Why Ex Delaying Giving Stuff Back: 14 Probable Reasons

It’s been weeks, maybe even months, since you and your ex parted ways. And in that time, they’ve made no effort to return the belongings you left behind. It starts bothering you if you need to figure out why ex delaying giving stuff back.

Unfortunately, Nebula, one of my friends who I used to go jogging with, got separated from her partner three months ago. Since then, she has patiently waited for him to return all her belongings left in their shared apartment – including an expensive cooking set and laptop, which were gifts from her parents.

To sort out why her ex might be delayed, we did some brainstorming and came up with 14 probable reasons. In this blog post, I’ll share why your ex is dragging their feet when it comes to giving back your stuff. Keep reading to find out more!

ex delaying giving stuff back

14 Probable Reasons as to Why Ex Delaying Giving Stuff Back

#1. They’re busy:

This is probably the most common reason why an ex would delay giving your stuff back. They may have a lot going on in their life and simply don’t have the time to sort through everything and get it back to you. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re intentionally avoiding it but rather just have yet to have the chance to do it.

If you didn’t dump your girlfriend, she wouldn’t be giving you the silent treatment for getting your stuff back.

#2. They want to keep a hold on you:

Some exes may delay giving back your belongings as a way to try and maintain a hold on you or have some form of control in the relationship. They may believe that if they keep your stuff, you’ll return to them or still have some presence in their life.

But they don’t know you, so they don’t know that you will never return to them. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, but it’s something to be aware of. She may miss you so much, but you shouldn’t care about it if you want to move on.

#3. They’re procrastinating:

Another possibility is that they’re just plain old procrastinating. It’s possible they know they need to give your stuff back, but they keep putting it off because they don’t want to deal with it. Also, they might be afraid of confronting the reality that the relationship is truly over if they have to go through all of your belongings and give them back.

#4. They’re trying to hold onto the past:

Your ex might be taking their time returning your stuff so they can hold onto the past. Maybe they’re not ready to let the relationship go. Having your stuff keeps you a part of their life. Also, they may even use your belongings to remember the good times and try to hold onto those memories.

#5. They’re trying to make you angry:

“Why is my ex keeping my stuff?”

Your ex is probably intentionally delaying giving your stuff back to make you angry. Maybe they’re hoping you’ll get so frustrated that you’ll lash out at them and give them an excuse to end things for good. Or, they may just enjoy their power over you in this situation and want to see how long they can string it out before you finally snap.

#6. They don’t understand the importance of your belongings:

It’s possible that your ex just doesn’t understand the importance or value of certain items to you. They might need to realise the sentimental value certain items have for you or may not see why a particular item is necessary for you to have back.

Furthermore, in some cases, they may be too embarrassed to admit that they’ve forgotten or misplaced the item.

#7. They forgot about it:

Although it’s not the most probable outcome, there is a chance that your ex forgot about your belongings. If they have been busy recently or caught up in other things, it’s possible that your stuff got lost along the way, and they simply need a reminder.

Moreover, it’s also possible that they may have misplaced your belongings and are searching for them.

#8. They want to use your stuff:

“Why would my ex delay returning my things?”

Your ex might be holding onto your stuff because they want to continue using it themselves. This could range from simply not wanting to buy their toothbrush or shampoo to using expensive electronics or clothing items.

Also, they may not want to give it back because they don’t want to admit that the relationship is truly over and having your stuff allows them to pretend otherwise.

#9. They’re trying to start a fight:

“Dumper hasn’t returned my stuff.”

Because he/she wants to start a fight, like the previous reason, your ex might delay giving your stuff back to start a fight with you. Maybe they want an excuse to argue or hope the situation will blow up. They may also know that it’s a sensitive topic for you and want to push your buttons.

#10. They don’t have your address:

If you’ve moved since the breakup, your ex may still need to get your new address and could be waiting for you to reach out so they can get it from you. This is more likely if you haven’t had any contact since the breakup.

#11. They want to use it as leverage:

Your ex may hold onto your stuff to have some form of power or control over you. They might threaten to hold onto it until you do something for them or give them what they want. This could be something physical or something more abstract. This behaviour is manipulative and unhealthy; you should set boundaries to protect yourself.

#12. They don’t know what to do with it all:

Giving stuff back after a breakup is a usual norm. It’s possible that your ex is overwhelmed by all of your stuff and doesn’t know where to start to get it all back to you. If they live in a small space, for example, they may need more room for everything and some time to figure out what to do.

#13. They think some of it is theirs: 

If you acquired some things together during your relationship, there might be confusion about who owns what. Your ex may hesitate to give certain things back until this is sorted out. Moreover, they may also believe that you owe them something in return before they give certain items back to you.

#14. They’re waiting for the right time: 

Some people believe certain times or days are better than others for returning belongings after a breakup. For example, they may want to wait until Friday the 13th or Halloween because these days are unlucky. Or, they might want to wait until a memorable holiday or anniversary to return your things so that it will be more of an event.

Should I give my ex their stuff back after a breakup? Do you need more tips to stuff back after a breakup? I think the above 14 tips are enough. But if you want to learn more, watch this video:

FAQs on Ex Delaying Giving Stuff Back

How long should I wait to get my stuff back from my ex?

