The Monthly Reminder of Ann Relationship Gone By – Gifts from Exs

Is it polite to keep gifts of an ex-partner?

Well obviously they were gifts at the time and so they are yours to decide upon as you will, but are there certain gifts that should be given back? I suppose a family heirloom or something of familial sentimental value should be returned, but what about other things?

I was recently in a relationship with an individual who was very big on the giving of gifts, to the point where I shudder to think about what he spent on me.
I put the practice down to a difference in upbringing, I grew up in a middle class family but without a huge amount of expendable income and my ex grew up…. with money. I have a friend from high school who is also very big on giving gifts and I think its for the same reason and that economic background impacts how you treat your expendable income.

So during our relationship this habit of lavishing me with presents made me extremely uneasy. A relationship, to my mind, should be about equality, however when one partner is doing most of the spending, even if they can afford it, it creates an inequality and leaves the other individual in an awkward place. I wanted to be able to reciprocate but my budget and lack of monetary funds made that impossible. I repeatedly asked them to hold off on the gifts, that I appreciated them but did not need them, but it continued.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because I did truly appreciate the effort and the consideration…but presents are not indicative of intimacy. And…. like I said, they made me feel uneasy about my role in our relationship. I have to admit I have a certain fear that my now ex partner will find this and think I’m a horrible person for thinking these things.

Fast forward a bit, we broke up. However before we did, my ex signed me up and paid for several magazine subscriptions and a monthly club. We are no longer together but every month I receive magazines and things. Part of me feels ambivalent – they decided to spend the money, so I can accept them. Another part of me feels like a horrible person because I genuinely enjoy the magazines and wouldn’t really have the money to buy the subscriptions myself right now. I feel horrible because it feels like I’m abusing some unwritten code. Something that says I should call up the companies and cancel everything and be done with it. Although why should I feel bad, particularly if the money was already spent, its a waste if they won’t refund it. But then refunding it seems like a slap in the face to my ex. But at the same time everytime I look at the magazines I feel a bit guilty, but not guilty enough to get rid of them or stop their arrival. (Although the monthly club thing makes me huff a bit, since I was originally planning on purchasing ONE of the items as a present for my ex, and now I’m drowning in them)

So the question remains, should I accept them or not? Should I feel guilty or not? Am I a horrible horrible awful person for enjoying the materialistic remnants of a relationship gone sour?
I don’t want to feel guilty and I want to stop caring about whether I should or not.

I should probably stop with the Ann puns in the title. Since they’re not puns but substitutions these days. But I like the uniformity of it all.

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