My boyfriend of six months recently proposed. I was and am totally thrilled. We are both almost forty and, while I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly, it feels right. However, because it happened so quickly we never had time to talk about rings. He bought me a beautiful diamond ring and I really appreciate that. But I teach inner-city kids and have a lot of friends who don’t make a lot of money and I really never wanted a diamond ring. I feel uncomfortable wearing it. I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to make him feel bad and I so appreciate the ring, but I also don’t want to spend my life wearing a ring that makes me uncomfortable. I know he would be understanding, but I just don’t want to hurt his feelings. What should I do?
You’re about to spend the rest of your life with this person. In theory, you’re going to wake up to his mug EVERY SINGLE DAY until you die. You’re going to have to tell him so many unpleasant things: “Honey, I can’t seem to find one of our children…I swear I brought him into Target with me…” or “Sweetheart, from the smell of things, you haven’t flossed since 1994, and every time your face comes near mine I get dry heaves.” Or “Baby, hiring your mother as a live-in housekeeper is really not what I had in mind when I said I needed more help around the house.”
This isn’t a big deal. I think instead of saying you don’t want it, you could wear the ring on occasion, and tell your fiance that you don’t feel comfortable wearing it to work or around your poor friends. (By the way…the former I understand, but the latter is a little weird. Tough cookies for them if your stuff is nicer; if they get all jealous and bitter over your pretty ring, they’re crappy friends.) There’s no law that says the diamond has to be clamped to your finger 24 hours a day until you perish.
But if the ring’s presence in your house will truly make you uncomfortable to the point where it’s haunting you all Tell-Tale Heart-style, then you just have a conversation with him. “Thank you for this beautiful ring; I’m so excited to marry you. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, and I want to be clear that the gesture is really romantic and lovely, but I’m afraid I won’t ever wear it and it seems disingenuous to not tell you.”