The end of a relationship is always a tough time. There are so many things to think about, and it can take time to figure out what to do with all your stuff. Should you keep it? Give it back? Throw it away? There is no easy answer when deciding how long to wait to get your stuff back from your ex.

Ultimately, it depends on the situation and your personal preferences. If you’re not ready to see your ex, it’s probably best to wait a while before you ask for your things back.

On the other hand, if you’re confident that you can handle the encounter, then there’s no reason to delay. Ultimately, only you can decide when the time is right. So take your time, be bold and ask for help from your friends or family if you’re still trying to figure out what to do.

What does it mean when your ex keeps your stuff?

“Narcissist won’t give my stuff back.”

After a breakup, it’s not uncommon for one person to keep some of the other person’s belongings. Most of the time, it’s just tiny things like shirts or coffee mugs. But sometimes, it can be more essential items, like furniture or electronics. So what does it mean when your ex keeps your stuff? There are a few possible explanations.

They may be holding onto your stuff to hold onto you. They may be hoping that you’ll come back and want your things or that you’ll give them back as a way to patch things up.

They may need more time to be ready to let go of the relationship. Keeping your stuff around is a way of keeping you in their life, even if you’re no longer together.

Finally, they may just be trying to make you angry. They may be doing it on purpose if they know that seeing your stuff around will upset you. Whatever the reason, communicate with your ex about what’s going on. If you’re not comfortable with them keeping your stuff, let them know and see if they’re willing to return it.

You may need to take steps to get your belongings back if they’re not. But whatever you do, stay calm and respectful; getting into a yelling match with your ex will only worsen the situation.

Why doesn’t my ex want his stuff back?

After a breakup, it’s not uncommon for one or both partners to want to distance themselves from reminders of the relationship.

For some people, this means getting rid of anything that reminds them of their ex, including clothes, books, and keepsakes. Often, getting rid of these items can be therapeutic, helping to close the door on the past and move on with their lives.

In other cases, one partner may not want the hassle of going through their ex’s belongings and deciding what to keep and get rid of. If your ex is asking for his stuff back, it’s likely that he’s ready to move on and put the relationship behind him. By returning his belongings, he can close that chapter of his life and start fresh.

Should I contact my ex to give his stuff back?

There’s no easy answer to this question. On the one hand, you may want to put the whole thing behind you and never look back. On the other hand, you may feel like you owe it to your ex to return his belongings.

Ultimately, whether or not to contact your ex will come down to your personal feelings and circumstances. If you’re feeling amicable towards your ex and think returning his stuff is the right thing to do, then, by all means, go ahead and reach out.

However, if you’re feeling angry or resentful toward your ex, it may be best to steer clear. The last thing you want is to open up old wounds by contacting someone who is now a stranger to you.

Whatever you decide, ensure you act from a place of self-respect and compassion. Holding onto anger and resentment will only hurt you in the long run.

So take some time to reflect on your feelings before making any decisions. And whatever you do, don’t let anyone else pressure you into doing something that doesn’t feel right for you.

What can I do if my ex refuses to give me my belongings?

It can be frustrating and even stressful if you’re dealing with an ex withholding your belongings. While trying to remain calm, there are some steps you can take to get your things back.

First, reach out to your ex and explain that you need your belongings. If they refuse to respond or give you a reason for why they’re withholding your belongings, you can reach out to mutual friends or even their family members and explain the situation.

You can also try contacting a lawyer or filing a police report if that doesn’t work. Ultimately, getting your belongings back from an ex can be difficult, but if you’re persistent, you’ll eventually get what you’re owed.

Can the police help you get your stuff back from an ex?

It’s a common scenario: you break up with your significant other, and they refuse to return your belongings. While it can be tempting to call the police in this situation, remember that they are not likely to intervene.

In most cases, the police will view this as a civil matter, and their involvement will be limited to mediating a conversation between you and your ex.

However, if your ex refuses to return items you believe are rightfully yours, there are a few steps you can take. First, try contacting them directly and politely asking for the return of your belongings. If this doesn’t work, you can send a certified letter or file a small claims court case.

In some cases, the threat of legal action may be enough to prompt your ex to return your belongings. If all else fails, you can always hire a professional to retrieve your property for you.

Ultimately, deciding whether to involve the police is up to you; however, in most cases, it’s best to handle this situation on your own.

Is it ok to keep stuff from your ex?

After a breakup, it can be tempting to cling to anything that reminds you of your former partner. However, hang onto those souvenirs, and you may find it harder to move on.

While it may seem like holding onto your ex’s belongings will keep them close to you, in reality, it can have the opposite effect. Instead of providing comfort, these reminders can fuel anger and sadness.

It can be helpful to think of your relationship as a chapter in your life that has ended. Keeping your ex’s things only prevents you from turning the page. So, if you’re ready to move on, it’s time to let go of the past – including your ex’s stuff.


No matter the reason, remember that your ex should return your belongings in a timely and respectful manner. If they are continuously delaying or refusing to give your items back, consider reaching out to a professional for guidance on handling the situation.

It may also be necessary to take legal action to get back what is rightfully yours. Don’t let your ex hold onto your belongings and control you in any way. Take back what is yours and move on with your life.

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