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. 21

    Let’s think outside the box here. There is an easy and creative way to resolve this. There are hundreds of talented jewelry designers out there who make incredibly beautiful and unique engagement rings at far more reasonable prices than your typical “diamond ring” jewelry store.   Just spend 5 minutes browsing through engagement rings on Etsy and you’ll be dizzy with all the possibilities. For a few hundred dollars, you can have a one-of-a-kind ring that makes a unique statement and won’t break anyone’s bank.

    1. 21.1

      I’m still scratching my head over this.   I don’t think this is really about the ring, but her insecurity about the relationship.   She says herself that she isn’t all that much into jewelry or flash.   So I don’t think it’s because she wants a shiny rock on her finger, when she isn’t even into shiny rocks.

      I’m also not sure if it’s about her trying to impress her friends or keep up with the Joneses.   I’m well aware of the usual social expectations surrounding engagements and weddings (and frankly I think the “wedding porn” has gotten out of hand in this society).   However, she doesn’t mention any concerns about how it will “look” to others.   So it’s hard to know whether that’s what this is about either.

      I think it’s really about what she says in her second paragraph, where she thinks that his unwillingness to get her a ring somehow reflects his feelings for her.   If she felt absolutely, 100% sure about his feelings for her, I don’t think she’d care as much about having the ring.

      She really does need to talk about this.   One valuable lesson I’ve learned is to stop trying to “mind read”, and guess what your partner is thinking.   Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions.   Rather than assume that not wanting to buy a ring = he doesn’t find me worthy, ask him and get some real answers.


      1. 21.1.1


        What jumped out at me was the $5000 price she put out there.   I would guesstimate that 95% of my friends with engagement rings/wedding sets have less costly rings than what Kelly seems to think her’s should cost.   If I could ask her fiancé a question it would be, “Is it the concept of purchasing a ring that bothers you, or is it the amount of money Kelly expects you to spend on it the issue for you?”

        1. Christine

          Well, if she demands that he spend more than he is actually comfortable with, I would certainly think that’s unreasonable.   However, from the context of the rest of this letter, I’m not sure that she’s demanding an exorbitantly priced ring, after she mentions how frugal they both are normally and how she doesn’t want a lavish wedding.   I would also want to ask him that same question to get to the heart of what his real issue is.

    2. 21.2

      I think that is an excellent idea!   Myself personally there are myriad reasons why I balk at buying and expensive diamond anything, much less a ring.   Diamonds are outrageously overpriced due to market manipulation by a single, monopolistic multi-national corporation that ruthlessly exploits it’s workers, destroys our environment and has a nefarious reputation for funding shady wars.   They’ve embarked on a brilliant, but extremely manipulative marketing campaign that preys on people’s emotions to “advise” them to pay two months of their salary to buy their overpriced rocks(!).   Seriously!?   Why would you even THINK to give these people your money?   Have more pride and self respect than allowing yourself to be swindled by these con artists.   By something unique, by something artistic with a personal preference, rather than something big, expensive and gaudy.   You’ll be doing yourself and the world a favor if you do.

    3. 21.3


      I have also seen some beautiful vintage rings that cost a few hundred bucks at antique and jewelry resale stores.   The gemstones are small, but the craftsmanship is beautiful.   all for a few hundred dollars.

  2. 22

    We all have different love languages. We expect our partners to be excited about the same things that we are, but that’s not always the case. Men generally understand that the ring thing is very important to women, so we go along with it. Kelly expressed her feelings on the issue and her boyfriend acquiesced, but she appears to be having difficulty with his lack of enthusiasm.   Be careful not to equate items with how much someone truly cares for you. For the most part, the cost of the ring usually indicates how deep ones pockets are at that particular point in time.

    Kelly should focus on the fact, that her soon to be fiance didn’t hold a ridged position. He internalized what the ring meant to her and agreed to go shopping. I don’t think her request for a ring under $5k is unreasonable. Most men grow up without the pomp and circumstance surrounding weddings, so I’m going to guess that quite a number of us wouldn’t mind if the event and the associated traditions are cost effective. So yes, a guy can really want to marry a woman and not be excited about buying an engagement ring.

  3. 23

    Indeed, if there’s something I’ve learned men (and women) do what they want to do. The solution I found effective is clear communication. My 2 cents, a heart to heart with your boyfriend is in order. But first, ask yourself, what are your deal breakers? What are the things you are willing to compromise on? Set your boundaries and manage your expectations.

    Once I clearly expressed that I don’t play games, I say what I want weather it’s sex, more hugs & kisses on a bad day (I’m in the driver seat when it comes to sex and affections and he likes it), quality time, him listening to my occasional gabbing or whatever it may be.. my transitional relationship with a Marlboro Man (EMK described this) became easier.

    My Marlboro Man has emotional limitations and I have character flaws. As long as I clearly communicate my needs, open to compromise, and he is willing to listen and do what he can, it alleviated much ado about nothing. So far, all he has done is comply with all my requests giving him more bargaining chips if it is ever needed in the future 😉

    1. 23.1

      Well put–communication is what is really needed here.   He obviously doesn’t know why she wants an engagement ring so much, since she isn’t even that into jewelry.   If he did know, he wouldn’t have been caught by surprise when he found out that she wanted one.

      I think he also needs to communicate more clearly about why he’s reluctant to get her the engagement ring.   At least from what she says here, I don’t really quite understand that either.   I don’t think it’s some type of commitmentphobia or reluctance to marry her.   If it was, I don’t think he would be living together with her and talking about a future (in my own experience, at least, truly commitment phobic men don’t tend to do that).

      Not to mention, he did talk about ring tattoos.   I get it that’s not her cup of tea (and it personally wouldn’t be mine either since I don’t care for tattoos)–but, that does show me that he is willing to give her some symbol of a deeper commitment.   If he’s willing to do some symbolic gesture, why can’t the symbol be a ring?

      If it’s a matter of the cost, as the other commenters above mentioned–there are more cost-effective ways of doing that, that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.   Or if it brings up bad memories of the ex, the ring doesn’t have to be like the one he gave her.   It could be smaller, less expensive, a different style/cut, etc.

      So a heart to heart really is the answer here.

  4. 24
    La Miss

    These are the blogs I love, because what I get from Evan’s pov, as well the other men responding is so different from what I get from just chatting to my girlfriends and how I feel. I can’t help how I feel but it really helps me understand my boyfriend better.

    Personally I do want a ring. But I’d love an antique, something from a market somewhere that looks exotic and unique. I don’t care if it’s expensive or not, I would just want to know that he put time and effort into finding something that suits my style. I would feel sad if my boyfriend didn’t want to bother with that. Especially when women get rings every day.

    But it’s good to hear the other side.

  5. 25

    I think it’s ridiculous to assume that because you’re getting married a second time around, that you shouldn’t expect an engagement ring. And actually, I don’t buy the equality bs…life is not fair…women bear the children…is that fair? Men tend to get paid more for equal work…is that fair? Look, there is certain shyt men do and certain shyt women do.   Men open doors. Women are expected to be feminine. In fact, Evan even suggests that a man should court a woman in the beginning of a relationship and I agree.   Women are different. Men are different. Nothing wrong with that.  Now that we have gotten that out of the way…there is nothing wrong with the engagement ring tradition. Shucks, the ONLY way I tend to know if a man or woman is taken is if he/she has one. The problem starts to ‘happen’ when the expectations for the ring are ridiculous. It is ridiculous to think that you should walk around with a cost of a house on your finger (unless that is what your man wants to do). So no, a ring does not have to outdo a man’s budget. But to expect that she should forgo it because she’s been married before and her first marriage didn’t work out (and it’s only for women in their 20s) is beyond my comprehension.

    1. 25.1

      Aaand here it is, gentleman. Modern Western female entitlement writ large.

      Women such as yourself will just never, ever get it Stacy. Wanting it is not entitlement. Expecting it is. You said ‘expect’ 3 times in that screed.

      Evan advocates courting because it’s EFFECTIVE, not because it’s the right and moral thing to do. Although I disagree with him on that, at least he’s consistent on it.

      “Men tend to get paid more for equal work…is that fair?”

      This has been debunked many, many times now. There is absolutely zero merit to it. None. Anyone who still believes this holds it as a sort of religious view, irrespective of facts, which are available to anyone who cares to shed the victimhood narrative.

        1. McLovin

          Your piece there just repeats the same fallacy. It compares all women’s wages to men’s wages, in aggregate. It doesn’t account for anything that happens in the real world: choices women make in employment, leaving the workforce for caregiver roles, poor negotiating skills in raises and compensation…the list goes on and on.

          From Time magazine’s “5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die”

          “No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by  economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such  relevant factors  are considered, the wage gap  narrows  to the point of vanishing.”

      1. 25.1.2

        Let’s define expect according to webster:

        ‘regard (something) as likely to happen’

        So let me get this straight…. I am ENTITLED because I EXPECT an engagement ring when a man proposes? Are you serious? Please tell me you aren’t serious. I didn’t say the man is obligated to buy an expensive ring. In fact, it can be a plain old band for all I care. But what on earth is wrong with wanting to wear something that is a societal and current traditional symbol to show that we are taken?

        And yes, there is actually PLENTY merit that men tend to get paid more for equal work. Please read below. The fact that there is even a fuss about a mere engagement ring (by the way, the woman tends to purchase the band for the man) is   beyond my comprehension. And let’s not even discuss where most of the burden falls when women start to have children…and that burden more often than not includes their careers more often than not…so let’s not start with the talk about what’s ‘fair’ to men and women. For crying out loud, IT”S A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD.



        1. McLovin

          Yes, Stacy. That’s exactly what I’m saying: You’re entitled. Staggeringly so, really.


          Sorry, your article commits the same fallacy that keeps the “gender pay gap” alive. Namely, it compares salaries in aggregate, not accounting for, you know, the things that happen in the real world.

          There is zero merit to it. I repeat: none. From a statistical analysis point of view, it’s really quite laughable.

          That you hold it as some sort of quasi-religious belief is really telling.

      2. 25.1.3

        I work in the tech industry –   for the last 13 years I was constantly underpaid compared to my peers who did the same work as me and had the same amount of experience. I was asked once to pass on promotion because the other guy had a family to feed and I “had a husband who makes good money”. Exact words of my manager.   I went to HR and CEO of the company and made a big deal out of this. The manager was let go. So believe me, women do get paid less and are less likely to get a promotion.

        1. AAORK

          I’ve been in IT over 17 years and it is no doubt one of THE  most meritorious professions I’ve ever seen. By and large, no one  cares what you are; only what you are capable of delivering.  As  a guy, I’ve  always been the first to say we need more women in the technical arena. It’s WAY too much a sausage-fest. And for the last decade or more, I’ve seen first hand the enormous amount of resources devoted to getting women (as well any other person who doesn’t identify as a Christian white  male, Indian males notwithstanding) interested in STEM fields. There  are  dedicated “Women,Asians, etc in IT” sessions  present at every conference I    attend. It’s in my face on a weekly basis via corp email  blasts about some special event for this or that ‘disadvantaged’ group. Even corp-sponsored support groups covering everyone except  .. you guessed it, white males. And still, the participation rates among women are abysmal. I’ll let everyone here speculate as to why.

          With that said, your experience is anecdotal so I’ll share mine for you. In  all of my experiences in IT, I’ve never seen or heard (even second-hand or in any casual bro-centric conversations, many of them alcohol-fueled) of any situation where a woman was mis-treated or disadvantaged in any way. On the contrary, I would argue the opposite while providing numerous first-hand examples of defference  toward women in IT that guys could only dream of. So to  any woman who complains how women are treated in IT, I would say to them “spend one day being treated like a guy and you’ll  never complain again”. Regarding your  example of the manager, if true, this  is a reflection of the manager not of the profession (or any other). In fact, the only occurence  I’ve heard of the  scenario you give .. was in a training video. It’s such an unheard of occurrence that I have to wonder if that’s where you got it.

          Finally, despite the overwhelming evidence disapproving a gender pay gap for equivalent skills and competencies, there’s one obvious question that advocates of this false belief never ask: if employers are able to  pay so much less to a women for the same job, why are they instead hiring men and purposely paying them more??

        2. GoWithTheFlow


          “. . .while providing numerous first-hand examples of defference toward women in IT that guys could only dream of.”

          I would love to hear your examples.   Not trying to troll.

          I’m in medicine and recently a female medical student looking to get into a surgical residency training program shared in a group that her faculty mentor, a surgeon himself, recently told her that he “wasn’t sure women belonged in surgery.”   Her friggin’ assigned mentor, who’s supposed to   you know, mentor her.

          I have also seen articles and studies written that says the wage gap within the same occupations between men and women is due to women not working as many hours or taking time off from work.   The reason most women do is because they have to.   Women are still expected to be the ones to care for children and elderly parents.   We did hospice care for my aunt at my house, and I took 3 weeks off of work since she was total care.   I make my money on the eat what you kill program, so my income the following two months dipped due to the time off.   My brother, who is salaried and hoards vacation days, spent one full day with her, and he lost no money in doing so.

          Dont’ get me wrong, I’m grateful I had those days with her and wouldn’t go back and do it any other way.   I’m not angry with my brother for not taking more time off or for not being more directly involved in our Aunt’s care.   But one of the reasons that I did what I did and my brother did what he did was because that’s what is expected of us.

