Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who Keeps the Ring after a Broken Engagement?

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The last Bachelorette couple, Jef Holm and Emily Maynard have just announced their breakup after getting engaged just a couple of months ago. This got me thinking, seeing as it comes on the heels of the news a few days ago that Courtney Robertson had also broken up with Ben Flajnik. These couples got engaged on national TV with engagement rings worth tens of thousands of dollars. Now they're broken up, what happens to the ring?

In the case of the Bachelorette couples, there's actually a clause in their contract to return the ring to the Jewellers that supply the rings to the TV show since it was not bought by the fiance.

But what about in real life, where the guy buys the ring and presents it to his girlfriend during the engagement which he hopes will lead to marriage? If the marriage never happens, who keeps the ring?

The engagement ring is a not-so-old proposal tradition that has gotten great traction among young contemporary couples. It is traditional in the sense that it is usually the guy that pays for, and presents the ring to the woman in the relationship.

Some people consider the engagement ring a gift with no strings attached. They believe that if a man gives his GF a ring of his volition, and she accepts it, the ring becomes hers to keep forever, whether or not they end up married.

Others say, it depends - so if it was the man that broke the engagement, he forfeits the ring, but if it was the woman who called off the wedding, then she must give back the ring. Sounds fair, right? But what if the woman decided to call off the engagement because the man cheated? Or the man called it off cos the woman checked out of the relationship?

The final camp is that which says the ring is a conditional gift which concludes with the wedding, and if the engagement is broken for whatever reason, the gift should be returned to the person who gave it.


I got my own proposal and ring. We shopped for it together, though Atala paid and then gave it to me in his own time. I am of the opinion that the ring is a gift, but it is one, just like the wedding ring, that is so closely tied to the relationship that if the relationship is gone, it makes no sense to me to keep it or use it.

At this point, after marriage, I will either return it outright, or it goes into our joint pot that will be split between us. Pre-marriage, the ring would have gone right back.

The only scenario I see for the woman keeping the ring is that she offers it back to the man and he tells her plainly to keep it. If he wants the ring back enough to ask for it back, then by all means let him have it.


PS - there I was thinking I was done with The Bachelor and Bachelorette Series until I read that Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum are still getting married. They will be exchanging vows this December in a TV special. Fingers crossed for them.







22 comments:

  1. In some states there are laws about who keeps it if the engagement is broken off, sometimes depending on the circumstances surrounding it. I'd most likely give it back...unless he did something terribly horrible to cause us to call off the engagement. In which case i may be spiteful and take it to the pawn shop lol

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  2. i think it should be returned to whoever bought it

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  3. it makes sense to return it. If the guy insists the lady keeps it/or he refuses it,the lady can do what she wants with it.

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  4. For me I'd give it back because if the relationship is over, why would you want to keep souvenirs :-) unless like Ngo I want to be spiteful, then I'd sell it and go on holiday to get over the relationship.. heehehehehe... Legally though I've heard that the ring goes back to the man especially if he solely paid for it, the rational is that it's a promise for marriage and if the marriage didn't occur then the promise is broken and it goes back to the owner, however, if the marriage does happen regardless of how long it was before it breaks up, the woman keeps it as she had fulfilled her initial promise.

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  5. My first thought was, "I'll keep it jo, the sucker has to pay for stringing me along and all for nothing"...lol. But my pride wont let me, I'd definitely return it.

    I've seen a case where the guy asked the lady to keep it, which she did cos she really wasn't over him. She finally sold it when she got married though, her hubs had a major problem with it, so end of story

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  6. Puhleease!!!!! The lady keeps it jare,especially if she wasn't d one dat broke it off or if she wasn't at fault. She can sell it n use the money to shop. I just threw it open to my colleagues at work and theirs a fierce argument raging on right now,some r of the opinion that it shld be returned while some are againt it. Me sha o,I've stated my own!

