“Everyone has an ex box,” she recently insisted on an episode of the family’s reality show.
You know what she means… that container filled with ticket stubs, photo-booth strips, and other mementos of a previous lover—the kind of emotionally charged stash that can be harder to give up than the relationship itself. The question is, Do you even need to?
Well, it depends. An ex box might simply be filled with innocent keepsakes that remind you of your personal growth, says Michelle Janning, PhD, a professor of sociology at Whitman College and author of Love Letters: Saving Romance in the Digital Age. You’ll know this applies to you if you’ve been storing amorous artifacts alongside other memorabilia (like yearbooks and sports trophies) and you feel tender nostalgia whenever you pull them out to look through them.
“Holding on to these things shows that you attach deeply,” says sex and relationship therapist Joe Kort, PhD. “This person meant something to you, and you didn’t want to throw them out like garbage.” In fact, going full Marie Kondo and trashing every letter from a former flame may feel like you’re throwing away a piece of yourself, says Janning. So in this case, it’s healthy to hold on to your collection.
That said, if it’s been months—or even years!—and you’re still poring over your ex box and doi