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ImNotHere's avatar

How can I get my stuff back from my evasive, passive-aggressive ex?

Asked by ImNotHere (444points) June 4th, 2011

Last summer I was living temporarily with a boyfriend while I took a job in NYC. It was a good arrangement for a while but toward the end of the summer, the relationship dissolved and I broke it off with him. Unfortunately when I left, I didn’t have room to take all my stuff with me. I was pretty bummed about it but he said I could come back for it whenever I wanted. I’ve recently moved back to the city for a summer internship and have been trying to get in touch with him for days about finally getting my stuff back with no response.

This is not the first time I’ve had this issue with him regarding this. Over the last 2 semesters, I tried numerous times to arrange times to pick up that stuff and he would either not respond, or if he would something would always “come up” and he couldn’t make the arranged time. I’m now super fed up and just want my stuff back! I’ve been trying for days to reach him via facebook and text for a few days and he just hasn’t answered. It’s pretty obvious that he’s avoiding me and I’m wondering what I should do. :-/ Should I get in touch with a family member? I messaged his sister on FB about it politely and she never answered me either. Should I go to the police? I don’t want to take it to that level if I don’t have to but I really want this stuff back. One of the items he has is rather expensive and another one is an irreplaceable work of art made by a good friend that is both beautiful and very dear to me.

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23 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

File in small claims court against him. The police will tell you it is a civil matter until you have an order from a judge to pick up the items. Then they can stand by when you get your things to make sure there is no intimidation or harassment when you pick up your stuff.

ImNotHere's avatar

@WestRiverrat I would hate to take it to that level but if I have to, I will. I don’t have much money to spend in court fees. How much would it cost to go through that process? Would it he worth it?

rebbel's avatar

Or send him a registered letter in which you tell him that if he doesn’t agree to make an appointment in x days/weeks you will see yourself forced to file in @WestRiverrat ‘s small claims court.
Maybe the perspective of such thing will make him aware of the seriousness.

Coloma's avatar

You can do as others have mentioned, or, you can accept that staying away from this unconscious and toxic ex and letting your stuff go, might be in your best interest.
The sooner we all learn that ‘stuff’ NEVER takes the place of doing whats the healthiest for ourselves, the happier you will be.

Some battles are just not worth fighting, it’s your call.

Get your stuff back, but, at what price?

Days, weeks, months of stress and anxiety over a court date, the emotional and health consequences,...I dunno.

Maybe you can bargain with him for the picture, in exchange for letting him keep the other item.

Maybe, the threat of a small claims court situation might sway his stubborness.

Sometimes it is healthiest to just cut your losses and learn from an experience, your call.

creative1's avatar

How expensive and important is this stuff to you really since you left it in the first place, I would cut your losses and just let him go unless there is a bigger reason you want to get in touch with him.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Perhaps he’s not responding because he no longer has it. Rather than work it though him, can you contact a friend of his who goes over to his place regularly and make arrangements to go over, unannounced, with the friend?

ImNotHere's avatar

The only reason I didn’t take the stuff in the first place was because I honestly didn’t have room for it at the time and some of it was too nice to bring to a college apartment. I know maybe I should consider my feelings over “stuff” but that stuff is important to me, especially the painting. He said I could leave it with him and then come back for it and I’ve tried numerous times without success. I guess I should try the registered letter thing and then take further action from there. Is there a template for sending a letter like that?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

How valuable is this stuff to you, can it be replaced? I ask because if he’s avoiding you so much then he might have sold your stuff, traded it or even trashed it in a moment of assholiness.

Hibernate's avatar

Leave the stuff at him. Forget about them :P

ImNotHere's avatar

I’m not going to “forget” about the stuff. I’m willing to fight for this and he’s not going to get away with behaving so childishly. He’s a spoiled child from a wealthy NYC family who’s used to not having consequences for his actions. I’m not going to be one more person in his life reinforcing that stupid idea in his head. Oh yeah and I WANT MY SHIT BACK. :P

iamthemob's avatar

I would do what @rebbel suggested – a final warning, then the law.

