Ask Team Practical: Wearing My Engagement Ring

My fiancé and I got engaged over the holidays. (Yay!) We have been together for nearly six years and I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than committing to a life with him. When he proposed, he gave me a beautiful ring and said to me, “You don’t have to wear this, I just want you to know how I feel about you.” And frankly, those words were a relief. Because while I am thrilled about marrying him, I’m not so sure how excited I am to announce it to the world so publicly (like on-your-finger publicly). The feminist in me also thinks it’s pretty unfair that I have to wear my marital status on my finger. Not to mention, I don’t know if I can handle all the weird squealing from strangers and random acquaintances who barely know me. BUT, all that said, the man bought me a BEAUTIFUL ring and I can’t help but think it’s a complete insult to him if I don’t just wear the damn thing. So…is it?

Really In Need of Good Perspective On Proposals

Dear RINGPOP,

Aw! What a sweetie you have on your hands there. No, not the ring, the guy. The very fact that he said, “You don’t have to wear this,” shows that he knows you so well and thought about how you’d feel.

As with many things, different feminists have different feelings about that little emblem on the left hand. Some are really excited to have that nice little “back off” symbol for guys everywhere, and my own husband (back when he was just a wee fiancé) confessed that he was jealous that I had a visible sign of our engagement and he didn’t.

I really want to suggest something that I always appreciate when people do it for me: Let’s take what he said at face value. He said you don’t need to wear it. He said he just wanted to give you something special. Take him at his word. But, I hesitate. If I gave my mom a drawing and she said, “It’s lovely dear!” while folding it and tucking it under some linen napkins in a china closet drawer, I don’t know that I would believe her. Part of giving her that crayon-scrawled picture is knowing that by displaying it proudly on the fridge, she’d be showing everyone that walked into our kitchen that I loved her and she was proud of that love. How can you likewise show the rest of the world, “This man loves me and I’m proud of that love,” without bowing to patriarchal traditions that make you feel gross?

If you love the ring without the connotation, consider wearing it on a different hand or finger. Even the most elaborate ring won’t be noticed as an “engagement ring” somewhere else. (Right hand rings are a thing now!) And if you’re still afraid you might be spotted by pesky coworkers hungry for a good proposal story, consider wearing it as a necklace—then you even have the added option of hiding it in your t-shirt. Next to your heart. Can you sense that I’m stifling a girlish squeal? Because, ah! Romantic! A secret engagement?! I could sing, “Secret Lovers” to you if you want? You don’t? Are you sure?

Another option, minus the secret romance and plus some modern equality is to buy him his own engagement ring. Fair is fair, no?  This way he’ll be earmarked as “taken” as well (though I can’t guarantee that he’ll be pestered for details of “wedding colors” the way you will).

But, I’m going to suggest what I suggest practically every Friday (why does Meg still pay me?). Talk to him. An open and honest discussion about how much you love the ring but hate the connotation may be all you need to hear his side and figure out how to handle the whole thing. I can just about guarantee that he doesn’t want you in stress or agony over this, and he may be relieved to hear that you have some of the above strategies tucked away. In this conversation, you get the opportunity to make sure he knows it’s a distaste for the patriarchal tradition in general, and not for the representation of being tied to him. Because being tied to him sounds like it’s not half bad.

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So, Team Practical, how did feel about wearing your engagement ring? If you had ambivalence, how did you handle it?

Photo: Emily Takes Photos.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com or use the submission form here. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up sign-off like Really In Need of Good Perspective On Proposals (RINGPOP). I mean, RIGHT?

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