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Hi, lonelyheart and thanks for posting your story.
To answer your initial question (should I ask for my stuff back), I have to agree with Mike and say this: if these are things you don't actually need, then I don't think it's that important to get them back. As for your extra apartment key, I think simply changing the locks is a better option. There are several reasons for this: first of all, asking to keep your extra apartment key "in case you get locked out of your apartment" is pretty transparent. There is no need for him to do that - he can give you the key to give to a friend or family member, or to keep in a hidden place if that happens. It's completely illogical for him to keep it when you are no longer together or in contact. He is simply wanting to maintain a sure connection with you...and give you a reason to contact him. Changing the locks will sever that connection.
As for telling you that you'll be okay and that you're strong...well, I don't see anything malicious there. Usually people say things like that out of guilt - soften the blow by offering what they don't realize is ultimately useless encouragement. It makes them feel less like "the bad guy."
I think can see where he's coming from, as well. To be honest, it sounds like he was overwhelmed with his obligations as a father, his difficult divorce, and caring for his mother. Normally, a significant other is a source of support and comfort when someone is going through difficult times, but the glitch is that this usually happens when the relationship is a solid, committed one. Let me explain: a solid, committed relationship should NEVER be a source of stress, no matter how bleak everything else is. You are a TEAM, and you're getting through the difficult stuff together. That's what you sign up for. If you're unable to share this connection with your partner, then the relationship, in my opinion, is not as solid as it could be. It does not sound to me as though he was really ready to immerse himself in a relationship like that, even if you were. I'm not sure if this makes him "the bad guy" so much as unprepared for another relationship so soon after what sounds like an extremely dysfunctional marriage. Jumping into a relationship without recovering from the previous one often means that that you're making someone pay for another's mistakes. It's never fair, and it's rarely intentional.
From my perspective, I don't think he was entirely fair to you in that he left when things got too stressful, came back when he needed some comfort, and left again once he'd gotten what he needed by making the exact same excuses as before. Yes, he did take advantage of your feelings for him, even if he didn't do so consciously. You know him better than I do, but even if you were intent upon marriage, it sounds like he was not. I don't blame him for wanting to focus on the problems in his own family - I'd be disturbed if he hadn't - but I do get the impression that his relationship with you wasn't as serious as your relationship with him. And I don't get the impression that the intentions of your relationship together were really discussed in much detail, but you would know better than I.
As SuperDave says, you can never sit by quietly and simply hope that things will change and get better - you have to be upfront about what you need, and what you're willing/able to give. It's not easy (believe me, it took awhile to get enough backbone to do so, and I'm STILL learning), but it's essential if you want to know exactly where you stand with the other person, and where they stand with you.
"Are tangerines really just oranges that didn't want it enough?" - Random Greeting Card