Following the drama of a businessman who was dumped by his girlfriend and retaliated by hiring an excavator to demolish a mansion worth R7m he built for her, men and women were divided on whether a lover should “repossess” a gift from when things were rosy.
Well-known relationship experts have also weighed in with their opinions.
Phindile Grootboom, of the For Better or Worse with Mo and Phindi duo, maintains the same way you cannot return all the kisses and beautiful memories you shared together, is the same way you cannot return things that were shared when creating those memories.
“This principle shouldn’t change just because you’ve broken up with someone. You no longer have a claim to it, no matter the size of the gift.”
Author of Wakeup Woman and Dear Uncle L, Linda Yende believes a gift ceases to be yours once you have handed it over to the recipient. “If somewhere along the way, the love and appreciation fade away, stop giving the person gifts,” he says.
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He gives an analogy to show why a gift must remain a gift, despite changed circumstances.
“The company you work for pays you at the end of each month for the work you performed that month. Should you quit or should they dismiss you, they will stop paying you. They don’t demand your previous salaries. Those were earned and paid,” he says.
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Phindi says the problem starts when we start categorising gifts. She says a gift is a gift whether it’s a bracelet or car because you give it under similar circumstances.
“The person given the gift is the one who has a choice to either use the gift, sell it or even give it back to the person who gave it to them for whatever reason – it’s not the other way around.”
But Phindi says in exceptional cases like a house, it may be best to sell that house instead and split the money because you may not want your new partner to move into a house that was bought by another man.