The Ring Designed by My In-Laws Is Ugly AF


It’s basically a theme ring?

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

Closeup of a woman resting her hand on her right shoulder.

Q: My now-husband is a sweet man—generous, kind, and generally very thoughtful about who I am as a person. When he knows I’ve had a bad day, he saves up cute animal photos he’s seen during the day and orders my favorite pizza to cheer me up.

Despite being the man who knows what makes me tick, he took a pretty impractical approach to designing my engagement ring. He wanted it to be a surprise and had it custom made for me by a close family member who designs jewelry as their profession. The design features elements that reference something I really love and is very important to me BUT do not really capture my design aesthetic. Without getting overly specific (as it’s a very unique design that many have commented on and complimented), I’d compare it to having a dog’s paw print included in a ring for a dog lover. A sweet thought, but not necessarily appropriate for somebody who loves clean lines and classy simplicity. Beyond the aesthetic mismatch, I work with my hands as part of my job. My hands are always dirty and wet. I also love wearing cozy sweaters. Because of the ring’s design, there is always dirt in the nooks, and the ring is always catching on and pulling my favorite sweaters.

Practically speaking, it’s kind of a nightmare. Since we got married a year ago, I’ve only worn it a handful of times because of the practicality issues—it really just does not suit my lifestyle. Not wearing it kills me because I know it cost a lot and I know that not one, but two people I love were involved in designing and making this ring. How do I subtly suggest a redesign? I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings but honestly, it feels like a waste to have it sitting in a drawer instead of on my finger where I can enjoy it.

—Practical Woman with an Impractical Ring

A: Dear PWWAIR,

Kind of dying to see it, to be honest. But I mean, if I can’t, FINE, I guess I’ll just answer your question…

Keep this ring and ask him to get you a whole new one. I know what you mean about waste (I feel it, too), but this is still a meaningful, if ugly, memento. Stash it in a drawer or keep it in a dish on your dresser. It served its purpose in demonstrating care for you, and it’s chock full of meaning, if also some questionable design choices. It’s a funny, sweet reminder of a thoughtful partner who was still working out the finer points of how to give you something you love. That’ll be even more special with time. Now keep it tucked away.

But while doing that, be straight with your partner about why you don’t like the design. Emphasize how much you love the thought and will cherish it forever-ever. “But, it’s not something I’d wear, and here’s why…” While you’re at it, I’d specifically mention your logistical concerns. Just don’t take the easy out and leave it there. Take it that step further to explain the aesthetic ones, too. I know his feelings might be hurt. I know it won’t be easy. But remember, that’s because he wants to get you things that you like. Helping your partner learn this about you is for his benefit as well as yours, and will make future birthdays and holidays a bit easier for everyone all around. He’s on a quest to learn more about you, to understand you better, and to get you stuff that makes you happy. Help him out.

But listen to me here: that info stays between the two of you. Don’t share your real opinion with the original jewelry designer or anyone else. If someone asks, you loved it, but it was getting snagged on things. Period. (This is another good reason to keep it tucked in a drawer rather than ditching it completely.)

Then, after arming him with this new info about your tastes, ask your partner to get you another ring. Or better yet, pick one out together. Without the paw prints, this time.

—Liz Moorhead

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! 

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Alli

    Is it rude to guess what this ring design could be?

    My first thought was space. Like the ring is designed as Jupiter surrounded by the asteroid belt.
    Second thought was PWWAIR has a personal connection to a specific flower, and the ring is like a very intricate rose with thorns.

    • Amandalikeshummus

      I’m picturing musical notation. Some people who know musicians LOVE getting them stuff with treble clefs on it, and sometimes it’s like, yes, I love music, but this object is tacky. Or, you know, I say thank you and appreciate their appreciation of my passion.

      • Alli

        That’s a good one. Seems really likely.

      • Katharine Parker

        There is something very… middle school about treble clef jewelry.

        • Alli

          Yeah! I’m fairly certain I got treble clef earrings for Christmas from multiple family members in middle school.

        • kazeegeyser

          My favorite piece of jewelry when I was younger was a french horn pin. Haven’t worn it since my last middle school band concert.

      • K. is skittish about disqus

        Yes, I could totally see that. I’m also a former theatre kid and the amount of pins, necklaces and rings I’ve been gifted with the comedy/tragedy masks on them is staggering. So I also imagined that too!

      • Lisa

        Yeah, I’ve worked as a classical musician, and 99% of the professionals I know want NOTHING to do with musically-themed paraphernalia. However, the rest of the people in our lives think it’s the only thing that defines us and get us all of the jewelry, bags, shirts, etc.

      • Cleo

        “Some people who know musicians LOVE getting them stuff with treble clefs on it”

        YES. I’ve played viola from age 9 and would/do (though not so much anymore) definitely get a lot of treble clef stuff, especially at my bat mitzvah, which was especially weird for me because violas play on the alto clef. But the thought was nice.

        • Violet

          “…which was especially weird for me because violas play on the alto clef.” I love this so much.

      • Noelle

        Oh lord, yes. Being a musician, married to a musician, and the daughter of two musicians, there’s no end to the music note/treble clef/piano/guitar/etc themed doo-dads we own.

        • Lisa

          When I was in college, my mother found a fabric with composers’ silhouettes on it and made a Vera Bradley-esque bag to carry my music in. It’s gathering dust somewhere in my apartment now.

    • Violet

      Dolphins, something Disney, a fan reference (eg. lightning bolt for Harry Potter)…

      • Alli

        Disney seems really plausible. Like diamonds arranged to look like mickey mouse.

        • Cellistec

          Please let it be this.

      • rg223

        Yeah my thought was that it was a deathly hallows/three brothers design, because I’ve been seeing lots of cool jewelry with it recently. And it’d be an awesome ring, but maybe not for an engagement, and might snag on things.

      • Liz

        Whoa did we leave the same comment!

        • Violet

          That’s such a bizarre coincidence both of our minds went to those two!

      • another lady face

        I thought that, too. For some reason, people got in their heads that I liked dolphins (which I don’t hate dolphins, but really don’t have an affinity for them) and for like 2-3 Christmases, it was dolphin everything! Until I finally admitted to some family members that I really don’t collect dolphin stuff and please stop buying it for me!

        • Violet

          LOL how do people come up with this stuff?

        • Angela’s Back

          For the first probably 5 years after my family moved from Australia to America (I was turning 11), us kid would always get Australian themed presents for all gift giving occasions. If it had a koala on it, we were getting it. It’s like they thought we were going to forget where we came from the second we got off the plane or something.

        • RNLindsay

          As I’m reading these comments, my mom literally tagged me in a fb photo of a Minnie Mouse shaped leather bag saying “this could’ve been your 3rd anniversary leather present!”….. because I was obsessed with Minnie as a 4 year old….

    • Katharine Parker

      I am so curious! Especially that the ring is constantly catching on her sweaters? I have a fairly prominent diamond on my ring, and I wear a lot of sweaters, too, but my ring rarely catches on things. (My husband used to wear this dumb rope bracelet when we first started dating that would catch in my hair on the daily, so I know that jewelry does catch, but I’m seriously wondering about this ring.)

      My first thought was that it is Game of Thrones themed and it’s a little Iron Throne ring, but that seems actually unlikely.