But before that, I might think about building a document case against him. You should be communicating through emails, and saving them. Before you do the final warning, email him and reference the prior communications, the length of time since you’ve had your things, the things your generally talking about, etc. and save those emails. Communicate a bit casually. Take screenshots of your facebook posts and date them. Get him to acknowledge what it is that he owes you, as much as possible. And save it all.

Before you indicate legal proceedings, you just want to be sure that you have a pretty clear record of all of your belongings in his possession, because one of the most certain arguments if it comes to the law on his side might be who owned what or what you actually left there.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Offer him the choice to replace your things or give you cash so you can move on. This is a passive-aggressive way of giving him a spot to own up to not having your stuff anymore but also to find a solution to your hounding and his avoidance.

If he’s as you describe, he could care less about your stuff and doesn’t want to be bothered to learn to be a better person, especially from you. The more you hound him then the more he’s going to spin this around on you, making you out to be obsessed with him. He probably jokes about it.

Chalk it up to a lesson learned about leaving stuff with people not your trusted friends.

Bagardbilla's avatar

if you know his schedule or are willing to hangout at this place…Get three guys friends to be at this place at the alloted time… When he shows up from work/class/clown-school, just walk up (with the guys and say you’re here to pickup your stuff! If he says it’s not there (for whatever reason) take something (prefabably of value) of his till he returns you things!
A bully only understand one language. If you ask thorns to effervece like roses, who’s the fool? You or the thorn?

creative1's avatar

It really sounds like there is alot more going on here than just wanting your stuff back. Because sometimes when you leave somethings behind when you break up you have to chaulk it up to the stuff being gone. If you are fighting this this hard for it, it sounds like you really want to see him too rather than just getting the things. Things are just things regardless of the sentiment or cost. If you went without them for more then a few months without missing them from your life then its no big thing. I have lost more things over the years and I just let it go and think of it as gone and remember the next time to take everything with you the next time you leave regardless of the situation your in or else kiss it goodbye.

ImNotHere's avatar

@creative1 Nothing else is going on. I have no desire to see him. I just really want my stuff back. He really used me when we were together, acted like a total mooch, feigned being “broke” all the time so I would buy him groceries, subway metrocards etc. Honestly the bastard nearly broke me. I just want to get my stuff back and move on with my life. Especially the painting because it’s precious to me and I consider it to be irreplaceable.

ImNotHere's avatar

@WestRiverrat Where do I go to file a small claim in NYC? A police station or a specific courthouse?

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Bagardbilla Taking something of his is more likely to get you in trouble than resolve the situation. If he calls the cops you could be charged with strong armed robbery, which is usually a felony.

@BringsTheNight start with a call to the clerk of courts office. If money is an issue, they may have a program where they will waive the filing fee until you win your case, then you will have to pay. If you don’t win, you don’t pay.

faye's avatar

I would also just hang around at his place with a friend until he came home before going legal. It just might be because he can ignore you that he is, and if you are in his face maybe he’ll be fine. I think you should have your stuff back, no doubt about it.

YARNLADY's avatar

Here is an article with some tips that might help.

kitkat25's avatar

I would have the police go with me to his place when you know that he is home. They will stay there with you while you gather up your things. Also with the police there with you he is less likely to give you any trouble about taking your things back.

faye's avatar

Would the police even do that with no evidence that he’d ever been abusive?

Buttonstc's avatar

In NYC I think it’s highly unlikely that the police would be up for doing this.

Firstly there are so many serious/violent crimes occupying their time. This is clearly a civil matter.

Secondly, police anywhere (not just NYC) are reluctant to get involved in domestic disputes because they can go downhill badly in a nanosecond. These are explosive situations and it’s always a he said/she said scenario. If there are abuse allegations and someone is in imminent danger they have to come. But you’ve said nothing to indicate a history of physical abuse here. Mental abuse is an entirely different matter.

He was using you it seems but that’s hardly matter for the police.

Just keep good records, file the small claims paperwork and let the legal system take it’s course. Once you have a judgement in hand the court can arrange for Sherriff’s personnel (I believe) to accompany you to assure that the courts ruling is carried out.

The NYC police DEPT. already has their hands full with urgent crime situations (ya know, like homicides, gang and drug activity. That kind of stuff.) I realize that this is urgent for you. I guarantee it’s not urgent for them, nor should it be.

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