        3. CaliforniaGirl

          Look, when a man says that discrimination against women doesn’t exist because he didn’t see any is the same as to say that discrimination against gays doesn’t exist because I haven’t seen any.   Yes, companies are in favor of women when they hire them but then start to be  condescending   until you prove them you can do your job.   It happened every time I had   a new job. But I don’t care anymore, you just play by the rules and do whatever you can to improve the situation and I am happy there is a progress and younger guys have a different attitude.

    2. 25.2
      Karmic Equation

      Stacy wrote:

      “Shucks, the ONLY way I tend to know if a man or woman is taken is if he/she has one.”

      I’ve never seen the man who’s part of a hetero couple wear a ring. Are you saying you have?

      So assuming you’re really only talking about women and threw the he/she in there to show egalitarianism where it doesn’t actually exist, why do YOU care whether a woman is taken or not?

      And just because you say “it’s ridiculous to assume  that because you’re getting married a second time around, that you shouldn’t expect an engagement ring” doesn’t actually mean it’s ridiculous. Please explain what’s ridiculous about it. Or explain what’s rational about it. Take your pick, but explain one.

      It’s ok to WANT a ring, Stacy, nothing wrong with wanting. However, it’s wrong to EXPECT one if the guy (generic) you’re with doesn’t want to spend money on one, whether $20 or $20,000. A gift is given because the giver wants to give it, not because the receiver EXPECTS it. Once a gift is EXPECTED it becomes an obligation.

      Your choice is that if not getting an engagement ring is a dealbreaker for you, then break the deal. Dump him. Find a guy who believes in proposing with an engagement ring. “Making” him or “guilting” him into giving you one should be a dealbreaker for him, or at least, he needs to consider it a red flag about you.

      1. 25.2.1
        Karmic Equation

        I meant “engagement ring” of course 🙂

        1. Christine

          Oh okay–that explains a lot!   🙂 In that case, no, I’ve never seen a man with an engagement ring.

        2. Stacy


          I have NEVER on this website talked about money I have made — EVER…I think you are probably mistaking me for someone else. I know there is a ‘Stacy2’ on here so not sure if that is the confusion.

          Now that we have gotten that out of the way…
          I don’t NEED an engagement ring to remind me that I am taken. I expect one because the engagement period and process is a tradition that I enjoy…you seem to have an issue with the word ‘expect’ when it’s not that much different from ‘want’. I did not say I demand anything. Remember the definition of expect: ‘regard (something) as likely to happen’  . There is NOTHING wrong with having an expectation.  
          I like the idea of a proposal and a man presenting me with the ring. SO WHAT? Just like you mentioned before that you would like a ring of some kind on your finger if ever you get remarried. I happen to like the engagement period and the whole process. Just like I won’t buy MYSELF a birthday gift and present it to me, it’s the same for the ring. What part of that is hypocritical and what part of that don’t you understand? And like I said before, I have no problem buying him whatever band he likes and if he wanted an engagement present. I think there is something exhilarating about that time period as I have been through it before. Nothing wrong with this being important to me just as I am sure there are some traditions that are important to you.

          I already made it clear that I won’t guilt a man into this, that I have no issues returning the favor, made it clear that it can be cheap, and that I won’t date a man who has an issue with presenting me with this.   So how am I entitled if I would only date men who would have no problem with this? Hmmm…so it seems like you are making up the idea that I am MAKING an issue of it.   Where on earth did I make an issue?
          By the way, this is a reply to the last post you made to me since I could not reply directly to that one.

        3. Karmic Equation


          Yes, I did confuse you with Stacy2. You both write in the same style and pretty much presented the same arguments about wants/expectations. I apologize for that confusion.

          Now, stop misinterpreting and misrepresenting what is written.

          You wrote: “IT’S JUST A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD”.

          The implication of your statement is that the ring is not as important as your blood, so why is everybody against you wanting a ring.

          I pointed out  you’re being a hyprocrite because if IT’S JUST A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD, why are you arguing so vociferously about it? IT’S JUST A RING, NOT YOUR BLOOD.

          No one says WANTING an engagement ring is wrong. ALMOST ALL *are* saying EXPECTING ONE FROM THE GUY WHO DOESN’T WANT TO GIVE IT is wrong.

          So now you’ve clarified:

          1) You won’t date a guy who will not give you an engagement ring.

          2) You will dump the guy who refuses to give you one.

          I agree with your plan of action.

          No more arguments from me.

      2. 25.2.2

        Karmic, yes, I have seen heterosexual men with wedding rings before.   Now that I have someone, I don’t look for wedding rings on men anymore.   However, when I was looking, it was hit or miss in terms of whether married men wore wedding rings or not.   Sometimes they did wear wedding rings.   Sometimes they didn’t, and I only knew they were married when they happened to mention their wives.

        I think wearing (or not wearing) a wedding ring is just a matter of personal preference.   I remember reading how some people were scandalized by Prince William not wearing a wedding ring–but I didn’t see the big deal (especially when Kate didn’t mind).   He just doesn’t like jewelry all that much and doesn’t find it comfortable to wear, that’s all.   Um, the whole world saw his wedding.   I seriously doubt that he could pretend he’s not married just by not wearing a ring, LOL!

        I know, I know, he’s royalty and hardly an everyman…but, I’m sure there are also ordinary married men who don’t wear wedding rings just because they don’t like them.

      3. 25.2.3

        I don’t care whether a woman is taken or not. I care whether or not I am seen as taken.  
        When I said it is ridiculous that a woman’s expectations should be different because she’s been married before…what I mean, is, who are you or anyone else to state what a woman’s expectations should be because she is getting married a second time?   I wasn’t aware that one’s excitement to get married was necessarily directly correlated to the number of times one was married.   Most people who marry a second (or 3rd time) are getting married to different people so it’s a woman (or man’s) prerogative to want feel as excited as the first time if that is what she feels.   There is nothing unreasonable about this and yes, it is ridiculous to demand that anyone else should feel otherwise. Because YOU feel this way means everyone else should and it is not unreasonable to feel one way or the other.  
        And of course it’s wrong to expect a guy to buy a ring if he doesn’t want to. I never argued with this. I said for ME, I expect it.  

        We ALL have expectations in a relationship. Most of us are just biased on what expectations are reasonable and what’s not.   One should EXPECT that your man or woman should remember your birthday and do something special…one should EXPECT that holidays would be spent together depending on the length of the relationship. One should expect to be celebrated when at least a major accomplishment happens for one or the other. Somehow, when it’s tied to money, all of a sudden, expectations become taboo.

        Of COURSE if a man doesn’t want to get me a ring, I know I can dump him.   I NEVER insinuated that I would guilt a man into anything. I simply state my case and decide if to deal with it or not.   That isn’t even a question.

        I personally (like I said before) see NOTHING wrong with tradition if it is REASONABLE to both people. Just like I would ask my partner to call more often if that is what I want (or some other declaration and especially since I know I treat any man that have been in my life VERY well) and expect him to oblige, I also EXPECT that if an engagement ring is important to me and if it is NOT EXPENSIVE AND WELL in his budget, that he should have no issues with giving me that and I will do the same with his wedding band.


        1. Stacy

          [email protected] the multiple typos but I am sure you get my point. You’re a pretty smart woman after all.:)

        2. Karmic Equation

          So, if you need an engagement ring to remember that you’re taken? And if some guy hits on you, you’re unable to tell him you’re engaged unless you have an engagement ring? I can see the latter being an issue, but why can’t you just buy a CZ ring for yourself and wear it to forestall any guys hitting on you.

          Why does the man need to buy it with his money for you?

          You’ve painstakingly stated how much money you make, so buy your own engagement ring, and buy him one as well while you’re at it, and then you can both by each other’s wedding band. Problem solved. You have an engagement ring. So does he.

          Ooooohhhh. Wait, but HE must buy it? Just because you want/expect it.

          And you still don’t believe that is an entitlement mentality?

          And as you state, IT’S JUST A RING.

          So if it’s JUST a ring, why are you making such an issue of not getting JUST a ring? If it’s supposed to be unimportant to the guy to buy it if he can afford it, then why can’t you forego it because it’s unimportant to the guy?

          You can’t see the hypocrisy in your own statements?

  6. 26

    Without coming off as judgemental to the OP and all the ladies on this thread who obviously value the ring symbolism, I would like to know if what truly matters isn’t the big picture a.k.a the marriage.

    let’s face it, what would a person choose?
    big 5k ring and wrong partner and miserable marriage ? OR no ring but attentive and caring partner with prospects of a happy marriage in all other aspects.
    Of course one can argue that it would be better to have both ring and blissful marriage but it seems the OP has to choose one and if it were me I’d choose the latter.

    Ultimately the most important things in life are happiness and sense of fulfillment. That rarely comes from symbols and credentials.

    The most important things in life are not even things.

    Or in the words of the great Evan Marc Katz
    ” Good relationships are based on connection not credentials”.

    .. and certainly not symbols!..

    A friend of mine once joked that sometimes when men/ women cheat on their spouses, often the only thing they are wearing is the ring..

    I guess looking at the bigger picture is the key to finding true happiness and fulfillment.

    if these rings could guarantee or symbolize all that, then there would be no divorce.

    so big picture all the way for me. If I have found the right partner who cares about the ring?

    1. 26.1

      I think, and other posters can correct me if I’m wrong, but while the ring itself matters, what seems to be the larger issue especially with the LW is the attitude behind not wanting to buy a ring. I think that can actually say a lot about the nature of the relationship and compatibility issues. If someone has expressed to their partner that yes they know it’s silly and not logical but they’d really like an engagement ring and it needn’t be expensive, and the other person completely refuses then there is something larger there than just a ring. There is something that isn’t working between those two people compatibility and/or communication wise.

      It also seems that some of the other ladies here value the kind of man who does value that tradition, and that that is a quality they are looking for in their partners in and of itself.

      Basically it seems to me it’s not just about a ring, nor about what it symbolizes about the future marriage, but about what the act of buying a ring for another person means to each person and if each person in the relationship is in synch or not.

      For example I have never liked engagement rings because they always felt like ownership to me. A woman wears one, a man doesn’t. I also don’t like diamond engagement rings because the reason they are so ubiquitous is that De Beers did a whole advertising campaign in the 40s to make people buy more diamonds. Then the whole “three months salary” thing was yet ANOTHER advertising ploy  to get people to spend more money on rings. So yeah. Not a fan. But my boyfriend likes certain romantic traditions, and he likes the idea of proposing with a ring. I like jewelry, so I’m not adverse to wearing a ring. I just don’t like all the baggage  with an engagement one. So we have chatted and made a compromise: I will only wear an engagement ring if he does as well, and I don’t want diamonds or anything expensive. And he’s totally cool with that. Because to him it’s truly about something sweet and romantic, not about the rest of the baggage I’ve associated with it.

      And this reflects our relationship and our values. But as you can see, even in our situation, a ring is not just a ring.

      So yeah, while I  personally have my own tastes, I understand how hard it is in a society where traditions exist and systemic expectations are placed on both men and women to subvert those expectations.   Even within our own minds. And I can understand that there is a lot more tied into an engagement ring than just literally a ring. I don’t think people think it symbolizes a perfect marriage, that the bigger the ring the stronger the connection. I think more that it reflects values that others either share and do not, whatever those values may be.  And yes, even if that value is: “I want a man with tons of cash to spend a lot of money on me.” (which I actually haven’t seen any posters here actually say. Most of them in fact seem like they want the symbol more than the bling)  

      And I think THAT’s what’s being discussed ultimately.  

      1. 26.1.1

        I’m with Callie on this one. I think the LW just wants to know that her boyfriend cares about what she wants.

        Now, personally I think 5K is a whopping amount to spend on a ring and I’d be afraid to leave the house with that on my finger, because I tend to lose stuff. And it’s  foolish to me to spend tons of money on wedding things instead of marriage things.

        It sounds like the LW just wants her boyfriend to ‘turn towards her bid’ in terms of the Gottman method. I think she’s probably being a bit stubborn about the price tag due to her own insecurity, instead of recognizing the tattoo offer as (albeit a little lame) a legitimate effort to respond to her bid. I think this could be easily resolved, as Callie suggests, with a negotiation for what feels right to spend in the boyfriend’s eyes, and to give her a ring (thereby responding to her bid, acting in ways that make her happy without placing an undue burden on the boyfriend).

        I say this from the perspective of someone that  personally paid for my first wedding myself, I couldn’t afford to be less than pragmatic. But, I ALSO bought my own engagement / wedding band, and my husband’s, since I cared about it and he didn’t. End result – I spent a lot of years with painful pangs every time I looked at that ring, because it reminded me that I had always given more. More effort, more time, more myself. Even when he came to earn more money and paid for more things, there was always that reminder that I had had to beg for what I got. And I truly wish that I had seen it as a red flag, because that was exactly the marriage I had.

        Now, I’m not bashing my ex. I’m saying that I failed to recognize a pattern of having a partner that consistently failed to turn toward my bids. To my credit, I finally got out. But if I met someone else? I’d be crushed if he didn’t want to give me a ring. But I would still have to weigh that against all his other behavior to come to a conclusion about what that meant.


      2. 26.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        Callie, You’re overthinking to justify something that really has no justification.

        You wrote from a woman’s perspective:

        If someone has expressed to their partner that yes they know it’s silly and not logical but they’d really like an engagement ring and it needn’t be expensive, and the other person completely refuses then there is something larger there than just a ring. There is something that isn’t working between those two people compatibility and/or communication wise.

        Let’s change it to the guy’s perspective:

        If someone has expressed to their partner that yes they know it’s silly and not logical but they’d really like <to not buy> an engagement ring and the other person completely refuses <to try to understand that> then there is something larger there than just a ring. There is something that isn’t working between those two people compatibility and/or communication wise.


