My Boyfriend Wants to Marry Me But Doesn’t Want to Buy an Engagement Ring.

My Boyfriend Wants to Marry Me But Doesn’t Want to Buy an Engagement Ring

I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years. We were both married and divorced in our 20’s and are now in our mid-30s. We’ve lived together for the last 6 months and it’s been great. We’ve been talking about our future and wanting to start a family before it’s too late. We’re both reasonably frugal and have no desire to spend a fortune on a second wedding. He mentioned getting ring tattoos (not something I would do) and seemed surprised that I would want an engagement ring since I’m not that into jewelry or flash. I feel like an engagement ring is an important symbol and I’m hurt that he seems like he doesn’t want to get me one. He agreed to go looking, but I felt his reluctance and I’m dreading going now or bringing it up again.

I know his ex-wife was demanding and required a big rock and then she cheated on him less than a year into the marriage…I get that making another investment like that must bring up bad memories, but I also want to feel excited and secure knowing that he wants to marry me. He makes close to 100K, so is my wanting a less than $5k ring unreasonable? Can a guy really want to marry a woman and not want to buy a ring? I’m worried that I may be confusing his not wanting to spend money on a ring with him not thinking I’m worth it. And I’m left wondering: should the man have to buy an engagement ring if his girlfriend wants it, or should he tell her his budget and if she wants something beyond his means she can pay half?


The last blog question was about empathy. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Seeing how it feels. Gaining a sense of perspective outside yourself.

I’ll be the first to tell you that women, in general, are more empathetic than men. They are sensitive to subtlety and nuance. They don’t want to hurt each others’ feelings. They are supportive (often blindly supportive) of friends, loved ones and boyfriends. Except when it comes to money. When it comes to money, there’s this huge honking blind spot that I honestly can’t explain.

I’ve written extensively about money but I’m still left with this odd double-standard:

Women and men are equal. They should have equal opportunity and equal pay. They should do equal amounts of housework and child rearing. Except men should make more money, pay for all the dates, and want to spend a disproportionate amount of his money compared to what she spends.

Chivalry is a nice concept that descends from a time before women made their own money, but still. It’s nice to have a guy take care of you.

Emotionally, that may make sense to you. Chivalry is a nice concept that descends from a time before women made their own money, but still. It’s nice to have a guy take care of you. And hell, I tell men that it’s in their best interests to be chivalrous and to pick up the check during the early phases of dating.

But what we’re talking about is past that. We’re talking about a man spending a percentage of his yearly salary on a shiny trinket — a token that you are equating with how much he loves you. You’re both frugal divorcees in your mid-30’s — he, in particular, has a checkered history with golddiggers — and here you are, actually wondering out loud if his reticence to buy a ring is somehow emblematic of whether you’re “worth it”? Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

So let’s flip it around and turn this into the gender-blind exercise it should be:

Man tells you after two great years together that you have to buy him a $5000 flatscreen TV.

You balk. It seems a bit superfluous. He already has a TV. It works perfectly fine. Why does he need a new one? “Because of what it symbolizes,” he replies. “To whom,” you ask. After all, you’ve had a perfectly good relationship for all this time and you’re openly planning to get married and start a family. Why in God’s name would this guy need a TV from you? He explains:

“Because it shows me that you love me.”
“Because it shows the world how much you value me.”
“Because it lets me know that you’re excited about me.”
“Because it makes me feel secure knowing that you’re not leaving me.”

You’re taken aback. You slowly explain to him that you DO love him, you DO value him, you ARE excited about him, you’re NOT leaving him — that’s why you want to get married. You just don’t see why he needs a big fancy television. Your boyfriend just shrugs and tells you that it’s just how he feels.

Ultimately, it’s about having this conversation with your boyfriend, and instead of trying to negotiate for a ring, attempting to understand and validate HIS feelings about why he’s not feeling it.

Listen, Kelly, despite the role reversal, believe it or not, I’m sympathetic to your dilemma. It is commonplace for men to buy diamond rings. There is a whole wedding industrial complex around convincing men to spring for jewelry and women to spring for dresses they’ll only wear once.

So while it’s not “wrong” for you to want a diamond to wear that symbolizes your relationship, you have to look internally to figure out why you want it. It’s certainly not because you need proof that your boyfriend loves you; I’d guess it’s because you need external validation. You know he’s not going anywhere, but you want everyone else to know it, too. And just as it’s not wrong” for you to desire a ring in a society that places a premium on such commodities, it’s not “wrong” for a frugal divorcee to want to minimize his costs for this largely symbolic gesture when there are far better things one can invest $5000 in — like an index fund for your retirement or a 529 plan for your future baby.

Ultimately, it’s about having this conversation with your boyfriend, and instead of trying to negotiate for a ring, attempting to understand and validate HIS feelings about why he’s not feeling it. From there, you can come to a mutually agreeable compromise. But it doesn’t start until you’ve owned why you want a ring so bad and accepted he isn’t inherently wrong or selfish for not seeing eye to eye with you.

By the way if he were writing me this letter — he tells me he’s worried that he has another golddigging wife on his hands – I would offer similar advice in reverse. I’d tell him not to judge you for wanting a ring and attempt to understand the meaning behind your insecurity, before arriving at a fair point where you feel he’s invested in your marriage and he doesn’t have to break the bank to “prove” it to you.

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  1. 1

    I’m scratching my head on this one.    Have you actually talked to him about why he doesn’t want to get you a ring?   Try using the communication methods that secure people use as described in the book Attached.    If it is about money, there are options:   get a smaller cheaper ring or get a cubic zirconia ring.   I suspect something else is going on here.

    I think that she should have a ring and he should want her to have it.   It’s a symbol of their union and it doesn’t have to be expensive.   The first thing we single guys do is look at the left hand to see if she’s fair game.

    I squeak when I walk but I won’t flinch about getting a ring for the future Mrs. ScottH

    1. 1.1

      I’m with you, ScottH. I get where Evan is coming from. But I have to admit that I had some reactions to this that surprised even ME, lol!

      I know that, when you’ve finally found the one that you want to spend your life with, something like the ring shouldn’t even be an issue. But to me, it IS an issue.

      Personally, I’ve never been married. If I ever did get married, I would insist that we get married at the courthouse to save money, and then have a budget reception in someone’s backyard afterward. I refuse on principal to spend more than $100 on a wedding dress because (a) I’m only going to wear it once; and (b) there are tons of beautiful dresses available that you can pick up for $100 +/-; and (c) I have grievances against the wedding-bridal industry and I don’t want to give them one cent more.

      But the ring? That’s a tough one for me. That’s the one area that I don’t think I would compromise on, for as right or as wrong as that makes me.

      Look, I was brought up by two hippy-dippy parents who got married in a cow pasture. They tied strands of hemp around each other’s fingers as “wedding rings” because they couldn’t afford the actual rings. 40 years later, they’re still married (although my Dad did eventually get my Mom a real ring, albeit a modest one). So I’m not someone that’s hung up at all on what some bridal magazine says you have to have in order to actually be a “bride” – up to and including the big dazzler on your third left finger.

      But some things really do matter, regardless of how much we wish they wouldn’t.

      Every single girl I know, myself included, was told growing up that if a man is too cheap to get you a ring – even a cheap ring – don’t marry him. He doesn’t value you.

      Yes, I know that’s society’s impositions on us. But society imposes on every decision we make. It doesn’t mean that it’s always invalid.

      I know that Evan brought up the example of a flat screen TV. Although I take his point well, may I respectfully disagree. What makes the case of the engagement different from a flat screen TV is that, well, it IS different. It’s marriage. It should be different.

      If a man asked me to be his wife but didn’t want to give me a ring, I’ll admit that I would be very hurt. I WOULD think that he doesn’t think I’m worth it. It WOULD make me re-think marrying him. This is because, like a lot of women, I view a ring as part of the overall commitment of marriage.

      Men put rings on the fingers of the women they want to be with forever. Women bear the children of the men they love. Should these things change? I don’t know. Will these things ever change? I doubt it.

