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He Popped the Question with an Ugly Engagement Ring: What to Do

He’s finally popped the question and you’re thrilled! But then he opens the box and reveals an ugly engagement ring. What should you do?

ugly engagement ring

He’s brought you to the most romantic place possible and looks deep into your eyes. You can almost feel his love pouring out onto you. Before you know it, your romantic walk has turned into his romantic speech about how you make him a better man. He’s telling you how much you’ve changed him for the better. Then, he’s on one knee. He’s asking you to make him the luckiest man in the world. There’s only one problem – an ugly engagement ring!

You love this man with all your heart, and of course, you say yes. But now you’re saddled with a ring you don’t like. You’re also forced to smile about it. Or are you? If you don’t like the ring, should you keep silent or speak your mind?

This is a subject that’s likely to spark controversy. Some women will be shocked, all “how could she be so ungrateful?” While other women will be all “you tell him if you don’t like it!”

You could say there’s no real right or wrong answer here, simply what you can live with.

So, if you’re in the ugly engagement ring situation and you’re not sure what to do, let’s break it down and give you some honest advice. [Read: 20 questions to ask each other before getting married]

Before you brand your sparkler an ugly engagement ring

Is it really ugly? Or, is it just unique?

Perhaps you’re looking at this all wrong.

Maybe he chose that ring because there’s a specific detail in there that reminds him of you. Is there engraving? Is the stone something you’ve said you liked in the past and he’s remembered?

It’s very easy to take one glance at something and deem it unpleasant, but then if you dig deeper, you might start to love it. So, before you panic and think “oh my god, he’s bought me an ugly engagement ring,” consider the parts of the ring that aren’t that ugly at all. [Read: 20 crucial things you need to do before you get married]

What could actually be ugly about a ring, after all? Unless it’s far too big to do anything with or it’s a hideous stone color, is it really that bad?

We’re not suggesting you should wear something that you really hate, but let’s be honest, the poor guy spent some time picking this out, so at least try and like it before you decide that it’s not for you. [Read: Being brutally honest – 13 scenarios when it’s an obligation]

Say something or not – Why you shouldn’t speak up

I have been in this situation, and if I could go back and do things differently, I would. While I adore my bridal set, part of me wishes I had kept what he’d proposed to me with. This man chose a ring for me, knelt down on one knee, and poured his heart out. The backlash of expressing yourself in this situation is crushing, on both ends, and may sour your engagement.

In my situation, as tactful as I tried to be, what came out was essentially the same – I don’t like the look of this very expensive symbol of love that you bought me. I considered it an ugly engagement ring.

We’d agreed to keep our engagement a secret until I had the ring sized. I told him, literally outside the jewelry store before we were about to size it, that while I thought the ring was lovely, it wasn’t my style. He was hurt, to say the least. We had an extended “secret” engagement on account of which I couldn’t bring myself to ask him to go pick out a ring with me again. [Read: Why you should tell the truth, even when it hurts & why it matters]

On the one hand, why should you keep quiet about something when it doesn’t suit you? As a woman, you dream about showing off your engagement ring to your friends, family, and associates. I wasn’t lying. The ring he bought was absolutely lovely, but it just wasn’t me. I couldn’t imagine showing it off with the gusto and excitement our engagement deserved.

It is one of the most selfish things to do. Trust me, you will feel like a spoiled brat for a long time.

How an ugly engagement ring soured my engagement time

The ring isn’t everything, but it is something. It may even be a big enough something to make your engagement feel like you have to walk on eggshells whenever the ring is mentioned.

These are just a few points to remember, thanks to my own experience of souring my special engagement. [Read: How much should you spend on an engagement ring to make her happy?]

1. A jewelery store horror show with an ugly engagement ring

Once you say you want to exchange it for another ring, you will find out three things:

a. You will know exactly how much he spent.

b. Picking out a ring is freakishly hard.

c. Your sales associate is going to think you’re a jerk.

In fact, when exchanging my ring, we ended up getting the same associate who helped my husband pick out the ring. She brazenly asked: “So you didn’t like it? He had a hard time picking one for you.” This obviously made me feel even worse about deeming this an ugly engagement ring.

Luckily after I chose my ring, the associate was quick to add: “The set you chose was actually the one he was struggling with over the one he ended up choosing!” This made me feel a little bit better.

Still, if you’re thinking it’s going to be all fun and games picking out your ring together, it won’t be. It will be awkward, tense, emotional, and you’ll want it over with as soon as possible. [Read: A big question – How long should you date before getting engaged?]

2. Keep his feelings in mind

This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re in this situation, then you know pretty much all you’re thinking about is his feelings and how to get around this sticky situation.

Remember that men get very little, in reality, out of the wedding situation. The only thing he really gets is an expensive party, sharing his last name with you, and the absolute joy of having you as a wife. Likely it will be you who gets to plan the wedding. His only part in the makings of this is choosing the ring, and popping the question.

