You find the partner of your dreams, and they drop to one knee, and ask you to marry them. You say yes! Then they present you with a ring. (Record scratch). It’s not that the ring isn’t perfect, it’s just that…ok, yeah, you hate it.
So what’s a girl to do? Is it even possible to broach the subject without forever hurting your brand new fiancé’s feelings? While this situation is hardly ideal — and more than a little bit uncomfortable — chances are, the person you’re marrying doesn’t want you to be stuck wearing something you hate for the rest of your life unnecessarily. If you find yourself in the unenviable situation of receiving an engagement ring you don’t like, it’s not a completely lost cause. You have options. Here’s what you should do.
When you receive an engagement ring that you hate — whether it be due to the metal finish, the stone, the shape, the setting, or the overall look of the ring — it can be easy and understandable to panic a little bit. You want to show how happy and excited you are to be engaged, and how much you love your fiancé, without giving away the fact that you dislike the ring that they just slipped onto your finger. If you let your face fall, let yourself deflate, or flat-out say you don’t like it, you’ll give yourself away.
A ring that you hate might also set off alarms in your head to the tune of, “How could they think this is what I would like?” In Women’s Health, Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, said that your partner’s inability to exactly nail your taste when ring shopping isn’t anything to fret about and means nothing in regards to your relationship. They tried their best.
Sleep on it
Whenever I’m trying to decide something — anything, be it big or small — my mom tells me to sleep on it. It can be disappointing for something not to turn out, or look exactly the way you were hoping it would, but taking a day or even a few to let everything sink in and think about it more carefully can really help how you evaluate something. According to a 2009 study, unconscious thought (like what happens when you’re sleeping), can help people make big decisions.
Did you think at first glance that you hated the setting? Three days later you might find that you love your ring, just as it is — or that the setting you wouldn’t have chosen, is actually just right. Plus, the fact that your soon-to-be spouse selected it just for you, might end up swaying your feelings, as well.
Acknowledge the good parts
As Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid For Hire and author of Always A Bridesmaid (For Hire), wrote in Brides that it can be helpful, when evaluating a ring you think you might not like, to recognize the bits and pieces of it that you love.
Say you love that it’s white gold, or that there’s a halo of mini stones around the center stone. Maybe that will help you to love it more, or ease into a conversation with your partner about the things you’d like to change. Surely there’s something you love about your ring, so don’t get bogged down with all the parts you don’t.
Talk to your partner
Here comes the hard part. If you really feel like you can’t live with the ring as-is, you have to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. In this conversation, honesty is definitely the best policy. Allison Moir-Smith, bridal counselor, founder of Emotionally Engaged, and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride’s Guide to Surviving the “Happiest” Time of Her Life, recommends focusing on your appreciation of what the ring represents when talking to your fiancé. Then, be upfront about what you would love. If they’re not that attached to the ring, or were kind of guessing at what you’d like, they might be really open to hearing your thoughts, and making changes.
Take Moir-Smith’s advice and be more gentle when dealing with a ring they designed themselves, a family heirloom, or a ring that they’re really proud to have picked out for you, so as to not hurt their feelings any more than the situation might already.
Take his or her feelings into account
In her piece, Glantz also wrote that when you’re talking to your partner about your feelings regarding the ring, it’s a good idea to ask them why they chose that particular one — especially if a sweet story could possibly sway your opinion.
There’s something about that ring that made them buy it just for you. If the ring is a family heirloom, ask questions about how they feel about the ring, and you wearing it, as well as if it’s OK if you make some changes. If it’s a piece they designed themselves, ask them about their thought process behind the design. You never know what they might say that’ll make you swoon.
Live with it
Of course, one possible option if you hate your engagement ring is to decide that you want to keep what you’ve got and live with it. According to Loverly, keeping in mind that the ring is meant to represent the love that the two of you share can sometimes help ease your initial dislike.
Additionally, as noted in The Knot, the addition of a wedding band may end up changing the entire look — making it into something you love. While it may not be possible to wait to make a decision on your engagement ring until you two can get around to looking at wedding bands, it could give you a little piece of mind if you find a band that pulls the look together.
Make it a project
If there are parts of the ring that you already love, consider making changes that maintain the parts you love, and modify the parts you don’t, so that you end up with something that you love completely.
According to The Knot, depending on the original design, you might have the option to add a halo or side stones, change the band, or change the setting. Perhaps the two of you can work together so that you end up with something that you love and a process in which your partner can still participate.
Ultimately, you might decide (either on your own, or during the conversation with your partner) that it’s better to just replace the ring with one you like better. According to Jewelry Wise, one good way of going about replacing an engagement ring is to window shop together so that you can point out things you like. Then, your partner still can choose something and surprise you, but they’ll have a better idea of exactly what you’ll love.
Try to stick within their budget, however, when choosing a new ring. If the one you love is far more expensive, Glamour suggests letting your sweetie know that you’ll chip in to cover the difference. Talk through it together and come up with a solution with which you can both be happy.
It’s not the end of the world
If your partner gives you an engagement ring that’s just not your style or taste, it can be remedied. You don’t need to panic, just take the time you need to make up your mind about your feelings, and then be open and honest. Be sensitive and respectful of their feelings and budget. And above all, remember: this is a happy time in your life. You and your partner can fix the situation, together.