      • Zoya

        My engagement ring is a fairly tall Art Deco setting, and it snags on things all. the. time. Sweaters, towels, my hair (why???). I think it’s just a matter of where the prongs are placed. I wear large rings all the time, so I’m used to navigating this, but I can totally imagine a traditional-but-somewhat-ornate ring being a pain in the butt.

        • Violet

          Oh god, same situation here. I friggin love my (also fairly tall, Art Deco setting) ring, but it gets caught on things I would have had no idea it could.

        • Meredith

          my diamond is small, round and a raised bezel setting, so no prongs, and it still gets caught on a sweater if it’s kind of loose weave! Or I have a Oaxacan style dress and it gets caught on the embroidery.

        • Katharine Parker

          That’s why I’m wondering–is it a super ornate setting of treble clefs or something? I want to see this ring so much.

        • Mrrpaderp

          You can probably have a jeweler rework the prongs/setting, fwiw. I don’t think that’s really asking for a redesign or new ring, it’s just maintenance. The prongs will wear out over time and need to be replaced anyway.

          • Violet

            This is kinda why I feel like LW can’t get away with only telling her husband about the practicality part. He might helpfully suggest, “Oh, we can ask my family member to adjust it for you!” which would then not solve the other problem at all.

    • emma

      I thought maybe a bird and the “wings” were getting caught? also feel like the flower idea is a possibility…

      • Back when I was waiting for an engagement ring from my ex (I knew he had it, but he hadn’t given it to me yet), I had a dream the ring had a tall pink flamenco on it that bobbed its head up and down. (It sorta pivoted like a seesaw?) It was a very elaborate dream and completely stressful…

        • Violet

          5 year old me would have *killed* for that ring.

    • Liz

      I can’t shake this idea of maybe dolphins?

      Also Harry Potter.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I would wear the hell out of a space ring. Jussayin.

      • Alli

        Omg same, part of me wants a Jupiter and asteroid belt ring now that I’ve dreamt it up. I can just see how that would not be ideal for someone who likes clean lines as their aesthetic.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Maybe it’s a yarn ball with knitting needles poking out of it. That would get stuck on ALL the things.

  • Violet

    I completely agree with sharing how you feel about the design AND practical aspects with your husband, and then for everyone else, just explain it didn’t fit your lifestyle. Where I’d disagree with Liz is that if you want a different ring (even to wear on that finger, along with your wedding band) you should get it for yourself. That way you’re not asking your husband for a do-over; you’re just getting a ring that better fits your aesthetic and lifestyle. But you’re not asking him to replace his original thought, intent, love, gift.

    • Cleo

      I agree that there should be some delicacy in framing how you get this new ring.

      Maybe it can be a: “For my birthday/our anniversary, I’d love for my gift to be a new sparkly ring that I can wear more regularly because it fits in better with my lifestyle.” So it’s not about a replacement engagement ring, it’s about a way you can see his love (and sparkles!) on the daily.

      • Violet

        I love this idea!

  • Amandalikeshummus

    A year into the marriage seems a bit late to ask for a new engagement ring… Unless you didn’t do wedding rings and want something to wear. It seems like overall, the more simple wedding band fits your needs in general. I’d still have the conversation about why you’re not wearing it.

    • rg223

      Yeah, this is a good point – maybe a simple wedding band is enough.

      • emma

        Agree – a lot of people don’t wear their engagement rings all of the time for many of the same reasons you described – they work with their hands/with kids, etc. I would say just wear your wedding ring all of the time and pull out the engagement ring for special occasions (especially if you know all of the family members will be there!)

        • Meredith

          Yes, my aunt only wore a simple silver band while her kids were little because she was always hitting her marquis diamond on their baby heads when breastfeeding. After 3 kids were weened and not so messy anymore, she decided she didn’t even like her original engagement ring anymore, and got a designer to rebuild something that fit her style now, but used the same diamonds.

          • another lady face

            this could be a good idea – put it in the jewelry box for a few more years and then revisit the idea of re-making a new, bigger, ‘better’ ring for like a 5 or 10 year anniversary. A lot of people upgrade their rings later into their marriage (at least the jewelry industry wants you to think that!)

          • Violet

            This is why I wanted a relatively plain wedding band, meaning no stones. I like having the option of going from high maintenance hands to low maintenance hands by just removing one ring.

    • laddibugg

      A bit late OR a bit early.
      Getting a ring reset isn’t that uncommon years down the road.

      • Lisa

        Yeah, I feel like I see this at 5 or 10 years usually when people are making a bit more money and want to upgrade. Or I had a director once who got a re-do when her daughter was born; she got a ring with an aquamarine in it to symbolize the baby’s birth month and ditched the engagement ring she didn’t really like then.

  • Amy March

    Oh this is such a sweet problem! It sounds totally fine- you don’t wear it often and you don’t mention him complaining about that.

    I’m of the mind set that this is your engagement ring for better or worse. If you’d like another ring to wear, I think that’s something to approach the same way you would any other big fun purchase.

    • Lisa

      Yes, I have a similar issue with some jewelry my husband bought early in our relationship that wasn’t quite my taste. He originally commented that I didn’t wear something that much, but eventually those died down. I’ve instead had general conversations about how I’d like us to approach gift giving, especially regarding more expensive presents. Newer jewelry (like my birthday watch!) has been much more in line with my taste and gets worn more frequently because we either have a discussion about it or he asks for parameters regarding the item he wants to purchase.

      • Meredith

        I HATED the jewelry my husband bought me while we were dating in college. It made me feel so bad that he spent what little money he had on something that never got worn. Because of this, we looked at engagement rings together. I did not want to disappoint him again!

        • Lisa

          Jewelry is such a personal thing! It’s difficult to pinpoint someone’s style, and even those who are good at it miss the mark sometimes. Better to clear a special purchase with the receiver to make sure it’s something they’ll actually wear.

          • Zoya

            Yuuuup. I’ve actually explicitly told my loved ones–including my husband–that I don’t want jewelry as gifts. I’m super-picky, have a quirky sense of style, and like to buy myself rings or necklaces as a way of commemorating big events in my life, or as souvenirs from cool places I’ve been. I love it when people give me thoughtful gifts that reflect their personality as much as mine–just not jewelry, please.

          • Eve

            Gosh, I wish my dad had had this advice. He’s usually great about buying jewelry as gifts, but for my 16th birthday, he thought it would be THE BEST idea to get his terrified-of-spiders daughter one of those necklaces with a real spider encased in resin, because it was totally going to help me get over my fear of spiders. Like… such a nice thought, Dad, but totally missed the mark (and made me cry, because of course he insisted I wear it).

          • Lisa

            O.O

            That’s horrifying.

          • Violet

            Ugh, a lesson masquerading as a gift? Your dad and mine would get along.

          • Oh my. I hate spiders too and there is NO WAY I would want to wear that necklace…. That would stress me out too I think…

          • Amandalikeshummus

            But also, it’s even harder to pinpoint a person’s style when you are not versed in the language of female jewelry style. The narrative is that men don’t wear jewelry, then they meet a woman and pick out a ring she’ll wear always. How does that make sense??

            Of course, I’m talking about the narrative, and it doesn’t really include all the men who wear all sorts of jewelry and all the variations of gender in relationships that the world actually has.

