What Do You Do If You Don’t Like Your Engagement Ring?

Would you a) tell your beau or b) keep it to yourself and wear it anyway?

by Erin Whitty and Rebecca Hanley

So you said yes to taking your guy’s hand in marriage, and you’re indescribably excited about going from boyfriend and girlfriend to Mr and Mrs! But what if you’re not, ahem, exactly excited about the ring he pledged his love with? You love him, but the rock that’s now perched on your left hand makes you wish gloves would make a sartorial comeback. Or perhaps it’s not that bad – you don’t hate your engagement ring, but the one you’ve been eyeing (and making quite obvious hints about!) in the window of Tiffany & Co. is just so much prettier?


Image: Merge Photography

What do you do in a sticky ring sitch – should you speak up, seeing as you’re going to be wearing this piece of jewellery til your hair goes grey? Or do you ditch the material concerns and just love it ‘cos of the love it represents? We asked you guys to share your wisdom – and here’s what you had to say:

“Be grateful that he went out on a limb and chose this ring with his heart and didn’t even ask for your help! I think it’s priceless.” − Renee

“Definitely suck it up!” − Rachael

“I was in this situation. I wore it for three months before I just couldn’t handle it any longer and I stopped wearing it. I really should have just said something then and there and we could have replaced it.“ − Carolyn

“ I love mine ‘cos he chose it. Plus, it’s beautiful.” − Kristie

“We picked my engagement ring together. But in that situation, I think it’s best to be honest without hurting his feelings too much. That is if jewellery style is really important to you. You don’t want him to get the wrong idea about what you do or don’t like. On the other hand, if you think you might start to love the ring after a while, then keep your lips sealed!” − Jen

“Be happy he asked and suck it up, princess!” − Jo


Image: Merge Photography

“Gosh that’d be hard! You’d hope that if he’s popping the question, he knows you, and has an idea of your taste – or at least takes your mum/sister/bestie along to help him choose. I don’t think I’d have the heart to say I didn’t like it. I think I’d just look at it as representing his love and for that reason it would be beautiful. . . . and then I’d ‘lose’ it! Ha ha, kidding!” − Danielle

“Suck it up… Eventually you’ll learn to accept it. But I admit when I pointed to a ring in the window he thought I was looking at another ‘bigger’ blue rock. He was sooo excited he showed me six months before he proposed. I felt guilty because the first thing I said was ‘Oh my gosh, blue?’ He then did the sweetest thing: while I was at work he bolted up to the city (1.5hrs away) and got it changed! He really didn’t need to but it looks better! Althougj lots of couples go out and choose it together. Or even just throw some hints!” − Caitlin

“I work in a jewellery store and it’s not often that we get couples changing the ring, but when we do, it’s so sad for the man. He’s always so disappointed and disheartened. Ladies out there – it takes a long time for a man to save the money, choose a ring and find the courage to pop the question. If you have a man that’s done this for you, then cherish it forever. Love is wonderful!” − Chrissie

“Women need to suck it up and stop being bitches about it – it’s the thought and effort that counts.” − Alannah

“You’d hope he knows a little more about you before he proposes! I haven’t heard a case where a ring has been exchanged yet! One can be honest, but perhaps keep for sentimental purposes. I cannot disagree or agree as it’s up to each individual case. A friend was married 15 years ago when they couldn’t afford flashing diamond rings. She and her partner only just got her a new set.” – Caitlin

“Man shortage, ladies! Remember that!” − Buffy

“My husband proposed with what we called a ‘space saver’ – so we could choose the ring together.” − Aimee

“My hubby picked my ring and it was nothing like I ever said I wanted. It’s beautiful and I love it so much! But I would have worn it no matter what! And honestly girls, guys don’t pay that much attention to what jewellery or clothes you like! I reckon suck it up and be thankful you have someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with you. Too many women are preoccupied with ‘the’ ring or ‘the’ dress or ‘the’ wedding when it’s really about you and your hubby-to-be, not any of the material crap.” − Jemma

“I’m sorry, but if he took the time and effort to express his feelings and asked for a hand in marriage (which is a pretty big deal!), I wouldn’t be as shallow as to say his ring was crap! I mean how slack would you be? My husband got me an awesome ring. Definitely not a normal engagement ring for most Western ideals of an engagement ring, but it meant so much to me because of the fact that he picked it out and what it meant to him. If you are so caught up in a ring, maybe marriage should be rethought in that situation. Marriage is more than just a ring.” − Carla

What do you think, Knotties?

