My crush once texted me about a sweater I forgot at her place. I could picture exactly where I'd left it: hung up on the hook on the back of her bathroom door. Before this text conversation, I hadn't given much thought to the question of when to leave stuff at someone's place. For some reason, her text felt like more than just a reminder about the sweater. The way she had framed her message made me feel like we weren't exactly at the stage of seeing each other where it was chill to leave things behind. Our relationship ended shortly after that, and I was left wondering if the sweater had made a difference.
When you start seeing someone new, you may not be counting down the days until you feel comfortable leaving a toothbrush in their bathroom cabinet. And yet, there is something to be said about understanding when and what is OK to leave at your new partner's place.
It's different for everyone. For some, leaving belongings behind at a crush's place could be a sign of commitment or intimacy, and for others, it may mean very little. There's no one-size-fits-every-relationship solution. So, I asked five people who are either currently in relationships, single, or dating about how they figured out when you're in the clear to leave something at your new bae's place. What's the difference between leaving behind a toothbrush, hair tie, and an outfit of clothes for work? The answer is subjective, but check out what the following folks had to share.
Leaving things behind can also be about convenience. For instance, if you're sleeping over at a partner's place a lot and you leave to go to work from their home, bringing items that you need to prep for the day can just makes sense. "When my husband and I first started dating, he left a few shirts at my apartment at about the month mark of sleeping over," says Summer, 24. "I started leaving hair ties, bobby pins, and sweatshirts pretty early on as well because I hate not having a hair tie or bobby pin or sweatshirt when I need it."
When it comes to leaving items of yours at a partner's, sometimes it's really not about sending a message of intimacy but rather just about having what you need. "It felt so easy. We didn’t discuss it at all. It just happened. My space became his and vice versa. I never wanted to be away from him anyway, so I kept doubles of everything at his house, so I had the option to spend the night and still get ready in the morning if I needed too," Summer continues. Even though hair ties and toiletries may seem like NBD, it's a pretty sweet gesture when you think about it.
Leaving something behind doesn't have to be meaningful if you don't want it to be. Landen, 24, explained that he prefers to date people that he would feel comfortable leaving belongings behind at their place from day one and if he didn't feel comfortable doing so, it would be a red flag for him. He went on to share that, "I wouldn’t read into it as 'we’re one step closer to marriage,' even if they might think of it that way."
Leaving something behind might just be human error! Miranda, 23, shared that it's actually just about forgetting items. Forgetting items is super valid! People sometimes need a lot of things throughout their day so forgetting things is super reasonable.
For some couples, it's exciting to share and borrow items as you build a life together. That could include leaving things behind at their house or not. Naomi, 23, shared that they will leave underwear and a toothbrush but not much more before they enjoy wearing their partner's clothing.
"We are five months into the relationship, and I have my fancy conditioner at her house, two toothbrushes, and an assortment of my clothing that lives at her house. We share a lot of things, too. I borrow daily necessities like her contact solution, hairbrush, toothpaste, makeup, etc.," Meghan, 22.
At the end of the day, it's all about how you and your partner want to negotiate leaving things at each other's places. In order to get on the same page, have an open and honest conversation with your partner and communicate your varying views. Whether you end up leaving stuff behind or packing up every last object, you're at the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life — and that's a beautiful thing.