I hate my engagement ring. Haaaaaate it. It’s gaudy and huge and not my style at all.
I never thought I was the kind of girl who’d care about carots and jewellery, but this is just so wrong. I can’t imagine wearing it for the next fifty years. And seeing other people’s engagement rings on Instagram makes me want to cry.
This should be something I’m excited about and want to show off – but when I look at it, all I can do is wonder how my fiancé got my taste so wrong.
I know there are much worse problems in the world and this feels like such a superficial thing to be upset about, but it’s really dampening my excitement at being engaged.
Should I say anything? Should I ‘lose it’ somewhere? Or am I doomed to a life with the world’s ugliest ring?
All right. Real talk. If you don’t feel you can have an awkward conversation with the person you’re engaged to, you shouldn’t be engaged to them.
You need to be able to talk to your partner about anything – or you aren’t partners
You need to be okay talking to your partner about potentially awkward things. Making a life together comes with compromises, difficult decisions, and hardships.
You need to divide bills and chores – and ask them to do more when you need to do less. You need to make hard choices together about your children, and your parents, and your pets. You’ll need to tell them when you’ve lost a job. Or been asked to move for work. Or had a health scare.
If you can’t approach them when all that’s at stake is hurt feelings, are they the person you should be making big life decisions with? If you’re afraid to be honest with them because you think they’ll react badly, are you going to be safe and respected in a relationship with this person?
Only you can answer that. But be honest with yourself. As hard as it would be to end things now, it will only get harder down the line.
Assuming you’re in a safe, loving relationship where you can communicate with your partner…
Communicate with your partner
Marriage is about honesty – so be honest. It might feel like an awkward conversation to start but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
Find a quiet moment alone, gently explain that the ring isn’t quite your style, and suggest exchanging it for another one you pick out together.
You could say something like:
I’m so excited to marry you and start our lives together, but I think it’s important we’re always honest with each other. I don’t think my engagement ring suits my style. Would we be able to pick out a different ring together and exchange it?
I’m so touched that you gave me your grandmother’s ring. I love what that represents and the idea that we’re family now, but the ring itself doesn’t quite suit me. How would you feel about moving the stones into a different setting, or else picking out a new ring together?
The important thing is to say the ring isn’t quite right for you – not that they have terrible taste or don’t know you at all, or anything else that will make them defensive! – and suggest getting a replacement together, so you’re not closing them out of this special time.
It’s a reasonable request. If your partner is a reasonable person, they’re going to understand.
Style over substance
That said, it’s important to mention here that the price tag shouldn’t be factoring into this.
We’ve explained before how the diamond trade sets their prices artificially high. They’re not more valuable than other stones (synthetic diamonds have no resale value whatsoever!), so if a lower cost or an unusual gem is coming into your feelings here, it might be worth sleeping on it and deciding if you really don’t like the ring itself, or the message you’re worried it’s sending.
There’s nothing wrong with an affordable ring; the idea of it being three months’ salary comes from a time when calling off an engagement ruined a woman, and the ring bought you out of a lawsuit. (Seriously. Victorians were weird.)
It’s a far better idea to buy a ring you can comfortably afford now and – if you’d like to – put money aside every year to get your dream ring on your tenth wedding anniversary, than to go into debt before your marriage has even begun for something that has a statistically high chance of falling down a drain, being lost in a vegetable patch, or coming off in the ocean on your honeymoon!
But if this is to do with the style over the status (and it sounds like it is), you should be able to exchange it for something more you at every price band.
You’re marrying the person – not the ring
Remember, the ring is just a symbol – a way for your partner to show that they’re serious, that they’ve thought about this, when they ask you to marry them.
It’s not an indication of how much they know or love you.
This is still an exciting time and you should be excited. Don’t read more into this than what it is: your partner thought you might like something but it wasn’t quite right for you. That’s okay. It will happen sometimes.
Your partner isn’t a mind-reader. Even the best, most attentive people in the world can hit and miss. (Just ask about the Christmas I got nothing but Harry Potter colouring books.)
If you love each other enough to get married, you love each other enough to have honest conversations, to make mistakes, and to move on, together.
Photo by Antonio Guillem.