Is it Rude To Return Gifts After Breakup?

Breaking up with your significant other (rather, you’re now ex-significant other) is a stressful time for anyone. 

In addition to the mental toil that comes with a breakup, there are also other mundane aspects that must be considered… like splitting up the stuff you’ve bought/gotten together.

But, what about gifts? Should you keep each other’s gifts, or give them back? Further, if you want to give them back, is it rude to return gifts after a breakup?

Read on below and discover the truth of the matter!

Is it Rude To Return Gifts After Breakup?

Returning gifts after a breakup, legally speaking, is most often not necessary. 

The main exception is when someone has gifted their ex-partner something of exceptional value (financially or otherwise). 

For example, family heirlooms that are gifted as tokens of love, with the expectancy of a long-term (permanent) relationship, should be returned (even in the eyes of the law of most places).

Other exceptionally expensive gifts, such as a vehicle, or house, must also be returned in most cases.

A pair of sunglasses, basic jewelry, clothing, and other common gifts given in relationships are not necessary to return. 

That’s because there are no stipulations or serious assumptions/agreements, like an engagement, with these sorts of gifts.

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, returning gifts after a breakup with an ex-significant other rates 3

Keep in mind, or rating of 3 is based on the idea of returning basic gifts. 

On the other hand, failing to return expensive gifts that were given under the assumption that the relationship would be a long-term thing, rates 10 out of 10 on the rude meter’s scale.

Why isn’t it Rude?

When we are in a serious relationship with someone, we typically want the very best for them. 

That’s why most people aren’t grinchy when it comes to presenting gifts to their lovers. And, in fact, a gift is a gift… which means you never expect it back.

However, when our relationships come to an end, it is often not at all how we envisioned such an occasion happening (if, indeed, we believed our relationship would ever end, period).

Whether you were married or merely dating, there is often personal property to sort out before the book can be closed for good.

This often includes giving back expensive gifts like cars and more personal gifts, such as family heirlooms, as well as things like keys to homes and workplaces.

Further, gifts that you do not wish to keep, for whatever reason at all, may be given back without any rudeness perceived (so long as it is done after the initial break up… not weeks or months later).

Common Questions

Is returning a gift rude?

Returning a gift to someone, including after a breakup, isn’t rude, so long as it isn’t done in a malicious way. 

The language you use, as well as the way you go about it, also makes a world of difference when returning a gift.

When to return gifts to an ex?

The best time to return gifts to an ex is directly after the breakup, during the initial separation period.

Waiting weeks or months to return a gift to an ex is often seen as rude, careless, or even manipulating behavior.

Should I ask for gifts back from my ex?

Whether or not you feel like asking for gifts back from your ex is something only you can decide.

That said, if you’ve given said gifts with no strings attached then you shouldn’t ask for them back… even if your relationship ends.

However, if the gifts are rather expensive, and did indeed have strings attached, it is perfectly fine, and expected, to ask for the gifts back from your ex when you break up.