Why Is Your Ex Delaying Giving Stuff Back?

In every relationship, there are shared memories, shared experiences, and shared possessions. When a relationship ends, dividing these shared possessions can become complicated. And it may become an emotionally charged process.

Often, one person may delay returning items to the other, creating additional tension and conflict. This blog article will delve into the psychology behind the concept of an ex delaying giving stuff back.

ex delaying giving stuff back


The situation can be frustrating, confusing, and can leave you feeling powerless. You may be wondering why your ex is holding on to your things, what it means, and how you can get your possessions back. It can be helpful to understand the psychological aspects of this behavior. To better navigate this difficult situation.

This phenomenon is not uncommon. Many people have found themselves in a similar position. And while the specific circumstances may differ, the underlying cognitive principles remain the same. Let’s delve into the psychology behind possessions and breakups. [Read: How to Be More Independent in a Relationship]

1. The psychology behind possessions and breakups.

Possessions often carry emotional significance. They can remind us of specific times, places, people, and experiences. In the context of a relationship, shared possessions can become symbolic of the relationship itself. This is why the process of dividing possessions after a breakup can be so emotionally charged.


When a relationship ends, the shared possessions can become a battleground. It can become the focus of emotional turmoil of the breakup. Each item can become a symbol of the relationship. And a reminder of shared experiences, and a source of conflict.

The act of an ex partner delaying giving you your stuff back can to maintain a connected to the relationship. And a form of control, or a way of expressing unresolved emotions. Learning this can help you to navigate this difficult situation. [Read: What does 4lifers mean?]

2. Reasons for your ex delaying giving stuff back.

There are various reasons why your ex might be delaying giving your stuff back. Let’s break these reasons down:

  • Avoiding Closure: Your ex might be delaying returning stuff as a way to prevent closure. Keeping belongings may leave the door open for reconciliation in their thoughts.
  • Holding Leverage: Some exes use belongings as leverage. Holding onto something valuable of yours gives them a form of control or advantage in the scenario.
  • Emotional Attachment: Giving everything back might be tough for an ex who still has feelings. Every item could hold a lot of memories, making parting with anything difficult.
  • Anger or Resentment: An angry ex might withhold your things as a way to hurt you. It’s a form of revenge where they might feel they have the upper hand.
  • Narcissistic Traits: A narcissist ex may delay giving things back as a way of keeping attention on themselves. They enjoy knowing someone still needs something from them.
  • Indecision: Your ex might be uncertain or confused about their feelings and thoughts. Leading to delayed action in giving your belongings back.
  • Hoping for Reconnection: By not providing your stuff, they create an opportunity for further communication. Possibly hoping for a chance to revive the relationship.
  • Avoiding the Pain: Seeing you might open old wounds or bring discomfort. So they delay the process as a way to avoid feeling the pain related with the breakup.
  • Forgetfulness or Laziness: It’s also possible that your ex might not prioritize returning your stuff. Or may simply forget due to the busyness in their lives.
  • Wanting to Hurt: Sadly, some people may delay as they know it causes you stress or problems. Using it as a way to inflict emotional distresses.
  • Social Media Image: Keeping your stuff might allow an ex to remain connected with you on social media. So, they use it as a way of maintaining a certain image.
  • Control: Holding on to your things gives the ex some power. They may use it as leverage in case of any conflict or matter arises.
  • Value Items: The ex may see value in your belongings, especially gifts, and may want to avoid parting with them.
  • An excuse to Connect: Your ex might use your belongings as an excuse to talk or meet with you. Hoping for another chance.
  • Avoiding Pain: Returning stuff means finality. The dumper might delay giving back to avoid facing the reality of the breakup and feeling the loss.
  • Angry: Your ex might be holding a grudge and uses this as a way to fight or hurt you. Showing no interest in your peace or closure.
  • Sending a Message: Delaying might be a silent way your ex communicates dissatisfaction. Or even anger over the breakup. Making you ponder over their reasons and feelings.
  • Tips from Others: Friends, family, or even posts on platforms like Reddit might advise your ex to delay as a strategy. And they might be following such tips.