          • It makes sense in the framework of the narrative because anything that’s in the feminine sphere is trivialized and doesn’t require any “real” skill or thought… So of course a non-jewelry wearing dude could come in from a place of ignorance and still kill it.

          • Lisa

            As long as it’s the biggest, shiniest ring of the bunch, any self-respecting woman will fall over herself to get it, right?

          • Amandalikeshummus

            Oh right. That.

        • another lady face

          I used to work in a jewelry store and a shoe store… people (usually dudes) would buy their significant other’s (usually women) the most hideous kitschy things for holidays, that would subsequently get returned the week after the holiday! Think giant leather go-go boots for the suburban soccer mom, or a heart shaped pink stone ring for their 40+ year old wife. I would just think…. yeah, she’s gonna hate that the return it in a couple weeks for a gift card! poor dudes (and their significant others!)

        • Jessica

          My ex stopped giving me jewelry when I stopped wearing the super gawdy pieces he bought me while we were in our early 20s.

          He was kind of weird about gifts, anyway. For my birthday one year I asked him to get me a clay much with a spoon slot so I could make a hot breakfast and eat it on my commute. Well, when I didn’t have to commute anymore, I didn’t need to use the mug. Every once in awhile he would ask me why I never use his gift, and didn’t like that “I don’t need to use it” was the answer. I’m not going to get out a giant mug oatmeal carrier for no reason.

          Also, what was one do with a Brent & Jess engraved engagement ring post-divorce?

          • Angela’s Back

            I wonder if you could return the the ring to them to be recycled? They seem like the kind of company that might be responsive to that.

          • Lisa

            On the day his divorce to his wife of 30 years was finalized (after she cheated on and left him), my uncle took his wedding ring from the courthouse to a local jeweler friend and had it recast into a necklace pendant. He wears it daily as a reminder of the struggle of that hard time and all the good things that marriage brought him.

            Me, I took the promise ring my abusive ex-boyfriend got me and sold it for scrap about 5 years later. Then I took the $60 I got from it and donated the money to an organization for abused women. To each her (or his) own.

          • Jessica

            Decisions, decisions. Both of those are better options than just throwing in off the Santa Monica Pier when I’m in LA for my birthday this winter.

          • Lisa

            That sounds like it could be pretty cathartic though!

          • Jessica

            Yeah, but if someone found the engagement ring in 50 years, they could trace it back to the ex due to his fingerprint

          • Lisa

            Lol, I can totally imagine this as a human interest story on The Today Show in 50 years. Can you imagine how disappointed they’d be after “Search for the Fingerprint Ring Owner” turns into “Whoops, looks like they got divorced”? Maybe they’d do an uplifting profile (complete with voiceover and soundtrack) on how awesome your life turned out without the awful ex to end the series on a high note.

          • Jessica

            I’m so making a dream board about this.

          • ART

            Hey it would be in good company with a memento I chucked in at Topanga State Beach oh, about 7.5 years ago :)

            But seriously if it’s worth literally anything, I’d take the money and treat yo self.

          • My ring (not from them, not engraved) is in the bottom of my jewelry box. It’s silver and simple, so…I just left it there. You could melt it down and make something else from it. I think the melting down process would get it super hot and get rid of any bad vibes. :) It could become your “I survived and am strong” ring….perhaps to go on a middle finger?

        • Jan

          You all just need to get on my level and get you a husband that never, ever, ever buys you jewelry even if you hint that what you’d really love for your birthday is a lovely necklace (you will get some piece of technology you don’t understand instead). It’s cool, we’re working on it.

          • Meredith

            Don’t worry, the necklace incident was like 10 years ago by now. Very few gifts since. LOL

          • RNLindsay

            actually lol-ed at this one!

      • Marie Tachouet

        Guys. I have the most wonderful (brand new husband) but for our first dating anniversary he gave me a flute necklace (I’m a professional flute player). I didn’t have the heart to tell him that nobody over the age of 8 wears instrument things. In the beginning he asked why I didn’t wear it, and then I said I kept it on my music stand at work as a “good luck” charm for our section (who thought it was hilarious) and he’s never asked again. He’s getting better and thankfully let me set my mom’s diamond to whatever engagement setting I chose :)

        • Lisa

          Omg, small world. I thought your name looked familiar so I searched it and discovered that you play in the Lyric pit! When I lived in Chicago, I went there probably at least once a month during the season. So many hearts for the music community and city of Chicago.

    • I tend to agree… I’m not sure the taste-gap is something they need to hash out over the engagement ring, I’d be more inclined to wait and bring it up with a future gift-giving thing.

    • NolaJael

      Yeah, I know it’s not capital “F” Feminist to say this, but I would not tell my dude if I didn’t like the ring he designed and had made by a family member over a year later. If it were my husband, he would be crushed. And yes, in general he knows my preferences, but this is not a “Why did you get pistachio ice cream?! Did you confuse it with mint again?!” scenario. This is something where the partner really tried. I would say that in this instance it really is the thought that counts, and get yourself some pretty jewelry another way.

      • Abs

        God I hope there’s not only one capital “F” Feminist way to deal with this. Everybody has a different tipping point on this, but for me feeling like I was pretending to like something that was so emotionally significant would be a bigger issue for me than not liking it, if that makes sense. Pretenses like that with someone I’m close to make me crazy.

        But then I have a list of my least favorite items of my husband’s clothing (topped by the weirdly flesh-colored button-down), that he knows about and that we both find amusing, so I suspect it’s more of a personality thing than a feminist thing.

        • Liz

          Yeah, I don’t think feminism factors in.

        • another lady face

          “for me feeling like I was pretending to like something that was so emotionally significant would be a bigger issue for me than not liking it” – but she already presumably did pretend to like it when he gave it to her, throughout the engagement and since they have been married – so why all of the sudden tell him that you hate it and crush everything that it signifies?

          • AmandaBee

            I don’t think being honest about her feelings and preferences is going to crush everything it signifies. She can appreciate the love that went into it and still not like the ring itself. I also think it’s reasonable that she wanted to wait a little while before having that conversation, probably to sort out her own feelings and also so that he could get some emotional distance and look at it more objectively. Honestly, it sounds like she wants to be able to wear something with her band and doesn’t want it to be this ring. Every couple is different but as someone who really values oppenness and honesty in my relationship, I can see why she’d want to be open about it. I’d want my partner to do the same if the roles were reversed.

        • …”flesh-colored button-down” is an upsetting image.

    • Jan

      Agreed. I think it’s totally fine to just wear your band, especially if your husband doesn’t care. But if you’d like a different ring to wear daily, that’s cool, too. I’d suggest floating the idea as an anniversary gift or something, and for your husband’s sake (and the family ring designer’s), to continue referring to the original as your “engagement” ring.

  • Zoya

    This is why the cultural messaging around engagement rings gets my goat so much. Jewelry can be a very personal thing–it sure is for me. And yet there’s the expectation that a man (it’s always one man and one woman in this scenario) will magically intuit exactly what his female partner wants, purchase said item with no input from her, and then she’s expected to wear it daily for the duration of the marriage. If she doesn’t 100 percent love it, or chooses not to wear it every day, it’s somehow a reflection on the quality of the relationship. It’s setting up a lose-lose situation for both partners. No thank you.