        We essentially agree that there is an issue.

        It’s just the way you stated  it automatically assumes the guy is wrong for not giving her what she wants.

        You have no empathy for the guy’s perspective on the opposite feeling.

        Just because a woman wants <it> or doesn’t want <it> whatever <it> is, doesn’t mean the woman is right nor that HER wants trumps HIS wants whenever they conflict.

        Once a woman recognizes that “compromise” in a relationship shouldn’t only mean the man changing to do what she wants, but rather  that it can also mean that she has  to do the changing and give up what she wants, then “discussions” don’t need to had about most issues. Because when women want to “discuss” things, that’s usually code for “I want to you (bf/husband)  to do something you don’t want to do. And I will “discuss” it with you until I get you to do it.”

        Unless the issue  is immoral, unethical, illegal, or life-or-death, discussions aren’t often  needed. You just have conversations.

        On the other hand, if you want to understand your man, and “understanding” is your true goal, then put skin in the game, “Honey, ok. I’ll accept that I won’t be getting an engagement ring. However, to not resent you,  I need you to give me your reasons why you’re against this tradition. Ok. Go!”

        Honest, vulnerable, and clearly communicates your need and why. And he shouldn’t be afraid to tell you because you’re not going to try to spend the time “discussing” your side.   You’ve already ceded him the point. You’re just there to listen.

        If he gives you a reason that you can’t accept, then break the engagement … because you can’t accept his reason, as is  bound to cause lasting resentment. But if he gives you a reason you can accept, then you can let your need go as tradeoff for a better understanding of your fiance. When you let a guy vent to you without judgment, you help build love and intimacy in your relationship.

        1. Diana Hyrya

          According to you the woman shall give up the idea of getting engagement ring while other women are getting engagement rings. It means that you want your wife to be hurt and pretend that it’s o’k. She will be hurt because she lives in society (including friends and relatives) who will know that you did not respect this tradition, It is a humiliation for a women to get married without engagement ring. It is a shame that her husband treats her like that. You are a perfect match for a woman who really does not deserve engagement ring

    2. 26.2
      Karmic Equation

      Well put, Sparkxx.

  7. 27


    this is exactly the attitude I am talking about that I personally find extremely unappealing. I believe other commenters here have covered the matter of “fairness”, and everybody somehow conveniently forgets that the bride’s side pays for the wedding (which is attended by both families, it’s not just for the bride).

    But even setting all of it aside, if a man I was with came to me and said “I don’t want to give you a ring because how come i don’t get any engagement gift, this is not fair”, I would dump him, and not because I want the ring (I dont). It’s because I want a man who would WANT to do it for me, and I think it is true for most women. As Jennifer Anniston character put it in the Breakup “I want you to want to do the dishes!”.   Again, this is a free country and there may be enough women out there who like to be treated like “bros” and be “cool girls” so there you go

    1. 27.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re working really hard, Stacy2. But the bride’s side doesn’t always pay for the wedding. Especially if the bride and groom are in their thirties. Especially if the bride and groom have been married before. Especially if the parents paid for the first wedding. Especially if the groom makes nearly six figures. So let’s assume that the bride’s family is NOT paying for the wedding, okay?

      You just brought up something so priceless and so telling. I write a lot of stuff. I rarely ask my wife to come in here to read. I brought her in to read our exchange from earlier today. She said that it sounded like Jennifer Aniston in the Break-Up. “You should WANT to do the dishes.” She was not on your side. You fail to understand that no one WANTS to do the dishes or WANTS to come to your cousin’s kid’s christening or WANTS to hold your purse while you try on clothes. We do so out of both obligation and love. That’s marriage. Both men and women make small sacrifices all the time – and sometimes want to opt out when it seems too onerous. The OPs boyfriend wants to opt out of the fancy diamond ring, but not the commitment or the wedding itself. Thus, whether you like it or not, this is about MONEY – specifically the OP equating his love to how much he spends on her. I think it’s very clear that men look askance at such behavior.

      Men are not asking for engagement gifts, nor are they asking for anything unusual. Men are asking you to understand and respect our valid point of view instead of belittling it. It’s 100% valid to not want to spend a shit-ton on a diamond ring for a frugal couple on their second marriage. This is not even up for debate. The real question is why you’re battling so hard to suggest otherwise.

    2. 27.2

      Stacy2, you are not understanding the point.   The point was not to say “I don’t want to give you a ring because how come I don’t get any engagement gift, this is not fair.”   Men don’t WANT engagement gifts from women!   We just want the woman herself – is this so difficult to understand?   A man wants his woman to just want him – nevermind the sparkly ring, the fancy dress, the big party – he wants her to want HIM.


      When a woman demands an expensive present from a man to “show the world he loves me”, what she is showing him is that she is not interested in him, but rather in what he provides for her – the accoutrements of the wedding rather than the groom.   A ring is NOT a symbol of a man’s love for a woman.   It is a symbol of a man’s willingness to spend his money on her whims. A woman who can’t believe a man loves her unless he spends money on her is a woman who does not value herself, and does not value the man she is with.


      Sure, buying a ring is a symbol of “tradition” – the tradition of men paying for women.   But for a guy who is still paying alimony to a gold-digging ex-wife, perhaps it is a symbol of exactly what he does NOT want in a new relationship – a one-sided provisioning contract where the woman feels entitled to receive expensive gifts at his expense.   Most men who have been burned once will hesitate before sticking their hand back in that fire.


      And your comment about wanting him to “want to do the dishes”?   She wants him to “want” to give her a ring.   He wants her to “want” to marry him without needing expensive gifts in exchange.   Why are her wants so much more important than his?   They can either agree to disagree and break up over this issue, or examine (in a rational way) which of their desires is most logical – his buying her a ring to prove his love, or her agreeing to love him as he loves her, without the need for a one-sided expensive gift to prove his love with his wallet.


      1. 27.2.1

        Bravo, sir. Bra-vo.

      2. 27.2.2

        So why does a ring have to be expensive? These are two different points.   There is a difference between wanting to wear a ring as a symbol that you are engaged or married and a woman demanding that the ring be at least 5k. The first one likes the tradition and the second woman likes the status. The OP never demanded that the ring be expensive

        We ALL want things that aren’t particularly necessary.  ..whether it be a certain kind of home or living in a certain area or wanting a certain type of car…etc…so now having an engagement ring is off limits (and as I said before, the woman tends to buy the marriage band for the man)?

  8. 28

    Evan, I am not at all battling to suggest otherwise. In fact my very first comment was “against” the ring in a second marriage where both are paying for stuff. I didn’t get from the letter writer that they have any financial issues, but any couple that has would be nuts to blow money on bling.

    That said, I do disagree that “nobody wants to come to your cousin’s birthday or buy you a ring etc” comment. May be I am not understanding your point. Earlier you said that you WANT to do things for your wife, that men do what they WANT. Now you are saying that nobody wants to do those things, rather you do it out of obligation. So which one is it ? Personally, I wouldn’t want anybody to do stuff for me out of “obligation” or “coersion”, only on their own volition. But i do think men show their love through actions, so lack of actions  would be interpreted accordingly

    1. 28.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Hoo boy.

      There are MANY things I want to do for my wife voluntarily.

      Tonight, I’m paying for her to go to dinner and a play with her friend. Last week, I brought her flowers. This Saturday night, I’m inviting her mommy friends and their husbands to a karaoke party at our house. These are things that I volunteer to do for her because I love her and I have the means.

      Then there are other things that I do out of obligation, not joy.

      I wake up with the kids on weekend mornings so she can sleep in. I stay in twin beds in her childhood bedroom when I visit her mom, instead of insisting we get a hotel room. I wait patiently and read on my phone for 45 minutes when I want her to come to bed for sex, but she starts doing some other project that she’s had on her mind.

      Finally, there are some things that I WON’T do, even though I love her. I won’t go out four straight nights. I won’t fly to visit her father in Florida. I won’t spend $5K to go to an international wedding for an acquaintance just because she wants to take a trip. I won’t give up a Saturday to go to her cousin’s kids sixth birthday party three hours away in the desert.

      I hope you can see the difference between all of these things.

      1. I WANT to do it.
      2. I HAVE to and willingly do it, with grumbling reservations.
      3. I WON’T do it.

      The OP’s boyfriend is caught between #2 and #3 right now, and it will be fixed with a conversation. You’re arguing that everything should be #1 – “he should WANT to do whatever I want him to do.” Sorry, Stacy2, that’s not how relationships work – for either gender.

      1. 28.1.1

        Well, this is how your relationship has worked and really, good for you, well done. Not many people have it.

        But I hope you can imagine a possibility that being a “cool girl” may not bring out the same virtue in some other men. I was the cool girl in my marriage. And I married what you would consider a good guy- great character, values, morals, educated, employed, good family, eager to get married and start a family of his own. He proudly presented me with a huge rock in a fairytale engagement and what could go wrong? I was the cool you described. Want to for a guys only trip to Vegas? Sure. Porn? Couldn’t care less. Want to quit your job because it’s miserable? Sure I will support us. What, we can’t afford to live in this apartment on one income anymore? Let’s move to a cheaper place. Your business hasn’t made money in 2 years and you don’t want to open up your pre-marital savings ? Well let’s see may be I can suspend my 401k contributions. Dirty dishes in th sink after I come home from 12 hours at work? No problem I will clean it up. Does it get cooler than that?? And do you think ANY of that was appreciated for a second? Nope. I was deemed a selfish woman who only thinks about herself. I would work 90 hours weeks and zigzag the country on red-eye flights to come home not to a dinner and a bubble bath, but to a dirty apartment and a temper tantrum. Some examples of my “selfishness” included cutting a holiday with extended family short and taking a plane to a funeral when a close, long-term friend of mine died in an accident. Looking back, I am firmly convinced that it was my “shit on me I am the cool girl” attitude that actually enabled his behavior. The more tolerant I was, the less appreciating he was becoming. I simply encouraged and invited more of “bad behavior”.

        I guess we all see things through the lenses of personal experience, and mine was that being a cool girl doesn’t work. Obviously I quit that marriage but not before wasting a small fortune on the wedding, therapy and the divorce (the latter having the best value by far).

        So, when you advise your clients to be “cool”, how do you know their “good guy” is not like my ex? You don’t, and neither to they. And since I had that experience, I happen to think that men who tend to guilt you and call you selfish for having needs/wants, and are reluctant to please you – are bad news and signs of troubles ahead.

        If I could go back and rewrite the script, my attitude would be completely different: no, it’s not ok to quit your job and hope to live on one income; hell no I am not moving out of this apartment, and clean up after yourself, I am not your f-g maid. That. I am extremely uncool these days, but much, much happier. And if any guy thinks that my expectations of him make me entitled or, my personal favorite, selfish- my only hope is that the door doesn’t hit him on the way out.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Really glad you answered, Stacy. I hope you take what I’m about to say seriously, since I never offer coaching in this section.

          1. Your story explains your beliefs. You were a with a “nice guy” who got worse over time and made excuses for him throughout your marriage. You didn’t set boundaries. You called this being “the cool girl.” In fact, you were the doormat.

          2. Because of this experience being the doormat, you came to two false conclusions: a) You were going to set BOUNDARIES. b) You were going to put up walls to prevent another guy from taking advantage of you.

          3. Problem is this: your boundaries are arbitrary, blurry and poorly chosen. You should STILL let him take a guys trip to Vegas. You should STILL let him quit his job if he’s miserable. You should STILL discuss with him whether buying an expensive rock for a second wedding is a savvy and mutually agreeable plan. You should still be cool and accepting and listen to his feelings – same as you’d like him to do for you. That’s a happy marriage. The difference is that your guy took advantage of your goodwill – after taking advantage of your small fortune. You will never do that in your future – continue to support a losing venture who has no motivation to change and is willfully exploiting your patience.

          4. Don’t you see? You can do BOTH. Being cool is about letting 95% of things go and putting your foot down on the 5% – not sucking things up that make you clearly unhappy. You’re conflating the two things as one. You think that talking tough about your boundaries and making it crystal clear that the right man WILL DO WHAT YOU WANT is a winning strategy. It’s not. Being cool still wins the day.

          5. Which is why, in Love U, I talk about not being a doormat, but the “cool girl with boundaries”. I married one. ALL of my male friends married one. These women have good men on their hands and they let them be themselves without constantly criticizing and micromanaging. Please be smart enough to realize that there are VALID criticisms of your partner – most of them you suck up for the sake of the relationship; a few you put your foot down… like you did eventually.

          Long story short: don’t overcorrect on this one. Like a woman who had no passion who chases passion, a woman who had no money chasing money – one tends to go TOO far with this boundaries thing. Find a good guy who treats you well pretty much all the time and you can easily negotiate the 5% of disagreements you have. That’s what the OP has right now. A cool girl speaks her mind, listens rationally, and finds a compromise. Someone else may demand a 5K rock or bust. I think it’s obvious what’s more effective.