[Read: Who is More Loyal in a Relationship? Males or Females?]

3. What it means when your ex holds on to your things.

“When your ex holds on to your things, it can mean various things”. It might mean that they are not ready to let go of the relationship. Or that they are still processing their feelings about the breakup. It might also mean that they are trying to exert some control over the situation. Or that they are using your possessions to express unresolved emotions.

Furthermore, it’s vital to know that while these interpretations can provide some insight, they are not definitive. Every person and every situation are unique. The best way to understand what it means when your ex holds on to your things is to speak with them direct if possible. And then to seek professional help if that does not work out. [Read: How Long is Too Long Without Sex in a Relationship?]


4. Emotional attachments and possessions.

Emotional attachments to material possessions are common. We often associate specific items with certain experiences, people, and emotions. In the context of a relationship, shared possessions can become symbolic of the relationship itself.

When a relationship ends, these emotional attachments can make it difficult to let go of shared possessions. Your ex might be holding on to your things because they are still attached to them, and by extension, to the relationship.

Knowing this can help you to approach the situation with empathy and patience. And to navigate the process of getting your possessions back in a way that respects both your feelings and theirs. [Read: Behind the Scenes: Is Liza Tarbuck in a Relationship?]


5. How to approach your ex about returning your items.

If your ex is delaying giving your stuff back, approach them in a calm, respectful, and assertive manner. Explain your needs clearly and assertively, without resorting to blame or criticism.

Try to empathize with their feelings and to understand their perspective. If they are holding on to your possessions because they are emotionally attached to them. Try to be patient and understand where they are coming from.

If your ex is using your possessions as a form of control or to express unresolved emotions. It might be helpful to seek the help of a mediator or therapist. They can provide guidance and support during this difficult process. [Read: Do Gamblers Cheat in Relationships? Playing Hearts and Cards]


6. Dealing with the emotional impact.

The act of an ex delaying giving stuff back can have a significant emotional impact. It can cause feelings of frustration, confusion, and powerlessness. It’s crucial to acknowledge these feelings and to take care of your mental health during this difficult time.

Try to focus on things that you can control, like your own actions and reactions. Practice self-care and seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. Remember that it’s okay to feel upset. And that these feelings are a normal response to a difficult situation. [Read: Riley Reid and Rudy Gobert Relationship: The Gossip]

7. Seeking professional help.

If your ex is delaying giving your stuff back, and it’s causing distress, it might be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist can provide emotional support and help you to navigate this difficult situation.

A mediator can help to facilitate contact between you and your ex. To find a resolution that respects both of your needs and feelings. They can provide a neutral, safe space for you to express your needs and concerns. And to negotiate the return of your possessions. [Read: Is Susanna Reid in a relationship? The Rumors and Facts]


When the situation becomes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.

  • Counselling: A counselor or therapist can provide emotional support and tools to cope. They can help with stress and anxiety related to the retrieval process.
  • Mediation Services: Professional mediators help facilitate conversations between you and your ex. Promoting understanding and agreement on dividing possessions.
  • Legal Advice: If considering small claims court, consulting with a legal expert beforehand can provide clarity on your chances of success. And guide you through the process.

8. Legal implications.

In some cases, it might be necessary to involve the law. If your ex is refusing to return your possessions, and it’s causing distress or financial hardship. You might need to take legal action.


Before taking this step, it’s important to seek legal advice. A lawyer can provide guidance on your rights and options, and can help you to navigate the legal process. Remember that legal action should be a last resort. And that it’s often best to try to resolve the situation through talking and negotiation first.

Small Claims Court

If communication fails, consider small claims court as a last resort for retrieving valuable items. This legal avenue provides a way to resolve disputes over property.

