why your ex hasn’t asked for his things back.

Let’s dive in.

But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.

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1. He doesn’t want to see you

he doesn't want to see you

One of the most common reasons why your ex doesn’t want to pick up his stuff is because he just doesn’t want to see you again.

Maybe the breakup was really painful for him and he’s not over the incident yet.

Or maybe he’s fuming and is holding onto a lot of negative feelings about you and the relationship.

If the breakup was messy, hurtful, or very emotional, chances are that both of you need some time and space to heal.

Even asking for his stuff back means he has to contact you and hear from you again.

And he is probably doing everything possible to avoid any interaction with you.

He probably just wants to move on with his life and cutting ties completely is the best way to go about it.

He wants a fresh start.

And he wants to move on.

And he feels that talking to you is not going to help him do that. So he’s doing everything possible to move on so he can heal and get back on his feet.

If this is the case, then respect his wishes. Move on with your life too because the relationship is over.

2. He really doesn’t care about his stuff

Another reason why your ex may have not asked for this stuff back is that they don’t really care about it.

To him, these are probably just things.

Maybe he didn’t leave behind anything of value to him or he’s not sentimental about the belongings he’s left behind at your place.

In any case, he’s probably realized that replacing the items is easier than asking you for them because it will involve some amount of back and forth.

He’s weighed the pros and cons and has realized that talking to you or messaging you is not worth the hassle when he can just replace the things he’s left behind.

He probably realizes that he has to take time off work to come to pick it up because you live so far away or he just doesn’t want to have to take time out of his day to do that.

Maybe it’s just more convenient to buy new things or just let it go.

If this is the case, then you can try contacting him and checking if he wants his stuff back.

If he says yes, then hand it over. Otherwise, donate it to goodwill or discard it.

3. He isn’t over you

he is not over you

If the breakup wasn’t mutual or he was forced to end things, he may not be over you.

He’s still probably in love with you and seeing you or talking to you might trigger very raw emotions.

And he’s not ready for that.

He may be holding on to memories or is secretly still hoping that you’re not over him.

He may not want to face reality.

And talking to you or coming over to pick up his stuff would mean that he would have to face reality.

And he’s probably not ready for that.

He is probably breaking down or is an emotional mess.

Either way, offer to bring him his stuff or just ask him if he intends on picking it up himself.

If he says he’ll pick it up, then wrap it all up and give it to him.

If he tells you to get rid of it, then you can offer to post it to him or just leave it by his door to minimize contact.

4. He is waiting for you to contact him

This is an ego move.

And he probably feels it’s beneath him to ask you for his stuff back so he’s waiting for you to call him.

In this case, get in touch with him anyway.

Ask him very formally if he plans on picking up his stuff and then wait for his response.

If he says yes, you can hand over your stuff to the lobby or receptionist or you can meet up and just give it to him.

I would suggest not waiting for him to contact you especially if you know he’s waiting for you to make the first move.

It doesn’t make sense.

And you need to move on with your life.

Keep the conversation to the point, don’t let him divert or ask you about other things.

Remember the plan; you’re only contacting him to give him his stuff back because it’s the right thing to do.

Once he picks up his stuff, leave it at that and move on with your life.

You both deserve happiness and you both deserve partners that will fulfill you.

5. He’s procrastinating

he is procrastinating

He may simply be a procrastinator.

My ex was one of these people.

He’d say he’d do stuff and never get around to it. He would never get around to his responsibilities because he just never made the time.

Some people just have poor time management skills and that’s okay.

If your ex has been telling you constantly that he’ll get around to it but weeks have passed and he’s not showing up – then he’s simply a procrastinator.

If this is the case, then remind your ex a few times.

If after weeks, he still hasn’t picked up his stuff, give him a deadline.

Tell him firmly that you need to move on and if he doesn’t pick up his stuff by so and so date, then you are going to leave it in the lobby or reception or just leave it outside your house.