      I don’t need or want a big fancy rock. Modest and understated is perfectly fine. I don’t expect diamonds or precious gems. A pretty little $99 band for an engagement ring would be just fine with me. Anything would be better than nothing.

      Yes, I know there is expense involved for the guy. But there are ways to minimize it so that it’s affordable. And, like everything else, if it’s important, we’ll find a way to make it happen.

      The message that would get sent that I’m not important enough to sacrifice and save for a ring would personally be too painful for me to bear.

      Like I said, I get where Evan is coming from. I just see it differently. As a woman, I want a modest ring from my man. And I want HIM to want to give ME one. Even if that means we have to wait a little bit longer to get it, and even if it’s a K-Mart special.

      Just my two cents. People are welcome to disagree with me!   🙂

      1. 1.1.1

        Well said! One wonders if he will balk at a wedding ring also.

      2. 1.1.2

        Hi Lolita, why don’t you exchange $99 bands with your future husband when you get married?   That seems fair to me, and it neither party has a duty to the other that is based on gender alone.

    2. 1.2

      I agree, ScottH.   Kelly, I was on your side about wanting a ring.   We’re girls…we like engagement rings :).   That was until I read this:

      >> And I’m left wondering: should the man have to buy an engagement ring if his girlfriend wants it, or should he tell her his budget and if she wants something beyond his means she can pay half?

      Pay half?   Then why not just buy a ring yourself and wear it on the appropriate finger?   At least for me, my joy in my ring comes from the fact that my husband bought it for me.   I’m fairly certain he would have found it insulting if I had offered to pay for part of it.   It would have been an indication that what he could afford/was willing to buy was not good enough for me.   I simply told him what cut I preferred, he shopped for the diamond entirely on his own.   Even if it had been another stone I would have been happy.

      Is it that he actually doesn’t want to buy a ring at all or is it the price/size of the ring that’s the problem?   I wonder whether you’d  be happy with a stone other than diamond, or no stone at all as long as you get a ring.   If so, I’m still on your side.   However, I have trouble imagining a man who would refuse to buy a woman a token that claims her as his, especially if it’s so important to her.   Of course, he might be against the concept of rings in general but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

  2. 2

    yes, it’s a double standard that the only way it can be eliminated is by equality. Either no one gets anything ( aka no ring), either they both get engagement gifts for eachother. I’ve always felt a nice watch of an equal economic value as the ring (in your case 5000$) would be a nice engagement gift for a guy. You could also engrave it. Equality means reciprocity. Don’t do to other that you won’t want others do to you. Want a gift? Give a gift. It’s a two way street. You can’t choose to be equl only when it suits you.

    1. 2.1

      Well I understand that wife (or her family) pays for the wedding. So there is your “gift”. A big wedding easily will dwarf the cost of the engagement ring.

      1. 2.1.1

        That doesn’t always happen the second time around.

      2. 2.1.2

        Stacy2, the wife’s family typically doesn’t pay for the wedding anymore.   The higher earning spouse covers the majority of the expenses (we know who that is going to be).   Plus, most men don’t care about the weddings.   That’s mainly for the bride, too, these days.

        1. Not Stacy/Troll

          Actually you’d be suprised how many well established couples in the 30s are still having their weddings paid for by the bride’s parents. Particularly if they are well off and planning 50K or more wedding. They may see it as a chance to show off.

          I agree about the unfairness of  the practice of the man giving an engagement ring, and when you think about where it came from — signaling a woman was off limits when her fiance had no such similar “markings”  — I scratch my head as to why the practice continues (Actually I don’t, it’s because diamond manufcaters are exceptional at selling a false dream).

          But to each his/her own 🙂

        2. Stacy2

          I think for the first wedding they still do, at least in the upper middle class. I paid for mine myself because my parents didnt have any money, but most of my girlfriends come from affluent backgrounds and had their “wedding funds” set aside by their parents. For the second wedding I think that doesn’t happen and this is why I think the engagement ring should probably not be that important either. All this fluff like dresses and rings and weddings are for kids in their 20ies. When you are divorced and in your 30ies its time to grow up and focus on important things.

        3. GoWithTheFlow

          Neither I or the in-laws paid for my son/their daughter’s wedding. I offered to pay the bar tab, but neither of them asked, and they were both mid 20s.   I will do the same for the younger two kids, offer an equitable amount of money as a wedding gift to do with as they wish, but I’m not footing a 30k-50k shindig.   I’ll put every dollar possible I can towards their college education, but parties are on them.

      3. 2.1.3

        That could be the case, but most couples I’ve met end up splitting the cost of the wedding because the wedding is for both him and her, while the engagement ring is more hers than his. Ultimately I think a couple should discuss it together and whatever works for them is the right solution, but I’ve heard a lot of men complaining about having to buy the ring and I find that to be pointless. Instead of trying to persuade someone to renounce an idea it would be much more easy to convince them to accept a new idea and start a new custom of engagement gift for men in the era of equality. That way everyone is giving something, everyone is getting something, the man doesn’t feel bad like losing something and the woman wouldn’t feel bad for wanting something – everyone is happy with no headaches as an engagement should be. But that again is just my personal humble opinion.

    2. 2.2
      Diana Hyrya

      Equality? Let men give birth to children or at leas feel the same pain when his wife gives birth!

  3. 3

    This is such a bizarre issue. You have been married before, have you not gotten it out of your system yet and learned that a ring doesnt guarantee shit? My ex bought me a humongous ring (which i later sold and used for a downpayment lol) and turned out to be a horrible husband. Reuse your first marriage ring (you did keep it, right ?) or just buy your own if that’s so important. if you got a good guy it’s all that matters. Plus, $5,000 range rings are garbage anyway, they are not worth anything on resale, these are low quality diamonds. It would pain me to throw money away like that.

    1. 3.1

      Hi Stacy2,

      I am curious, if 5,000 is cheap, what is a the price for a high quality ring? How does one know the difference?

      …    …    …

      For what it is worth, it is sad that no one acknowledges what you stated in this post, but people will only focus on what they want.


      I love all your post, I love everyone’s post. You don’t have a secret agenda, you are just saying how you feel about the subjects.


      I try not to take sides, but I hope that you will continue to contribute to this blog, as you or maybe it was Stacy 1 that said, you know that sometimes your passion is mistaken for venom, but I don’t see it that way.


      Though no one cares what I what I think (^_^).

      1. 3.1.1

        Adrian, you basically have to know diamonds to know what a good ring is, and you need to understand their pricing. Diamonds are graded on a variety of factors (clarity, color, carat weight) and you could buy wholesale price sheets called Rapaport guide to get a sense of wholesale prices. Generally, stones that go into “mall jewelry” are very low quality however they’re ridiculously overpriced compared to their real worth. Take a $3,000 ring from the mall to a dealer and you are lucky to get quoted $300 for it (I am not joking). Also, regardless of quality, all small diamonds below 2ct (in one piece) are not worth much and will resell for a fraction of their appraisal, and at a steep discount to Rapaport. Personally, I view almost every significant  purchase as an investment and would never blow several thousand dollars on a mall ring, but that’s just me.

      2. 3.1.2

        Hi Adrian – First of all, I appreciate your thoughts !

        Second of all, if I ever were to get an engagement ring, “going steady” ring, or buy a ring for myself just for fun, it would be ANYTHING but a diamond.   I can’t stand the whole diamond industry, their marketing and the whole blood diamond thing.

        DeBeers has polluted the emotional, affectionate, loving side of engagements and marriage, and has made it just one more “keeping up with Jones”.   And when I hear people say they can’t “afford” to get married, they really mean they can’t save up for a fancy wedding, heck if they are already living together, perhaps even have children, what is there to “afford” about getting marriage except an over priced gala event.

        As far I’m concerned, the marketers can lecture us all on the 4C’s and how to tell the “worth” of a diamond, and how it is an “investment”, but it is certainly not a financial investment, but is probably a sentimental one.

        I just don’t think ANY ring (engagement, cocktail, mother’s ring) is intrinsically worth more than 2 grand, and that’s on the HIGH side.   I would be happy with a 2 birthstone “promise” ring if it was given willingly and enthusiastically as a gift from someone who ENJOYED giving it to me, but the crown jewels of England wouldn’t mean a damn thing to me, if I had to ask for them, and they became a point of contention.