        2. D_M

          Ah ha, now your various responses can be put in context based on your past history. A number of us, both men and women have been taken advantage of. The key is how you bounce back. I believe Evan has said that having the ability to still be vulnerable going forward is one of the keys to finding love again. Hopefully you have not loss that. Based on what you just said, there isn’t a real man out there who wouldn’t appreciate you. You can’t let a bad relationship sour you towards the rest of us. Try not to respond with your usual brimstone and fire, but the truth is your ex might not have been a good man if you did all those things and he didn’t appreciate it. You did what a spouse is supposed to do. If one person stumbles, the other does everything in their power to help them up. It can be very hurtful to realize that we played a part in a failed relationship by making a bad choice.
          Don’t stop being fundamentally sweet in order to play the “thou shalt not do this to me again game”. You end up tucking away the nurturing side of yourself which fosters endearment. How can you meet the guy that appreciates you, if you are hesitant to reveal the vulnerable side of yourself? It should be even easier now to spot unappreciative encounters, because you know the feedback that you were looking for in your failed relationship.   

        3. Kristyn

          Hi Stacy2


          My marriage was the same.    Supportive, loving, giving.   Guys night out; no problem.   Weeks away hunting with buddies, have a good time.   Whenever Evan says to be the cool girl, I ALWAYS cringe, type out a reply about how that doesn’t work and then ALWAYS delete because I   know that Evan would say that I accepted the wrong guy — and he is right.   Doesn’t make it easy though

          Evan – I liked your list of things, that is truly how things should work.   Things we do for love, things we do because we should and the things we won’t do.

        4. Stacy2


          i hear hear you and generally the argument about “accepting the wrong men”, but I still wonder whether some men simply need to be “handled” and shown some tough love. May be its just the whole east coast/”jewish prince” thing, which my ex was a classic example of, but it seems that a lot of men never really mature to the point where they behave like adults and not like toddlers – always testing what they can get away with, always trying to push the envelope a bit further. You let them have cookies before dinner once and oops, good luck putting them to bed on time and making them eat veggies the next time. You know what I mean? I don’t think these men are “bad” necessarily, I think they may be good.. In this day and age its hard to be disqualifying otherwise eligible bachelors because of these issues. I see women in my circle who got married to same kind of guys (some are my ex-s friends actually) whipping them into shape like crazy, and I keep thinkig what a fool I was for playing “cool”. Now there wome are buying huge condos and having babies and their husbands jump when they say so, and I have to go in first dates again- super aggravating.

        5. jeremy


          I’m uncertain if your comment is satire or not – I’m hoping it is satire.   If not, please understand that men do not need to be “handled” or shown “tough love” by their wives.   I know of situations where the wife has been so domineering that her husband jumps when she says so – do you think this is a GOOD thing?   Tell me, if the roles were reversed and the wife jumped when the husband said so, would you not consider the relationship to be abusive?


          Please understand – in situations where the husband is so whipped that he obeys his wife’s commands, one or both of the partners is secretly miserable.   What woman wants to be married to a man she considers a child?   What man wants to be married to a nagging harridan?


          If a man’s desires differ from yours, it is NOT because he is “immature.”   It is because his wants are different from yours.   If that is the case, he is not the man for you, nor you for him.   The attitude that is the killer for so many women is failing to recognize the difference between differing desires/goals vs. “immaturity”.   Immaturity implies a temporary state which will end in a long-term state of “maturity, that you think will match your own goals.   It won’t.

      2. 28.1.2

        I just want to say, you are on-freaking-point in this thread, Evan.

        You are saying things that I want to say, but can’t without being a bitter a-hole.

        Perhaps it’s because I’m a bitter a-hole. But that’s another topic.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          This is why I resent it when you pull that White Knight bullshit on me. It’s not all or nothing. Just like I think Stacy needs healthier boundaries that are more male-friendly, I think men need to come to the middle and give in on 95% of what women want. Most of it is reasonable: call me, make me feel special, make a time/$ investment up front during courtship to show me you care. All reasonable. I don’t say you should be with a golddigger or that a woman should never offer to pay or split expenses within a relationship. I am an advocate of FAIRNESS. And when women on the left and men on the right both scream at me, I think I’m a pretty evenhanded guy.

      3. 28.1.3



        Hi Evan, Here is how the misinterpretation of the letter I think could be happening.   I understand Stacy’s comments somewhat.   I didn’t see the poster demanding a ring.   It seemed as though she was willing to compromise on the  price, which doesn’t need to be discussed, but it seems like a lot of women, right or not, demand much higher than that.   Not going into that, as I think that has already been discussed.   She offered to pay for a portion of it, correct?   That would seem less than demanding.   I think that this post draws the ire of men that “don’t want to.”   But, it doesn’t seem as though the woman was implying that she needed it without having had some communication previously.   From the letter, it seemed the couple had discussed it as he suggested tattoos.   Not sure where that came from.   It seemed to me that she would have been alright with something like what you said you did, an heirloom or something unique.   But even if she wasn’t, the bulk of women that you and some of the other men seem to be discussing, probably would be alright with that.   As determined through other reasonable posts on here.   Not supporting some of the unreasonable men on here though.   Anyway, I seriously doubt Stacy was trying to imply it was something a man needs to do, purchase a ring, but   maybe for her and others it is.   It is not how relationships work to demand things.   But, if a man knew that she wanted a ring, as was deemed from the letter, and he still sat like a bump and complained, what are you advocating for?   Women do something interesting sometimes, sarcasm.   When they are with a good guy, that seem to draw comparisons that the women that aren’t with one or are single are exaggerating sometimes.   Ask yourself how your wife would have been if instead of getting her a ring, you scoffed at the idea and acted like an immature child at the notion of getting one.   Sure, she’s great you said, but you did things for her.   How are we to know who’s paying for the wedding and or engagement activities?   We don’t.   Could be either one.   What if you didn’t pay for a portion of your wedding?   What if you didn’t have a good job?   I mean you can argue these things, but you would be arguing that you’re a good guy regardless, right?   It takes more than a man that lives with someone, and mistreatment in a relationship, can lead to confusion with how well or not someone is being treated.   Bad partners move in also.   That is slightly off track though.   What if you hadn’t thought of getting an heirloom and had not thought of anything, but been a bump when she had a conversation about wanting a ring.   I mean are you good because you got someone a ring, or did she appreciate that you thought of what you did?   How could that not be similar to this woman’s situation?   What if instead of being on similar pages, you weren’t?   How would a woman really approach asking for   a ring?   I think that is this woman’s dilemma.   On the one hand, it all about communicating what she wants, but on the other people are tearing her apart for wanting one.   Did your wife want one?   What if you had forced her into that conversation?   Would you have?   Would that be akin to other relationship needs?   This kind of post all too often draws in the men who are all, why?   equality?   women?   But in all seriousness, is it similar to someone asking for sex in a relationship?   How about a birthday present?   How do you know how much she HAS to have for the ring purchase price?   We don’t.       What if in your relationship you didn’t get equal gifts for birthdays, some people only get gifts and don’t return them.   Some don’t help the woman pay for a dinner with friends, get flowers for the person.   Would you say that that guy was a rotten person?   Probably you wouldn’t.   Someone might return the favor in other ways.   You aren’t about to explicitly detail everything you do for each other in your relationship, right?   Why is this person who asked for a ring, or suggested in a reasonable way that they wanted one, different?   It seems she did that.   And then, the guy didn’t show that he wanted to do so.   Should she reconsider the relationship?   By your standards of needing to communicate on a similar level, yes?

        As per the comments of ALL of the men (almost) on this post, it shouldn’t be the ring.   Right.   It should however be something that the individual couple decides, unless they can’t agree on it.   One person suggesting she’s “demanding” the ring and another suggesting that he should get one if it feels as though she asked him appropriately are kind of one in the same.   Both are wrong.   The right man, as you suggested per what you’ve done Evan doesn’t demand a certain conversation that needs to take place at all, or worse twice.   No more than she would demand something in the first place, correct?   How should the conversation go to ask for a ring another time?   It’s great to think that there should be a woman out there that doesn’t want a ring, flowers, a kind gesture, and without having to ask for it in the first place sometimes.   But, how realistic is it, and what does it say about a partner that can’t agree that someone should have those things, requires lengthy conversations about those things.   Who knows.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          I can’t even read, much less respond to something so long.

      4. 28.1.4
        Diana Hyrya

        You just don’t get it that   by refusing   to give engagement ring means that you demonstrate in front of your and her relatives that your wife is not good enough.   This is why it huts. It also means that you don’t care how much it hurts and don’t want to understand it. Imagine if your sister’s fiance was too greedy to get her a ring would you respect him?


    2. 28.2


      Jeremy, did you ever consider that this may not be true for ALL men? That some men may be tend to rise to the occasion when they have clearly set expectations (which I know is a dirty word on this blog), and go down the drain when  enabled to do whatever they want?

      One example: a male friend of mine lost his job, and his wife told him that she would divorce him and take his kids away before she’d move to a cheaper area to accommodate their reduced income. The outcome? He started a business that has flourished and they just bought a huge beach house. In the same scenario, I was ok with my ex “soul searching” which obviously only resulted into complete deterioration of his marketability . Over the same period my career finally took off, and that toxic combination bred a huge amount of mutual resentment. At the end, the first couple is still married and we’re divorced and neither one of us is better off. Call it expectations, call it boundaries, call it tough love, whatever you call it, based on my own observations and life experience those are absolutely necessary. If a man thinks I am so “cool” to allow him to do whatever he wants, what is his motivation to strive to be his best self? There’s none. Your wife loves you “unconditionally” – boo hoo lets party, she’s a cool girl, she’s not going anywhere, right?  That was what my ex told me when I finally quit  – that he though I was ok with everything because of my cool demeanor. Ha.

      1. 28.2.1

        @ Stacy2
        “One example: a male friend of mine lost his job, and his wife told him that she would divorce him and take his kids away before she’d move to a cheaper area to accommodate their reduced income.”
        Ugh. That has to be the most repulsive sentence I’ve read in my entire life. Statements like that terrify me about the prospect of marriage.
        I think you need new friends who choose to marry people of higher character.

        1. KK



        2. adrian


          I know Stacy2 gave that story as an example to explain her point about good men. But it had the opposite effect on me.


          I personally think this guy has no self love (though I acknowledge that maybe he stayed for the kids.) Any human that would stay married to a person who would leave and take your children because you LOST your job, not quit, but lost.


          Because I have adopted a stance of not saying anything negative about another in this comments section, I will not say how I truly view this man and his decision to stay with that women….

          Though it is possible that their is more to the story, so I will hold off judgment.

        3. GoWithTheFlow


          @Stacy–When the economy tanked two nurses I know had husbands who lost jobs and were unable to quickly find new positions because companies weren’t hiring.   i.e. It wasn’t their fault!   They didn’t quit a perfectly good job to “find” themselves while the family finances deteriorated.

          What did these wives do?   They took on additional shifts and cooperated with their husbands in cutting expenses.   It’s called being an adult when the worse part of for better or worse happens.   They didn’t threaten to take the kids and leave their husbands.   What a horrible, selfish thing to do!

      2. 28.2.2

        I agree with Tom10 – this is disgusting behavior.   Threatening divorce is bad enough.   Threatening to take away a man’s children if she doesn’t get her way – let’s just say that a man with any self-respect would have lawyered up at that point.


        The kernel of truth in your argument, Stacy2, is that some people benefit from encouragement.   But that encouragement should be friendly, loving, and take into consideration the needs of BOTH partners, not just one.   Making threats, nagging, and issuing ultimatums is not the pathway to a loving and constructive relationship.   I know that you had a bad experience in the past, but don’t make it worse by learning the wrong lesson.   You tried to be supportive and loving to your ex – that was not a mistake (or at least would not have been a mistake had you been with a good man).   Taking that experience and learning that you should be like the woman in your example is no different than the men on the Manosphere whose wives divorced them learning the lesson to always keep a woman’s self-respect low.   Such behavior is abusive, no matter if it comes from a man or a woman.

      3. 28.2.3
        Serious question

        Stacy, I wonder if it’s how you word and/or interpret things but I find myself thinking after reading your posts that most of what you say has about 20% truth to it but the other 80% just comes off as cray (with all due respect).

        Most of us want to be with someone who challenges us to be our best selves and encourages us to go for what we want.

        Years ago I took a big risk and left my job to work with a start up that failed after a short period of time. I was doubly devastated — not only was I jobless but I’d had such high aspirations for what I thought was the opportunity of my career.

        My then boyfriend now husband told me you get one day to cry and mope around the house in your PJs and then you have to get back up and look for the next opportunity. I’m pretty self motivated so I wouldn’t have been moping for long 🙂 but he was showing me that he believed in me and he had my back.

        Im sure some one will jump in here and say “it’s not the same because youre a woman and men don’t care about your job.” Big picture here: he wasn’t coddling me saying poor baby, don’t worry I’ll take care of you (which would never make me happy) nor was he trying to motivate me by threatening me. He was challenging me to be that better person that handles a setback with courage and dignity.

        I’d like to think that the husband in your anecdote who lost his job could have been equally motivated by a wife who said, were going to get through this together. we will have to cut back, you may have to take whats offered for now versus the job you really want but we will be OK. But I realize different people have different levels of self determination so maybe he did need to be threatened with a divorce so as to not wallow in self pity and sit around the house playing video games until the bank foreclosed on them.

        If that’s the case, he should have never Left his mothers house because that’s what he needs, a mother, not a partner.

      4. 28.2.4
        Sparkling Emerald

        Your friend, s wife wasn’ t showing “tough love”.   She was showing no love at all and she breached her wedding vows as well.   Remember the part about richer or poorer ?   Talk about kicking a man when he is down.   And using his kids as pawns is DESPICABLE ! That’s emotional child abuse IMO.   Children deserve a relationship with both parents.   Using kids as pawns in a marital tug of war like that is hateful


      5. 28.2.5

        “That some men may be tend to rise to the occasion when they have clearly set expectations (which I know is a dirty word on this blog), and go down the drain when  enabled to do whatever they want?”

