Breakups are never fun. Breakups are hard enough as it is: someone is your best friend in the whole world one minute, and then the next minute they disappear. Whether you are the one that initiated the split, or the one that got broken up with, the myriad of pictures, videos, birthday gifts, stuffed animals, nostalgic restaurants, movie tickets, and sweatshirts surrounding you does not help either case.
When I was going through a breakup, I initially refused to accept the relationship was over, so I kept things around my room for a long period of time. The Valentine’s Day teddy bear he got me stayed on my shelf, the popcorn stuffed animal remained on my couch, and the letters he wrote me in my desk drawer. I did not want to move or touch anything because I did not want the break up to become a reality.
Months went by and still, I did not touch anything, as I hoped we would reconnect at school and everything would be back to normal and the way it once was. Obviously, things did not turn out the way I wanted them to, but ultimately, it was for the best. I realized the person I had become over the separated months was not the same person who was in this relationship. I needed to be on my own to grow and learn about myself, what I wanted in life, and who I longed to be.
So what should you really do with all your ex’s shit? Do you pull a Rory Gilmore and throw everything out? Or do you store it all in a box and shove it deep in your closet like Lorelai? The truth is, there is not a right or wrong way to go about this process. Everyone grieves relationships differently, and the most important thing you can do is listen to your brain. Maybe keep a few things, of course, like the super cool sweatshirt he got you, or a treasured love note. Even if the break up ended badly, you can still look back and remember a time you were happy and in love.
There is something about a stuffed animal that is so hard to let go of. Even when you were an infant, you always memorialize having your favorite stuffed animal there to comfort and remind you that you were not alone in the world. Some individuals after break ups turn to destroy their stuffed animals. I decided to donate mine to a local kids’ toy drive so that a lonely child or two could love and hold onto those toys to remind themselves they are not alone either. However, it is your stuffed animal, and you do whatever it takes to try and heal your heart.
It is also aggravating that people can know if a couple broke up or not through social media. Relationships are supposed to be private and intimate, but in this day and age, social media makes it everything but that. You are the executive decision-maker when it comes to your accounts. Maybe you delete posts, remove tags, change the captions, or archive them. You are in total control of your media content, and what you want the world to see or know about you and your love life.
I think to myself, do I identify with Rory or Lorelai Gilmore? The answer is: I am somewhere in between. I think getting rid of a portion of unused stuff is a necessary and an important step to move on. But I also believe that cherishing photos or a sweatshirt is perfectly okay and wholesome, too. The most essential thing in approaching your ex’s shit is creating a healthy boundary for yourself and understanding what fits in it and what does not. At the end of the day, it is your breakup, and you do what you want with his shit.
Written by: Jessica Norris