Reader Submission: My ex just sent me a gift, how should I feel?

People exchange presents all the time. Whether you're giving a happy holiday present to a friend or giving someone a surprise treat, gifts are a wonderful way through which to show your care and appreciation for another person. Surprise presents can be even more excising because when they arrive, it's an unexpected but quite well-received pleasure.
You might spend time thinking of exactly the right thing to choose for the person, maybe even trying to think like they do in order to select just the right present for your loved one. For example combing over old conversations in your mind about which leash they were hoping to get for their new puppy, a membership to a bath subscription they mentioned in passing, and so on. You want to make the person receiving your gift feel special. Suffice it to say, gifts are a fun and enjoyable way to express your affections. 
When you receive a present from someone, especially from your ex, this may be a sign that they're hoping to rekindle your relationship.
Most of my friends and clients agree: giving a present is the easy part of gift-giving. You're filled to the brim with love and adoration for those closest to you, so you're likely often seeking opportunities to show how you care. But what about receiving a present? That can oftentimes feel great, but sometimes confusing, especially if it's coming from someone with whom you've broken-off a romantic relationship. In this article we'll go over how this can sometimes take us by pleasant surprise, and also the ways we might address the situation.
Immediate response:  When we receive a present from someone, especially regarding a former relationship partner, it can take us by surprise. This is especially true if you've broken up. I don't know about you but usually when I receive a gift my initial response is to sit down and write a thoughtful thank-you note. This is certainly advised, however one will also want to consider certain aspects regarding your own feelings. 
Remember, there is no "right vs wrong" way to feel. You're absolutely allowed to feel any way you wish to feel. It's important to feel your feelings and understand them. Let's consider a few of the ways that one may feel in a situation such as this one, and what questions we may want to consider.
  • Is this a holiday gift or is there a reason behind your receiving it (in which case you may desire to return the favor) or is this an impromptu happy surprise?
  • Is this from an ex with whom you'd like to rekindle the relationship?
  • How do you feel about the person who sent it, and what are their intentions regarding the relationship?

Consider their (and your) feelings:  How the relationship went and your previous communications may shed some light on their relationship objectives with you. I realize many may want to point-out the possibility of narcissistic love bombing when it comes to impromptu gifts, calls, messages and so on when regarding an ex.

Of course this is certainly a point to consider. However, this may not be love bombing and may just be their way of extending the proverbial olive branch by making the first move, so to speak. That said, it's usually best to take a moment to consider your as well as their feelings.


Consider their (and your) intentions:  Receiving a present from an ex relationship partner can mean many things, so really giving yourself a moment to consider your (and their) intentions can also be helpful. Usually when a gift arrives, oftentimes flowers, it can be a gesture of reconnection. Of course you don't want to end up in some never-ending cycle of booty calls.

While some exes have a propensity to shower you with texts, calls, offers for dates, attention and of course gifts with intentions of pulling you back toward a relationship just for physical intimacy, this isn't always the case. Each relationship is unique, so it is typically best to spend some time thinking about your own intentions as well as their intentions. Do you want to rekindle the relationship? 


Communicate:  Obviously you'll want to reach back out with the accustomed thanks, but also remember to communicate your feelings. Is your ex looking to reconcile your relationship? And if so, are you interested in rekindling? Communicating your feelings with your partner in a calm, open, authentic manner can open the doors for sharing.

Now that you have spent some time considering your feelings as well as your intentions, it's time to initiate some healthy, clear communication with your partner. Remember, being honest with yourself regarding your feelings as well as being forthcoming with them can help build a fresh foundation for healthy shared communication between you.


It may be helpful to casually set a date to get together for some much-needed quality date time. While it's usually best not to approach it in the terms of "let's talk" as words like these can sometimes bring nervousness in both partners, it may be helpful to suggest getting together in a neutral space where you're both comfortable. 

Rather than bringing up and rehashing old relationship issues, it may be helpful to make this initial date a more balanced conversation where you're catching up and simply spending quality time together. In other words, save the more intense stuff for another time, especially if this is the first get together after a longer separation. Setting clear boundaries as well as respecting theirs is also important to note. Remember, getting back together can feel exciting and can even make you feel nervous, so listen to your heart. After all, doesn't she deserve the same love and adoration you offer to your partner? of course she does. And above all else, it's helpful to remember to respect your heart. 


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