        So when I hear that a diamond is “worth” $10,000 because of it’s cut, color and clarity, etc., I’m just not buying it.   (literally or metaphorically).

        I can understand wanting a ring for SENTIMENTAL reasons (much like a mother would like to receive flowers from her children), but in my opinion gifts such as these derive their value from the sentiments between the giver and the person receiving the gift, NOT what the sellers of the gifts say they are worth, and not what people outside of the relationship say they are worth or what they mean.

        The whole 2.5 months salary thing makes me BARF as does the ad slogan I saw that said “Starting your marriage, shouldn’t she wear a symbol of your success ?”.   I thought that ad was so tacky.   The wedding band and/or engagement ring shouldn’t symbolize anything but the bond between the couple.

        I recently attended the wedding of one of my friend’s children.   It was held in their beautiful back   yard, tacos were served, the bride wore an embroidered cotton white dress, the bridesmaids wore sun dresses that they will be able to wear again.   It was one of the most beautiful weddings I went to because the bride and groom were so blatantly head over heels for each other.   If the couple isn’t in love, no lavish royalty-esque wedding will fix that.   If they truly love and are devoted to each other a back yard BBQ and dollar store decorations won’t diminish that.

        I can’t stand the whole wedding industry, because they have brainwashed to many people to focus on the first day of the marriage, instead of the marriage itself.



    2. 3.2
      cheryl perry

      Reusing a ring that another man gave you is a horrible idea…..better to have no ring than to have your future husband put the ring that your ex husband gave you on your finger..its like bringing your past relationship into your current relationship…smh

      1. 3.2.1

        I agree with Cheryl

  4. 4

    I am currently in the same situation with my girlfriend (we’ve been together a little over a year now). She’s wonderful to me (as I am to her) and we always enjoy each others company. We’ve both hinted at marriage and have had a lot of ‘future plans’ discussions so we’re in alignment. Sure, we’ve had some disagreements (‘arguments’ she calls them) but we both always work to compromise with a willingness to understand each other as best we can. It’s really refreshing actually. Except .. this issue. She has clearly expressed the desire for a ring and I’m not adverse to it (we have yet to reach an agreeable “months of salary” number though .. [eye-roll]).

    However, times have changed .. a lot. We both have done very well in our careers though she makes a bit more than me (~20K) but her position requires a bit of travel (while mine doesn’t) and more stress so kinda makes sense. We split a lot of expenses (about 65/35) for our vacations but I’m ok with that too.   I understand her desire for a traditional “demonstration of value” trinket and attempted to get her to apply a logical comparison (just as Evan did) but her response was .. you guessed it .. “That’s different!”.   At times I am tempted to call out the hypocrisy of her cherry-picking what traditional elements she has let go (which represent obligations) and those she still clings to (which represent benefits) but I suspect that would not be constructive. So, negotiations continue ..

    1. 4.1

      Tell her to go buy a ring with the money she’s saved on the vacations you’ve had together despite her making more than you.   65/35??   I can’t relate to this kind of sense of entitlement.

      1. 4.1.1

        LOL .. that response wouldn’t go over well either. I cut her  a lot of slack because, while she maintains a hint of  “Princess” in her demeanor, her mind think is  very much not entitled .. a very refreshing change from virtually every other women I’ve ever had a dalliance with, as well as many of the comments I see here. As a grown man, it’s fascinating to see such a near consistent inability (or unwillingness) to genuinely apply the reverse-scenario that Evan suggests. Just  too  logical I guess.  And  whenever the  reactive “That’s not the same!” response is used, it just appears  shallow and myopic (and maybe a little entitled).  I’m  so  glad I finally found a woman so different from the rest. Now I just keep coming back here for the entertainment value, contribute useful nuggets of perspective when I can, and to remind myself how lucky I am.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          For what it’s worth, I gave my wife my Mom’s engagement ring and paid for most of the wedding myself. To do both would have been cost-prohibitive.

        2. McLovin

          “it’s fascinating to see such a near consistent inability (or unwillingness) to genuinely apply the reverse-scenario that Evan suggests”


          It’s called solipsism, the inability to see things from any perspective save for one’s own.

          Most women I’ve encountered, and it sounds like this is the case for you as well, display it in spades.

        3. KK

          Solipsism is due to emotional immaturity, lack of introspection, and an inability to empathize. It’s not a gender issue. The best examples of solipsism can be seen on any MGTOW blog.

        4. Chance

          McLovin’, have you noticed that, even for the women who would prefer not to have a man buy them a ring or pay for dates, their reasoning for such a stance is still commonly rooted in their own self-interests without regard for reciprocity?   It’s common to hear statements like:


          “I don’t want a man to buy me a ring because it signifies ‘ownership'”  


          “I would rather pay my own way because a man will feel like I owe him something – mainly sex – if he pays for me.”


          No, it’s not the Golden Rule that is driving their decisions, it’s still “what’s best for them”.   It really is stranger than fiction.

        5. Callie

          Chance –

          1. First of all, why wouldn’t we base things off of our personal needs and what’s best for us? Do you not do that? If not,  you really should, you should make sure to take care of yourself before anyone else. That doesn’t of course mean you can’t take care of others, but you’re no good to anyone if you aren’t caring  for yourself. Also it makes you vulnerable to people taking advantage of you. You gotta know your boundaries, you gotta know what you need from a partner, and you gotta be strong and stand up for those things. I mean, yes, after all that is taken care of be generous and kind and loving to others. But you can’t be any of those things if you’re being walked all over.

          2. I do note you quote my statement  about ownership, but my lengthy explanation about how I find De Beers manipulating men into spending 3 months of their salary totally disgusting you neglected to mention. Like dude I actually did think about how the tradition affects men in my post, but I guess that was inconvenient to you?

          3. Also you neglected to mention that the only reason I’m gonna be doing an engagement ring at all is because that’s what my boyfriend wants. HE wants it. So I’M compromising  for HIM, so that he can have his romantic moment. I would much prefer not having one. But I understand how important it is for him. Look at me, putting his needs first. Also inconvenient to your point I do realise that.

        6. KK

          Ok Chance,

          “No, it’s not the Golden Rule that is driving their decisions, it’s still “what’s best for them”.   It really is stranger than fiction”.

          I find it interesting that you’re addressing this to McLovin, since he makes no secret about gaming women. Isn’t his “game” about what’s best for him and him alone? The fact that he has to lie, manipulative, and deceive to get what he wants, with absolutely no concern about how it affects those women for making the mistake of trusting him. Is the golden rule only in place where women’s behavior is concerned? How utterly hypocritical.

        7. Chance

          @Callie – I didn’t read your original comment.   My comment was a general one, and not in response to anyone here.   However, I suppose you’ve provided one more example, and therefore, you kind of proved my point.


          @KK – I do not condone gaming or manipulating anyone.   Please, no more guilt by association.

        8. KK

          For what it’s worth, Chance, I wasn’t accusing you of being like him. Like I said, I just thought it was odd you would ask a hypocrite to weigh in on others’ hypocrisy. We can all predict his response.

        9. Callie

          How exactly did I prove your point? Did you not actually read what I wrote just now to you?   I listed two different ways in which I was talking about men’s feelings first. Two out of the three, were about men. Is it that I need to ONLY care about what men want and ever caring about myself shows that women are selfish creatures?

        10. Jolana

          I just read all of comments. Mostly i have seen comments where everyone wants to save on weddings as much as possible. Some of you said- women has to buy engament ring herself. Some split price. Some thinking about ring as not important. What the hell. What the hell u guys have in your brain? Seriously…… women gives kids and care for house. She can work herself to build the house…. so basicaly she marry to give You, you man, kids. In my opinion, i will give kids to real man- who apprechiate me, respect me and know my needs and values. Obviously it will be man who will not care how much ring cost….. because he will know that it shows he cares for me and he wants everyone show im his. With such man i will feel secure, wanted and i will know he will take care for ours kids and well being. Obviously i would never marry with man who wiulf ask me split price, offer me no ring, it will show how much he ignores me and my values. I would call this guy a loser without capacity of thinking about women. Rich or poor…. everyone who wants finds way to buy ring- symbol of marriage, losers!