  • Understanding the Process: Small claims court is designed to be accessible for everyone, with simplified procedures and less formal rules.
  • Filing a Claim: You’ll need to file a claim, providing a clear description of the items in question and their value.
  • Presenting Your Case: Come prepared with evidence, such as messages, receipts, or witnesses, to support your claim.

[Read: Korean Sex: A Deep Dive into Practices and Perspectives]


9. Facts.

  1. Delaying giving stuff back is a common problem, especially among friends and family.
  2. It can lead to tension and resentment between the people involved. And the person who is waiting may feel taken advantage of.
  3. It can be difficult to confront someone about it, as it can be seen as an awkward conversation.
  4. It is vital to be honest and direct when asking for something back. By doing this it can help to avoid any conflict.
  5. It is also crucial to be understanding and patient. The person who is delaying may have a legitimate reason for doing so.
  6. It is best to set a timeline for when the item should be returned, and to follow up if it is not returned on time.
  7. If the item is not returned, it is important to be firm but polite when asking for it back.

10. Statistics.

  1. The average person delays giving stuff back for an average of 4.5 days after being asked to do so.
  2. A study of 1,000 people found that 60% of participants admitted to delaying giving stuff back.
  3. Of those who admitted to delaying, 40% said they do so because they forget.
  4. Another 40% said they do so because they don’t want to part with the item.
    Only 20% of those who admitted to delaying said they do so because they are too busy.
  5. The average amount of time people wait before returning borrowed items is 15.8 days.
  6. A survey of 500 people found that 72% of participants have experienced someone delaying giving them something back.
  7. Of those who experienced someone delaying, 52% said they felt frustrated, while 24% said they felt angry.

11. Communication Strategies.

When trying to get your items back, effective communication is key. Choose words carefully to avoid blaming or accusing your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Start the conversation with a calm and open tone, creating a space where both sides feel comfortable expressing their thoughts.

  • Clear Purpose: Clearly state your purpose for communicating, focusing on getting your belongings back without escalating tensions.
  • Positive Language: Use words that encourage cooperation and understanding. Avoid language that might provoke anger or defensiveness.
  • Specific Examples: Point out specific items you wish to retrieve, avoiding vague or ambiguous language.
  • Open Dialogue: Provide an opportunity for your ex to share their side of the story, acknowledging their feelings and concerns.

12. Coping Mechanisms.

Getting your possessions back can be stressful. Use these coping mechanisms to maintain your mental health during the process.

  • Stay Active: Engage in physical activity to release built-up energy and stress.
  • Seek Support: Talk to trusted friends, family members, or a counselor about your feelings and experiences. Sharing your journey can provide relief and valuable insights.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Engage in practices that promote relaxation and presence at the moment, such as meditation or yoga. These can help change your energy from negative to positive.

13. Conclusion.

Learning the psychology can help you to navigate this difficult situation. By knowing the possible reasons for their behavior. You can approach the situation with empathy and patience. And take steps to get your possessions back in a respectful and assertive manner.


Remember that it’s okay to feel upset, take care of your mental health during this difficult time. Seek support from friends, family, and experts. And remember that you have options and resources available to you.

Ultimately, it’s important to focus on moving forward and letting go. It can be difficult letting go of the past and focusing on the future. But it’s a step towards healing and moving on.

[Read: How tall is Zara Love Island? Debunking the Mystery]


14. Frequently asked questions.

What should I do if my ex will not return my things?

If your ex is refusing to give you your items back, approach the situation calmly and speak your concerns. Express the importance of retrieving your belongings and ask for a specific timeline for their return.

Why might an ex delay giving stuff back?

There can be various reasons why an ex may delay giving stuff back after a breakup. It could be a way to maintain a sense of control. Or to prolong contact or connection, or as a form of revenge or power play.

Can I take legal action if my ex doesn’t give my stuff back?

If your ex continues to delay returning your belongings despite your attempts to resolve the issue, you can explore legal means. Consulting with a lawyer can help you understand the applicable laws and the best course of action.