This is so weird. Okay. So he used his own money. He has his own job. She couldn't MAKE him do anything....so he just did it himself, even if she was an influence. Why doesn't he just get his own house? Then she couldn't do anything about it, right?
You say he's being as brave as he could be...but it doesn't sound like that to me. IF he were being so brave, he just wouldn't return the ring, he'd let you keep it, he'd marry you, and you'd live together happily ever after, yes?
Now my future mother-in-law loves me, but even when she doesn't act like it and she says mean things about me, my FH certainly stands up for me and does not allow it. Now, don't you think if he was being as brave as he could be he would stand up for you and not return the ring?
Brave=letting you keep ring Returning ring=cowardly....see the contradiction?