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  7. I think its the lady that keeps the ring oh! But you know naaa.. Men can be petty, some just demand for it outright( small minded men). I think it's left for the lady to return it if she so wishes.. Like when she stop being angry or upset
    Formely -2cute4u
    Now: chacha- www.chachacorner.com

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  8. The ring should be returned to whoever bought it. If we are no longer committed to each other then there is no reason to keep the ring.

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  9. In Nigeria,the gurl always returns the ring,regardless of who caused the break up.IMO,it doesn't matter who keeps the ring,as far as everything goes down smoothly.

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  10. loll.@ you got your ring and proposal. ah u have to gist more on that one ohh.. hehe

    btw u and atala have a very dynamic and non-conventional relationship. Seriously, I have read so many posts to come to this conclusion. You two are weird lol. (i am weird too) but weirdness get class lol...... but i love you two... lol.

    I hope you wont take it personal.. pls dont.. i know you to be cool that why I feel comfortable saying it oh.

    Re: the engagement thing, I dont know oh, lets have faith it doesnt break cos am sure I will have an emotional attachment to the ring and giving it back is ermmmmm long ting..

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  11. I am for the school of thought that says if he broke the engagememnt or cheated then i should keep it pawn it and treat myself (shopping/holiday) to nurse my sorrows seems fair to me but if i broke the engagement then i have no problem returning it.

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  12. It only makes sense to me to return the ring. I don't need reminders of him BUT if he really hurt me as in reeeeeally hurt me, I'd do one of the following:
    a) melt the ring and pour it on the driver's seat of his car (I'm still returning it nau)
    b) Get several cheap similar rings and send one to his office everyday, hang one I'm front of his house everyday, cello tape one to the door of his car everyday and any other creative thing I can come up with.
    c) Pawn it and buy myself a holiday or just go shopping
    d) do a combination of b and c

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  13. i have too much pride to keep it. i would donate it to goodwill or salvation army and ask them to send the donation receipt to him. i would also send him a copy of the receipt

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  14. I know there’s etiquette to this n all but personally, he gets it! Why would I want a constant reminder of a closed chapter?

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  15. I did give it back. In the English tradition, the ring be longs' to the guy. But why will you like to hold on to it? You will be stuck in a place you dont want to be. Wwith all the memories. Give it back, after a whilr you move on! Maybe you were even the one who broke off the engagement not the guy

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  16. Great article.
    How about gifts? Do you return like expensive gifts when you break up?

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    1. I've not received any really expensive gifts, but it's not just about cost more than what the item specifies.

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  17. Yeah, I agree with you. Maybe I should have written significant rather than expensive (cause that in itself is relative).
    So if they hold a significance, should they be returned?

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    1. It depends on the guy. If he asks for it, or wants it back when asked, then I'll say return it.

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  18. I'll keep the ring as long as there was no prior agreement to return it to him.

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  19. I will probably return mine (It looks like that's the law in my state anyway) but that kind of sucks since I feel like our engagement was a farce. We had been dating on and off for years, I made it clear that if he didn't propose I would leave, so he proposed, but it turned out that he wouldn't set a wedding date OR EVEN a date or help for me to move into his house. All he wanted was to keep dating and for me to go on trips (that I helped pay for even though I am a single parent without child support with a mortgage, and thanks to his wealthy parents his house is paid off) and accompany him to family gatherings. Plus he'd saved a fair amount of money but it went towards a trip, a car, a TV, NOTHING towards a life together. I got tired of this BS after close to five years of dating and nearly five months of being "engaged". He didn't need to give me a ring or propose if he truly wasn't ready for a life together. I would have been happy just to move into his house and see him every day. But I will have to be the bad one and break things off. I want to scream, break WHAT off? There were no wedding plans and he wouldn't even give me a key to his house. He follows me around like a puppy dog at every free moment and tells me constantly that he loves me, but makes excuses and puts off all action for us to have a real life together. I'm getting to the point that I don't care what people think, I will do whatever I need to do to end this dysfunctional relationship and find someone who will actually marry me. Ending a relationship is not easy regardless of the circumstances and both parties hurt.

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