    Ahem. Getting off my soapbox now. But yeah, this is why a lot of my peers–even those who had traditional surprise proposals–ended up doing at least some ring shopping together first.

    • Amandalikeshummus

      I found it really weird when a friend of mine said he was going engagement ring shopping the next day. I wanted to ask if he was sure he knew what she wants, but didn’t want to seem like I was throwing shade at the relationship itself. Maybe they’d talked about it, but the way he said it made it seem like he was just flying free. Guess it worked out because they are engaged, but I also hate this cultural messaging.

      • jem

        I mean a friend of mine announced she was going ring shopping for her gf and when I asked what kind of ring her gf wanted, she said they’d never talked about it and got annoyed when I insisted that she should probably find out

        • Abs

          The number of people who asked me how I found out my partner’s ring size was STAGGERING. (And they asked him the same about me). Umm…I asked him to go get sized and he told me what his size was? In one of our 1000 preliminary conversations about marriage?

          • penguin

            Some people also seemed disappointed when we said we went in and got sized together. Like it was less romantic or something. People are really committed to the “he found the perfect ring that she’s going to love FOREVER with NO input from her and isn’t he amazing??”

    • Abs

      This is why my partner and I made a rule in advance that we would only commit to wearing our engagement rings while we were engaged. Neither of us wanted anything that expensive, so that wasn’t an issue, and we wanted it to be a gift from the other person. But we didn’t want to be stuck wearing it if it wasn’t our favorite. It’s a reminder of a time in our lives–the wedding ring is the forever one.

      Now, of course, I love my engagement ring and have worn it way more than I thought I would, and kind of wish I had asked for a more durable stone. But if I ever start wearing it less, it won’t be a thing.

      • NolaJael

        Just another example of how setting reasonable expectations saves everyone from heartbreak and drama.

        • Cellistec

          But where else would we get our heartbreak and drama? Oh wait…everywhere?

          • MariaMTinsley

            Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !hs57:
            ➽➽
            ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleNetJobsBoxWorkFromHome/find/jobs ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!hs57..,…..

      • Zoya

        Haha, we had a similar conversation! “These are not meant to be our forever rings, so we can just have fun with them for now.” My husband called his engagement ring his “practice ring,” and thought he’d just switch to the simpler wedding band later. Fast forward a year and a half, and he loves both his engagement ring and his wedding ring so much that he wears them stacked.

    • Whataboutthis

      “and then she’s expected to wear it daily for the duration of the marriage”

      Okay so maybe this is a cultural thing. I am in western Canada. 75% of the married people I know through work/friends/family (various ages and demographic) wear a wedding band daily but the engagement ring is a “special occasion” jewelry piece – like maybe for a date night or something. The wedding band, which the couple chooses together, is the “daily driver” and the engagement ring gets a year-ish (engagement period) of wear then becomes part of the “nice jewelry” section of the jewelry box, opposite the costume pieces. A big part of this is because wearing a giant rock on your hand, as is the more common style of engagement ring, can be really damn impractical. I told my husband to not pick a ring with anything poking out because I do a lot of sports and ride horses and bicycles and am just not great and not catching myself on stuff, so anything poking out would be ripped out or ruined within weeks.

      A few people went the “giant expensive engagement rock that has a bent band to go around it” route and wear both, but these are by far the minority in my experience. Maybe 25% total, at most, and most of these people are under 35. I don’t know anyone over 35 who wears an engagement ring regularly unless they got married at 50 years or older and have only owned the ring for like 3-5 years total.

      While I understand the side of “the wedding is US (not just you) and we should pick rings out TOGETHER” for engagement rings, on the list of battles to pick, from where I am it doesn’t seem high on the list – it’s only worn for a year and then you can politely retire it if you don’t like it or put it on for fancy occasions if you do. It’s a big deal at the time (dear god the amount of people who IMMEDIATELY want to see the ring when you say you’re engaged – yall need to chilllll, it’s a jewelry piece not a new house – I know i’m preaching to the choir haha)

      Is this unusual in the US? What about Europe? Curious….

      • Zoya

        Huh, interesting! I’m in the US, in a poster-child “coastal liberal” area, and many of the married women I know who are around my age wear their engagement and wedding rings stacked. A few folks just had one ring for both, and some wear their engagement ring on their right hand (which is what I do). The norm definitely seems to be wearing the engagement ring long-term, though.

        • Meredith

          Yes, to the stack!! I have recently added another band made of diamonds I inherited from my grandma to my engagement ring and wedding band stack. My engagement ring is simple and small, so I am like the more the merrier!

          • Angela’s Back

            I wear my engagement ring on my right hand, but I want to have a ring made out of a pair of diamond earrings (very tiny diamonds!!) for my 30th bday next year to stack with my wedding band–partly because I’ve nearly lost those damn earrings so many times that this way I feel better about keeping them safe, and partly because I’m still mourning for the little breadcrumb solitaire engagement ring that wasn’t and this is my way of getting it.

        • archaeopteryx

          I’m also on the West Coast, and although many of my friends (as well as myself) go the “wedding band always, engagement ring occasionally” route after marriage, I have still gotten concerned-sounding inquiries at work sometimes when people notice I’m only wearing the wedding ring. (FWIW my husband wears his wedding ring always as well and his engagement ring when leaving the house.)

        • ART

          I want to give a plug for the right-hand wedding band, as well…my ring fingers are at least a half size apart (right>left) so my engagement ring has never come close to fitting on my right hand, and if it did it would have fallen off of my left hand. I didn’t want to stack them, so I bought a wedding band a half-size up and wear my engagement ring alone on my left hand. Never gotten a comment about it in the three years we’ve been married!

          • alexis

            I’m Greek, and we wear the wedding ring on the right hand! My mom wears her engagement ring on her left hand and her wedding band on her right, and I’ll do the same after my wedding next spring. My engagement ring also wouldn’t fit on my right hand–well, it might, but getting it off would be a struggle, ha!

          • ART

            Interesting – I have some Greek family, though not enough to ever have heard of this tradition!

          • toomanybooks

            I’m Greek and I hadn’t heard of this, my mom doesn’t do it. I also have the issue of my right hand ring finger being somehow like way bigger than my left one where a ring wouldn’t fit on both hands. I guess my mom probably does it this way because it’s the norm here – I definitely wear both my engagement and wedding rings on my left hand. The cultural signaling that I’m married is pretty important to me, which is why I wear a diamond engagement ring and diamond band at all times.

            (Part of this is because I like looking fancy and love my rings, part of this is that the culture I’m in – especially I’ve noticed in my office culture – would think it’s weird if I didn’t have a wedding band on my left ring finger despite being married, and part of this is because wearing my rings has been *fantastic* at warding off men creeping on me on public transit.)

          • Sarah

            Same! Though I did get a few comments early on from people who knew I had both an engagement ring and wedding ring. “Sarah! WHERE is your wedding ring??” “On my right hand, Mom. I think they look tacky stacked.” “But SARAH! That’s not how it’s done!” – my pearl-clutching mom got over it and wrote it off as her brazen, feminist daughter destroying the sanctity of jewelry. *shrug*

          • Michelle

            THIS! If I wanted to stack a wedding band on my left hand, it would have to be hella curved to fit (and custom) and I personally do not care for that look. My engagement ring also has a halo setting, so anything other than a plain band (again curved) would just take away from it’s already awesomeness (we shopped and jointly paid for the ring together). I bought a much cheaper ring I liked as my wedding band, but even though I love it, it’s going to end up as a special occasion ring because it’s very tall with lots of prongs and gets caught in my hair, clothes, etc. which is annoying, and since it’s on my right hand I hit it on things A LOT and I don’t want it getting damaged. I’ve purchased a beautiful low profile ring which I had considered as my e-ring, but it didn’t have enough bling for me lol. Now I get both!