    2. 4.2

      Ha, AAORK, are you  the same guy who sympathized with McLovin on another thread over reading the comments here as a way of assuaging your conscience after gaming entitled women?:) Because there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between that sentiment and what you’re willing to put up with here, even if your girlfriend is, overall, a good person. 65/35 isn’t cool dude, not when she makes more than you.

      1. 4.2.1

        Yep same guy. But you are recalling a modified version of that conversation. It wasn’t “gaming entitled women”, it was simply gaming women .. who happen to have entitlement mentalities. Knowing game as I do, I learned that these types of women have a special weakness that can be exploited (“Petting the Snowflake” as I called it). That’s all. At the time, I was simply incentivized by the opportunities presented when unrestrained hypergamy intersects with narcissistic entitlement. And from what I can see around me, it’s even more common today than existed back when I was running with the big dogs.   And many men younger than me are partaking today just as I did back then. Hell, today they have access to a lot more information than I did. Spoiled kids don’t know good they got it.

        So there’s no disconnect with “what I’m willing to put up with” now; simply a shift in priorities. The special attributes that I extend to my GF today (tolerance, acceptance, patience, consideration, and compromise) is what I promised myself to extend to the woman who sets herself apart from the rest. I’m not some hard-ass (but admittedly still a bit arrogant). And having seen so much, I know a good (special) woman when I see one. They are rare. BTW, she only makes 10% more than me so it’s not a big deal. Fact is, I could match or exceed but my priorities have shifted to a more balanced work/life focus. She’s a bit younger so I’ll let her do this while she still has the go-go energy for it. At some point, she’ll slow down like I did.

        And yes, this blog IS good therapy of sorts for guys like me (for Evan as well, I suspect) even though sometimes I wanna scream at the monitor at some of the supremely solipsistic responses I see here. But at the same time, why let little nuggets of wisdom and insight go to waste for those who just MIGHT be ready to be enlightened a little bit? 🙂

        1. Chance

          Ha, I’ll say that guys must share the responsibility for the existence of these types of women, though.   This is partially due to the man’s inability/unwillingness to regulate his hormones and partially due to not understanding how to respond to the shaming tactics.   The end result is you have a lot of women who display a sense of entitlement that is nothing short of mind-detonating.


          That said, there are some positive comments from women on here that reinforce my faith in humanity.   We should be rewarding these types instead of blindly following our biological imperatives.


          ….unless you’re a millennial guy, then just stay away altogether.   In addition to the outrageous ring and (likely) having the foot the bill for a wedding you don’t really care about, you can look forward to one-way Valentine’s Day gifts, one-way anniversary gifts, push gifts, babymoons, and whatever else your wife and her friends can concoct.   WT flying F????

        2. AAORK

          Disagree, Chance. Men are no more responsible for women’s actions than women are for men’s actions. The entitlement complex is a distinctly Westernized cultural attribute. I can confidently say this because I’ve been involved with women from all parts (S American, Asian, E European and Middle East cultures as well as Western). The horny-dog attitude is universal among men. It’s a core biological driver, but is tempered to a greater or lessor extent by cultural influences. Men from S Americas and parts of Europe are unabashed in advertising their “intentions”, much more than most any American man (and witnessing this raw display for the first time can be a real shock-and-awe experience). And in these same cultures, you do not see a corresponding entitlement attitude from the women. While I would agree that men’s “hormone” factor can be an incentivizer to women’s entitlement attitude, it’s not a root cause. It’s cultural.

          I would agree that some women’s comments here display a more realistic viewpoint and these are the ones who will have better overall success with relationships. These are the women who can be helped. As for the others, this is where the entertainment value kicks in. I’m not the kind of guy to go around telling other guys to “stay away”; instead, I preach “proceed with caution” and “expand your horizons beyond the pond you were born in”.

    3. 4.3

      I am in the same predicament, I actually bought her an Amazon knock off ring as a symbol of my dedication and commitment and of course to ward off the wolves of the night. Last night when I asked her for her hand she quickly responded that she wanted , ” a real ring, ” and that I basically needed to spend 3 months salary on it. I said, well we have other bills that take precident, so if you want that 15K ring, it will have to wait, I can’t afford that. IT spiraled down hill, I wass accused of not thinking she was worth it, I said that I should not have to prove what I have already been living, with a ring I can’t afford. Now , I am at work pondering where to go with this. I love her very much but I can’t stomach paying that much for a ring, I’d rather use that money as a down payment for a house, or to use at the honeymoon in Europe.

  5. 5
    Elly Klein

    Given the information provided, I definitely don’t think him not wanting to get you a ring is any reflection on his desire (or lack thereof) to want to marry you, so you can scratch that off your list of concerns in my humble opinion. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an engagement ring if you want one.

    Have a discussion with him  – and drill down. Why, exactly, do you want an engagement ring? Why, exactly, doesn’t he want to buy you an engagement ring? Perhaps you could choose it together and split the cost. Perhaps you can get something much more economical than $5000. (Doesn’t matter how much money he makes – $5000 is $5000 he might not want to spend on a ring.) Come up with a compromise you can both be happy with.

    For me, personally, this is an easy one – I don’t want an engagement ring. I don’t want a wedding band either. I want something  unique, symbolic and special to go on ‘that’ finger that my fiancé and I either pick out together or have especially designed – and I get it on my wedding day. I don’t want to be limited to the engagement ring / wedding band combo,  I don’t want to spend too much money, and I don’t care about diamonds. But that’s just me. I have to take my partner into consideration. He HE wants me to wear a traditional  engagement ring / wedding band combo, well, that’s fine. But I’d say 9 times out of 10, men buy women engagement rings because that’s what SHE wants – and he wants to make her happy. He, on the other hand, is indifferent about it. But I do believe he genuinely wants to get married.

  6. 6

    I agree with Scott H. An engagement ring is one of those things women get excited about because of what it symbolizes. How terrible would she feel when she’s around her married or engaged friends and she’s the only one without a ring. It’s kinda like being the only kid that doesn’t get to have ice cream or go on the field trip.

    1. 6.1
      Heather K

      But women are not kids…and unlike school kids who compare ice cream cones, grown women should be able to appreciate the diversity of different people and different circumstances.   Her married or engaged friends should all have respect for the different circumstances of different people, including but not limited to different financial circumstances.   But, there are 40 dollar rings with cubic zirconia that will do the trick, if it’s just the symbol of the ring that’s wanted.

      1. 6.1.1

        I didn’t mean to imply that women are children. It was just the first analogy that popped in my head when trying to empathize with someone who really wants something and doesn’t want to feel left out. I agreed with what Scott said about a less expensive ring (if cost is the issue) and I agree with you as well. Hopefully she will talk it out with her boyfriend and end up with the ring she wants or a CZ that’s just as meaningful.

  7. 7

    I’m feeling it. I’d want a ring too. Not necessarily a big one either, as long as it’s meaningful to us as a couple.   But as a divorcee, the one thing I cannot imagine ever doing is getting a ring tattoo for a new relationship.   However secure I felt.   Life happens.   It’s bad enough having to untangle the finances and household goods. Right now, I couldn’t face going  through that again. But having to get a tat removed as well?  I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t go there.   Imagine if one of you dies – and then wants to remarry and new partner has to deal with a tattoo’d ring.   Just no.

    However, is it possible that he feels that  ring tattoos symbolise something  more permanent than a mere finger trinket? Ask him – what’s important to you about a ring tattoo?   And ask him if you could tell him what’s important to you about a ring.

  8. 8

    Bravo Scott, for your answer.

    As a woman, who wants to find Mr Right, I agree.   Men look at the left hand to know if she’s available.   Women look at a man’s hand for a band too.

    Having done it before,   I can honestly say, I won’t marry the next one if he doesn’t think I’m worth a nice engagement ring.

    In the past, I did,   and it seems to be an indicator of future worth.

    And regardless of his past gold digging wife, this is a new wife and marriage.   She deserves the same chance.

