My fiance told me to pick out an engagement ring. We found one that we both liked and was within the budget. He asked for specifications and pictures. I sent them to him. I asked if he was going to get it and he said I would get what I wanted. Now I think he got me a totally different ring, which would be fine. But now I feel like he's going back on his word. Help! —Anonymous
As I was reading your query, I fell into the same trap you did for a second. I wondered, "How is he her fiance, but there's no ring?" The truth is, though, you don't need one to be engaged or even married. You need a wedding license. A ring is a romantic gesture. I wasn't focused on the right thing for a second; neither are you. Let's both check ourselves here.
A male relative of mine put it this way:
The concept of a wedding ring has been indoctrinated [into] women as a sign of status/level of love to the point where they poison their relationship by focusing on something that is not important. Marriage is about the everyday, not about what you can show to your girls.
If you're calling him your fiance, I'm guessing he has already asked you to spend your life with him and you said yes. I'm hoping that since it appears you've agreed to this, your man is a good guy who has your best interest at heart and wants to make you happy. If he isn't, you've got a bigger problem to focus on than the size, design or cost of the ring he purchased.
I'm going to be optimistic here and guess he's a good guy. If he is, you're focused on the wrong thing. The man you love loves you, too, and is committing to building a life with you. The bottom line here is, "Do you want to marry him or nah?" If you do, stop focusing on the ring.
If he purchased a different ring, it's either because his budget changed or he genuinely thinks you'll like the new ring better. No man who genuinely loves his woman sets out to get her a ring he doesn't think she wants. If your fiance is a good guy, he’s doing his best, even if he makes a detour with the plan. Is it also possible that the potentially new ring is bigger and "better" than what you asked for? Change isn't always bad.
You're talking about getting married. A universal truth held by nearly every happily married person I've ever spoken to is this: Choose your battles. On this one? Your best move is to stand down and smile. You want to marry him? Whatever he produces, your answer is "I love you!" "Thank you!" and/or "Yes!" You will seem entirely ungrateful, controlling and selfish to complain about the possibly different ring. Each of those qualities is a big turnoff that could make a man rethink his commitment.
Another piece of advice commonly offered by married couples or anyone who has ever been in a healthy long-term relationship is to communicate with your partner. Based on this scenario—a minor bump in the overall grand scheme of things—your communication with your partner seems off. The ring is pretty trivial, so many could overlook it as a petty matter to fuss over. But I also wonder if asking for your input and then doing his own thing—good intentions or not—is a pattern in the relationship.
If this business with the ring is a one-off, let it be. If this is a regular occurrence, then still accept the ring and address the overall issue (not the ring), and let him show you with his actions that he's working on it before you head to the altar.
You also play a role here, too. You're deeply concerned and writing in to an advice column about an issue that is easily resolved. I'm happy to have you here, but I wonder, why, instead of coming to me, you didn't just ask him whether he got you a different ring. It's simple: "Hey, bae, did you go with the ring I chose or something else?" It's a direct question that should result in a direct answer and immediately resolve your guessing game.
If the ring is that big a deal to you, ask what he purchased, and if it's not what you want, ask why he chose it. Do be mindful, though, that your query will come across as more controlling than inquisitive. I would prefer that you be patient, happy and more focused on the pending marriage than on the ring. If you really hate it, you can always upgrade it after you're married.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “Whining About Dating When a Man Is Right Under Your Nose”