His ex’s belongings: keep or throw away?


Two months since Fernand left, except that he forgot his T-shirt. On Monday, we plan to burn it and on Tuesday we sleep with it (luckily he has not forgotten his mother). A question nags us: to heal our heartache, should we keep or throw away our ex’s things?

One day, Fernand came to sleep with us for the first time. Then a second. Then a third. He brought back his toothbrush and appropriated our cup of red coffee. He used our blue bath towel which became his. He accompanied us to Ikea and set his sights on the NORRÅKER chairs. He gave us theater tickets for Valentine’s Day and an ugly plush toy for our anniversary. We took an apartment together anyway and when the story ended we looked around wondering whether or not it was better to throw away or keep all those Fernand-related items. Answers.

The fabulous story of the cinema ticket

“I kept a key ring from my childhood sweetheart. Well, it’s not really a key ring, but a piece of bicycle chain. He loved mountain biking. I don’t know what Simon becomes. But this object brings me back to it. It is proof that we have experienced something “, confides Aurélie, 35, who, every day, handles this object for nothing at all. Finally, in appearance. Because it has sentimental value. “The surrounding objects don’t just have a utilitarian or decorative role. They are also symbols. They tell us – and tell everyone who sees them – who we are, who we want to be, who we have been. This shows how much a simple movie ticket can contain enormous sentimental value, whereas objectively, it is only a small piece of cardboard “, analyzes the psychologist Laurence Infant, author of Appendix à s’ to organize is easy (ed. Enrolled).

All these objects from the past evoke memories and bear witness to our love story. Hence, sometimes, the inability to throw them away. Performing a major sorting or a spring-cleaning is never easy. “Separating from an object can be perceived as violent. It means ‘never again,’ as children say. It takes a good dose of optimism and self-confidence to tell yourself that this separation also means a new start. That’s why we can feel the need to operate in stages, at our own pace, continues the specialist.


Conserve for better healing?

Take your time, that’s what Manon, 30, does. “I still have the T-shirt he slept in, something from the half-marathon … It’s damaged and doesn’t even carry its scent. But it has become my blanket”, confides the young woman, separated for a month by Julien. A fresh break and a feeling of emptiness that this everyday object fills as best it can. However, the young woman has the fierce desire to get rid of it, convinced that keeping this piece of cotton slows down her healing process. “Amélie Nothing speaks of happy nostalgia. Sometimes, moving the knife in the wound is like remembering times when we were happy or carefree. And that, paradoxically, can do good,” explains psychologist Laurence Infant. To stir the knife properly, Elodie, 27, regularly views photos of her ex and continues to drink from her cup. Each time, it’s a big blow, and yet she needs it. One way to leave him a little slower. Let’s even cushion the descent. It is no longer there, but still a little there, not quite there, and still a little there. We get used to it little by little, we heal the fall. However, not every object is good to keep and watch. “I recommend keeping only what makes us smile, regardless of the financial value of the item. Keeping a tee-shirt from the first concert of a rock band we went to together, even after we split up, can help. Pleasure “, advises the specialist.


Throw away that t-shirt that I couldn’t see

Justine, as for her, could not keep anything, and it does not matter if the objects rhyme with good or bad memories. A week after the breakup, the young woman saw her grief turn into anger so that everything ended up in the trash: “I could no longer bear the presence of my ex’s objects. Even those I did not see, like the warm plane tickets in an envelope… I had to wash my mind and my apartment of him, she confides. It was a way for me to get over it. Hearing ‘our song’ on the radio was difficult enough and on that I couldn’t act. Whereas throwing a sweater was possible… “
The main thing then remains to listen to yourself: there, right away, what do these objects inspire in me? Do I feel the need to keep them close or pay them a direct trip to Honolulu? “After a separation, either we are relieved, and we will gladly throw away everything that represents this unpleasant past, or we are very sensitive and everything will remind us of our sorrow, from a stolen coaster to the café downstairs through any song or worse, a perfume “, specifies Laurence Infant.


Laure, 34, has gone through several phases. First, she put everything in a box. The candles, the gifts, the little words of love. Unable to discard content. “It was like leaving my past behind. And even if the breakup was not the happiest – infidelity and company, after five years of relationship, I wanted to protect these memories that are part of me,” he explains. -she. As a result, with time and meetings (since), objects have accumulated. In her new apartment, she created “an ex’s room”: the toilet. She hung the postcards there, put down a few things, even a football t-shirt. A concept that makes him smile. We accept.

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