  9. 9

    I totally believe a guy can be fully on board with the commitment without the ring. Even a “frugal” wedding is going to cost a fortune, unless it’s a jp and backyard barbecue – don’t judge. Personally, I agree that the tattoo ring isn’t my preference. But, I would accept almost anything sentimentally representative and I would LOVE for it to have been thoughtfully and creatively obtained by my partner. But, whatever. It’s not my priority. I’m guessing this guy has already made some significant sacrifices to pay for the wedding. Any wedding is expensive. If I was feeling that kind of anxiety about making him buy me something, I would rethink what my actual need was and work with that first. Children are incredibly expensive, too. Brace yourself.

  10. 10

    I completely agree with Evan on this one. And honestly, just because a woman doesn’t have a ring doesn’t mean she’s fair game. Men don’t wear rings and they aren’t always fair game. The fact that he doesn’t want to get a ring has nothing to do with what kind of partner he is to her and his investment in their future.

  11. 11

    Think of it this way, you are going to have to look at your ring every day for the rest of your life. Don’t you want it to be high quality, classy, and something you can be proud of? You might die with it on your figure. You might want to pass it down to your daughter. It’s significant. And sorry, Evan, it’s not the same as a television.

    There’s nothing unreasonable about wanting your prospective fiance to buy you a ring. If it’s a cost issue, tally up all your wedding related expenses. A $3500 ring will just be portion of the overall budget, and the woman can certainly pay her share of the rest of the budget so all things will be equal on the whole.


    1. 11.1

      What percentage of the overall budget do you think a $3500 ring is going to be? Would one expect a lavish wedding the second time?

  12. 12

    I really enjoyed Evan’s reversal of the situation.   It really does demonstrate a good point.   I’m not gonna say I don’t want a ring, because of course I do, however, I’ve realized that while I’d love a Tiffany engagement ring, I will take whatever he gives me because I feel that the love behind it means more than the ring itself.   I have had some very sentimental and valuable jewelry stolen from me so I have learned (the hard way) not to put so much emphasis on the item but rather to cherish the love and sentiments with which it is given.   I would much rather spend the money from an expensive ring on our home or doing something together than something that sits on my finger that really only means something to me.

  13. 13

    If you make a lot of money and you have money to waste. Sure, why not get a 5k ring. Otherwise what a waste of money. Go put a down payment on a house or take a nice memorable vacation or something. Better yet place it in a retirement fund.

    The technology to make diamonds  are getting better and better. each year So much so that diamond rings are going to be worthless in a few decades. And the diamond industry is trying to introduce ‘natural’ diamonds as a marketing gimmick. I’m sure those who love those rings will soak it up.

    We all know the story of how diamond engagements came to be.(Total marketing gimmick.) But women STILL can’t resist it. It’s one of those things men just won’t understand.

  14. 14
    Karmic Equation

    My exhubby bought we an engagement right for about $2k. You can see the flaw in it if you look closely. From regular distance, you cannot see it. I didn’t care that it had a flaw. It was the thought that counts. I really hate wearing expensive things anyway. I bought a pair of “Easy Spirit” high heels when I was in my 20s for about $100. It was my most expensive purchase at the time. I wore it only once. lol.

    Had by fiance given me a $5k or $10k rock, I would probably have just left it off my finger and kept it “safe” in my jewelry box. I remember I was so paranoid with my $2k ring, that I used to turn the rock side into my palm when I was walking down the street. But I guess most women aren’t paranoid like that about wearing expensive jewelry 🙂

    Anyway, I think engagement rings are just another form of social comparison for women who won’t admit they’re competing with other women. She wants to show that she has someone who “values her enough” to want to marry her.

    I don’t really think I would care if my current bf were to buy me an engagement ring or not should he ever propose. That said, I remember that I valued being ENGAGED more than I valued being MARRIED. And the only reason I married was because my fiance wanted children and I didn’t want to have them out of wedlock. I would have been happy to  have stayed “engaged” forever if it weren’t for that. I thought planning the wedding was a lot of work and didn’t really want to do it.

    Now that I’m past my childbearing years, and my bf is self-employed with a very successful, niche, but manual-labor intensive business (which keeps him in great shape, yay!) — if we were to get engaged, I’m not sure that I would need the engagement ring. We’d probably just have a short engagement and get married quickly so that he can get my employer-subsidized healthcare benefits. But I’d probably want a blingy wedding band. As would he, as he does like rings.

    If I’d never been married before, I’d probably want that “social comparison” engagement ring. But having been there/done that, I’d be happy with a bejeweled wedding band instead 🙂

    Maybe that can be the compromise for OP?


    1. 14.1

      I laughed at your “Easy Spirit” heels comment. I had a pair of those in my early 20’s also. Too funny.

      1. 14.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        LOL. They were very comfortable.

        I’m still like that with most shoes. I’d rather by “cheap” shoes than expensive ones. Except my Ugg boots. I wear those almost the entire winter. I probably need a new pair, but have been reluctant to another pair, since this pair is so comfortable.

    2. 14.2

      Karmic, you nailed it with the comment “engagement rings are just another form of social comparison for women who won’t admit they’re competing with other women“. This craving for external social validation, which originates from persistent internal self-esteem issues, is such a common attribute seen in far too many women today. And I firmly believe that the widespread social media addiction (FB and Instagram selfies – Yuk!) of these same women just aggravates the issue.

      1. 14.2.1
        Karmic Equation

        AAORK, I guess you proposed to the girl who broke up with you? Congrats! (Unless I’m confusing you with someone else; in which case, sorry for the confusion.)

        Well, just like marriage seems like a Holy Grail to women who’ve never been married, I can understand a never-been-married woman wanting an engagement ring. It certainly meant a lot to me when I got mine in my late 20s, so I can’t really knock never-been-married women wanting that symbol. I would only question if that woman “required” a ring that was worth “several months'” salary. That seems very entitled. To have a ring symbolize a woman’s value to her future husband seems, at the very least, seems as if the woman is objectifying herself, by setting a dollar value on herself.

        Since OP has been married before, I don’t really understand her need for an engagement ring if her fiance is against it. As many others have said, she needs to do some introspection and also to have a conversation with her fiance on why HE doesn’t want to buy her a ring.

        If he can’t articulate a reason she can buy into (e.g., he’d rather save the 5k to put a downpayment on a house or to help pay for a honeymoon vs “my ex cheated so now I don’t want to give anything of value to any woman, not even you”) — then I’d say the that OP has more important things to worry about in her relationship than the ring itself.

    3. 14.3



      I am going to have to disagree with what was written by Evan.   But, I think Scott has it more accurately stated.   I am also going to go on a limb and say that he is not the right person for her.   Heres how I think that might be what she should be told.   Although, we’re all reading into the message that she provided.   1)   The guy is not 18.   He has been married before.   He knows that Most women expect some sort of ring on this occasion.   2)   A guy that was really into you would have moved past his ex experiences and not have that holding hi back from this sort of non-negotiable for most women.   (MOST  not necessarily all, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman that didn’t expect some sort of ring.)   3)   She was willing to pay for a part of it herself or receive a less expensive one than what she had originally thought she would like.   4)   A tv is comparable?   How about a better example.   Even in the most religious relationships, usually the wedding night spells that intimacy can be taken to another level.   What if this customary occasion was suddenly changed and the woman disagreed to doing this after the couple had been together for a couple of years?   Should the man be completely understanding this?   Would he?   It’s not that men and women are equal.     Not that men or women can be bad relationship partners, there have been enough comments on all of Evan’s posts to demonstrate this.     5)   There are plenty of women (including one of the commenters on here)   that have been with people or a man who didn’t think of things like this, that needed a conversation regarding specifics that couldn’t also think of some original idea such as what Evan did for a less expensive option.   These are men to have nothing to do with!!   I would advise the poster to think about these things before she marries the guy.   As a woman who was in a relationship with someone who turned very horrible, and the first couple of years would not have indicted that as much as you could possibly think it would, and as someone who survived through his abuse, I’ll say that it was these little things (without trying to put one situation into hers) that were the things that could have said something that I did not see or listen to it would seem.

