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There's no doubt that you love him — but the engagement ring he picked when he popped the question is a different story. Perhaps it's tad smaller than your dream ring; maybe the stone no longer represents who you are as a couple. "We know that love should not be measured materialistically, and that you should never judge a book by its cover," says marriage and family therapist Alisa Ruby Bash. "But, unfortunately, that is not the way society always works. Even though most of us understand that engagement rings are about love and commitment, that little girl inside of us often just likes things that are big and sparkly."
But before you dive in to this emotional discussion, check the calendar. Because you can make this request too early. "I think that you should wait at least five years after you get married before you think about upgrading, if you never spoke up at the beginning," says Bash. "In cases where you really didn't like your ring to begin with, and you hate wearing it, then maybe its better that you are authentic with your feelings as soon as possible."
When the time is right, consider these tactics before you ask for an upgrade:
Gauge the temperature of your relationship.
"I think a good time to ask would be at a time when your finances have changed for the better," says Bash. "It's [also] important to do it in a time when you are really getting along and feeling very in love. You should never bring it up when your relationship has been on the rocks in any way, or you have been fighting." Consider springing the idea on him while you're relaxed on vacation, or already out shopping for another piece of jewelry.
Employ a bit of subtly.
"It's important that he never feels bullied, threatened or pressured into it, or it will not work out well," says Bash. "Maybe you could test it out by showing him a picture of a ring that you like from a magazine, or mentioning a friend's ring that you admire, and see his reaction."
Remember the sandwich rule.
"Sandwich [the request] between talking about how much you love him and how meaningful his proposal was to you, and how much you have grown together and the future you envision for yourselves," Bash says. "I would make sure to compliment his taste, how much you love him, and everything he does for you and your family as well."
And if you're feeling a little guilty, consider this: "Many, many women out there can relate to this and very few are 100 percent satisfied for their entire lives with the first engagement ring that they received," Bash says. "We all want to be upwardly mobile, and get new cars, clothes and houses as we grow and accomplish more. Our engagement rings should be something that brings up complete awe, love and devotion when we look down at them, not resentment or shame. There is nothing wrong with wanting more, or in some cases maybe even less."