        • Aubry

          I’m also in western canada (Vancouver), and while both approaches are normal, I’d go with a majority stacking the engagement ring. I just wear my wedding ring and haven’t received any side eye about it, but almost all my friends stack thier engagement and wedding bands.

      • CII

        I am an urban professional in the Pacific NW and while this practice of wedding band daily // engagement ring on special occasions is what I do, it is most common in my professional and social circles for women to wear both their engagement and wedding ring, and then sometimes a third ring from a subsequent anniversary. It’s what my mom and her friends (who I would describe as blue collar or working-class white collar families) all did, too — the three ring stack. r

        I had intended to wear mine stacked, and in fact have a little dip in my wedding band to fit with my engagement ring, but about 6 months after I got married I gradually stopped wearing my engagement ring on a daily basis. I found that it snagged on my clothes, etc., and I did not like taking it off when cooking, gardening, exercising (my fingers swell), or other activities. I do enjoy pulling my engagement ring out for date nights!

        Most of my friends and colleagues wear their engagement rings on a daily basis. Among some of my lady friends, there’s definitely a mindset that a large diamond represents a show of love (and/or affluence), which I find interesting given that a number of those friends are also the primary earner in their households.

        • Cellistec

          Three-ring stack?! Who are you long-fingered mutants who can fit three rings comfortably on a digit? ;)

          • Jan

            I lol’d

          • Violet

            Haha! It must be a finger-to-joint ratio thing. My fingers are in no way long, but I can *easily* fit three rings on one finger. Four, actually. But maybe because smaller, more dainty rings are still in vogue?

      • Colleen

        I’m in the US and many of the older women I know – my grandmother, mother, step-mother, MIL, and multiple coworkers – no longer wear their engagement rings. My mom wears hers on special occasions (mostly weddings) and my MIL was gifted a new, much fancier band for her 50th anniversary, but she still just wears her original plain gold band most days. I’ve always assumed it was a timing thing…both in terms of distance from their engagements and that life sort of gets in the way of wearing fancy jewelry (kids, houses, jobs, etc). I actually wondered out loud to my friend earlier today if I’d wear my engagement ring for forever, since most women I know well don’t seem to!

        • Jess

          Oooh I do wonder how much age plays into it! My comment below, most of the older women wear a different ring (some bigger and flashier, some smaller), with the exception of R’s mom.

        • Cellistec

          I also live in the US and have seen the same age split. Likewise, when I worked in Ireland, the married women closer to my age all had diamond engagement rings, while the ones closer to my mom’s age wore plain gold bands. Anniversary rings seemed not to be a thing there, though they certainly are here.

      • Noelle

        Same as Zoya – I’m midwest born, but it’s the exception to not wear your wedding band and engagement ring together, especially in my generation. I actually had mine soldered together so they wouldn’t smack and rub against each other since I knew I’d be wearing them anyways.

      • Jess

        At least in my family this really, really varies. My aunt never wears a ring at all (although I think maybe on some very special occasions she wore her heirloom engagement ring from her husband’s family), my mom wears an anniversary ring (it’s *gorgeous*) and I’m not sure I remember ever seeing her engagement ring at all, my grandmother wore a wedding band so far as I can remember, and R’s mom wears her ring and bands stacked. I have some friends that wear only the engagement ring.

        So I have no idea if it’s usual or not.

        I have a contoured engagement ring with my wedding band attached… but it’s a lot and I have a small gold wire ring that I wear when I travel.

      • Leah

        Midwestern US, had NO IDEA that my mom had an engagement ring until maybe middle school? She’s a very practical person and never took it out of the safe deposit box when we were little. And I know several people who didn’t like their rings that they, themselves, had chosen and have since gotten different ones / resetting / something. Personally on the East Coast I now wear mine (I resetting of mom’s, though she’s still alive, because it’s from family, she’s generous and never wore it) stacked most of the time. But I see a lot of variation among my practical friends!

      • Alexandra

        This is exactly what I do. My husband picked out my engagement ring as a surprise and it’s very, very pretty and totally my style, but I knew as soon as I saw it for the first time that it was not going to be something I wore every day for the rest of my life. It has a sticky-out diamond and it gets caught on stuff and pokes my babies when I change them.

        Two of my friends have engagement rings in which the rock is flush with the band, and it functions as both the wedding band and the engagement ring. I actually don’t think that style is as pretty as the one I have, but it’s a lot more practical.

        My engagement ring is very meaningful to me, because my husband knew that I hate debt and before buying the ring he paid off all his credit card debt and then saved up to buy the ring for cash. I wear it on special occasions when I won’t have to change any diapers. Most of the time I wear my wedding band, which we bought together (this explains why the wedding band is tiny, white-gold, totally without adornment, and cost ~$150).

      • LAinTexas

        Most of my friends who are married (in the U.S.) wear both their engagement rings and wedding bands stacked together on the regular. I can only think of two or three friends who I’ve seen wear just the wedding band occasionally without the engagement ring. One of those friends is now divorced – I remember her commenting that she didn’t always like wearing the engagement ring for practicality purposes (and we were teaching in a low-income area, where a giant diamond didn’t seem totally appropriate), but she also never took his last name, which she told me greatly bothered him, etc…just all little signs that, in retrospect, the relationship wasn’t going to last. (Not that that’s always the case when someone chooses to only wear the wedding band!) My best friend actually had a fake engagement ring to wear that looked very similar to her real one so that nothing happened to the real one. If she lost the fake one, oh well! It was $25 or something from Amazon, haha. I don’t know what her plan is now that the wedding is over, as she bought a wrap for the wedding band and had it soldered to the engagement ring, I believe. So…as long as she’s wearing it, it’s all one piece, so she’ll always be wearing both.

        As for me, I have to be honest with myself and admit that I do want an engagement ring and a wedding band. I guess I need to think through exactly what I want and how often I plan to wear it and, therefore, how much should be spent on it, but I’d be lying if I said I only wanted a wedding band. I know I wouldn’t be satisfied with that, personally. Cultural norm, sure, but at least I recognize it in myself.

        • LAinTexas

          I feel like I need to come back and comment on my own reply, because this really has me thinking, lol. I like the thought of an engagement ring, and I’d definitely want to wear it as often as possible if I had one. BUT…I work from home full-time, so I spend the great majority of my time at home. I think the only times I’d want to wear it would be on our date nights and possibly if I was getting together with friends, but even then I might not feel like it. So, it begs the question of if an engagement ring is even worth it as an expense, despite its emotional meaning. I’m browsing Etsy and finding some really beautiful wedding bands that would totally stand alone and are WAY cheaper (and are still conflict-free!). I’m glad I checked out this post…it’s gettin’ my gears turnin’ about what I want and what feels reasonable/practical!