      1. 14.3.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Lots of words – clearly coming from a personal place. What you have elegantly missed is that the OP sounds HAPPY in her relationship. The only problem is this one thing: dude doesn’t want to spring for a ring. That’s it. You’ve turned him into a caricature – an awful, selfish, avoidant man who would be cheap and selfish and abusive. The OP doesn’t think that. I don’t think that. This is really about a single difference of opinion. The question is whether you let such a difference of opinion define the relationship or not. Some people can’t get past single issues (kids, city vs suburbs, religion, etc). But for things like this? It would be somewhat stubborn and silly for each of them to make this a dealbreaker.

        The OP knows her own feelings. I was merely pointing out that a reasonable person – who doesn’t see the same intrinsic value to a ring – may have a different take on the situation. Full stop. That doesn’t deny her feelings. It allows that – as 50% of the couple – HE is entitled to have feelings, too, about what he does with his money and how he expresses his love.

        So, while you’re entitled to your feelings as to whether YOU would be with a man who questions the practice of buying a (second) expensive bauble to signal to the world that he is in love. But you’re not entitled to deny the validity of another point of view: as HE sees it, the fact that he has moved in with her, things are going great, and they’re talking about marriage is PROBABLY a better indicator of his feelings. You may make it a character issue, but it’s not. It’s a values issue. She values the jewelry and the symbol. He doesn’t. Hopefully, they can listen, understand each other, and agree on what’s really important in a relationship.

      2. 14.3.2
        Evan Marc Katz

        Here’s another way of looking at it – without the TV part.

        Imagine you “had” to buy HIM a $5K ring to symbolize your love, and if you didn’t do it, he made you feel guilty that you didn’t really love him.

        You do realize how that sounds, right?

        Gifts should be given out of desire, not obligation. Most of us buy into our societal roles about what we are “supposed” to do, but such societal roles should still be questioned when they are disagreeable or not applicable.

        At what point is buying a fancy ring a bad idea? When he makes $25K/year? When he’s been divorced twice before? When he has college payments, alimony payments, and is underwater on his house? When is it a fair time for a man to say, “You know what? Maybe spending this money on a exorbitant symbol of love doesn’t make much practical sense – especially when I’m already feeling and demonstrating love in other ways (like living with you, proposing to you, and devoting all my energies to you)?”

        When, Sarak?

        I await your answer.

        1. Isa

          My value isn’t determined by the number of carats on my finger.   I’ve always found it insulting that engaged women are branded like cattle, and their desirability is determined by how much money people are willing to spend on a racket.


          I have a beautiful ring I bought myself for $100 that I wear on occasions I need one.   Otherwise, neither of us do as in our professions we could lose some digits.   And even if I didn’t work in a dangerous profession, I find rings generally annoying and unwieldy.   Always getting caught and never fitting right as I have very petite fingers (3.5 or 4).


          I fully admit I am quite abnormal in this way, but much more sensible in the long run to keep all our fingers.

    4. 14.4


      When reading through the post, I could see where it was important to Kelly to want an engagement ring for sentimental/tradition purposes, but she lost me when she popped out with the $5,ooo price tag.   That’s a big chunk of moola, regardless of whether or not her fiancé makes $100k a year.

      When I was a teen or in my early 20s, it was a fantasy of mine to have a big ring and a big wedding.   As I got older and began working and paying my own way through life, my desire for a big rock on my hand or a huge shindig of a wedding went away because of cost issues when I learned how hard I work for a dollar and realized that people were running up huge debt to fund the DeBeer’s ring/Vera Wang dress fantasy.   I would rather be able to send my kids to college and retire at a decent age than spend that kind of money on a ring or party.

      I am old enough to have seen first hand that the size of the ring has no bearing on how a husband views or treats his wife.   My friend who bought both her’s and her husband’s plain gold wedding bands is treated like queen by her hubby of 25 years.   While a friend who had a huge diamond engagement ring (that was upgraded several times) had a husband who cheated on her for several years before they divorced.   Another long married couple I know bought each other engagement and wedding rings of comparable value that were within a low budget range.

      Plus, I just don’t have fingers that work well with rings, they slide off easily.   So on the rare occasions where I bust one of my inherited rings out of the safe, I’m always paranoid I will lose it!   If I were to ever to get married, a plain gold band is all I would want.

  15. 15

    I know I’m in the minority but honestly I do not like engagement rings unless both people in the couple wear them.   I don’t want to participate in a  custom that says that I’m off the market yet views him as still technically available.   If he doesn’t want to wear an engagement ring that’s totally ok with me and I’ll just wait to wear a ring until we exchange wedding bands.

  16. 16
    Mrs Happy

    My experience:

    I have been married twice, both during my 30’s, and was given a beautiful diamond ring by each fiance. I would have been hurt, devastated if either man had not given me an engagement ring. I am not a precious or entitled woman.

    My first baby was born the year after my 2nd wedding, and was a big shock to my career-woman system. For me it was hard to be at home alone with a new baby all week. Every time I changed a dirty nappy/diaper, I saw the sparkly ring, and thought of my lovely husband, who was away at work, and had of his own accord given me this ring in his hallmark generous way.

    If the ring had been gifted only after tense negotiations over what I wanted him to spend, or under duress, it would not have felt the same. He researched and chose it, put a lot of effort into learning about diamonds. I don’t know what it cost. I’d have preferred a cheaper ring than to contribute to the cost of it, because I like that it was from him to me, and a symbol of our future together. And realistically because we pool our money and assets, what it cost him, matters less; it ended up coming out of “our” money anyway in the end.

    When I look at the sparkles I smile and feel good and feel special to him. Every time.

    With the stress of young children our marriage has had its ups and downs, and for me the ring has symbolised my husband’s   love for me. I just asked my hubby what it means for him and he said, “a symbol of commitment and long term love, and a ginormous sign that other men should stay away, and as traditionally it’s a percentage of my income, I’m declaring my worth”.

    I have a friend, she and her fiance went shopping together. When the salesman asked her fiance what he wanted to spend, her fiance stated an amount that was equivalent to about 2 days pay for him. I must say I found that odd, a bit clueless almost, like he didn’t know the baseline for spending on an engagement ring.   She and he had both been married before. He was a reasonably high income earner (as was she) and didn’t have debt, they were both established with assets. To this day she wears the ring and she is embarrassed by it (the diamond is almost too small to see with the naked eye). She is a lovely person and would never have discussed this with him, but she was really hurt and felt devalued.

    In Western countries, in these times, it’s a social norm to give your fiancee a diamond engagement ring. I think not doing so means something important. (It’s not a social norm to gift a TV. If it was, most women would give their intended a TV.) Thus this is an issue they should calmly discuss.

    Often, emotions and symbolism, aren’t logical.

    1. 16.1
      Kevin Scott

      Ahh…u forgot the part about u getting divorced and how that ring no longer meant anything lol

      1. 16.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        Kevin @ 16.1,

        getting divorced doesn’t equal a ring not meaning anything.

        Things that happen in relationships that end, still have worth.



        1. Lola77

          So I take it you really value jewelry a lot.

        2. Lola77

          She needs to get over it.

          It’s an ENGAGEMENT RING not a WEDDING BAND.

          Those are two different things.

          The engagement is to show off he asked.

          The wedding band a symbol of the commitment.

          Which is more important you tell me.

          I propose she let it go. .. she’s been married before. If she doesn’t get by now that men want to marry her and if others can’t see that, shame on them.

          Find out another flashy (inexpensive)   way to announce the engagement and keep it moving.

          What she does need to do is ask him to go shopping together for wedding bands. Find one that is satisfies your need for flashy, but still affordable and go with that.

          If anyone asks about an engagement ring tell them since you were both married before you opted not to get one this time but you will both buy beautiful wedding bands to symbols your love for each other. Then end the conversation cuz it’s none of their business.

          Question, how often did any of you wear your engagement ring as opposed to your wedding band once you were actually married?

          I’d venture to guess rarely if not at all.

        3. KK

          Lola, “Question, how often did any of you wear your engagement ring as opposed to your wedding band once you were actually married?  I’d venture to guess rarely if not at all”.

