The fine folks from Vice over at Motherboard had a few questions (with a fair dose of skepticism) about the ExBox- a startup that stores all of your stuff that reminds you of your ex. We’re talking from couches and refrigerators, to shirts and teddy bears. You can check out the article here, or read my full thoughts on the matter below.

So my first thought when checking out the ex box is “this can’t be real.” Then, I looked at the FAQ page and noticed that they prepared for this response… and outwardly stated that yes, this is, in fact, a real service. What happened to just burning our ex’s shit?* (That’s what I did in college, and it made for a mighty fine s’more… see attached).

Don’t get me wrong, it is a really good idea to remove things from your home or from your life that remind you of your ex when you are trying to heal. I’m often telling my clients that the end of a relationship is a lot like withdrawal from alcohol or drugs. When we are with our person, our brain is flooded with dopamine, which makes us feel really happy and loved. Suddenly, the dopamine is removed because it’s source, our person, is removed from our life, and we feel terrible. Looking at those pictures or that old sweaty shirt, or whatever, helps us feel good in that moment (dopamine is released), but it prolongs our recovery from this relationship and can often make us hurt more, and for longer.  It’s like a slow painful prolonged taper, instead of a quicker (still painful) rip of the band-aid.

So yes, it’s a great idea to get rid of this stuff. But put it in storage? Seems unnecessary. What I have found to be true for most of my clients is that the desire to hold on to their ex’s stuff comes from the hope or feeling that they will get back together in the future. So that might sound something like “I can’t get rid of his favorite shirt because what if we get back together? He’ll want it then! He will be so glad I held onto it.” To that, I say give the stuff back or get rid of it. There’s no reason to store it and then reintroduce it to your life at a later time. Get new things! Throw a housewarming party for your new space! Burn some Sage up in there if you’re into that. It’s important to reclaim your space and to make it your own.

It’s true that some folks won’t be ready to get rid of their ex’s stuff. Too many memories, good and bad. That’s okay. To the person who has boxes and boxes of things that remind them of their ex, I’d encourage you to pair it down to one box, and to put it on a shelf out of sight and out of mind with the intention of making peace with it at a later date. Hopefully though, you’ll stumble across that box years later and forget it ever existed.

Lindsey Brock | The Breakup Coach

I'm Lindsey! I care about you and want to help you to have healthy, secure relationships. Sometimes, that means we've gotta leave the ones we're in. I can help you do that, too. Have something you'd like me to write about? Drop me a line and let me know!