Should I keep the expensive gift my ex got me?


Dear Megan,

My husband and I have been separated for 2 months after a 7-year relationship.  It was our anniversary a week ago, and my birthday tomorrow.  I went to his place today to take care of our dogs, (who are living with him), while he is out of town, and he left me a gift…  A really expensive Cartier watch.  I think he bought it about 5 months ago, so before we were separated.  I like the watch, of course.  Do I give it back to him?  Do I keep it?  I don’t want to do the wrong thing.

-Did I Mention it’s a Cartier Watch?


Dear “Did I Mention it’s a Cartier Watch?,”

Okay, listen to me, and listen to me very carefully.  Take the Cartier watch, put it in a box, and mail it to me at Megan Moore, P.O. Box 555…  Lol, okay, you got me…  But in all seriousness, I get your confusion.  When it comes to relationships, sometimes gifts that start out with good intentions can lead to slashed tires and an appearance on the show “Cops” if you’re not careful.  And since I’m all about avoiding the drama, (as showcased in this answer on cheating), as well as preserving beautiful skin, (stress causes wrinkles, not to mention “Resting B*tch Face”), I’m definitely up for offering my two cents in this situation.  So here ya go.

To begin with, I’d first check with your ex and make sure that he actually did intend to give you this gift now and didn’t just, say, leave it out.  (Wolves can be quite careless, you know.)  And then, if he did, I’d ask him why.

In my book, the rule on accepting a gift is: if it’s attached to a condition, situation, intention, or hope you don’t want to fulfill or encourage, it’s best to politely decline; however, if you can wholeheartedly get behind the affection that the gift symbolizes, by all means graciously accept the darn thing and enjoy!

Additionally, if the person broke their back getting you a gift you may want to decline if your level of gratitude doesn’t match their level of sacrifice.  Appreciation itself is a form of reciprocation; and, acting as such, if both sides of the ledger don’t balance out you may actually end up in debt.  Hence why it’s so important to only accept a gift if both the giver and receiver are on mutual wavelengths.  This isn’t a moral decision, this is a “I don’t want to get my ass kicked if this seemingly selfless giver turns into a bill collector” one.

In your case, if the Cartier watch is something your ex wants to give you for your anniversary/birthday out of love – no strings attached – and you can appreciate and adore it as such, you may have just come up on some nice, new wrist bling.  If, on the other hand, it’s attached to an expectation or hope you don’t want to encourage at this time, you may have to find another way to acquire your latest fashion find.  Either way, you gotta love First World problems, right. Best of luck!

-Megan 🙂


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Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to.  And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.


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