To Gift Or Not To Gift The Ex? – That Is The Question

March 22, 2015  |  

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Recently is was reported that Kevin Hart bought his ex-wife a new Cadillac Escalade for her birthday. My first thought was, “Oh, how nice of him” – especially given that they definitely had a contentious relationship at one point due to rumors of infidelity surrounding their divorce. It was nice to hear that these two were putting their issues behind them and co-parenting and co-existing amicably.

But of course I was curious to read the comments on blogs that reported this story. While most responses to the news were positive, many women said that if their man bought a lavish gift like that for an ex – whether that ex was his ex-wife, baby mama or simply an ex turned best friend – they’d have a problem with it. After all, Kevin Hart has a fiancée, and everyone wondered if Eniko Parrish approved of her soon to be husband buying gifts for his ex-wife.

And that’s a good question. Now I understand that Kevin Hart and his ex share children, so many argued that the vehicle was given to her to ensure that her children would have a way to get around in style. And I agree that he should help in any way he can to make sure his children are comfortable. However, others argued that she receives upwards of $20k a month in child support, so she should be able to buy her own car.

Whatever the details of their agreement, it’s very easy to speculate on the lives of celebrity couples and exes. But for us everyday folk, the thought of our significant other giving his or her ex a stick of gum would get us in an uproar. I had to ask myself how I’d feel if my husband bought his ex-wife a gift, and my answer was simply this – what is the gift and why is he giving it to her?

I am my husband’s second wife and he shares children with his ex. Luckily, he’s cordial with his ex, as am I, and he’s actually gotten her gifts after we got together. But those gifts were given to her from “the kids.” Sure, she knew that he bought them, but it was the thought behind it that counted. Each time he decided to get her a gift, he asked me how I felt about it and even asked me for suggestions as to what would be appropriate. None of the gifts came from him, but from all of “us.” And none of the gifts were something that she could misinterpret as “something more” that could give the wrong impression. I’d pick out a nice pashmina and call it day…and all was well.

But if my man bought his ex a car or any other lavish gift, it would give me pause. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even have to be expensive in order for me to give him the side-eye. Anything that could be considered personal should not be something you give an ex – perfume, lingerie, clothing, or anything that reminds you and your ex of the time you spent together. It’s okay to be cordial with your ex, and if you share children then it’s encouraged. But at the same time, sharing children doesn’t mean you can cross the line into a familiar, personal space that borders on being inappropriate. If you both are single, then you may think it’s no big deal because you’re not disrespecting anyone. But at the same time, your ex is an ex for a reason, and there is no reason to exchange personal gifts if your goal is to move on.

My take on it is pretty simple. If you and your ex share children, you can buy the ex a gift from the kids, and nothing that the ex can read into as being more than a kind gesture. After the kids become a certain age, then give them a little extra allowance and encourage them to buy their mother their own gifts. And if you, your ex, or both of you have moved on to new relationships – especially marriage – then there is no reason for either of you to exchange gifts unless they’re from the children. And if you must, then the gift should go to the ex AND her partner. No personal, individual gifts.

I can’t say whether Kevin Hart should have given his ex-wife a car or not. No one knows the nature of their relationship, nor do they know if Eniko had a problem with it. If I had to guess, I’d say she doesn’t take issue with Kevin treating his children’s mother to something that ultimately benefits the kids. Call it maturity and security, but it’s probably not that deep in their world. But what I will say is that if the children witnessed their father’s generosity towards their mother, then this is a positive gesture that transcends pettiness. But if your man and his ex don’t share children, then only you can decide if your man’s “generosity” is something you can deal with.

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