t’s the only thing that could possibly mar the perfection of a long-anticipated wedding proposal. Your beloved drops to one knee and opens the delicate jewelry box. What happens when you hate what’s waiting inside?
As romantic as the idea of a surprise proposal is, the whole “getting swept off your feet” aspect comes with another, less desirable aspect: someone else picking out the ring you will wear every single day. You may trust the love of your life with your whole heart and soul, but does that trust really extend to something as mundane as jewelry shopping? The sad truth is, even though you can love someone completely, you don’t always love that special someone’s taste in fashion, too. And you’re the one who ends up stuck with the ring on your finger in the end.
Luckily, an ugly engagement ring isn’t the end of the world. There are a few tactful approaches to this sticky, sticky situation.
Avoid It Before It Happens
The most tactful way to deal with an ugly ring is to head it off before it ever appears in front of you. If you suspect your sweetheart is planning a proposal, start hinting early and often about the style of ring you like best. Comment on friends’ rings (real rings are best, but feel free to start conversations about what you love and hate about fictional acquaintances’ rings, too). If you need a more blunt approach, leave a few ring pictures on your computer screen when you leave the room. You can also have a trusted friend pull your intended aside for a quick briefing on your style.
Of course, there’s no way to avoid miscommunication like a candid conversation. While this approach is a little scary, if you’re absolutely sure you’re not misreading the signs of an impending proposal, it’s time to lay out all the cards. Let your well-meaning sweetie know that you’re very particular about your jewelry, and if at any point in the future a ring purchase were to come up, you would love the chance to go jewelry shopping together. Frame it as a romantic activity–chances are, it will take the pressure off of your sweating fiancé-to-be.
Even if you and your fiancé decide to go ring shopping together, the proposal itself can still come as a romantic surprise. The person who proposes can keep the tradition and excitement of proffering the ring box, but with a “placeholder ring” inside. It can be something as silly as a plastic ring from a quarter machine with a note attached that says, “We have a ring shopping date this weekend.” Then you can enjoy all of the romance of a whirlwind proposal in the moment and extend the excitement as you’re picking out your perfect ring, too.
If you hate your ring, the hardest option is also the simplest: be honest. Find a tender, intimate moment, and gently bring up your concerns with your ring. Emphasize how excited you are to be getting married. Mention how your engagement is so picture-perfect already, it would be great if even the smallest details could also match your dream-image. It may help to turn it into a joke and point out how silly you’re being. Get your fiancé on your side so you can tackle the problem together. Remember, the conversation shouldn’t focus on blame or disappointment. Instead, focus on how excited you are to get the ring exactly right. Don’t forget to give effusive thanks for the thought and love behind the gift.
Adjust the Ring
Is there anything you do like about your ring? Play up its strengths by taking it to a jeweler to have it adjusted slightly. Maybe with a different setting, the ring could actually look great on your finger. When you bring up this topic in conversation, don’t blame the ring. The “it’s not you; it’s me” approach works as a wonderful salve for hurt feelings in many situations. Point out what a pity it is that the shape of your fingers or your skin tone doesn’t complement the ring the way it should. But that’s only a slight problem that a jeweler could fix!
Blame the Economy
Oh, isn’t it just a shame? What a gorgeous, wonderful ring, and you just can’t possibly accept it because you know it’s not a responsible choice for the two of you right now. If there are any financial concerns in your relationship, play them up to the fullest.
Now, this approach only works if the ring you have your eye on is considerably less expensive than the ring you were given (or if you have a mother or grandmother with a beautiful ring to pass down). But it’s worth a try. At the very least, you’ll score brownie points for being so considerate and selfless.
Learn to Love It
Even if you hate your ring at first glance, sometimes it’s not worth making waves. After all, do you really want your first major disagreement as an engaged couple to be over something as minor as a fashion choice? Save the tears for a bereavement and learn to love your ring. After all, it was given with love and it symbolizes something far more important than the sum of its gems and metals. Just as you can learn to find beauty in the imperfect smile of a friend or family member, you can learn to love the ring that means you’re finally marrying The One.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.