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How Do I Tell My Boyfriend to Get the Right Engagement Ring?

You Asked: How Do I Tell Him About the Ring I Want?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years, and we've been talking about getting engaged. Based on our vague discussions, it'll probably be sometime in the next two years so that I can finish nursing school. My mother recently found the engagement and wedding rings that my grandparents (and great-grandparents) used. She showed them to me, and I'd actually love to use them as my own! Besides the ring having family history, it'll help us save money for the house we want to build. I'm not sure how to introduce this idea to him, and I really don't want to put pressure on him or make him think I'm trying to rush things. My mom said she would bring it up, but I don't want to scare him. Help!

— Not Quite Engaged Nina

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Not Quite Engaged Nina,

Using a family heirloom and saving money are absolutely great excuses to want a particular engagement ring. Although I understand that you don't want to come across as overly eager or in a rush, there's nothing wrong with mentioning the ring the next time you and your boyfriend are discussing your future together. I think he might actually feel more pressure if it comes from your mom than from you.

Next time the topic comes up, tell him that you have a ring that's been in your family for generations, and when the time comes for him to pop the question, you'd like to use that over a store-bought ring. I don't see why you would need to go into more detail to get the idea across to him. If your tentative engagement is two years away, there will be plenty of opportune moments to have this conversation in a very casual way. If you don't make it a big deal, he won't either. In fact, he might be relieved to have the ring taken care of. Good luck!


