There's nothing quite as special as seeing your significant other get that adoring look on their face, drop down to one knee, and tremulously ask, "Will you marry me?" before proffering a box that holds your picture-perfect engagement ring. It's the proposal you've been waiting months or years for! But what happens if everything goes exactly as you'd always hoped, up until that box is opened and it contains what can really only be considered the worst ring you've ever seen?
If you don't like your engagement ring, know that you're not alone. Many before you and many after you will find themselves in this exact same predicament—you don't want to hurt your brand-new fiancé's feelings, but you also don't want to wear a ring you don't like every single day for the rest of your life. So, what do you do? As it turns out, there are several ways to handle this delicate situation with grace.
Give It a Couple of Days
If it isn't love at first sight, give it a couple of days. Wear the ring around and see if it grows on you. It may not be exactly what you would have selected yourself, but that doesn't mean it can't be something you grow to fall madly in love with. First impressions, even with rings, can be tricky and misleading. Before making a huge stink over it, give it some time.
It's also helpful to find out why he or she chose this particular ring. Perhaps there's a story behind it or it's similar to the one their mother or grandmother wears. Maybe when they saw it, it made him or her feel a certain way. Sometimes that story will be powerful enough to change your feelings toward the ring.
Talk About It the Right Way
If you still don't like your engagement ring, it's time to have a conversation. "Every time you look at it, the voice in your head will remind you how much you hate it—and that will cause resentment and annoyance," explains relationship expert Dana Corey. "If you are constantly reminded of your disappointment in their choice, it will color your relationship."
Meet the Expert
Dana Corey is a relationship expert with over 30 years of experience helping couples navigate the trials of their commitment.
Broach the subject slowly and in private. "Like any sensitive subject, you want to choose a time when you're feeling open and loving, not when you're in a disagreement or feeling upset. It's one of those intimate, vulnerable conversations that will set the tone of your marriage for the decades to come," Corey says. Acknowledge the love and thought that went into your fiancé's choice, and explain that it's not your intent to hurt their feelings.
Exchange or Return It
If your partner purchased the ring new, head back to the jeweler together. You could keep the center stone and have it changed to a different setting, or spend the afternoon trying on rings together until you find a completely new style that you both love.
Remember to be respectful of their budget when doing so, and ask him or her to work with the jeweler to ensure the options you’re considering are something you can afford.
Is the ring a family heirloom of some sort? Find out if you can have the heirloom ring reset. That could mean designing a new ring to hold a family stone, using the metal from the original ring to create a wedding band, or purchasing a ring enhancer (which fits snugly around an engagement ring to add heft, and often additional sparkle, to the original setting) to transform a more simple ring into a design that’s more your style.
Choose the Wedding Band of Your Dreams
Not sure if you can bring it up at all? Don’t lose sight of what the engagement ring represents. It’s a meaningful gift that you should cherish either way and when it comes time to shop for wedding bands, you might just be able to find something to help transform it into the ring of your dreams.
If You Just Want a Bigger Rock, Don't Say Anything
Honesty is the best policy...unless you're disappointed in the size or quality of the stone, which is ultimately like saying, "You didn't spend enough money." You would never want your fiancé to feel that their choice was inadequate in that regard—surely they bought you the most beautiful ring they could afford, so if everything else about the ring works (metal, stone shape, style) then hold your tongue.
Remember: You're getting married to the person, not the ring. "The question I would ask is, 'Are you committed to creating a happy, harmonious life together?'" Corey says. If nothing can be done, or you've upset your fiancé, "breathe, apologize for being materialistic, and get over it. Or reconsider your motives, and be honest with yourself about whether you're ready for marriage."