Please know that there is only so much kindness you can show a person. If he is taking you for granted and not taking this seriously, then you don’t owe him anything.

6. He is afraid of confrontation

Perhaps the relationship didn’t end well.

Or maybe he’s just not willing to see you because he’s scared drama will ensue.

He is probably afraid of the repercussions because the breakup was bad and didn’t go over smoothly. He’s worried that you may lose your cool or get upset and mad at him and he’s not able to deal with that.

In this case, it’s okay.

If you know that both of you end up arguing or fighting when you meet because you can’t seem to get on the same page, then the relationship may have been very toxic for both of you.

In this case, you can try asking a mutual friend to give him his stuff back and gently let him know that you’re handing over this stuff to the friend.

Only do this if you know you cannot handle being in the same room as in.

My first ex was abusive, and violent, and cheated on me. I talk about how I got over my cheating ex in this post.

So, when it came to dealing with all of this, I always made sure our parents were in the same room as us and I minimized contact to almost zero.

I had the lawyer take care of everything because I couldn’t handle being alone with them or even in the same room.

7. He’s waiting for the right time

he is waiting for the right time

He may be an overly anxious person who is overthinking things.

He may feel that you aren’t over the breakup or perhaps he isn’t.

Either way, he’s waiting for things to cool down and is probably waiting for the right time to approach you.

He may be giving you space and time because he’s worried he’ll sound too pushy or materialistic by asking for his stuff back.

He really wants to play by the rules and not rub you the wrong way.

He may be overthinking this but if you feel you know your ex well enough, you can make the first move.

Gently ask him about his stuff and send a reminder.

Let him know it’s okay for him to pick up his things and make sure he knows that you won’t confront him or get upset.

If he feels like he can pick him his stuff, he’ll set a date and pick it up.

8. He’s hoping you’ll just keep the items

There is a slight chance that he doesn’t want his stuff back because he does not have space for his stuff or may not want to deal with anything that he’s shared with you.

So, in this case, he’s just hoping you’ll keep it all in your place.

You can try asking him about his stuff and see his response.

If he doesn’t want it back, donate it to charity or just box it up and throw it in the trash.

9. He’s forgetful and probably doesn’t remember

he is forgetful

If your ex had the habit of being forgetful, then he’s probably just forgotten.

It can be so easy to overread situations and believe that everyone has an ulterior motive.

But if your ex has never proven to be vengeful, plotting, and deep – then don’t think about it for one second longer.

Don’t hold it against him.

Some people are genuinely forgetful and can’t keep track of their things – it’s normal and it’s okay.

Simply contact him and tell him he’s left his stuff over.

If calling him is giving you too much anxiety, then text him.

Be kind, especially if he’s left over very sentimental or expensive stuff.

If he asks you to get rid of it, do just that. But if he says he’s coming over, then box it all up and give it to him when he comes over.


At the end of the day, the reason you want to give your ex his stuff back is that those things don’t belong to you.

He may just show up out of the blue asking for his stuff back and instead of delaying and procrastinating, get to it so you can close the door to that past relationship permanently.

If you are wondering whether you should give him his stuff back, then I’m guessing the relationship didn’t end very well.

That’s okay.

But it is best you get this over with quickly so that both of you can move on with your lives.

If you hold on to his stuff, it’s going to make getting over the relationship so much harder.

Do remember, that they are not just things.

It is normal to feel weird, awkward, or just be in a weird place when you’re contemplating giving him back his stuff.

It’s okay because there are no rules about this.

Breakups are painful, messy, and sometimes awkward.

Your identity was fused with this person and now you have to learn to do it all without him by your side.

It can be complicated.

Remember to be patient.

If you have a lot of unresolved feelings, don’t let that anger get to you, and don’t take it out on his stuff.

That’s a childish move.

Be patient, kind, and calm. Try to get it over with so that you can move on peacefully and get your life back on track.

I’m going to link to multiple posts on breakups and moving on, so do give them a read.

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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