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eoliver84 eoliver84 8 years
Send him the ultimate hint that you are ready to get engaged! Check out
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
i say wait to see if he's even going to be around in 2 years once you finish school. . .
tinyspark tinyspark 9 years
First off, great idea - very meaningful (and the fact that it is financially responsible doesn't hurt either!) Explain it to him as you have explained it to us...sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Good luck to the both of you! :)
emalove emalove 9 years
My husband asked me what kind of ring I'd like and I gave him a little info. about what I'd like...but mostly I just wanted him to pick out for me. I knew I'd love it no matter what. He ended up getting me pretty much exactly what I'd dreamed of, but even if he didn't, I would have loved it just the same.
0danielle0 0danielle0 9 years
I'm totally going through this right now, but there's no heirloom in my family! My boyfriend of two years brings up marriage and getting engaged frequently, so I know it's coming. He asked what kind of ring I want a couple weeks ago, so yesterday I sent him a link to a setting/stone combo I really like, and also two pics- one of a setting I do like and one that I don't (just in case "round diamond in a four-pronged platinum or white gold setting" isn't clear enough. LOL) In your situation, when the time is right, just tell him! I'm sure he'll be relieved to have some help! :o)
sass317 sass317 9 years
I think first of all this isnt really the place to spout off about the sexism of guys speaking to a girls parents before he proposes, that wasnt the question she asked. My best friend has her grandmothers wedding ring that she would like to use, so it stands to reason that the engagment ring she gets needs to match- which is something her boyfriend needs to know about before he looks at rings. Luckily for her, his sister got engaged, so the topic of weddings and marriage were brought up a lot- so it was easy for her to tell him that she had her grandmothers ring and it was something she would want to be a part of her wedding set. You have plenty of time to bring it up
samidingdong samidingdong 9 years
I too have a family ring that I would like to use. It was my Great Grandma's (and one of the ONLY family heirlooms that my unlce didn't pawn!) I used to work at a jewelry store and had the ring fixed up, which now sits in my Mom's jewelry box. I love this ring, and even though my boyfriend and I know that marriage could be in the distant future, we have not really talked about time frames or anything like that. But casually I have mentioned that I would prefer that ring. And I think he understands that when he needs it, he needs to get it from my Mom. And even though I could care less if he talks to my parents first, he kinda has to to get the ring. Dear Sugar is right, just bring it up casually...maybe if you talk about the house you want to build, mention something about the ring you found with your Mom and would like to use that so you have more money towards the house. And then leave it at that. Its very simple and he'll take note. In all honesty the choice is up to him on how he wants to do it. From working in a jewelry store I know that some men feel more comfortable doing it on their own. While others are completly ok using the family rings, or using the stones in a new setting. When the time comes he will know what to do and you will be happy!
miosotis miosotis 9 years
ewray4381, that's sooo cute!! :) Well, I think I won't have an engagement ring... So expensive...
ewray4381 ewray4381 9 years
I would casually discuss it once or twice, and then let him decide. It sounds nice to have everything planned out, but sometimes it's those little surprises that can really make your engagement. When my finace and I were starting to think marriage, I started leaving hints around. I had seen a ring I really liked online and occasionally "accidentally" left the page up. We had talked about it too, and I had described it to him. When the time came, he couldn't find the webpage and started doing searches based on what he could remember of my descriptions. In his hunt, he came across a ring that he loved and that had some of the same elements as the one I had picked out. So in the end I didn't get the ring I had picked out, but I actually like the one he got me better. It's more special to me because he picked it out on his own and was able to combine elements that I liked with elements he liked. In fact, we're planning on matching his wedding ring to my engagement ring instead of my wedding band, we love it so much!
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 9 years
I told my sweetie I wanted a stone that was perfect, no matter what the size. I was presented with a Marquise Tiffany's engagement ring about a month ago, go him :3 I agree with Marseea. Just let 'em know casually.
mblab mblab 9 years
Having been through a similar experience I'd say you shouldn't be too worried. You've spoken about marriage already, so bringing this up shouldn't be a huge issue. If he really loves you he'd understand what your opinion is (be it a store bought ring or a family ring) for whatever reasons. ;-)
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
I agree that most traditions relating to marriage are sexist in origin, but I was only trying to say that it's the intention that matters more. I don't think that in most relationships these days if a man was to ask a woman's parents for her hand in marriage, that the relationship's future would hinge on whether or not Mom and Dad said yes. I think (and certainly hope) that if a man were to do that it would only be a symbolic gesture in asking for the blessing of the potential bride's family. I certainly see how you would feel that way, but to each their own. In the meantime, I'm going to refrain from further hijacking the post and go daydream about diamond rings. :)
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Having an opinion is not projecting your viewpoint on to someone else. I said that if people were comfortable supporting a sexist tradition, to go ahead and ask. Sure marriage in general arose out of a sexist time period as a sexist tradition, but there are reasons today why marriage makes sense for some people (despite frightening divorce rates. Marriage is now a legal contract that protects both parties, in addition to being a ceremony showing commitment. I can't see a similar reason for the whole "asking for the hand in marriage" analogue in today's society.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I think *some things* that have been born of tradition that could possibly be sexist, like engagement rings themselves (there was an article in Slate about this) can be used in a positive manner. In this case, the ring would serve as a commemoration of the event, or if the fiance bought it, it can serve as a gift, a symbol of love. I can't really see how the tradition of asking for a woman's hand in marriage can be anything but incredibly sexist. Most women today when they get married are financially and emotionally independent, and no longer need the permission of their fathers (and mothers?) to make life decisions. Being "given away" like property is a really revolting idea too. Yes, when this tradition arose it was because women got married much younger, when they were basically children, not independent, and treated like second class citizens with no rights equal to men. Remember, there was a time when women couldn't vote, own property, etc, therefore there was a "need" for treating a woman/girl like property. If you think that describes you, then yes, I can see how this tradition would appeal to you. I think many grooms today want to make a good impression on their bride's family, and see it as a way of paying respect. Family is very very important to my boyfriend and I, and it's very important to me that he respects them. I still go to them for relationship advice, and their opinion on whether or not I should get married is valuable to me. That being said, I really have an issue with the idea that my boyfriend would ask my family if it would be okay to marry me. Remember this wasn't something the original asker had in her question we don't know what she would want anyway. She seems pretty practical about wanting to use a family ring, which I think is a really sweet idea that would have double meaning!
Marseeah Marseeah 9 years
I totally agree with Dear Sugar- when my now-husband and I were about to graduate from college, I was preparing for him to jump on the ring-before-spring bandwagon, as we'd been dating for 2.5 years, and I told him, "Honey, no pressure, but when the time comes, I want a classic, six-prong, Tiffany's engagement ring. Please." And when the time came, 2 years later, I got a lovely, huge, fabulous, classic, six-prong, Tiffany's engagement ring. If you're already talking about it, what's the "pressure?" Just let him know that when the time comes, you want to get married with your grandparents' rings. Also - my husband did not ask my father for my hand in marriage - making him the only one out of 3 sons-in-law. And I'm happy every time I think about it that he didn't. I loved calling my parents after the proposal and surprising him with the news. And, for God's sake, we'd been dating for five years and never had any problems. It's not as if they didn't see it coming, or he hadn't met them, or they didn't approve of our relationship. To each his own in that way...
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
Marriage began only as a way of exchanging property (women and land) and has evolved in different societies into what it is today. What you see as being treated as chattel many see as a nice gesture and sign of respect toward a family, and it is indeed one's prerogative. I don't care one way or the other how or if somebody else decides to go about it, but it bothers me when other people get self-righteous and project their own views on another.
facin8me facin8me 9 years
sarahbellum, if there is a tradition that has its roots and sexism and misogyny that has evolved into something innocent and pure, I'd like to know what it is- but asking a parent for a daughter's hand in marriage is certainly not an example. if one wants to be treated like chattel, well I guess that's one's prerogative. cheers to snowbunny though for pointing out the idiocy of romanticizing such behavior.
clareberrys clareberrys 9 years
I wouldn't say anything, I would say that if he knows you he will know it is important for you to ask your parents before he proposes to you. This is very traditional and I feel like a man is less respected if he does not do this (my boyfriend's brother in law did not ask his parents for his sister's hand in marriage and they were all disappointed) Anyways, when he does this you can tell your mom or dad to mention the engagement rings that have been in your family. But, don't be surprised if he doesn't take to the offer. Maybe he has rings in his family as well. Typically the rings in a family are passed down to a male to give to his fiancee. My boyfriend will eventually be given his grandmother's rings. Maybe there are rings being passed on to him that you are unaware of. Also, he might want to buy you a ring, but if that is the case then you can always use your grandmother's ring as the wedding ring.
leztnerp leztnerp 9 years
The ring is the first thing I'd want to talk about!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I agree with DearSugar.
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
The next time the idea of "marriage" comes up, simply tell him, "Oh... You know, my family passes down engagement rings from grandmother to grandaughter...." That way you it's just a natural segue.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
Many traditions have roots in sexism and misogyny but have evolved into having different meanings (like marriage itself). There's no need to be condescending.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
Sugar had it spot on. If your guy is old fashioned and asks your mom for your hand, she could always remind him then, since that will probably be closer to the actual time of the engagement than bringing it up now.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Good advice Dear... Bonus points only come for asking for your hand in marriage if you don't mind supporting a tradition that has its roots in sexism and misogyny...asking you to marry him should be enough for your bf! Asking for a "blessing" is considered a more modern, sweet thing to do though!
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I agree, just casually bring it up next time the engagement topic comes up. And do just that - bring it up briefly then that's it. I'm sure after discussing this then when the time comes, he'll go to your mom to ask for it. Bonus points if he asks your parents for your hand in marriage! ;)
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