Dear Toni, My fiancé and I have been engaged for three years, but our relationship isn’t going anywhere. Maybe I was caught up in the excitement of a potential wedding, but without a date or any real plans for the future, the thrill is wearing off. Every time I approach him about moving forward, he gives me a million reasons as to why it’s not a good time right now. Meanwhile, it always seems to be a great time to borrow my money and go hang out with his friends. I’ve decided to put an end to this charade, but I hope you can help me with an important question.What to do about the ring? He owes me money, but all the traditional rules state that if the woman ends the relationship, she must return the ring. Are there ever any exceptions? KM
Rules are made to be broken.
Sadly, I see this scenario all the time. Boy likes girl, boy pursues girl, boy doesn’t want to lose girl, but boy wants to keep his options open. So, boy gives girl a ring to occupy girl while boy waits for something better to come along.
I hold the Ring Pop partially responsible for the engagement ring’s ability to distract an otherwise sensible woman. As children, we were fascinated by their fanciful colors and gigantic size. Not to mention, that sweet candy kept us quiet for hours. Has the engagement ring turned into a giant pacifier for grown-up girls?
The fact is, engagement should be a step toward marriage. Otherwise, both parties should be able to keep their options open. Did you know that European women don’t wear engagement rings? They recognize that the emphasis should be on the marriage, and if he doesn’t have to wear a ring until the knot is tied, then why should she?
In your situation, I prefer to see the ring as an investment. He invested in your stock, and earned plenty of dividends (or borrowed them, as it were). Now, it’s time to cash in the ring and take your cut. Afterwards, you should consider reimbursing him for his initial expenditure.
Remember, today’s woman is just as invested in the relationship as the man, and her investment also needs to be protected. Forget the old rules, and take it from someone closer to your generation. Sell the ring. Miss Manners might not agree, but it’s the right thing to do.
Until next time, Toni
Written for DFW Style Daily