He or she is down on one knee. They look up at you and pull that tiny box out of their pocket. Your thoughts are racing, you barely hear what they’re saying. They open the box and…
Not ideal. Look, we all know the most important part is that the person you love has just asked you to be their spouse. But there’s also this other part, the part that involves a piece of jewelry you are hopefully going to wear for the rest of your life. And hopefully you like it.
Of course, you can pick out a ring together, before or after the proposal. And that’s undoubtedly the solution that will lead to the least amount of uncertainty. But if it’s too late to go back and change things, and an expensive ring has been purchased, you only have a couple of options: you can suck it up and learn to love it, or you can talk to your fiancé. If you decide to have the conversation, go in with a game plan.
If They Bought The Ring
Is the diamond too small? Too big? Does the clarity suck? Did they get a diamond when you had always pinned sapphires? Figure out what it is that you hate about the ring.
Come up with a solution.
This is the hard part. If your fiancé doesn’t have unlimited funds, you’ll need to determine if it’s possible to exchange or even return the ring. Kay Jewelers, Zales, and Jared have a relatively painless return or exchange policy. Robbins Brothers also takes returns but with more caveats. It’s worth looking into the fine print.
Talk to them—but wait a week.
Give it a few days at least to look at the ring, take many pictures in different lightings, get your nails done and take more pictures. Collect as many compliments as you can. After a few days, you might start to look at it differently. Enjoy being engaged and try to think about the thrill of the proposal and the planning you can finally start to do without feeling like a crazy person. But wait a week—be sure your new fiancé knows just how thrilled you are and how excited you are about being engaged. This also ensures that they know that you find the engagement far more important than the engagement ring.
When you talk to them, start with how much you love that they put so much thought into it. Find a few things you love about it—the setting, the clarity, the size, whatever it may be. “I love the setting, but I’m not excited about the size of the diamond and I’m hoping that we can exchange for a smaller stone.” Or, “You totally listened to me and got me a round center stone that’s over a half carat, but the setting is a little plain for me. Do you think we could look at a setting that looks a little more vintage?” Or, “I would love to have the band dipped in white gold instead of yellow.”
If They Inherited the Ring
It’s still best to follow the 1-2-3 process above, but this isn’t as easy to fix. This ring probably means a lot to some family member (yours or theirs). If they just handed you grandma’s ring, and you hate it, it’s definitely going to hurt some feelings.
But they should have known better, and grandma’s ring probably isn’t the same style that everyone today would want. Let them know you absolutely love the sentiment behind it, but that the ring itself isn’t exactly your style. “I am so honored that your mom was okay with me having this ring, and it’s beautiful. But it’s not what I was picturing for my engagement ring.” Maybe there’s a compromise—could you use the diamond from that ring with a different setting (or vice versa)? Alternatively, there might be another family member that would love that ring—it would be a shame to take a ring from someone who might truly love it while you grit your teeth and bear it.
Most of all, be honest with yourself and with your fiancé. It doesn’t do anyone any good for you to be wearing something you hate for the rest of your life (or even the rest of your engagement). While it’s an awkward subject to broach, if you know it’s possible to make the switch, it’ll make both of you much happier.