        It’s clear that the implicit assumption running through all of Stacy2’s comments is that men are naturally irresponsible, immature, and wild, thereby necessitating some external force to regulate their conduct in order to save them from themselves and prevent harm to their spouses. This is predicated on her own limited experience with her ex, which has  shaped her toxic worldview and caused her  to generalize across an entire gender. The logic she uses is similar to the rationalizations of wife beaters and even segregationists  and die hard racists who argue that’s the inferior races need to be saved from themselves for their own good. Reading her posts is  like  watching raw sewage overflowing from the toilet. A total lost cause.


        1. Adrian


          Kind of extreme on the metaphor, but I respect your freedom to say what you wish.


          I would just add that neither Stacy2, nor her post are a total lost. Instead of judging or condemning by showing as little empathy as possible toward women who have been hurt; why don’t we try to be good examples of strong positive men.


        2. Karmic Equation

          If I were to shrink Stacy2, I’d say she has a lot of anger…at herself…which she is refusing to acknowledge, so instead she is projecting that anger outwards…at ALL men.

          I’m not saying this to be mean or snarky, but I really do think Stacy2 needs to speak to a professional to  resolve that anger. I predict that until she does, she’s going to self-sabotage her future relationships because she’s not addressing the real problem: Her anger at herself for letting her exhusband take advantage of her goodness.

          Stacy2, you were acting nobly and with love…but  to a man who was ultimately not worthy of it. If you did the same exact thing to a man who WAS worthy of your love, you would not have become so embittered.

          If you need to be angry at someone or something, be angry at yourself for CHOOSING a selfish, immature man. You can fix that by choosing better next time. Please do NOT be angry at yourself for having been loving and kind towards him.

          When you give to a good man, it never  hurts. When you become a demanding, entitled woman, who withholds her kindness and love  to a good man, you will only ensure that good men leave you, so the only ones who will stay, are, ironically, the bad men you wanted to weed out by being demanding.

          To find a good partner, you need to BE a good partner.

          Go back to being the kind, loving woman you were. You weren’t wrong to be a “cool chick”, you were wrong to not enforce reasonable boundaries. You know better this time around. Don’t let the pendulum swing too far to the other side to “protect” yourself from future hurt.


  9. 29

    I still believe a woman needs an engagement ring and that the value should be based on what the man can afford.   I say that as someone who makes well over 100k but who also has student loan debt, a mortgage and pays taxes in a high bracket.   I do not ascribe to the three months salary nor do I think that there should be a set amount to be spent.   If any amount is set it should be set by the person buying it not by Zales or some commercial and most certainly not by the woman whom it is being bought for!   See that’s the problem here.   I can’t imagine the guy here,   she’s coming across as demanding and superficial wow just wow.   You must buy me a ring and it must be worth 5k no wonder the dude does not want to buy her one.   I think they should have had a conversation in which she expressed that she wanted an engagement ring and if he asked what type she liked or asked her to go shopping with her then she could if not she needed to leave it alone and let him chose it and be happy with what he chose.   End of story.

    1. 29.1



      But, I don’t think that everyone read it that way.   That the poster was being “demanding” about the price.   She said that she would be flexible on the price. as in 5k or less.   She said that she would offer to pay a portion of it, flexible.   It seems like there is a major   misinterpretation in the letter that way.   Where does it directly indicate that the woman demanded a very expensive ring.   Also, keep in mind we do not know their expenses.   Argue it your way, but there are many women out there for whom 5k would not be enough.   I am not arguing that at all.   You said yourself, that you would need a ring.

  10. 30
    Karl S

    As   Callie mentioned, the expected price on engagement rings was literally a marketing ploy from the mid twentieth century. We all fell for it.

    “The idea that a man should spend a significant fraction of his annual income for an engagement ring originated de novo from De Beers marketing materials in the mid-20th century in an effort to increase the sale of diamonds. In the 1930s, they suggested that a man should spend the equivalent of one month’s income in the engagement ring; later they suggested that he should spend two months’ income on it. In 2012, the average cost of an engagement ring in USA as reported by the industry was US$4,000. In the UK, estimates of the average cost of an engagement ring range from  £1200 to  £2000.” (Wikipedia)

    Now, I admit using that argument won’t really fly if you’re trying to convince your significant other that you don’t want to buy a ring. You’ll probably just piss them off. However, in the case of the OP, given that they’ve both been married before, maybe they can approach the whole thing with a little more detachment. She should break down all reasons that an engagement ring is necessary to her a second time around. Is part of it the fact she wants something to show to her friends? I hate to sound callous, but that always seems to be the way it’s portrayed on film/tv. “Oooh, show me the rock he gave you!”. You get to hold out your hand and explain how flawless the diamonds are.

    The guy has tried to meet her halfway in a sense by offering ring tattoos. They don’t sound appealing to me either. However, the underlying point of getting something more personal  than an overpriced jewel (even for under 5k) is what’s appealing. Maybe they could literally make a ring for one another, using materials that reflect things about the other person to them. I know you can get rings made from dinosaur fossils or meteorites or other cool things. Why not try that?

    1. 30.1

      I’ve always thought that marketing strategy saying a man should spend 2.5 months salary on engagement ring was very tacky.

      And there was a time when any colored stone was considered ok for an engagement ring, but DeBeers convinced almost everyone that ONLY a diamond would do.

      I think colored stones are prettier and they are far less expensive, and even though the problem of “conflict diamonds” has supposedly been fixed, I’m not 100% convinced, so I doubt that my conscience would allow me a diamond.

      There are plenty of alternatives to a $4,999 diamond.   Like family jewelry, or making a new ring out of an old ring, or find a stone other than a diamond, and if it’s a birthstone gem, buy it in the month it represents, as they are usually on sale.

      Personally, I wouldn’t want to spend HUGE amounts on an engagement ring, or an outrageous wedding. I just don’t see myself spending $10,000 for a dress that I’m only going to wear once.   Or thousand of dollars for an ice sculpture to hold up the punch bowl.   A modest ring and a modest wedding would be preferable for me, as I would rather put the money towards my MARRIAGE than the wedding.

      And if I was with a guy who didn’t want to buy me even a $200 birthstone ring, I would feel a little let down, but if all else was good, then I would just have to let it go.

      As for buying my own engagement ring, if I was with a guy who didn’t want to buy me one, well I couldn’t do that.   To me, that would be like buying your own mothers’ day gift because your kids didn’t want to.

  11. 31

    I have a hard time comparing the expectation a man has that you buy him an extra flat screen tv for $5,000 to her wish that he give her a wedding ring / wedding ring set etc.

    Maybe it would make more sense if traditionally women bought men expensive flat screen tvs as a symbol of their relationship crossing that milestone into marriage.   But a wedding ring / engagement ring is traditionally worn by a women is married or betrothed, it is an outward visible sign that a woman is not available & not uncommonly an interested man will look to see whether the lady is wearing a ring on her L. hand ring finger.    And yes I know she can just tell him she’s married, but it is far more unusual for an engaged or married woman to have no ring.

    Also, anecdotal but I know a guy who courted many women, would quickly talk about marriage, but due to finances he couldn’t afford to buy the ring.   The woman would jump at the chance to buy the ring, put a very expensive ring on her credit card & then start flashing it around.   Apparently he did this several times, and to my knowledge backed out of the relationship every time.   I don’t know if the reluctance to buy a ring was coincidental or was because he had no real intention of going through with things.      I personally don’t see it as a good sign.

  12. 32

    Lol. I think an entire post could be done on the danger of taking romantic comedies too seriously.

  13. 33

    I’m with Kelly on this . It is about what the ring symbolises. I don’t care if the ring only cost $50 I would want a ring. I would want the man who claims to want to marry me, to want to buy me a ring. It’s tradition. The same way you have some type of wedding (even at a court house and a restaurant etc after). If a man asked me to marry him but didn’t want to get me a ring I would wonder if he was 100% into the idea of marriage or just doing it because he thought he should it it seemed like the next step. They aren’t good enough reasons for me.

    1. 33.1

      Being barefoot and pregnant, staying home with the kids, and having sex with your husband whether you want to or not, by force if necessary, is also tradition, Karly.

      You on board for that?

      You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

      1. 33.1.1

        Where in America is this a tradition in this century?

        So are you also against birthday gifts? That’s tradition

        How about Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and Thanksgiving?

        Why not just do away with traditions altogether. Or, is it only when traditions cost you absolutely nothing that you’re game?

        1. KK


          Have you ever read any of McLovin’s other comments? He brags about his “game”. He thinks women deserve to be used & abused.   He has the nerve to constantly comment on women’s hypocrisy without ever acknowledging his own. He uses examples of women who behave terribly and assign the blame to ALL women. The mind boggling part is that even the worst behavior that women exhibit can usually be attributed to lack of insight or cluelessness, but his nefarious, intentional manipulation and deception of women is acceptable to him and his ilk. If he responds to you, I’ll be surprised. You’re just a silly woman who couldn’t possibly understand his superior reasoning and intellect (sarcasm).

        2. McLovin

          Stacy, please don’t play dumb with me.

          The point I was trying to make was that, it sure seems to me that the “modern, strong, independent ™” woman wants to reach her hand into the grab bag of traditions and gender roles, and happily keep the ones that benefit her and toss back the rest.

          Sorry, I don’t play that. I expect women to be fully actualized human beings, on par with men.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Except for the fact that your self-actualization as a male involves being less patient, less generous, more judgmental, and generally mistrustful and scornful of women. You are correct in pointing out many hypocrisies of the fairer sex; you show little to no empathy for them, little to no nuance in realizing you’re only talking about some women not all women, and little to no self-awareness at how awful you sound as a person/partner. “Being right” isn’t license to be a dick, you know.

      2. 33.1.2

        McLovin, not sure where you’re living (or what century?), but that’s not a tradition where I’m from…   

        Everyone is entitled to an opinion. You don’t have to agree with everyone. That’s the beauty of modern times. People aren’t stoned to death for disagreeing with others…

        I am curious… do you feel this way about all traditions, or just the ones you pick and choose to suit your own agenda? Are you perhaps a little jaded because you haven’t found a woman who actually WANTS a ring from you?

        1. McLovin

          “do you feel this way about all traditions, or just the ones you pick and choose to suit your own agenda?”

          Pot: Hi, I’m Pot.

          Kettle: Hi, nice to meet you.

          That’s what I was pointing out to you, Karly. Are you only into the traditions that benefit you?

          Jaded? Yes, thank you for noticing. Jaded because I’m not married, awww heck no. You couldn’t pay me to get married. I’ve had several LTR’s break up because I wouldn’t do it.

  14. 34

    I know you resent it when I pull the White Knight card. But sometimes you do White Knight, I can’t help but point it out.


    Other than that, you’re correct, you are usually pretty evenhanded. This topic is evidence of it. It’s why I keep coming back.


    I would love to update all of you on my escapades into non-traditional courtships, gaming and my very surprising adventure into the Domination scene, but I suppose it will have to wait for a time when it’s relevant.

    Guess  who has been, by a wide margin, the most common responders to my ads. You guessed it! It’s been your readers, Evan. Strong, successful, independent women with high-powered careers, it turns out, long to be under the complete power and control of a cruel and sadistic man.

    #2 on the list, and perhaps even more surprising….orthodox, militant feminists!

    Gaaaah. May we all live in interesting times.

    1. 34.1

      As an addendum to this post:


      There is a fair amount of ugliness swirling about me in this thread. A couple of points of contention:

      1. I do not lie to women. I do not mislead them by saying I want an LTR when I really don’t. I don’t have to do any of that. That’s for amateurs. The truth is far more effective.

      2.   I do not feel that women deserve to be ‘used and abused’ as someone claimed above. I challenge anyone to find a comment that I have authored on this blog that states something to that effect. You won’t find it.

      I simply put myself, and my needs first. It’s such a reversal for so many women who are used to being deferred to by potential suitors, placed on a pedestal, supplicated to by the masses of thirsty, feminized beta males.

      I will say, though, that I owe women nothing. I do not owe them chivalry, I do not owe them courting. I don’t owe them my money, or my time. I don’t owe any woman a one-sided legal contract where she has nothing to lose, and every incentive in the world to feed my life into the divorce wood chipper simply because “she loves me, but she’s not IN love with me anymore.”

      Furthermore, I owe Western society nothing, and conduct myself accordingly to that end.


      1. 34.1.2


        Bitter much?

        And I can go into how much tradition has negatively affected women for CENTURIES…from voting rights to human rights…to much of the responsibilities of rearing and raising children that  has traditionally fallen on the woman. But you really want to bitch and complain about your woman wanting to wear a ring as a symbol of her being married or engaged…by the way, you get a ring as well, it’s called a wedding band. Let me ask you this, do you feel the same about celebrating anniversaries, how about birthdays? How is THAT different? Dont you EXPECT your significant other to do something special for your birthday? SAME THING…the ONLY difference is, you feel that because you don’t get something of equal cost, it’s not valid.   Aren’t you the one who loves to use and dispose of women as you see fit anyway? So why do you care?

        1. McLovin

          Sorry, Stacy. I reject your victimhood narrative, wholesale.

