Help! I Love My Fiancé But Hate My Engagement Ring

Photo by Jessica Roberts

Q: I feel so bad even writing in about this, but I don’t know what to do! I recently got engaged to a man I love and am so excited to marry, but the engagement ring he gave me? Not so much. I feel like a horrible person because I am sure he searched a long time to try and find the perfect one, but it’s just not my style. Can I say something about it, or should I just suck it up and pretend to love it? -Anonymous

A: I COMPLETELY sympathize with you on this one, and can imagine the kind of guilt you’re feeling!! So, here a few of my thoughts on this issue…

First, it might help to know that I’m one of those girls who picked out her engagement ring ahead of time. Some people might think that’s weird…but I felt 100% OK with it and so did my now husband. It’s not because I don’t love my husband’s taste (I do!) or that he somehow “doesn’t get me” (he SO does), but while I think an engagement ring is a symbol of you and your partner’s devotion to one another, at the end of the day it’s a significant piece of jewelry that you will be looking at every day…with love as you think about your husband, but also as a “oh wow I LOVE my ring” kind of thing, too. So, where does that leave the bride who did not get to pick out her engagement ring beforehand like me, and now has one that they’re not crazy about? Here’s my advice:

Be 100% Honest and Tell Your Fiancé the Truth.

There’s almost never a situation where telling the truth about how you feel is the WRONG thing to do, and while it might suck in this scenario, starting your marriage off on the wrong foot—even with what could be considered a little white lie–is not the best idea.

Does that mean you should NOT sugarcoat the conversation? Um, NO. Sugar away! And sugar often!! You need to be thankful, open, respectful, understanding, and kind. Your fiance might get mad or offended, but hopefully you guys are able to communicate with one another in a way that is positive and helpful without upsetting the other person. But where to start?

1. Tell your fiance you have something important you’d like to talk to him about and would love to sit down over dinner or a glass of wine. Make sure it doesn’t come across too scary/serious, but just that you want to make sure you guys have each other’s undivided attention.

2. Start off the conversation by saying how EXCITED you are to marry him, and that you feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

3. Let him know that you can only imagine how nerve-wrecking and stressful it was to pick out an engagement ring, and that you appreciate all the time and effort he must have put into it.

4. Say that you feel really embarrassed and awkward bringing this up, but that while you think the ring is absolutely beautiful, you are not sure about the way the setting (or diamond shape or color) looks on you.  *

5. You might mention a couple design components–such as the size/shape/metal type, etc. –and say while you initially thought it would be perfect, you aren’t sure it’s the right fit.

6. Tell him you are not sure if this would even be possible based on where he bought it, but if there was some flexibility, ask how he would feel about going to the jeweler together to talk about what your options might be.

7. Reinforce how grateful you are for everything he put into finding the perfect engagement ring, and that you think it’s such a beautiful choice. It’s just that you would love to explore one or two more settings together.

8. Ask him how he feels about this and if it’s something he’s open to. Tell him you would love to share any other feelings he might have about what you’ve brought up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the engagement ring is a family heirloom, this gets a bit trickier. If the heirloom is just the stone, I would still go forward with the advice above about talking about the setting design. If the heirloom IS the setting (or both…especially on his family’s side), my advice, honestly, would be to concentrate on finding a wedding band you LOVE and living with the engagement ring. If you are worried about the security of the setting (IE: it feels like the diamond might become unstable), you could suggest bringing it into a jeweler together and seeing what your options are.

To get both sides, I asked my husband what his advice would be. Here’s what he said:

“While it would be very annoying and a little hurtful at the time, I would rather know for sure that you had a ring that you liked. And most husbands will be able to tell that you don’t totally love the ring over time. So, while it may feel like an easy route to make up some excuse about it, you should bite the bullet (as nicely as humanly possible because he most likely put a lot of effort into this) and be honest with him. He’ll be happier you did in the long run.”

So, there you have it. Truthfully, this is not going to be easy. But once you talk about it, hopefully you can end up laughing about it later. Or at least a smile. 🙂

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  1. says: Took the hint, but not.

    I just found the ring and couldn’t help but look and am not loving it. I know I will wait until he pops the question, but in the meantime, I need some advice.

    From the beginning of our discussions, I have not been very into the idea of an engagement ring; I would rather have nice wedding bands and use the engagement ring money to do something else. He wanted a ring to give a nice gift. So, over the past two months, I sent and shared about ten pictures of rings, with website links, and talked about what kinds of ring styles I liked, etc. We had conversations about it, and I thought I had communicated what I would like, and how it would fit with the wedding bands since he and I want matching bands.

