Can’t let go of love: 2 in 3 people still holding onto items an ex gave them

LEHI, Utah — Ex-boyfriends and girlfriends can be a touchy subject for many, but that doesn’t keep most Americans from hanging onto their old flame’s gifts. A new survey finds two in three people still have an item from a previous relationship — even if they’re married now!

The poll of 1,000 people, commissioned by Neighbor.com and conducted by Pollfish, found 65 percent of Americans still have something that belonged to their ex or a gift their ex gave them. The most common mementos people say they still keep are love letters (50%), photos (46%), and jewelry (43%). More than four in 10 people admit they have more than one item from a past relationship.

On the other hand, Americans are less likely to hang onto their ex’s exercise equipment (16%) and their furniture (20%). Sadly, only 18 percent say they keep a pet from a previous relationship.

So, why aren’t people moving on and starting fresh after a breakup? The survey finds 44 percent keep these items because of the fond memories attached to them, while 30 percent believe the item defines a specific chapter in their lives. Another 38 percent have a much more practical explanation for keeping their ex’s stuff — it’s still functional or serves a purpose! Would you throw away a TV because an ex gave it to you?

One in four Americans confess they keep something from their ex because they still miss them.

You still have your ex’s WHAT?!

While love letters and old photos may be sweet memories to look back on, some Americans admit they still have some odd reminders of their old love. This list includes sex toys, shot glasses, tattoos (it’s kind of hard to get rid of those), and even their ex’s hair or fingernails!

This might spark some awkward conversations, since more than six in 10 respondents say they are now in a new relationship — with one in three being married. For people in a new relationship, 66 percent say their current partner knows they still have items from their ex. While nearly two in three people say they don’t hide the fact that they keep their ex’s gifts, 37 percent confess they intentionally try to hide their ex’s old stuff from their new love.

Overall, nearly half the poll holds onto these items for more than five years after the relationship ends, although 78 percent say they’ll throw these things out “someday.”

Who says men aren’t sentimental?

It turns out men are much more likely to keep a memento of their ex. Two in three men (68%) say they still have items from their ex compared to 62 percent of women. Across the board, more men keep all types of gifts and old possessions from their ex-girlfriends, including 54 percent keeping love letters, 48 percent keeping clothing, and 23 percent keeping the exercise equipment.

relationship relics

Interestingly, however, women are more likely to keep a relationship memento longer than men — with 50 percent keeping that item for five years. Just 32 percent of men keep an item that long.

Americans also admit there’s a bunch of conflicting emotions that come along with keeping a relationship relic from their ex. While 35 percent of men and 15 percent of women say an old item makes them miss their ex, 50 percent of men and 27 percent of women actually say that item brings up painful memories of their old relationship.

With that in mind, 23 percent of men and 10 percent of women plan to one day return these items to their former flame. Until then, men are twice as likely to hide these mementos from their current lover (47% vs. 27%).

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