  15. 35

    She is only going by what it “seems” he does not want to do. Of course no man wants to fork over a large amount of money on a piece of jewelry, but that does not mean he  is against rings all together. Communication is definitely  important here. I used to think the value of the ring had some impact on how much  a man  loved me, but that is not the case at all. A huge rock does not make a happy marriage.  I am divorced and now dating a great  man who I know would never be able to afford a huge diamond for me.  If  I ever  marry a second time, I would much rather have a happy secure relationship with an amazing man who gives me a simple band instead of an empty lonely marriage with a $5,000+ diamond ring on my left hand. But that is just me.

  16. 36

    I wanted to clarify why this post affected me (and, I think, many men) so deeply.


    Men are taught from a very early age that if they want a woman’s love, they will have to earn it.   “You want a wife one day?   Get a job.”   “You want a woman?   You have to court her.”   “You want a woman to love you?   You will have to constantly qualify and re-qualify for her love based on your actions, your skills, and your money.”   “You want a woman to marry you?   You need to buy her a ring, to provide for her.”   Etc, etc.


    What about a woman simply wanting to be with a man because she LOVES him?   Or even LIKES him?   Why the never-ending hoops to jump through in order to qualify?   Hoops that women expect of men, but not of themselves?   Hoops that no one should HAVE to expect of the one they love, yet society has taught us to expect.


    It isn’t about equality – Men don’t want women to have to jump through hoops – we don’t need that.     It’s about wanting to be WANTED for who we are, not what we provide.   It’s about resenting the fact that we can’t just tell a woman we love her, we have to buy her a ring to get her to believe it.   We don’t ask the same from her – she’d be offended if we did, and rightly so!


         Yes, it is “tradition” for men to buy rings for women – the tradition is for men to love women for who they are, and women to love men for what they provide.   That tradition needs to end, so that BOTH partners can be loved for who they are.


    The OP’s fiancee has been burned before by a woman who expected provisioning, and he saw that his provisioning did not result in her wanting HIM.   What should he have learned from that experience?   If I were him, I would have learned that it is better to be wanted for who you are rather than what you provide.


    Hopefully the OP loves her fiancee this way.   And if she does, my advice to her would be to tell him that you want HIM, not a ring.   That a ring is a meaningless trinket, irrelevant to their love for each other.   And if she does not actually feel that way, if she needs him to prove his love with his wallet…….then perhaps he would do well to reconsider his engagement to her.

    1. 36.1

      Jeremy, this may come as a bit of a shock to you, but girls are cobditioned the same way. Want to find a husband? Better be size 4 and blonde. Eating disorders, plastic surgery, and the rise of a “cool girl” are all symptoms of that.

      The truth is Jeremy, only our parents are supposed to love us unconditionally, without us having to “earn it”. Nobody else will. No woman will love you unconditionally and no man would love any woman unconditionally, we are all earning this love one way or another. It seems strange to me to be complaining about this rather natural order of things.

      1. 36.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Stacy, with respect, you’re better off signing up for dating advice than giving it. I BEG you to sign up for Love U when it comes out again in a few weeks.

        The point of a relationship is to, at the very least, SIMULATE the feeling of unconditional love. That’s what my wife and I do. I trust her. She trusts me. We give, give, and give some more. I can’t imagine her doing something that would cause us to break up. She feels the same way. We are about as unconditional as can be. Why? Because I chose a good partner. She doesn’t have to continue to “earn” my love. The only way she’d “lose” my love is if she became a different person than she is today.

        The best way to have a successful relationship is to treat it as if it’s permanent – and make your partner feel unconditionally loved. If you want to come back with “Yeah, well, I tried that and he was a selfish dick,” that doesn’t make your argument for you. It just means you were right in dumping him. Next time around, you do the SAME thing – be a great, warm, trusting, appreciative girlfriend instead of a fearful, angry and jaded one who is convinced a monster lurks inside every man and that somehow the way to keep a man is to be bulimic. He just wants someone to accept him. Be that girl and you’ll be just fine. But please stop with “the natural order of things” is plastic surgery and diamond rings.

        1. Karly

          Evan, I believe there is a big difference between earning someone’s love, and then maintaining the love between 2 people. The first happens at the start, and the second at a later phase. You comments that your wife loves you, you choose to be a good partner and you both give a lot to make it work— could that not be viewed as conditional in the regard that, if one person stops putting in the effort and chooses to no longer act in a way that constitutes as a “good partner”, then there would likely be a strain on the relationship and a possible break up? Is that then not conditional love, on the basis that the person doesn’t change for the worse? By unconditional love, I would expect the person to love their partner even if that personal changes for the worse. Otherwise, to me, that’s conditional, not unconditional.  

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          These are foolish semantics, Karly. The point is to TREAT a relationship like the love is unconditional. Obviously, if he murders your kids, you should probably get out. But being easygoing, flexible, trusting, selfless, generous and accepting are best relationship practices, no matter what. If your partner doesn’t reciprocate, dump him. You can claim that this makes the love “conditional,” but it elides the greater idea of both parties in a successful relationship TREATING it as if it’s permanent instead of temporary and subject to daily whims.

      2. 36.1.2

        Stacy, you are right – love is HIGHLY conditional.   But generally, it is conditional upon both individuals remaining as they were when they met, or else growing in the same direction together.   We are highly selective of whom we marry – based on the criteria that we believe are important to us.   And if the person changes too much from who they were when we married them then, yes, our love for them may fade.


        But that is entirely different than making the person that you claim to love as they ARE continually re-qualify for your affection by spending money on you.   Or claiming that their love for you is contingent on what they buy for you.   That is not the “natural way” of things.   That is loving being pampered, not loving a person.

        1. Stacy2

          I hear you on this. I think if you (not you personally, anyone really) feel that you need to constantly prove your love you should re-examine where this feeling is coming from. Is it really something that your partner said or did, or just one’s own insecurities, baggage and anxiety? This is just a ring/tradition, most people wouldn’t think twice about it.   Actually, if I were a guy and my options were to buy a run of the mill engagement ring or spend ridiculous amount of time and brain burn on designing rings from dinosaurce fossils and meteor dust, I would be tripping over myself on the way to Zales to put this problem to bed and move on with my life.

          If it’s causing so  much angst.. Dare I say, chip on the shoulder?

        2. Nissa

          I’m quite surprised at the number of people who don’t believe in unconditional love, or think that a divorce means it didn’t exist.

          I think I differ in my definition of unconditional love. When I say it, I mean “love that continues without regard to changes in conditions”. So when I love someone, I love that person. Period. It is not a reflection of their behavior. I love my dog even when she pees in the house. I loved my ex-husband even as I left him. For me love doesn’t ever die (although time has a way of fading it a bit). Why? Because my love was not conditional. After all, don’t we all know people who continue to love those who treat them terribly?

          On the other hand, my consent to what kind of behavior I would accept in a relationship and what I was willing to accept, was conditional. We call that boundaries. That’s why people divorce people they love – because they recognize that the other person is unable or unwilling to give what we need or want. There is no need to vilify the other person or stop loving them. But it is appropriate to have boundaries that support personal integrity.

    2. 36.2

      Well said

    3. 36.3

      Well put, Jeremy.   But aren’t you seeing only one side of it?   Girls are also conditioned (by society, by media, through a hundred other means) to want rings.   It’s not about love.   We know that.   It’s about receiving something from your “one” to show the world that you belong to him.   To be honest, I didn’t put much thought into this before I was married.   I even told my then-fiancé that we didn’t have to get an engagement ring because we were arguing about the size and I didn’t see the point of spending so much.   And I meant it.   But  looking back, I think I would have been sad not to have one.

      I suppose I was one of the lucky ones.   The ring I received was quadruple the size I had tentatively considered in my head.   It felt like a burden in the beginning but I adore it now and wouldn’t have anything else.   I frequently get compliments on it which sometimes include some variation of “wow, you must have quite the man”.   I get asked whether it’s real.   While I realize that none of this says anything about how much my husband loves me, I still think of him every time and I get a warm glow inside.   It’s nothing logical but these are fringe benefits that I hadn’t considered when I told him “don’t get that…it’s way too big”.   What I’m trying to say is that engagement rings aren’t meaningless trinkets.   While they are certainly not a measure of love, they fill some need in most women to conform to a societal norm.

      What’s unclear to me in this letter is whether it’s the ring itself that’s the sticking point or whether it’s the price.   If it’s the latter, I understand the boyfriend’s point of view.   If it’s the former, I’m at a loss.

      1. 36.3.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        It’s not the former. He lives with her. He’s talking about marriage. He said he’d tattoo a ring on himself permanently. This is about he values a diamond vs. how she values a diamond.

        1. Kelly

          Actually it’s not about the price. I threw out less than  5k arbitrarily as that seemed like an average price these days and less than that seemed reasonable given salaries and low debt. I’d be happy with something of lesser value, a simple band, or a family ring that he paid nothing for as long as he felt excited and proud to present it to me and ask me to be his wife. I could even get on board with the tattoo if that’s what he really wants, but it  was more his attitude that hurt my feelings. To reference your list. You   do things for your wife that you want to do and things you don’t want to do out of love. And there are things you won’t do. He’s very good at giving what he wants to give. He’s very clear about what he won’t do. He’s not good at the middle compromise (I don’t want to but I’ll do it because I love you).

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Then it’s up to you to decide if this is a dealbreaker and you can live with this for the rest of your life. Nobody else gets a vote.

      2. 36.3.2

        Skaramouche, I agree that a lot of the desire for a ring stems from women’s societal conditioning to expect one (and men’s to buy one).   But I think that your story proves my point rather than refutes it.   Allow me to offer a counter-example, replacing the genders of your story and the priorities of the genders:


        Imagine a man and woman about to be engaged.   And imagine that the tradition of the society was for women to get breast enhancement surgery prior to asking the man to marry her – after all, men like large breasts, do they not?   Now, imagine that this man did not really care that his fiancee get breast enlargement, but she went ahead and did it for him anyway – super-duper large (after all, the larger the breasts, the more the love, right?).   And imagine the man telling the story years later, about how he never really cared about the breast enhancement surgery, but when he walks with his wife among the other guys, they all stare in amazement (and some ask if they are even real!), and when he looks at them, he remembers his wife’s love for him, and feels warm and fuzzy inside.


        Pretty dysfunctional, huh?   I think it is dysfunctional because warm, fuzzy feelings should not be predicated on things like breast enhancement surgery (or fancy rings, when the genders are reversed).   These traditions encourage us to value the WRONG THINGS about each other.   I would far rather my wife feel warm and fuzzy remembering some quality about me or some detail of our life together rather than feeling warm and fuzzy because I bought her something that increased her status among the other women.


        If both partners mutually agree that a ring is important to them, I think it can be a meaningful tradition (though I still maintain that it teaches the wrong priorities to both individuals).   But if one partner actively dislikes what the ring symbolizes, I believe the symbol to be both harmful and counter-productive.   And, in that case, it truly behooves the other partner to consider exactly what she wants – the trimmings of a wedding or being married to a man.

        1. Karly

          I have to weigh in on this one. I don’t understand you logic. Breast enhancement is nothing like a ring, regardless of how you try to view it. Breast enhancement is a permanent alteration to the woman’s body. An engagement ring does not alter the man’s body.
          Let’s spin your version — let’s reverse the genders again, but keep the same analogy. Image a man and women getting engaged. Imagine the tradition was for the man to have a penis enlargement, as a sign of him love for her, because women are supposed to love bigger penises better. Imagine if she actually didn’t want him to have his penis enlarge, but he did it anyway… sounding a bit silly, right?
          I think the fundamental difference in opinion on this topic is emotion vs logic. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to define why a person feels a specific way. For a lot of women (and possibly some men too), it’s what the ring represents,   it the emotion it generates, the warm fuzzy feeling when you look at it or someone comments and you think of the man you’re in love with who loves you back, or the look on his face when he asked you to marry him and you said yes. It’s not about status either. Maybe it is for some women, but not all. Maybe for some women it’s about showing off the biggest bling, but again that’s not the case for all.
          I don’t need a wedding or a marriage to validate love between two people. But to me, an engagement ring is just as important as that piece or paper, or the wedding ring, or the ceremony etc. But I think it’s a compromise. If the ring is important to one person and not other, would it really hurt to get it to make the other person happy? The same as I don’t care for weddings at all. Yet if I end up with someone who wants an engagement, wedding etc, and that’s important for them, I’d do it for them, even though I think weddings are a complete waste of money and a marriage certificate isn’t necessary. But I’d want the ring, for what it symbolises to me. Why is his dislike for a ring more important than her desire to have one? That’s not a compromise either.  

        2. jeremy

          Karly, the similarity in the analogies of the ring vs. breast enhancement is in the status conferred to the recipient.   In the world of women, status of often conferred by having a partner give her a large diamond.   In the world of men, status is often conferred by having a large-breasted/very attractive partner.   I don’t agree with either, but that’s the world.   I believe that the primary reason that most women want a ring is to confer status among other women – using it as a heuristic for their husband’s love is also a factor, but generally less so (after all, if it was important for that reason, wouldn’t these women also want to give their husbands such a symbol?   How else would their husbands remember their love?).


          You ask “why is his dislike for a ring more important than her desire for one?” and I’d answer because he is expected to pay for it, not her.   Yet, for all of that, most men(myself included) purchased a ring for their wives because their wives wanted one.   But honestly, if my wife had told me to follow Henriette’s suggestion and take the money I would have spent on a ring and invest it in our future childrens’ education…..well, that would have been both romantic, awesome, and smart.