          • Jan

            I also work mostly from home, and I just forget to take my engagement ring off. I take it off when I shower and clean and stuff, but if I’m sitting working or whatever, it’s usually just there. I have to actively decide *not* to wear it, rather than the other way around.

          • LAinTexas

            See, I just don’t wear jewelry while I’m hanging around at home. I wear it when I’m going out for something (most of the time), but when I’m just at home working or relaxing, no jewelry. I don’t think I’d get into the habit just because I have an engagement ring (I mean, okay, I might for a while when I’m all giddy about it, but eventually, the “new shiny” would wear off, and I’d probably go back to not wearing any jewelry). But that’s why I like thought-provoking conversations like this! It makes me think about myself and my habits! :)

          • penguin

            I’m the same way – putting on my engagement ring is part of my “getting ready to leave the house” routine. If I’m home all day I usually forget to put it on. My fiancé though immediately puts his on when he wakes up.

      • Jan

        I’m in the US (Minnesota) and wear my engagement ring and wedding band stacked, though I’ve been going band-only a couple days a week. I expect that as time goes on I’ll do that more often, mostly because I really love how teensy and cute my band is on it’s own.

        But my in-laws– both sides, all Scandinavian Midwesterners– don’t do bands at all. Like, it literally wasn’t a thing my partner knew was even done until I mentioned getting me a band. All the women in his family just wear an engagement ring and that’s that.

      • Growing up, I don’t think most of the women I knew wore their engagement rings. I’m from US-California. Although, I’m not really sure how many of them had engagement rings (since I never saw them). My midwestern MIL only wears one ring on her wedding finger, also. I stopped wearing my engagement ring pretty much the day I got married (I took it off when we got to the hotel and I don’t think I’ve worn it since), but I knew I was going to do that pretty much as soon as I saw the ring (I love it but I love it sitting in my jewelry box where I can look at it and think of happy memories and not so much on my finger).

      • Lena Mattsson

        I’m from Scandinavia, and here its actually tradition to get a plain simple gold band as an engagement ring, and (maybe) something more elaborate with stones for a wedding ring. Many, especially in older generations, would get another simple gold band as a wedding ring and its also common to have them attached to each other, so it looks like two rings, but with the comfort of one.

        They were also made in high karat gold, like 23K. High karat gold is much softer than say 18K or 14K, and that made the rings age beautifully. The tear and scratches makes them look matte and very warm, and tell a tale of a whole life together. I just love them. Maybe not for someone looking for a sleek look though. :)

        Now, however, we are VERY influenced by the US traditions from popular culture, and almost everyone I know that has gotten engaged in the last 10 years get a diamond engagement ring, and a gold band for the wedding.

        • lirr

          omg people really do simple band for engagement, ring with stone for wedding in Scandinavia?? My fiance and I are doing that for a variety of reasons, and every American we’ve had to explain this to has been sooooooo confused – maybe I’ll start telling them it’s a Scandinavian tradition (although this might not be any less confusing given that neither of us has any Scandinavian heritage…)

          • You don’t have to elaborate, but I’d love to hear your reasons for that!

          • lirr

            ok so it started with the decision that I would be proposing to him (makes more sense given our personalities, I’m the planner & he’s the romantic), so that meant engagement rings for both of us. Next we thought about whether we wanted to end up with 2 rings or 1 – he said he wanted us to have the same number of rings, and I said I didn’t really want to wear a stack, so then we were settled on each wearing just one ring after marriage. So then the question was should there only ever be one ring each that we take on and off on our wedding day, or did we want to get simple cheaper engagement rings that we traded up for fancier rings with stones at the wedding. We decided to go with the second option so that the wedding rings would feel special and new. So right now we have matching silver bands that we’re using as temporary engagement rings, and when we get married the engagement bands will retire to a jewelry box and we’ll wear the fancier more elaborate rings that we’re in the process of getting designed.

          • Lena Mattsson

            Haha, another Scandinavian ring trivia for you: Both partners exchange rings at the engagement, and at the wedding the woman usually adds a wedding ring while the man just engraves a second date into the engagement ring.

            I think your ring plans sounds awesome! Congratulations! :)

      • Maybe as the “suggested” price to be spent on a ring climbs (according to “rules” from the diamond industry or wherever I don’t agree with or follow) people feel more of a need to wear it long term to get their money’s worth?

      • No, what you described would not at all be common practice in the U.S.

    • archaeopteryx

      This is why my friend and I both helped each other out. For her, once she was ready to talk about engagement (but not quite ready to take the plunge), we went ring shopping for fun to get a sense of her taste, and she happened to find one she loved. I brought her man to the store the next week, and he held onto it until it was time to propose. For me in return, she kept track of all my (many, fairly specific) stated ring preferences and went with my now-husband to the jeweler to help him design my ring (which was perfect). That way they still got the pop-question-with-ring moment but there was no chance of a misfire on the style!

  • Abs

    I feel like there are two questions here. The first one is whether and how to be honest about why you don’t wear this thing. The second is whether you get to have a do-over that you do wear. I totally agree with Liz, you should absolutely be honest with your partner, and absolutely not with the person who designed it. I don’t actually think you necessarily get to have another ring, though. You’re not engaged anymore, you’re married, and plenty of people don’t wear their engagement rings after they get married. You don’t like the ring, and that’s fine and he should have that information, but it doesn’t entitle you to a new one, any more than you would ask for a new birthday gift if you didn’t like the one you got.

    If your partner wants to get you a new (anniversary, birthday, whatever) ring, sure, and asking for gifts is something that varies by relationship. But I don’t think the conversation with the partner should be about a new ring, it should be about why you don’t wear this one.

    • Whataboutthis

      Anniversary rings are totally a thing (my engagement one was technically an anniversary ring, based on the location within the shop we bought it) and would recommend making this a new thing instead of replacing a ring whose purpose is now obsolete.

    • Her Lindsayship

      It seems like this is a more subjective question than people realize. I now know a couple of women who don’t necessarily always wear their engagement rings, but I’d never heard of the idea that the engagement ring was just for the engagement period until recently. I get that it’s a thing in some cultures, but I don’t think the LW sounds like they come from such a culture. In my family/where I grew up, women who’d been married for decades still wore two rings, engagement ring and wedding band, on a daily basis, unless they never had an engagement ring to begin with. This is also how I always assumed I’d wear my own ring, and why I got a curved wedding band that would look pretty weird alone (because I never plan to wear it alone).

      So I can see why the LW feels they would like another engagement ring. Given the same circumstances, I think I’d feel the same way. Not saying your view is wrong, just that it doesn’t cover all cases when you consider cultural differences.

    • suchbrightlights

      I am with you on this. I thought Liz was right on about the honesty about why it isn’t a great fit, but that an opportunity to say “I love you and I love what this represents, but this isn’t for me” is not an opportunity to say “so fix it.”

      “Maybe for a landmark anniversary, this is something I would really appreciate”- fine. Otherwise it reads as “you screwed up, get me a new one,” which is icky.