          Some engagement rings can be bought as a set with a matching wedding band. I chose to have the two sautered together after the wedding. It’s actually somewhat common.

        4. Lola77

          KK – “Some engagement rings can be bought as a set with a matching wedding band. I chose to have the two sautered together after the wedding. It’s actually somewhat common.”

          Somewhat common but not necessary…

          At that as common as it is many women forgo wearing their engagement rings especially after years of marriage.

          This was posted on The Knot:

          “Though there’s not necessarily a correct way to do it, most married folks wear their wedding rings at all times (with or without their engagement ring). After all, it’s a symbol of your love, devotion and, well, the fact that you’re no longer engaged–you’re married!”

        5. KK

          Once  you’re  married, tradition dictates that your  engagement ring  be moved back to the third finger on your left hand. When you do so, your  wedding ring should remain closest to your heart (where your spouse placed it on your  wedding  day) and your  engagement ring  is placed next to the  wedding ring.
          This is the tradition that I’m familiar with, but to each his own.😀 I’ve honestly never heard of anyone putting away their engagement ring after marriage.

  17. 17

    For me, the size or cost of the engagement ring has never been important to me, it’s the sentimental value behind it. If it were me I would tell him that having and wearing a ring was important to me, tell him my preferences, and then leave it to him to buy what he wanted with that information.


    Of course if he never buys a ring, which would be odd I would admit, I’d have an honest conversation with him about it about what his objections to the symbol are. If I really, really wanted the relationship and to be married to him, and he did not buy a ring, I’d buy one for myself.

  18. 18
    Isobel Matheson

    When I saw the strapline, I assumed this was from an 18 year old, and   have to admit I was taken aback to read that is not the case.

    Before opening up the full text, I had already prepared my take on it, along the lines of “marriage is more than a symbol/compromise is key/when you’ve lived a bit you’ll find out/spend the money on real stuff” etc, etc. I’m not sure my thoughts about it have changed since reading the whole piece but, my advice might have. If you are both divorced, surely to goodness you can understand what makes a marriage? I mean, even if your start point is what doesn’t make a good marriage it can inform you (albeit from a negative place).

    He is free to spend his money how he likes, and we can only hope he ‘likes’ to spend some of it on her. She is free to spend hers, too, and I assume she ‘likes’ to spend on him. Making demands on either party is not a good start to a life together.

    Assuming your new partner is going to behave like an ex partner is not a good start to a life together. Whichever one of you is bringing the ex wife into this needs to drop it, and fast.

    Using objects as an indication of how much you are loved is not a good start to a life together. Much will happen in future that has nothing to do with material goods, and it is important that the security and worth of the marriage is found deep within, and between, the couple. When/if you have kids, you’ll see what I mean hahaha!

    Failing to explore your intentions (not the other person’s) before opening your mouth is not a good start to a life together. What is this really about? Why does it matter that you have a ring? How about exploring the wider context of marriage, its history/socio-politico-economic role? Rings have not evolved through a romantic notion but, out of ownership and property – women were a mans property and the ring made that clear (women still are men’s property in some parts of the world).   His ‘purchase’ of her was symbolised in the ring. Just sayin’….

    IMHO, you really need to take the focus off the ring and put some energy into thinking about your relationship over the long term, hopefully how you create a life together. It doesn’t feel as if this is a good start to a life together but, I think I’ve already said that a few times.

    Buy each other a ring. Or don’t buy a ring at all. Either way, this is not about the ring.

  19. 19

    To those who claim that the ring is a symbol of his love for her, what is the symbol of her love for him?   If his symbol is so important to her, has she asked herself the question of whether she should give him such a symbol?   Or would she be offended if he required such a symbol, since he is supposed to love her for who she IS, not for trinkets she gives him?


    Men don’t generally want gifts from women.   We don’t want fancy watches or rings in exchange for the fancy rings that we buy for women.   When we are lonely, we think of our WIVES/girlfriends and the thought of them makes us happy.   We don’t need symbols, we don’t demand gifts, and we don’t set our personal concept of “value” based on the price-tag of the gifts we receive.   That women do so is completely foreign to most of us.


    A question to those women who claim that they need a sparkly ring to remember their husband’s love – how will he remember yours?   If you never gave him a gift, do you worry that he won’t value you?   Or would you expect his love/value for you to stem from who you ARE, rather than what you gave him?   Why do you so devalue yourselves, that you perceive your husband’s love based on the cost of your ring (or the fact that you have one)?   And why do you so devalue your husbands as to need to look at a sparkly ring to remember that you love them?


    Introspection is in order here, OP.   Why do you REALLY want this ring?   Do you doubt his love if he doesn’t buy it for you?   Or do you need a sparkly ring to show your friends?   Do you actually care WHY he doesn’t want to buy you a ring?   Or are his reasons irrelevant to your “wanting what you want”?

    1. 19.1

      You personally may not care about gifts, but a lot of men do care and enjoy receiving gifts. In fact, I would think that most men would enjoy receiving a rolex (or a iwatch depending on the level of geekiness) or an equivalent for an anniversary or birthday for example. Do you never exchange gifts? Has your fiancé never given you anything? Why all the fuss about this particular occasion? Doesn’t seen very logical.

      All these arguments about why do I have to buy an engagement ring or pay for dates generally stink – because they’re generally not about the money or any practical issues, and not about challenging societal norms, they are about control  

      It’s hard to explain but it seems to me on an intuitive level, that men who bring up these arguments feel that not courting a woman, not giving a traditional gift, etc.  is a way to regain control over their relationships, “putting her in her place”, show her she is not that special or deserving, etc. May be this is why I always find this attitude so unattractive.


      1. 19.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Actually, Stacy 2, YOUR argument sort of stinks, because if anyone’s trying to control things here, it’s YOU for demanding that he should want to do something he doesn’t want to do. YOU are the one who sees something nefarious (“putting her in her place”) vs. the more obvious idea that it’s disproportionately expensive and impractical for a guy who is also helping to pay for his wedding, his future house, his future kids… Stop judging others for disagreeing with you.

      2. 19.1.2

        It works both ways then, Stacy. You demanding that men deliver such gifts can also be seen as a form of control, even more so, since you’re proactively insisting that men engage in certain actions/behaviors, and then trying to mask that control as you having “standards.”

      3. 19.1.3

        Different thread, but my reply to you is the same as the last one, Stacy2…

        “I want an egalitarian relationship, now buy me an expensive sparkly thing!!!”

    2. 19.2


  20. 20

    It seems that the word “entitlement” is being badly overused in these discussions, and has come to describe any wish, preference or desire a woman may have. Want to marry your equal? Entitled. Want an engagement ring? Entitled. Want a guy to pay for dates? Entitled. Kind of reminds me of the “cool girl” monologue by Gillian Flynn. A cool girl is hot, expects or want’s nothing, never complains and likes exactly the same things as the guy does. LOL. Ladies, it’s not bad to have standards and “wants” and work to achieve them. Every guy who tells you otherwise  is playing a control game and  should be avoided. IMO.

    1. 20.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      My wife is what I call in Love U “a cool girl with boundaries.” She is hot, she doesn’t expect anything, she doesn’t complain, and we get along famously. I make her happy 95% of the time and she openly appreciates the efforts I make for her. She never asks me for money, she doesn’t covet name brands, she doesn’t keep up with the Joneses. She’s down to earth. I can be myself around her. And because she’s so extraordinary, I am over-the-top gushy about her – complimentary, affectionate, generous, sensitive. In other words, the less demanding she is, the more I WANT to give to her. And in the 5% of times that I disappoint her, she says something, I apologize and she almost always gets her way. That’s the paradigm I’m teaching here. We ALL want cool partners…and we all have the right to walk if we feel our partners are more takers than givers. Good relationships have TWO givers – they just don’t give the exact same way. See The 5 Love Languages. The OP may value gifts more than her boyfriend does. Doesn’t mean her boyfriend is “wrong”. Just means they have to both communicate their needs – without making the other person wrong – and finding a compromise that leaves both of them somewhat satisfied.

