Here's Exactly What To Do If You Don't Like Your Engagement Ring

Take a deep breath, you're not alone.
engagement ring illustration
Photo: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock
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Jessica Booth
jessica booth headshot
Jessica Booth
The Knot Fashion Contributor
  • Jessica is a freelance writer who covers topics such as weddings, parenting, wellness, commerce, health and food.
  • Jessica has written for sites including Cosmopolitan, Delish, Bustle, Romper, Refinery 29, Reviewed, Parents, Brides, People, Forbes, The Daily Beast and many more.
  • Jessica has a degree in journalism and lives on Long Island in New York.
Updated Nov 27, 2023

It's one of the biggest moments of your life, so of course a proposal can be an overwhelming experience. After your partner gets down on one knee, pops the question, and opens up the ring box for the big reveal, one of the last thoughts you want running through your head is, "I hate my engagement ring." Unfortunately, this is a reality for many people. Sometimes, your partner doesn't hit the nail on the head, and they end up selecting a ring that you never would have picked out for yourself.

Disliking your engagement ring can lead to so many different emotions: disappointment at what's happening, resentment towards your partner for choosing something you don't like, stress and devastation at the thought of having to tell them you don't like, and guilt that you feel the way you do. If you're weighing your options on how to deal with this delicate situation, we're here to help. We spoke to an expert about what to do if you don't like your engagement ring, with tips on how to smooth everything over while making sure you're ultimately both happy. Because while your partner may have put a lot of effort into choosing the ring, you're the one who has to wear it every day – you deserve to love it. Read on to find out exactly what to do if you don't like your engagement ring.

In this article:

Is It OK If You Don't Like Your Engagement Ring?

It's normal to feel guilty about disliking your engagement ring, especially if you know your partner really tried to get you something you would love. But don't worry: these feelings do not make you a bad person.

"It's perfectly okay – and more common than you think – to feel ecstatic about your engagement but underwhelmed by the ring," says Dr. Jenny Woo, PhD, MBA, CEO of Mind Brain Emotion and author of 52 Essential Relationship Skills. "An engagement ring is not just a piece of jewelry, it's a daily reminder of your style and shared future. It's okay to want that symbol to resonate with you and this does not make you an ungrateful person."

Feeling disappointment in your engagement ring doesn't mean you're disappointed in your partner or the future you're about to have together. It just means you don't love the style they picked, and maybe you two just have different tastes when it comes to certain things. "Loving your partner doesn't obligate you to love their choice of ring," Dr. Woo assures us.

Oftentimes when someone dislikes their engagement ring, they start to wonder if it's a sign that their partner doesn't really know or understand them. It's understandable to have these nagging thoughts, but remember that the ring choice isn't always an indication that there's something wrong with your relationship. As Dr. Woo notes, your partner had to take a lot into consideration when selecting this ring, and factors like budget and practicality may have ultimately affected their decision.

"While your first reaction might cast doubt and disappointment, it's important to remember that your partner is not a mind-reader," Dr. Woo says. If you two never discussed what kind of engagement ring you like, then it's more understandable if they didn't get exactly what you wanted.

What to Do If You Don't Like Your Engagement Ring

The way to move forward here is to figure out a solution that works for you and your partner. An engagement ring might be a huge purchase, but if you don't like it, there are still options – you don't have to settle for something you don't love. Approaching the subject might be difficult, but it's imperative to get it out in the open, sooner rather than later.

Have an honest conversation

The best thing you can do here is be open and honest with your partner – and yes, that means telling them how you feel about the ring. It's definitely going to be uncomfortable, but if you feel really strongly about your dislike of the ring, it needs to happen. "Plan the conversation at a time that doesn't overshadow the excitement of the proposal," Dr. Woo recommends. "It's crucial to approach the topic with care. Avoid asking questions that put your partner on the defense, such as, 'Why would you pick this one?!' or 'What made you think I would like this?'" She advises sharing your feelings in a sensitive and gentle manner.

Look into your return options

Like any other big purchase, there's always the possibility that your engagement ring can be returned for something different. It's absolutely worth it to check the return or exchange policy. "Some jewelers offer a grace period during which you can either return or exchange the ring for another one," Dr. Woo says. "Make the most of the trip by turning it into a celebratory outing to shop for your wedding bands together."

Consider modifications

If a return or exchange isn't an option, but you still can't imagine wearing the ring every day, you can always think about modifying it. Dr. Woo notes that you may be able to change the setting or add additional stones. Modifications may not always be the answer, but if there is something specific you really dislike, you may be able to fix it.

Change it in the future

Unfortunately, in some cases, both returns and modifications may be impossible – and it may not be in your partner's budget to just go out and buy a new ring. Think about how much you dislike the ring. Is it something you would be willing to wear for a few years until you can make a replacement? "Who says you can't have multiple engagement rings from the same person?" Dr. Woo says. "I upgraded to a new ring five years into my marriage due to my changing finger size and style preferences. It was the perfect opportunity to find the ring that truly reflects the person I've grown into."

Try waiting it out a bit

It's totally fine to approach your partner about this immediately – in fact, that's probably the best way to avoid pent-up resentment about the ring. However, it's also normal if you feel like it's not something you can discuss right away. "If you know your partner might be deeply hurt if you swap rings, you might be better off keeping the ring leading up to the big day," Dr. Woo says. "You can always dress it up with the wedding band you love or wear band-only after the wedding." Giving yourself some time to adjust to seeing the ring on your finger might give you a new perspective on the ring, but if you still feel exactly the same after a while, it's important to speak up.

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