        3. Skaramouche

          I’m trying hard to work with you here but comparing rings to breast enhancement surgery is disingenuous; you cannot really think that they are the same.   However, I understand your point so let’s go with that example for the moment.   I’ll clarify a few things that I mistakenly thought were obvious but now I understand are not because you don’t know me:

          1) My point (perhaps badly stated) was not not announce that I love my ring because it’s huge.   I love it because my husband bought it for me and because of what it signifies (even though I wear very little jewellery otherwise).   I like that claim which he has placed on me and which everyone can see and interpret.   I have laid the same claim to him with the wedding ring which he loves.   Even if my ring  was small, had another stone besides a diamond, had no stone, etc. I would still have loved it as long as I knew he had selected it for ME with my tastes and likes in mind.  

          2)  However, because my ring is huge, it gets attention…more attention than a small ring would get.   Every time it gets attention, it makes me think of my husband.   Every time I think of my husband, I am flooded with feelings of warmth (not because he bought me a huge ring but because he is my wonderful husband).   Even if I had a small ring and I received compliments, I would still think of him with equal warmth.   Also this does not mean that the only time I think of him with warmth is when someone comments on my ring.   Nevertheless, it is human nature to like it when compliments are received for a belonging that is a gift from a loved one, be it a ring, a sweater or a watch, be it expensive or cheap.

          3) My point in bringing up the size of the ring was that if I, a woman who wears little jewellery, does not particularly care about diamonds, did not want a ring that big, thought she would have been fine with no ring at all,  have fallen in love with my huge diamond ring, can you understand the perspective of a woman who does love diamonds, does love jewellery and does want a ring?


          >> If both partners mutually agree that a ring is important to them, I think it can be a meaningful tradition

          Then we are agreed :).

          >> But if one partner actively dislikes what the ring symbolizes, I believe the symbol to be both harmful and counter-productive.

          If you are against rings for some reason (as some are against marriage) that’s fair enough.   Explain that to your woman and if she’s a keeper, she’ll get it.   That doesn’t seem to be the case with the OP’s man.   He just doesn’t want to spend the money.   Also fair enough but the fact remains that it’s important to her.   Whether she’s a gold digger, wants to show off to her girlfriends, just wants a diamond because society taught her it should be so, or wants to be “claimed”, I don’t know.   A compromise can be reached but for that to happen, they need to talk and understand each other’s viewpoints without writing off either one.

        4. Karmic Equation

          Just one question ladies.

          If the man doesn’t want to spend money on a ring; and the woman wants a ring — why does the woman’s want trump the man’s want?

          I ask this because MOST of the posts from women who acknowledge that LW’s want is emotional, still believe she should get her way…and many justify it is because of “tradition” or “social conditioning”.

          Why do so many women advocate bucking some traditions  but retaining others?

          Because…hmmm…we want the traditions that benefit us.

          Admit that the engagement ring benefits only the woman, and this discussion can end. Because no one will disagree with that premise.

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          “If the man doesn’t want to spend money on a ring; and the woman wants a ring – why does the woman’s want trump the man’s want?”

          That’s what I was asking in so many words. Good relationships require that BOTH parties are on board, and, if not, a discussion and compromise needs to take place. I’ve seen a real lack of introspection here, like I do when I tell my three-year-old son he can’t have something and he says, “I want it ’cause I want it.”

          This is very similar to any similarly “controversial” thread where women are forced to see the validity of a man’s point of view, be it not wanting to pay child-support for an unplanned pregnancy or why men can look at other women, watch porn, be friends with exes and still be great husbands. It’s as if her perspective is the only perspective. This is what the MGTOW community goes crazy about – which, of course, ignores THEIR inability to understand things from a WOMAN’s perspective. 🙂

        6. Skaramouche


          Was this addressed to me (among others)?   If so:

          I am fully on board with the fact that the woman’s wants don’t trump the man’s wants.   I never said otherwise.   I also didn’t say that she should get a ring just because she wants one.   I’m simply saying that she’s not “wrong” for wanting one any more than he is “wrong” for not wanting to buy one.   Why am I bringing it up?   Because I read diatribes about women who need to have love proved with the purchase of a ring and how rings are really meaningless.   Sure, that’s one point of view but there are also others  that are equally valid.   Let’s try not to discount either.

          If not, never mind :D.

        7. lizzie

          @karmic equation:  Benefits? I would say for both men and women the only benefit to having  an overpriced rock mined and sold  by  a shady  industry with a violent history  is  conforming with social norms. The girl gets to show off that she snagged a man that can afford a pricey piece of jewelry and the man doesn’t have to face the scorn of people (yes men and women) who think he’s a chump if he can’t put at least a carat on her finger. Everyone tying to make it about a show of love and commitment — just  spare us. It’s materialism. Just own it.

          Yes I’m a woman. No I have no interest in diamonds. I’ll take a down payment on my dream home instead, please!!

        8. KK

          Karmic said “Admit that the engagement ring benefits only the woman, and this discussion can end. Because no one will disagree with that premise”.

          I would hope that most women would be able to do that. I would also hope and believe that most men would give her what she wanted as long as it was easily affordable or it was a family heirloom.

          My last hope (lol) is that when the time comes that he wants something that isn’t necessarily practical or absolutely necessary, a boat maybe, that she would gladly return the favor and be okay with something like that (again, as long as it didn’t hurt them financially).

        9. Karmic Equation

          Hi Skaramouche,

          It was addressed to all, not you specifically. I noticed afterwards that I probably could have hit the reply under the main post instead of under yours, my apologies for the confusion.

          I agree with you. There is nothing  wrong with a woman wanting  a ring. The only thing wrong is not acknowledging that a ring benefits no one but the woman (and jeweler from which it was purchased).

          My point really is that if a woman can ADMIT that the ring does NOT benefit her boyfriend, only her, I think she has a much harder time DEMANDING her bf get her one.

          Of course, she can still demand after admitting, but I’m of the opinion that a good and reasonable woman would change her tune quite quickly once she comes to this realization. Particularly a woman who’s already been married before.

          I would still give a pass to women in their 20s needing this validation and men in their 20s wanting to prove their worth.

          But BTDT, men and women? Nah. There are better ways to spend the money, imo 🙂

        10. Joe

          According to Karly: Breast enhancement is a permanent alteration to the woman’s body. An engagement ring does not alter the man’s body.

          Karly, maybe you forgot to read the part about where the BF was willing to get a  ring tattooed on his finger.   That’s about as permanent as breast enhancement.

      3. 36.3.3


        You are very possibly right but her self-professed frugality, lack of desire to spend money on a wedding and her mention of an engagement ring as an “important symbol” are causing me to give her the benefit of the doubt.   Then again, she’s talking about 5K rings so perhaps I’m being naive… 😛

      4. 36.3.4

        You’re at a luxury   to make that comment, aren’t you?   “If it’s the latter, I understand the boyfriend’s point of view.   If it’s the former, I’m at a loss.”   It doesn’t seem as though you needed to have a conversation to get a ring.   You had a normal situation where you mentioned something and he reciprocated.   Is that the same as needing to have the conversation more than one time with a man that already expressed he didn’t want to get one?   We don’t know what she expected the price to be.

        “Admit that the engagement ring benefits only the woman, and this discussion can end. Because no one will disagree with that premise.”   But, how does this play out in   this person’s situation?   Is she supposed to mention this to the guy to convince him of something?   It seemed as though the men you were with got you a ring, if you wanted it, or agreed   otherwise, without lengthy discussions?

        “If the man doesn’t want to spend money on a ring; and the woman wants a ring – why does the woman’s want trump the man’s want?”   I suppose I think the point should be what they decide is about their relationship only, as everyone else would have it in theirs.   However, he doesn’t want to spend money on a ring?   Well, he should expect her to question their finances if and or when he wants to make some huge purchase.   It shouldn’t really be about the ring, but about why they don’t agree on something that most people can agree on, why he would want her to feel so uneasy about the decision as to need to question someone for help.   If you might say that it was nice that you had a situation where agreement was had on this point, that could be what she desires.   It takes little to live with someone, talk about marriage, and suggest a ring tattoo.   Could be something there for sure, but I think what should matter is whether he could let this happen for her happiness, for himself later on as well.   Who’s to say what order it occurs in?   Not you or I.   ‘He said he’d tattoo a ring on himself permanently.’   Because you did that at the suggestion of a ring and received a warm response.   I don’t think everyone got that she was a golddigging something or another from the letter or that any woman here has jumped at a ring suggestion.   Am I the only person that’ll admit to knowing huge groups of women who would end it at that suggestion?


        1. Sarak

          Second to last sentence supposed to be tattoo ring suggestion.

        2. Karmic Equation

          Hi Sarak,

          Your post is just a roundabout way of saying “If she wants one and it will make her happy, why can’t he give it her?”

          The counterpoint that most folks are arguing is that “If he doesn’t want to buy her a ring because it would make him happy, why does she still insist on him buying one?”

          Why does HER need trump HIS need?

          Answer that question without bringing in tradition. A lot of traditions have gone away in modern times, e.g., children born out of wedlock are no longer castigated as “bastards”; sex before marriage is no longer frowned upon; women can wear slacks without being shamed, etc. So let’s assume that the “tradition” of an engagement ring is another one that can go away.

          So for the sake of this discussion, let’s eliminate “tradition” as a reason for the engagement ring.

          So why does her need for one trump his need to not buy one?

    4. 36.4

      Jeremy, I wish there were more men in the world like you. There are 2 sides to every story. Girls are also taught from a young age the expectations to gain, and keep a man’s love. It’s different, but it’s still there.
        I have never made a guy jump through hoops, and I wouldn’t. Love is enough. Yet I’ve been made to jump through hoops many times, by a few different guys. So I respectfully disagree with your statement about men not wanting to make a women jump through hoops. For me, actions speak louder than words. It’s one things for a man to say he loves me, but words are easy. I need to see it. And that isn’t in expensive present. It’s in the little things. It’s the call to see if I’m ok when he knows I’ve had a bad day. It’s the text to just say hi. It’s holding my hand, or hugging me. It’s quality time. It’s being made to feel like he wants me and wants to be with me. It’s the same things I would give man if I were in love with him. For me, that is enough without marriage, or a wedding or a ring. However, if he wants the traditional marriage then I want the traditional ring. As I said in my previous post, I’m ok with a $50 ring, it does not need to cost a fortunate. It’s not about the money value, it’s about what it represents. More than the actual ring, I’d want the man who wants to marry me, to want to give me a ring, for what it sympolises.
      I have to agree with Stacy2. I don’t believe there is unconditional love between 2 people, except for perhaps between a parent and their child. There is always some form of “condition” whether people realise it or not. If love was unconditional people wouldn’t be getting divorced. As a single girl who’s dealt with the whole “must be skinny to be wanted” crap, it’s definitely there. I have had so many rude guys comment that they don’t date “fat” women, and I’m not even fat. They don’t even bother trying to get to know my personality. Looks are more important. That’s not all guys, but it’s certainly a large chunk of the ones I’ve had the misfortune of communicating with.  

      1. 36.4.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        “If love was unconditional people wouldn’t be getting divorced.”

        Bad argument from a logical standpoint. For you to be correct, EVERYONE would have to get divorced. The fact that the majority of people don’t get divorced means that SOMEBODY creates unconditional love. And since I’m a dating coach who has that kind of relationship, I believe that you can have it as well. But not if you think the worst of dating, men, relationship, and don’t believe that this type of love is possible. That’s your limiting belief and it’s up to you to decide if you want to continue to live your life looking at a half-empty glass.

      2. 36.4.2
        Karmic Equation

        “I have had so many rude guys comment that they don’t date “fat” women, and I’m not even fat.”

        Not to be mean. But unfortunately, if your definition of “fat” is different than  others definition (and the others expressing opposition are in the majority), then you are fat whether you think you are or not. You don’t get to decide. What you do get to do is accept it and shrug it off. Or don’t accept it. But just because you don’t accept it, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Again, not trying to be mean, just being logical.

        “They don’t even bother trying to get to know my personality. Looks are more important. That’s not all guys, but it’s certainly a large chunk of the ones I’ve had the misfortune of communicating with.”

        So are YOU picking guys to chat with based on THEIR looks? To put money where your mouth is, surf profiles and just look at what’s written and contact guys whose profiles show them to be exceptional human beings, no matter what they look like. Can you do that? Have you done that?

        Unfortunately, good looking people like to date other good looking people. And average to below average people like to date good looking people. And most people overestimate their “league”.

        So what does that mean? If men you want to date don’t want to date you, it means you’re trying to date out of your league. You have to keep lowering your league until you find one where almost everyone you contact contacts you back. THAT is your league.

        BTW, I say this to men as well, especially those who complain they don’t get any responses in online dating.

        There are many things women can do to improve her looks without hitting the gym: a wardrobe that accents her positives and minimizes her negatives; knowledge on how to apply makeup; radiating happiness and warmth; being accepting kind to others; having a hobby that she is passionate about. All that translates into being attractive. Men notice when a woman is happy with her life.

    5. 36.5


      “What about a woman simply wanting to be with a man because she LOVES him?   Or even LIKES him?”

      Right on!

      Both sexes have been raised with/bought into a male-female relational model that doesn’t serve either gender very well at times.

      I do see how dehumanizing it is for a man to be viewed as a “success object” and to wonder whether his SO will still be with him if he lost his job or money.   And I see how frustrating it is for my son and male relatives to be overlooked by women because they don’t have a certain level of eduction and income, or aren’t seen as having potential.   My grown (and married) son recently attended the wedding of a woman he has known since high school.   Back in the day, he had quite the crush on her, but he was ultimately friend-zoned for a guy she thought was “going somewhere.”   The only place he was going was into other girls’ panties!   I told my son how much I was offended on his behalf that he was passed over by her for a such a jerk.