  • another lady face

    Sorry Liz, but nope… This seems like a way to crush your husband’s spirit and never get another thoughtful (if ugly) gift again! Maybe you don’t want the cheesy gifts, but you do want the thoughtful partner who made you something special. If you tell him these things, the ring will never have the same meaning again. I have a friend who keeps her ugly (lets say dog themed) necklace from when her partner and her were dating. She only told me that she doesn’t like it, and I will never tell another (non-internet anon.) soul that, either. You need to tell your partner, your uncle-in-law and everyone else that your lifestyle and working does not lend you to being able to wear the ring everyday. Wear it on special occasions, holidays with said in-laws, and times when you want your partner to feel special. Then, get a cheaper, ‘more practical’ ring that you can wear all the time. I have friends who have been happily married for years and just don’t wear their engagement rings anymore, and that’s ok. Many people wear simple bands or other rings on that finger for more practical reasons. And that is fine, too. Could you wear a band-style ring with inset diamonds, a simple design with no sharp edges, a smaller colored stone, a silicone ring, etc. Tell your partner that you want to look for something that you can wear everyday/to work, that reminds you of him and your marriage, but that is more practical. Do not (for the love of all that is holy) tell him that you do not love the ring that he helped design for you! How would you feel/have you felt when you worked really hard on a surprise to make someone else feel special, and that item fell flat or they did not fully appreciate it. Now apply that logic to the start of your marriage! Don’t do it!!

    • Violet

      While this may be true for LW’s husband, it’s in no way a universal response. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is very helpful as a starting point, but it’s not the only way to handle a situation. I’m sure you’re not the only one who might feel this way, but also not all people would react this strongly.

    • MTM

      Agreed. If this were a random ring that he picked out, the above advice may work, but he clearly put so much thought into it.

  • Ring-a-ding-ding

    Our situations aren’t exactly similar, but…

    I LOVE my engagement ring. My husband surprised me with it, but if I could have designed the “perfect ring,” it’s pretty much the image I would have had in my head. It’s platinum with a ¾-carat round-cut center stone and about ¼ worth of carats around the filigree band. Stunning, intricate, unique… and too heavy. And the center stone catches on everything. And it’s too expensive and “fancy” for everyday wear (I’m a jeans-and-hoodie kind of gal).

    After the first couple of months of marriage, I put it in my jewelry box and only bring it out for special occasions (4x/year at most). I wear a very simple, inexpensive band instead.

    I would love an everyday ring with a little more “oomph” (a small bezel-set diamond, or maybe forego a diamond altogether and opt for moissanite or a gemstone), but I don’t want to hurt my husband’s feeling since he put so much thought and attention (not to mention money) into my engagement ring.

    Hey, #firstworldproblems, right? But all this to say, I can relate!

  • Mrrpaderp

    The first step for LW is to figure out what kind of ring might be a good fit for her. She says works with her hands so the ring gets dirty. That doesn’t sound like a problem unique to THIS design. Even the most low profile setting will get dirty if you spend your days throwing pottery* or whatever. If LW is looking for an everyday ring then I think a stone is probably out, period. Which is a pretty easy conversation to have! “Hon, the ring isn’t practical for every day, let’s look at some cool metal only styles I can wear as a placeholder.”

    On the other hand, if LW wants something sparkly to wear after work but hates this ring too much to wear it, that’s a harder conversation. I like Liz’s advice in theory – get another ring – but of course cost is a factor. If the original ring has a traditional center stone, it’s pretty wasteful for LW’s spouse to buy another ring with another stone when there’s a perfectly good stone sitting in a drawer because it happened to find itself in an unfortunate setting. Take the stone from the original ring and put it in a new setting, get a CZ for the original setting. Unfortunately there’s not really a subtle way to suggest this; LW’s going to have to come clean with her spouse.

    *Idk why dirty + wet = throwing pottery to me but there it is.

  • Noelle

    This whole topic makes me feel very cluey. (https://waitbutwhy.com/2016/05/clueyness-a-weird-kind-of-sad.html)

    I agree that jewelry is super personal…I think it would be a good thing to have a delicate conversation about this so that her partner knows what style she’d prefer for future gift purchases. That being said, I do have some jewelry purchased from loved ones that I can’t bear to get rid of because of the above said cluey feeling when I imagine them picking out and then later spending hard-earned money on those gifts for me. So, they sit quietly in my jewelry box…

    • Jess

      Oh my god. That story describes a near constant emotion in my life and now I feel too many feelings.

      WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME. (but also, thank you)

      • Noelle

        RIGHT???? That article gave me a lot of feels when I read it.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        This is my constant state. If I see someone at a restaurant alone, I almost always feel like crying (even though I love going to restaurants alone! I do it often!) and sometimes I’ll just pay their bill.

        Repeat for every situation ever. I have too many feelings.

        • ART

          My husband goes to restaurants alone a lot for lunch, just a factor of his work lifestyle, and it always makes me so sad to think that other people might think he’s there because he doesn’t have anyone to go to a restaurant with him…hah.

          • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

            Heh, I know it’s totally irrational! It’s one of my favorite things to do- treat myself to a meal and read, and I have no earthly clue why I can’t project that others might be just fine.

    • ART

      Oh wow. Yeah I have those feelings big time. Once when I was really little, for some reason someone gave my mom one of those crazy late-80s/early-90s shiny colorblock track suits, and I remember it was green and purple and maybe one other color. I cannot for the life of me imagine why that gift was chosen and I’m not sure she ever wore it, but anyway, I saw a pair of those beanbag-ish wrist weights at the drug store that were the EXACT SAME PURPLE!!! as the track suit, and I excitedly told my dad that was what I wanted to give my mom for her birthday (I was like, really little, ok)

      AND HE BOUGHT THEM AND LET ME GIVE THEM TO HER, WHY DAD WHYYY!?

      My heart honestly breaks when I think about my mom getting a birthday gift of wrist weights that she knew my dad was mostly responsible for. Like the body-image/etc implications of that, when it wasn’t something she’d asked for or expressed interest in, just kill me.

      • Eeeee maybe, HOPEFULLY, he was really clear that you picked them out and would not be dissuaded? I get dollar store gifts from my 6yr old for holidays and the random “wtf??” ones are endearing!

        • ART

          Haha if he had been a different husband…but no, I sincerely doubt it. But it was just one (hopefully smallish) thing in a long series of things that ultimately means she’s been happily divorced from him for 20+ years XD

        • ART

          But yes, I once got a very kawaii correction tape dispenser and a tiny handheld dust mop with an embroidered face, both from the Japanese dollar store, as gifts from a friend’s little girl, and I totally use the correction tape at work and love it.

    • Jessica

      Oh gosh. Thank you for that word!

  • emilyg25

    I’m with others who say that you don’t have to love the ring and wear it every day, but you can’t really ask your husband to go get you another engagement ring. You could suggest getting a new ring more your style for a big anniversary. Or you can buy yourself your dream ring. I know a lot of women who get different rings over the years. My mom had a plain gold band but stopped wearing it in her second pregnancy. Then a few years after, my dad got her a ruby ring. Then like a decade later, added a diamond eternity band.

    • ART

      I like the anniversary/buy it yourself idea. I’ve been eyeing a ring that “goes” with my engagement ring for a few years, but would like to get it in silver instead of gold and wear it on my right hand as a special-occasion cocktail ring. I’ve definitely already shown husband and said things like “maybe for our fifth anniversary we can get each other something nice LIKE THIS” :P

    • MTM

      I totally buy myself rings for special occasions. I even bought a right hand sapphire ring for our wedding day. I like to have rings that have specific memories/achievements so I remember those moments when I wear them.