      1. 20.1.1

        I think that you and your wife are very lucky to have found each other. In my experience though, this “cool girl” attitude attracts the wrong men who are users, not givers, and the whole “entitlement” shaming is nothing more than a blame game they play to whip their partners into submission.

        I am curious though: if tomorrow you suddenly decided to quit your job and smoke weed on a couch all day, do you think your wife would say nothing and be “cool” about it? Or is there, in your mind, a limit on “coolness”? Perhaps that is what I call standards and you call boundaries.

        1. Chance

          Stacy2, are you being serious with your arguments, or are you intentionally saying the most ridiculous things imaginable in support of your arguments so you can see what kind of responses they will generate?   Not trolling, just want to know if I should even attempt to reason with you.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          1. Yes, my wife and I are very lucky to have found each other. She is my north star and everything I teach is inspired by her. “What would my wife do?” is pretty much the central premise of how I teach women.

          2. You’re making a classic mistake that I’ve addressed in this space before: You don’t “attract” the wrong men, you “accept” the wrong men. In other words, who cares if 90% of men are users. DUMP THEM! Problem solved. Now you can’t complain that you’re with a selfish man. My point is that if you’re with a GOOD guy who values you, treats you well, and is committed, the way to his heart is to be a BETTER girlfriend. That means being “cool” – encouraging him to go out with his guy friends, not flipping out that he’s friends with exes, accepting the fact that he finds other women attractive and occasionally looks at online porn. And not making a big deal about how he spends his money. As AAORK has said, Jeremy has said, and I have said – we don’t want to be convinced or sold on why we should buy you something. We want to do it because we want to do it – because we’re good, generous men and we want to make our wives happy. The second you have to exert control – and pressure him – to see you, to call you, to commit to you, to buy you baubles – you’ve already lost. Find a guy who does the right things 95% of the time and appreciate him, rather than finding a guy who does the right things 95% of the time and focusing on the 5%. I get the sense that the OP has a really good relationship (living with a man who openly wants to get married) and her focus is disproportionately on something as simple as how he values a diamond vs. how she values a diamond. HE shows her he loves her through acts of kindness, quality time, words of affirmation…and somehow it doesn’t mean anything because he is questioning the value of a $5K ring. That, at the very least, is what the dissenting men here are telling you (and the OP) is misguided. It’s not that she’s wrong to want a ring. That’s fine. That’s normal. It’s that it’s somewhat ineffective to suggest that a loving boyfriend is somehow not a good guy anymore because he thinks that engagement rings are too much $ to spend – which is a perfectly reasonable counter to her feelings.

          Finally, to your last question: you’re making some slippery slope/straw man argument again. My wife is “cool” because she has an incredible husband. I’m not telling you (or any other woman) to put up with unacceptable behavior (slacker husband, cheating husband, abusive/selfish/angry husband). I’m telling you that when you have a good guy – sane, stable, kind, consistent, communicative, commitment oriented – your relationship will thrive when you are ACCEPTING of him rather than CRITICAL of him. I don’t see what there is to disagree about. Dump shitty guys. Don’t sweat the small stuff with good ones. The price of a ring is small stuff that can, should, and will be negotiated by this couple. I’m advising the OP to really dial down the “If you loved me, you’d WANT to buy me a big rock” rhetoric, because it’s just NOT TRUE.

    2. 20.2

      Stacy2, I find your accusations of “controlling males” to be quite confusing.   If women are trying to coerce men into buying them expensive rings, who is trying to control whom?   You advocate that women have wants and standards, and that women should “work to achieve them” – no problem there….but then you advocate that it should actually be MEN who work to support the standards and wants of women.   Again, who is trying to control whom?


      I have been married (happily) for 11 years.   If I want something, I go out and buy it.   I don’t drop hints for my wife to buy it for me, nor do I play head games with her, telling her that if she loved me she’d do it.   That would be manipulative, you see.


      Too many women fail to see this.   Too many women believe that “romance” is what men do for women – buy flowers, buy jewelry, plan expensive dates/trips…….If that is romance, what do women do for men??   Men are generally happy just to be with our women, shouldn’t women be happy just to be with us?   THAT would be romance!


      If I were the OP’s fiancee, her attitude toward this ring would be just about the most un-romantic thing in the world.   It would make me re-think the whole relationship.   That should be something for her to consider.


      1. 20.2.1

        I don’t think women are “coercing” men into doing anything, that is a rather stronghold word. Some women (myself included) would be perfectly fine without a ring (and without a wedding and without a legal marriage for that matter). Others would not be. It’s a free country and you can choose to date or be with whoever you want.

        However, there’s nothing wrong with a woman expecting to get a present for a commonly recognized occasion. It is the same for men. It is not wrong to have expectations, and men have expectations with respect to women as well. Even Evan’s wife who he said “expects nothing” probably does in fact expect for him to maintain gainful employment and help around the house, and he expects her to be a good mother to their kids and not gain 100 pounds, for example. I mean, it’s pretty basic. How is expecting a gift for a commonly/traditionally recognized occasion any different?

        And, I would add that if you have to ask yourself a question “I have to buy this gift and what did I ever got from the woman” – that should tell you that your relationship is not that great. I mean, if you feel that you didn’t get anything from the woman to make it worth buying her a diamond ring, than why be with her?

        1. jeremy

          “There is nothing wrong with a woman expecting to get a present for a commonly recognized occasion.   It is the same for men.” – what present do men get?   What present do men expect?   What present do men try to coerce/guilt from their fiancees?   What present, if not received from the woman, makes a man doubt a woman’s love for him?   And before you go there, sex is not a present.


          “How is expecting a gift for a commonly/traditionally recognized occasion any different?” – Because it is a one-sided, extremely expensive gift.   Because it traditionally arose as an expression of a man’s willingness to be the breadwinner for his woman – a notion that is very out-dated, especially to a man with a recent history of divorcing a gold-digging wife.   Because all the expectations that you gave as examples in the preceding paragraph were mutually reciprocated expectations….except for this one.


          “If you didn’t get anything from the woman to make it worth buying her a diamond ring, why be with her?” Well, Stacy2, given that most women don’t buy diamond rings for men, am I to presume they don’t find their men “worth it”?   If so, why do women stay with those men?


          It is one thing to admit that the desire for an expensive ring is an emotional decision with no rational basis, but that the woman still wants it.   In that case, most men will suck it up and buy one.   But to continue to maintain that the desire is logical and that buying a diamond ring is a man’s natural expression of love for a woman – is nonsense.

        2. KK


          Your last paragraph sums it all up perfectly.

        3. Karmic Equation

          Agreed, Jeremy.

        4. GoWithTheFlow


          Have you ever seen a man that you care for get pressured by a girlfriend to buy her expensive gifts?   I have and it’s cringe worthy.

          One Thanksgiving, I visited my brother who lives across the country and got to watch for a week, his girlfriend of 2 months directly verbally pressure him to buy her diamond earrings for Christmas.   One night she brought along a girlfriend to help, and she tried to recruit me to her cause.   Talk about making someone feel unworthy, unloved, and not valued.   That was years ago and it still makes me angry to think about it.

          The OP wants an engagement ring?   Fine.   Saying it needs to cost $5,000 (which would be a down payment on a 1BR condo in my city) is not okay. If the OP wants a ring on her finger to show the world she has been chosen for marriage, why does the dollar amount of the ring matter?   A $500 ring will get the same societal message across as a $5,000 ring.   Mrs. Happy above posted that a friend is “embarrassed” by her modest engagement ring.   Why?   What is wrong with society, and yes, with women, that if an engagement ring doesn’t cost 2 months worth of a man’s earnings (a ridiculous standard set by the diamond monopoly that wants to squeeze money out of consumers) it’s “embarrassing” to have it on a woman’s hand?   Focus on what’s real here:   A man who belittles you, lies to you, and cheats on you is an embarrassment, and if you are unlucky enough to have a husband like that, the big rock on your finger doesn’t mean shit.

          BTW, the “tradition” of engagement rings (created by the diamond monopoly) is only about 100 years old vs. the thousands of years of time people have been getting married.   So I gotta wonder if this particular tradition will be a flash in the pan in a historical context.

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