Millions of Brits admit they keep sentimental items from their exes

Millions of adults admit to keeping hold of sentimental items after a break-up that include mugs, socks and T-shirts - and even photographs.

A poll of 2,000 adults who have been in a relationship found 35 per cent have kept objects from their failed romances, with cards and love letters among the most common.

Others have held onto jewellery, ticket stubs and hoodies after letting go of their former partner.

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More than half (55 per cent) have even held onto something for more than 20 years, as they have fond memories of the item (39 per cent) or still like and use it (21 per cent) - but one in 20 admitted they wanted to keep the item out of spite. It also emerged 46 per cent think it’s emotionally unhealthy to hold onto items from an ex-partner.

Relationship expert, Gemma Nice, said: “Memories can be hard to let go of, but sometimes you just have to flush the past down the toilet. If you’re in a new relationship, holding on to items from an ex can look bad.

“It’s important to reflect on your reasons for holding onto these things, if it brings back bad memories then maybe it’s time to let go. Parting ways with these belongings can be a step forward towards healing and moving forward.”

Moving on

The study also found 80 per cent of those polled have kept up to 20 items belonging to a previous partner or from a past relationship.

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However, those who have got rid of items either threw them in the bin (53 per cent), donated them to charity (27 per cent) or burnt them (12 per cent). While 45 per cent said they were simply having a clear out, 31 per cent admitting it helped them to move on.

Photographs (16 per cent), love letters (nine per cent) and birthday cards (eight per cent) were among the items people find most heartbreaking to look back on.

But 27 per cent were relieved when they get rid of things from a previous relationship, while 25 per cent simply felt sad.

Although 27 per cent went as far as to say they regret getting rid of an item belonging to an ex.

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The study carried out via OnePoll, also revealed 56 per cent have sent or received a love letter, with one in 10 having done so in the last year.

David Titman, head of consumer from Who Gives A Crap, which is inviting people to flush their ex and send in old love letters to be recycled, said: “We’re offering lovelorn Brits the chance to transform their love letters into toilet roll.

“We’re hoping to help the nation turn their exes' sweet nothings into something useful, while assuring them that someone, somewhere will be wiping their bum with it.”

Items people have kept from an ex-partner or relationship

  1. Photographs
  2. Cards e.g., birthday cards, Christmas cards
  3. Love letters
  4. Jewellery
  5. Book
  6. Ticket stubs e.g., cinema, concert tickets
  7. T-shirt
  8. Mug
  9. Painting
  10. Hoodie
  11. Underwear/lingerie
  12. Coat
  13. Furniture
  14. Blanket
  15. Pens
  16. Diary/journal
  17. Pots and pans
  18. Mobile phone/smartphone
  19. Socks
  20. Hat