What to Do if You Hate Your Engagement Ring

No, you're not a terrible person, and yes, it's more common than you think.
engagement ring illustration
The Knot
Updated Jan 04, 2019

What do you do if the love of your life proposes, but the ring, as beautiful as it may be, isn't really "you"? This kind of thing happens more than you'd think, particularly (and not surprisingly) between couples who don't collaborate on an engagement ring.

That's the catch, though, isn't it? If you want a surprise proposal, you risk getting a ring you'd never pick out yourself. And sometimes, no matter how many hints you drop about designs, gemstones and carat sizes, your partner just goes their own way (and to be fair, you let them!).

We totally get it—whether you've been scouting sparklers since your fifth date or never even considered what your dream ring would be, it's an unexpected and awful feeling to be disappointed about your engagement ring. Part of it is the plain old not liking it—you'll be wearing this piece every day for the rest of your life, and you should adore it. Then there's the guilt over not liking something that holds so much meaning, cost so much and that your partner chose—maybe even designed—specifically for you. The whole thing just feels wrong.

Not loving your engagement ring isn't a crime—what matters is how you handle it. Before you do anything, remember your partner's feelings and intentions. They're about to be your spouse, so hopefully you two can have an adult conversation about it. You have options to either get a ring you love or learn to love with the one you have without being rude. Let's talk through it.

1. Keep It

Believe it or not, you may grow to love your engagement ring just the way it is. Most of the time a ring's sentimental value ends up outshining anyone's desire for a certain design (especially when it's a family heirloom). A beautiful way to modify your ring without changing the original is to jazz it up with your wedding band when the time comes. If your engagement ring is simpler than you expected, opt for a sparkling eternity band for a little more bling on your left hand.

2. Modify It

You might also be able to tweak it to create something more aligned with your taste and lifestyle. Add a halo, remove the side stones, swap out the band and so on.

3. Exchange or Sell It

You may come to the mature decision to swap your current ring because it's not worth wearing something so expensive that you don't love—totally justified. Gently and tactfully ask if your partner would mind if you looked at rings together—but don't forget to reiterate you're thrilled to be engaged to them (the ring has nothing to do with your relationship). You should be able to return or exchange it within a certain time frame, although there may be a restocking fee and policies depend upon the particular store. If you can't return it at all, you can always sell it and choose something else more your style.

If it's an heirloom ring, tread lightly—with the families involved, there's more room for tension and hurt feelings. Delicately explain it's not completely your taste, and see if they'll help you let their family know. You can also choose a wedding band you love and wear it solo, or talk to your spouse about buying a new ring for an anniversary so someone else in the family can pass the ring on.

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