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by Erin Whitty and Rebecca Hanley


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  1. Spare some compassion, empathy or a thought for those who do wish to remain true to their ‘dream’ ring. Some may not wish to ‘just accept it’ and to them, their definitions of love may be different. One has no right to judge or make decisions for another =) What may seem right to one person may be compromising to another’s confidence. There really is no right and wrong at times and one needs choice when it comes to taking advice.

    So, to the question… It depends on the situation. Some situations may easily call for a change of style of the ring… or the man may see it as an insult. Either way, try to communicate, because this situation would reflect on many other issues that may have come up, or will come up that requires communication of icky topics.

    That said, the way you respond in one situation may ‘flow onto’ others. Perhaps you allow yourself to ‘let it go’ and not be honest about it now is how you’ve always done things to avoid confrontations. It depends on your values, really. It’s okay, unless you realize you don’t want to be like that anymore.

    If you do wish to bring it up, perhaps tell him you’re surprised, or that you’re impresssed at the reasons behind his choice. Compliment him and his choice, as it would mean a lot to his confidence, but as an equal, remember you also have a say and gently bring it up that you did have your eyes on another style – Perhaps create that style together for an anniversary, birthday?!

    Do be grateful, but never ever force yourself to be silenced if it really, really matters to you – meet him halfway, agree on something, find out what he’s comfortable with… because there’d be other issues, too, which need open communications for a happy union.

    – Fiona

    P.s. Thanks to Carla’s post – I’ve finally found a name to that kind of crown ring I’ve liked – Irish Claddagh! I didn’t know it had a name! =D

  2. This is hard. I trully agree that if you see the ring as a beautiful expression of his love, and that to you that is the most important thing and the ring mightn’t be what you dreamed but it is still a nice ring even if it wasn’t what you would have chosen, then I think that it is the right and caring thing to focus on your commitment and love and not on the material appearance of the ring.

    However, the question asked if the ring was COMPLETELY ALL WRONG. I presume this means that it is the ugliest piece of jewellery and that you would by no means be able to stomach such a symbol on your hand. If you are asking yourself “how can I show this to the world as an expression of our love and comitment” then you are going to have to say something. Perhaps suggest have the setting altered so that it suits you or you could say to suit the wedding band better and perhaps this will soften the blow and be a good compromise.

  3. I bought my wife’s endgagment ring and our wedding bands from Cash Converters a small stone and simple setting but it was all that I could afford but given with all the love I had for her. 28 years on stil happily married. For those who are more concerned about the look than the love I fear your marriage if it gets that far will be not so long lived. In time all things change, looks, fashion, even ourselves (personality).

  4. My husband to be (8 weeks to go !!!!) proposed with a ring that our daughter and he picked. I wish I could wear it but I react to yellow gold. Even after having it dipped in white gold several times, my hand and finger would still react and end up sore and swollen. It is a beautiful ring, but he didn’t know the reaction I would have to it (as I don’t wear much jewelry). Now I wear a different ring but it is him I am marrying not the ring.

  5. Not everyone can afford these ridiculous prices for a BIG engagement ring? It shouldn’t matter IF you really love the person? Wear it with pride as he chose you!

  6. We knew after 3 months that we wanted to get married, but waited 2 years for engagement (and another 2 years for the wedding!) and in that time we were able to try on lots of kinds of rings. My husband listened to all the comments I made and he found a ring that had everything I had said I liked on it! I guess it depends on the man & the relationship that you have. Some men want to go it alone, others seek input. Either way, it is about the marriage, not the wedding :)

  7. My husband proposed with a cheap friendship ring (so he had something to use) with the arrangement with the jeweller he would return it for something else. We had my ring made(into a rose shape with filigree band with hearts, stones) depicting his proposal. It is beautiful!!! We have been married 10 years now (got 2 kids). I LOVE my ring. Some years down the track though, I also felt it look a little incomplete because I only wanted one ring (didn’t have engagement + wedding rings) when I got married plus it was to save money we didn’t have. I thought it looked like a dress ring. I only mentioned it once to my husband that I loved my ring but also thought it would look great with a thin ring either side to complete it…so for our 10th wedding anniversary and my birthday he got them made! It looks so fantastic!! I am so happy with it and with my husband for being so thoughtful as he isn’t big on jewellery.

  8. These comments are really irritating and overly needy. I’m grateful to have an incredible fiance that is also my best friend.. When my engagement wasn’t the same as I was hoping for I spoke to him about it like a loving and honest partner – he told me he would have been so much more devastated to think I just “sucked it up” and wore something I didn’t like in regards to this incredibly special symbol of our commitment to each other. I think honesty is the single most important element of a successful relationship.. Don’t “just be grateful to have a man”, be honored to be with a man who loves the real, honest and raw you – for better or for worse.

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