      • Zoya

        I do the same thing!

  • ART

    I just…I’m so thankful for my ring-less proposal. My now-husband was so concerned about it, but could not figure out what to get. We ended up choosing something together that he now recognizes he never would have found on his own (not a diamond, for one thing), and wasn’t even what I was initially ogling when we started talking about marriage, because when we looked together we went a different direction. He doesn’t really love for me to talk to people about how we did it because part of him still feels like he should have secretly dropped 3 paychecks (what even is that when you freelance) and surprised me, but I like to spread the word about how sweet the process ended up being.

    • AmandaBee

      We also bought my ring together after we got engaged, and there is no way in hell he would’ve picked it out himself. I didn’t even know what I liked until I started trying things on. Granted, we knew we were doing vintage, so that made it a touch extra tricky.

    • nutbrownrose

      I was very clear with my now-husband that I wanted input in the ring, because I am very opinionated in general and intentional about every-single-day-for-the-rest-of-my-life jewelry. I was fine with going shopping before the proposal, but he (and my mother, for once, agreed with him) thought that was like skipping the engagement altogether, so he did a ring-less proposal with a handmade 3-D Settlers of Catan board and then we promptly went shopping. I’m also super glad he didn’t do the “plain stand in ring” thing because I would have become super attached to it and used it as my final engagement ring (which he knew and is why he didn’t).

  • Joielle

    This same thing happened to me with my first engagement! We had an animal-based nickname for each other, and he had a ring made in the shape of that animal holding a stone. Very cute sentiment and a lot of thought was put into it, but absolutely the opposite of my style. In a stroke of luck (retrospectively), I ended up accidentally finding the ring a few months before he proposed, and processed the omg-I-hate-it feelings by myself. I considered telling him but there was no going back at that point – it was completely custom and there was no way to re-work it. I eventually decided that protecting his feelings was more important than having my dream jewelry, and ended up just wearing it. I got a lot of compliments since it was VERY unusual, and I did grow to like it. Ultimately, we didn’t get married, but the plan would have been to wear it on my right hand and eventually, probably stop wearing it.

    When I got engaged a second time, it was important to my now-husband to pick out the ring himself. I made a Pinterest board with a bunch of pictures of rings that I liked, all in a similar style, and he picked out something gorgeous in that same style. I think it was the best of both worlds – I basically showed him what to get, but he made the final decision and the actual ring was a surprise.

  • Tera

    This is why I don’t understand the shame in shopping for the engagement ring together. It doesn’t make you a control freak. It puts less pressure on your partner to magically know what your perfect ring is! The first few rings my now husband showed me in the store were much more his taste than mine. And he was genuinely surprised by this! Partners are not psychic and it’s not fair to expect them to be. We’re both happy with the ring we picked out together!

  • AmandaBee

    So as someone married to a man who is very sweet/thoughtful and who is also a very bad gift picker, I agree that you should have an honest conversation with him about why you don’t wear the ring. Both because I think it’s good to be open and because in this particular situation, I can see him going back to said family member for more special jewelry gifts, and that’s only going to get more awkward to talk about the longer you wait. I also think it’s fine to want to wear something with your band that you enjoy.

    That said, I’d be delicate about the idea of a replacement ring. It kind of depends on how you and your fiance think about the significance of the E-ring, but personally I’d consider the E-ring to be what you wore when you were engaged and to suggest instead that you’d love an anniversary band to wear with your wedding band that works better for your lifestyle.

    Then again, I know people who have switched their E-ring down the road and still consider it their E-ring, so do whatever makes sense to you and your husband. Same goes for whether you want to buy it together or just buy it yourself – I know my husband would want to be involved in picking it out, but that’s gonna different from couple to couple.

    • ManderGimlet

      omg yes, I can see many years of anniversary gifts made to match the ring

  • Sarah

    “It’s basically a theme ring?”
    *bless his heart

  • jem

    Also hahaahahahaha I just realized I tried to do this for my husband (incorporate a dinosaur into his wedding ring somehow because he looooooves dinosaurs). Luckily, I can’t keep a secret and he was able to firmly put a stop to that.

    Instead, he and I sat down with our jeweler, opened a bottle of wine, and the three of us designed the rings together. Which was, in my humble opinion, absolutely the best way to sort out our rings.

    • suchbrightlights

      But I kind of want to see your Dino ring vision though, because it sounds excellent.

      • jem

        Omg I made so many sketches and they were…. hideous. Instead, I ended up having our jeweler make him Abraham Lincoln-themed cufflinks (his other obsession).

    • I kid you not my husband and my wedding rings have insets of dinosaur bone (and meteorite). You wouldn’t necessarily know to look at them and it makes our nerd hearts happy ;)

      • jem

        Whaaaat that’s awesome (and a great idea for future gifts, thanks!!)

  • quiet000001

    Can’t read all the comments, but – one of my friends developed a problem after she got married where her fingers tend to swell a lot during the day, making wearing a ring uncomfortable and it kind of freaks her out because then she worries it won’t ever come off, etc. So they got a nice chain for it and she wears both her rings around her neck instead, so she still has them but they aren’t on a finger. I wonder if something like this could be done with the ring that isn’t the right style, since on a chain it won’t be as prone to getting snagged or caught, and can be tucked under clothes (I think my friend pins hers to her bra when wearing something where the necklace would show and look weird, but I’m not 100% certain. Like the whole necklace gets fastened around one of the bra straps, so it’s reasonably secure, and then she uses a safety pin to kind of bundle it all up so it isn’t dangling?) That might make the ‘this isn’t really my kind of thing to wear on my hand everyday’ discussion a little less painful, if LW is willing to consider it something to keep – just not something to wear on a finger?

    • quiet000001

      Replying to myself to say – my partner and I have already had some conversations about ring styles even before we were seriously talking engagement because he tends to do things impulsively occasionally and is just the type to see a ring and buy it with the intention of hanging on to it until needed. There is no way I’d wear a ring with poke-y up parts daily (I’d get it caught on everything, I ride horses, I love to cook and do other hobbies that are working with my hands… Not a good plan) so I wanted to nip in the bud any ideas that would involve a ring in a design I just wouldn’t ever ever ever wear. He wasn’t offended and AFAIK (we aren’t engaged yet, but talking seriously now) there is no ring lurking that is completely not something I would wear at all. I hope. :D But even if you are the type who wants your engagement ring to be a surprise, I think it’s okay when you start having conversations in the getting-married direction to at some point touch on if there are any hard ‘absolutely not’ or ‘must have’ features for practical or emotional reasons.

  • Amanda L

    Why wasn’t the answer ‘Keep this ring and get yourself a new one’? I had a similar issue to LW. After barely wearing my e-ring post-wedding, and a series of uncomfortable conversations with my H, we decided that I would pick out and purchase a new setting. I did that and have worn it every day since then (going on 3 years now). I wear the original ring when appropriate and I do love it, just not as an every day ring.

    Part of the cultural messaging around the original e-ring is that HE had to pick it out, so I think it extends that messaging to say that he has to be involved with ‘replacing’ it.

  • Amanda L

    The irony of this being the ad next to the comments is especially funny…. WIC in full effect. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe241aae13ccdae01ba3dbe1fc3c40f48b3ce293d5663f9c6274b39d54283240.jpg