    Fast forward to me finding the ring this week. It is not at all like any of the rings in the pictures I showed. I told him I didn’t need a diamond and that if it was a single stone, I wanted it to be larger than the band (a more traditional setting). While the ring is not a diamond, and the stone is larger than the width of the band, it is a huge pink stone (like .5 cm wide) on a tiny little band… it kinda looks like costume jewelry. I’m so touched that he made a note of the things I wanted, but he seemed not to have used any of my suggestions when designing the ring. He designed it custom and that is so wonderful, but it’s not me.

    Any advice? Also, we’re moving to a new country next month so he won’t have access to the jeweler after that.

  2. says: Anonymous

    Don’t do it. I said something not because my diamond isnt good enough. I didnt even want diamonds. I don’t like sparkly things. But I got a ring with 42 diamonds on it. It had to be resized 5 sizes so its oval shape. One diamond has fallen out already. They rub and scratch my other fingers. Its super uncomfortable and still doesnt fit properly.. but im “ungreatful” “spoilt” and a horrible person for saying anything. Its a gift and I should “like it” or “lump it” and shut the f up about it already.

  3. says: UCantBeSerious

    If you want your fiancé to resent you and question if they actually should marry you, yeah, go ahead, tell them you don’t like what is most likely the most expensive and nerve wracking gift he has ever purchased.

    Even worse if you are ‘disappointed’ in the cut, size, clarity, etc of the diamond as with the gentleman below.

    I am willing to bet women who are willing to do this are also more likely to end up in a failed marriage.

  4. says: TC

    To the gentleman above who commented about his hurt feelings:
    I personally don’t understand why it’s a problem that your FI changed her mind about the ring. I’m quite sick and tired of the standard advice given to women that they should shut up and put up. Your FI will be wearing your ring for a long time. I don’t know if she’s forcing you to do something similar where you’ll have to wear something that you detest every single day for all to see.
    It sounds like you didn’t even talk to your FI about what she truly wanted (you were listening into convos to fish for info). If you were with her for 10 years, my hope is that you would have talked to her extensively about the one piece of jewelry that she’ll be wearing as a physical symbol of your union.
    I’m hurt for your FI that you were immature enough to not consider her feelings, desires and wishes. It’s as if you essentially told her that what she wants doesn’t matter when you presented her that ring.
    If you want to talk about the important things in a relationship, well then maybe the ring was extremely important to your FI. Maybe it’s the one item that she saw as a physical manifestation of her love for you and that she has a desire to see it created in a particular way. You clearly didn’t love her enough or desire to treat her well enough by getting her an important present with HER actual wishes in mind. Perhaps if you knew she was picky enough you should have taken her shopping and asked her to pick out a couple of rings SHE wanted.

  5. says: Engagement-shy

    My girlfriend and I have been through A LOT in the 10 years we have been together. In the last 6 months, I shopped for an engagement ring. I found a beautiful ~3/4 ct. diamond for her and was waiting to propose during a special occasion. While waiting, I heard a conversation between her and her sister in which she said she wanted at least 1 carat. She was pretty adamant. She cared more about the size than the quality of the stone. I sent back the ring and shopped for the nicest 1 carat diamond I could afford, and then proposed in front of our loved ones. She said yes and for a few days I was happier than I would have thought possible. It felt right and she seemed to love the ring. Then she took it to get it appraised and the jeweler told her that it was an I2 clarity, so it had large inclusion. It was a really good cut and color, so it was hard to tell at first. Since then, she has broached the subject of a different ring to me about 3 times, following all of the advice on these various websites. You are all wrong. Even the husband’s opinion. It hurt, and continues to hurt, so damn bad. I feel like the entire proposal and engagement is ruined. After 10 years of being with someone, when they finally work up the nerve to actually propose, the fact that the ring isn’t good enough (and it wasn’t a CZ or substitute gemstone, not that those arent good too) means that she loves a diamond more than me. It goes from being a symbol of our love or marriage, to being a symbol to show off to her girlfriends or fake social media “friends”. Anyone who advises a woman to try and upgrade her engagement ring, or dares say “he’ll only be hurt in the short-term so don’t feel bad about it” is either lying, ignorant, or incapable of actually feeling empathy towards someone they claim to love. The only important things in a relationship are how much your partner loves you, how well they treat you, and that you have as much time as possible together because they should be your best friend. Not how good of a diamond you get.