Remember that he *likely painstakingly* looked through hundreds of rings online, and at a jewelry store. He found this sparkling gem that he thinks is beautiful and thought of you. He looked at this ring and thought of you. Then you say you don’t like it. Awkward. [Read: 25 obvious signs you’re high on wedding fever]

3. It might sour your engagement

So you’ve bit the bullet and told your guy: “This ring isn’t my style, do you mind if we pick one out together?” and now you’re waiting on his reaction.

If you have a completely understanding, laid-back guy who just smiles with wit and gives a playful roll of his eyes, all you’ll hear from him is, “Sure thing babe.” If so, you’re an extremely lucky woman for saying yes to this awesome specimen of manliness!

For the rest of us, your guy is probably going to feel crushed. He’ll feel like he failed the only part of the pomp and ceremony that belonged to him. Likely, this will put a bit of a damper on the beginning of your engagement, especially if he’d already shown his buddies or his family the ring he’d originally bought. Be prepared for this. [Read: 15 things to know before you get engaged that can make or break it]

4. They’ll tell you that it’s not about the ring

Many people will give you flak for saying something about the unwanted ring. They’ll tell you that in the end it’s not about the ring, it’s about the man who loves you asking you to spend eternity with him. How can anything else matter?

In your heart of hearts you know they’re right, but when you look down at the ugly engagement ring you know you can’t be silenced.

What to do if you really must say something about your ugly engagement ring

Sometimes, you just can’t stand the fact that you’d be obligated to wear an ugly engagement ring on your finger. Here’s what you should do if you absolutely must speak up about it.

1. Tell him AFTER the proposal high

There’s no easy way to tell the man you love that you hate his ring choice. If you must do so, be sure to tell him well after he’s proposed. Definitely do not tell him the same day that he’s popped the question. [Read: 20 ideas to pull off the most memorable proposal ever]

2. Be kind

When you spill the beans about your feelings for the ring, be as kind as you possibly can. Don’t tell him you hate it, don’t tell him it’s ugly, or make fun of him for his selection.

Tell him it’s simply not your style, or that you’d always dreamed of X type or ring, or that you had wanted to go pick out rings together.

3. Get it over with

If you’re going to pick another ring, get it over with as soon as possible, so you can get back to enjoying your engagement.

An ugly engagement ring doesn’t have to spoil this magical time, but you do need to be as sensitive as possible about it. [Read: 13 secrets of a happy marriage that can make or break your romance]

4. Don’t tell people

If possible, don’t share your story with your friends or family. They don’t need to hear about your ring rejection, and your fiancé doesn’t need to be embarrassed publicly.

If you absolutely must say something about your ring, then do what you have to do, but if you can live with it, then I strongly suggest you do. After all, in 5 years you can scoop up an anniversary engagement ring and this will all be water under the bridge.

What if it’s a family heirloom engagement ring?

Now this is something you need to be VERY careful with. Rather than telling your husband-to-be that you don’t like your engagement ring straight out, it might be an idea to do some digging about where it came from first.

What if it’s his grandmother’s engagement ring and it’s of huge sentimental significance to him and his family? Then, you tell him that you think it’s an ugly engagement ring? That could mean the engagement is off in the worst possible case! [Read: 6 practical ways to put up with difficult in-laws]

It’s not likely that your boyfriend is going to offer you a family heirloom as an engagement ring, but it’s not out of the question either.  Some families keep special rings to one side for their children to use in the future. If this has happened in your case and you come right out and call it ugly, not only are you upsetting him but you’re also insulting whoever the ring belonged to originally. 

Tread carefully! 

Or, you could just live with it …

Playing Devil’s advocate a little here, but why not just live with it? As mentioned before, maybe it’s not an ugly engagement ring at all. Maybe you’ll grow to love it and see it as a unique and wonderful token of this man’s love for you. [Read: How to get your man to propose by reading his mind and dropping the right kind of hints]

Without wanting to sound harsh, there are countless women out there who would love to be in your position. By looking at the ring and deciding that you want something bigger, smaller, bolder, brighter, aren’t you just being a little ungrateful?

It’s true what they say – the ring isn’t what it’s about. Someone has taken the time to choose this ring for you, but aside from anything else, they’ve put their emotions on the line and asked you to marry them. That took guts. Whether they were sure you were going to say yes or not, it’s the most nerve-wracking thing for a guy to do.

So, consider that over the fact that you think your ring is ugly.

Harsh? Maybe. But true? Certainly.

[Read: Is he going to propose? 21 signs he’s about to go down on one knee!]

In the end, an ugly engagement ring isn’t worth the hurt feelings of someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Why look back on your engagement as a time when you hurt your mate’s feelings, instead of a wonderful occasion celebrating love?

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