The Annoyances of Splitting Up

Why getting back your stuff is one of the more annoying aspects of breaking up.

When the Honeymoon is Over

The Spoils of Splitting Up

You put me through hell and all I got was this lousy T-shirt?

-Mandy Panter

man and wife splitting upWhen I look around my apartment, it is littered with souvenirs from relationships past. There’s the naked Polaroid collection, naturally, but my favorite has to be the KISS fountain of blood the sociopathic closet case bought me for Christmas one year.

Dawnell Batista has a slightly more vital reminder of her ex-husband-a kidney he gave her in 2001 and is now asking her to return. Um, what? He reasonably points out that as she can’t actually cut it out of her body and give it back, he’s willing to settle for $1.5 million. Generous, eh?

Dr. Batista – and yes, he’s not only a doctor, but a surgeon – has his knickers in a twist because apparently his wife started stepping out on him once she’d recovered from the transplant operation. She denies his allegation, but really, whether she did or not is beside the point. According to a story on ABC News, “The National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 says that an organ donation from a living donor is a gift and is not eligible for ‘valuable consideration.'”

Breakups can be devastating – especially when it’s not your idea – so it makes sense that he would want to lash out, however, the fact is that even if she were able to return the organ to him, there’s not much he could do with it. Does he have big plans for a kidney paperweight?

But their dispute brings up an interesting question and one probably anyone who’s ever split up after a long-term relationship has had to deal with: What do you do with the gifts you’ve exchanged once love has left the building? Obviously, if a woman dumps her fiancé, she should return the ring because it was a symbol of their commitment to each other. But what if he dumps her? Is she still obligated to return it? And what of the other gifts? The KISS fountain of blood? The tacky necklace or inappropriate stuffed animals?

I have friends who surgically excise every trace of their exes once they’re done. Others, like me, are more practical. Just because he sucked doesn’t mean I don’t want that cashmere sweater he bought me. One friend of mine bounced her engagement ring off her husband’s head and onto the subway tracks, but another is selling a beautiful Cartier necklace her cheater ex gave her.

We scorned broads have traditionally relied on eBay or pawnshops for such purposes, but now there’s and its sister site, The ex-boyfriend site has jewelry of all kinds for sale and instead of descriptions, there’s a little story about why its owner is selling it. My favorite category is one called “gifts that should’ve been jewelry,” which includes pretty much everything else. Though as far as I can tell, no body parts.

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