      On the flip side of the coin, when men say they don’t care what a girlfriend/wife candidate does for a living, I don’t think that’s an entirely positive thing.   Most women will wind up working for a significant portion of their adult life because most families need a second income.   The more a wife brings to the table financially, the more financial stability the family will have, and the more choices the husband will have with his own career and work/life balance issues.   One of the Karls posted that when he was dating, he had the standard that a potential girlfriend/wife needed to be able to support herself.   As a mom of two boys, I would tell them that that should be a minimum requirement.

      Another thing for men to consider:   One of the reasons girls are encouraged to get an education, start a career, and be independent is so that they have the freedom to marry for love alone.   So in a way it is really sad for us when a man says he doesn’t care what you do (especially when the only thing he appears to care about is looks) since we put in a lot of time, energy, and effort, and make sacrifices to get an education and make a difference in the world and it’s not acknowledged or appreciated, or it’s seen as a negative.   Imagine if you told a woman you were interested in about how long it took and how hard you worked to get where you are at and her response is “Pffft, don’t care!”

      1. 36.5.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        The reason he doesn’t care (or at least I don’t care) is because I’ve been taught, as a man, that I can’t rely on a woman to support me. So I’m going to go out and choose a high earning career and marry for love, not money. Thus, the amount my wife makes is ultimately incidental if I achieve my goals. Sure, it’s practical since most households are dual income. My point is that I think it’s a GOOD thing that most men decouple money from love – that they marry women based on whether they make him FEEL GOOD above all. I encourage women to do the exact same thing.

        1. Robyn

          The majority of  men do not head out into the world expecting a woman to support them.
          I think the more important question to ask is:
          How many men head out into the world at the start of their careers  expecting/planning for/with the aim  that they will always be the sole provider (income-earner) for themselves and their entire family?

          If you’re living in the major urban hub area’s on the East Coast & the West Coast of the US, that aim is a really tough one to achieve given the cost of living (especially real estate, education, health care  that are rising in cost exponentially way beyond most salary raises) these days. Statistically, the majority of men can’t end up in the top 20% of  income earners.

          I think there’s a greater number of men these days that expect their wife to contribute financially to some extent  (or at least be able to contribute should the need arise). Even if it’s an 80/20 or 70/30  split.

          Yes, this may limit the pool of women that meet a man’s criteria. But since financial issues are one of the top three causes of divorce, it makes no sense (IMHO) for a man to “not consider” financial implications when marrying.

          I think it’s tougher for women, though.
          Despite the advances of feminism & “equality”, I don’t think that the majority of working women in 2016  started their careers  5, 10 or 20 years ago  expecting/planning for/with the aim  that they would always be the sole or majority provider (income-earner) for themselves and their entire family /  that they would have to support a stay-at-home husband.

          So logically one can expect that fewer women than men can/will ignore money & “marry for love” alone, especially if they want to have children.

          I think this may change over the next generation, as a result of the economic  turmoil of the past 10 years & the almost-disappearance of so-called permanent employment in most industries (many recruiters are now calling jobs “full-time jobs” – they no longer use the term “permanent jobs”…).

          Ten to twenty years from now I think there may well be a much larger number of women that start their careers with the expectation they may have to support a house-husband, or  at a minimum  be the majority income earner of their household.

          So maybe then there will be a lot more women that can “marry for love” alone.


        2. GoWithTheFlow

          Hey Evan,

          “I’ve been taught, as a man, that I can’t rely on a woman to support me. So I’m going to go out and choose a high earning career and marry for love, not money.”

          Girls get a similar message from their parents:   Get an education and a good job so you never have to rely on a man.   The message is part empowerment but also part fear based:   Make sure you can support yourself and your kids so you can leave a bad marriage or financially survive if you get dumped.

          It seems that boys and girls are encouraged to do the same thing (be able to support yourself and your kids) but for different reasons.

      2. 36.5.2

        It’s not that we don’t care.   Your career is not the reason we choose you and that should   be a high compliment.   We don’t want to date your business persona.   We want to date your woman persona.   I once dated a successful business owner and I was interested in the success of her business but I did not want our relationship to be about her business.   I wanted the relationship to be about us.   Yes, the woman would be expected to support herself.

        1. GoWithTheFlow


          “We don’t want to date your business persona.   We want to date your woman persona.”

          Sounds good to me.   But, it seems that there are some men who automatically assign negative or masculine traits to women because of their education or job title, and dismiss them as date material without ever getting to know them.   Lawyer, doctor, chemical engineer, marketing vice president, real estate developer = loud, argumentative, aggressive, controlling, inflexible, emasculating ball buster   (I know, I know, ignore those guys, I wouldn’t want them anyway. . .)

          Just for the record, the meanest, most aggressive and intimidating woman I ever met was my son’s 2nd grade teacher.   She busted the balls of seven year old boys!

          It’s also hard to miss the glee a few male commenters here get from telling educated women with careers that if they don’t get married they are “getting what they deserve.”   (Refer to the very popular post about why should women be expected to marry men with less education.)   What drives this?

          I had a conversation with my brother last night about his friend, a 46 year old bachelor, who is still searching for his nice, strict Catholic girl to settle down and have kids with.   He is a 5 or 6 who wants an 8-10 woman in her 30s.   All of his friends agree this is a huge stumbling block in his search for Ms. Right.   He is a sweet, family oriented guy who would make a great husband and father. And while I can see where he is sabotaging himself with his unrealistic beauty standards, I would feel sad for him if her never married or had kids because of it.   I wouldn’t feel smug satisfaction that he was “getting what he deserved.”

    6. 36.6

      Jeremy, I hear what you are saying. We all want to be wanted for who we are not what we are/do for them.

      But before you adopt the stance that women do this to men but men don’t, they just want to love women unconditionally, I’d suggest that you Google “my wife got fat” or “I’m not attracted to my wife.” There are thousands upon thousands of examples on these blogs and websites of real life men writing in their own words that they are contemplating divorce or affairs because their wife gained weight. Many of them talk bluntly about the fact that they no longer feel love for their wives because their weight gain makes them unattractive sexually.

      To be fair we don’t know what other issues may be plaguing these relationships. But some of these men use some pretty vicious language to describe the women they married whose only crime appears to be not weighing what they did on their wedding day.

      My point? In just about every argument you can make about who gets the shaft, men or women, you can rest assured that none of us are righteous victims, regardless of our gender.

      1. 36.6.1

        SQ, I understand what you are saying, but please realize that we are talking about different things.   Every person, male or female, is attracted to certain features in a partner (appearance, intelligence, education, etc).   These are the things that draw us to a partner and, as I wrote above, if these qualities fade too much, attraction may fade.   Male or female.


        What I am talking about is quite different.   I am talking about “romance” – the need for men to constantly pursue and qualify (and re-qualify) for the love of a woman.   It is not that his qualifications have changed (his appearance, intelligence, income, etc. have not changed).   Rather, in order to maintain a woman’s interest in him, he needs to constantly pursue her with his planning (surprises, dates), income (gifts), and his time.   Without this constant qualification (ie. “romance”), women will often believe that a man is not interested in them and will lose interest in him.


        Think about what women like to receive on Valentine’s Day, for example.   Think about what men like to receive.   Every year I chuckle to read articles on what to buy your boyfriend for Valentine’s Day – he doesn’t want anything but your   affection and sexual interest.   He does not need gifts, dates, or re-qualifications.


        This is not to accuse women of being materialistic – I really don’t think it’s about money.   Rather, it’s about psychological validation.   Women get excited to know that a high-quality man WANTS to spend his time and money on them, for no other reason than that he wants to.   Not in exchange for sex, not out of obligation, but because he wants to.   This is incredibly validating to most women – and when men don’t WANT to do these things, they lose the validation they need.   This is not a foreign concept to men….it’s just that men want that same validation from women during sex.   That a high-quality woman wants to have sex with him, not in exchange for provision, not out of obligation, but for no other reason than that she WANTS to.


        Ironic, this, in light of the other article on Evan’s site about the woman who complains that her BF wants sex all the time.

        1. SQ

          Jeremy, with all due respect, you may see it differently, but my overall point stands. We all have qualifiers. We all have needs and desires we and expect to be met by our partner  while simultaneously wanting be loved unconditionally. You only focus on how unfair it is to men because (I’m assuming) you’ve never been a woman.

          That’s all.

        2. Emily

          I agree that men want hot women to have sex with them in exchange for nothing but most of the time these men are not good at sex so it’s not going to happen. Men’s egos are so fragile that they cannot be humble enough to actuallly learn how to be great lovers. Every time I try to tell a man what I want in the bedroom, they are so offended that I automatically don’t think they are the best lovers ever. However, when a man spends money on a woman and validates them, men do get something out of it. Women want validation that the time and money they spent looking good for a man was worth it and men get to be seen with a good looking woman. win win. when a hot woman has sex with an ugly man who isn’t good in bed, that’s a lose lise

        3. sylvana


          I recently stumbled across an older post here about the whole “why do men keep checking out other women” topic that keeps coming up again and again.

          The comments on those posts and others across the internet were rather eye-opening. And I’m beginning to wonder if the reasons women lose interest in sex with their men isn’t simply psychological.

          Men do have a bad habit of hammering home the point that the woman they’re with is simply not good enough when it comes to his sexual satisfaction.

          He craves variety (which, funnily, generally tends to include mostly hot chicks, preferably of the younger variety, or women with bodies that the average woman or mother cannot attaint or maintain). And even if she is lucky enough to be one of those hot chicks, it’s still not enough. Because, well, “variety”.

          Basically, women are constantly receiving the message from their partners that sexually, they aren’t all that special to him.

          He loves her, he chose to be with her. That’s wonderful, and inspires feelings of love in return. But the whole “I’d rather be fucking a hot chick, but you’ll do”, simply doesn’t inspire a woman to get all that aroused for a man. Neither does knowing you’re only one of many he receives sexual pleasure from. Unless you’re a cuckquean. Also, the fact that he is sacrificing so much for her by sleeping only with her isn’t anywhere near the swoon-worthy declaration men think it to be.  

          What’s even worse, is that the majority of men (not all, I know) have huge problems if their women do the same. But I won’t even get into that.

          Years of that will erode a woman’s sexual self-esteem. And since a lot of women do want to feel an emotional connection when they have sex… well, it’s rather hard to achieve when she’s wondering who he is fantasizing about while using her for a cock-sleeve.

          A lot of women simply seem to feel that it is a form of cheating. And I can’t really say that I disagree.

          I’ve had both open and monogamous relationships in the past. And having no problem with open relationships, I have to say that I honestly do not see the difference between mentally sleeping with another person and physically sleeping with another person.

          If a man (or woman) masturbates to or fantasizes about a specific person, he/she is receiving sexual arousal, sexual pleasure, and sexual satisfaction from that other person. At that point, he/she might as well go and do it.

          To me, a fantasy is a certain scenario, sexual act, or kink. In case of porn or pictures, the person(s) or look of the person(s) depicting the fantasy do not matter at all. Even if the people weren’t attractive at all, it would still be super arousing, as long as the kink is met. Attraction has nothing to do with it.

          But if the focus is on a person (due to their looks or other qualities–someone you’re attracted to or who turns you on) rather than an act/scenario/kink, it’s no longer a fantasy, but the reality of achieving sexual pleasure and satisfaction from another person – aka: cheating.

          If that person is way hotter/better endowed/etc. than the person you’re with, you’re now sending a clear signal that the person you’re with is not as exciting, arousing, desirable to you than the hotter one. And this applies to both men and women.

          Noticing attractive people is normal. Being attracted to them is a different thing. Fantasizing about them is a clear sign you would be better off in an open relationship, since your needs are clearly not being met by your partner.

          I understand that men crave variety. A lot of women (me included) crave the same, though. The difference is, most women will ignore that craving, because they know it makes their partners feel less confident. Most men expect their women to accept it.

          So if a man constantly makes his woman feel like she is only one of many (aka: not all that special), or even makes her feel undesirable by focusing his sexual attention on women way hotter than her, I can see how she ends up no longer wanting to have sex with him.

          Sleeping with only her does not make her feel special or desirable. It just means that she was the best he could get who still meets criteria for a relationship. It’s called settling, which, in itself, is perfectly realistic. Except for when you make your partner feel as if you have settled.

          Not to mention that using her body while pretending to have sex with someone else is not exactly being faithful.

          So maybe it’s not just the orgasm after all *wink*

          Confidence is a wonderful thing. But your partner’s actions can certainly break it down. And, once again, this is not a women-only issue. Most men react the same. They’re simply not exposed to it as often.

          I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, Jeremy.


    7. 36.7

      Jeremy, with all due respect the OP has written in stating that this has nothing to do with his wallet she would have been happy with a simple band, it was his attitude that hurt her feelings. And women have plenty of hoops.   You can’t even do your job without being criticized in what you are wearing:

  17. 37

    The LW says “a less than $5k ring”…this is still unclear–it’s still a big range.   Does  she mean she wants an engagement ring that costs $4999 and no less?   Does it mean she would be OK with ring that cost $100?


    If the former, it’s still all about wanting an expensive present.   If the latter, the BF really has no reason not to give it to her.

    Others may have pointed it out, but it’s more hypocrisy on some of the  ladies’ part: you want the traditional engagement ring (and for the guy to pay for dates, etc.!), but you don’t want the traditional role in a  relationship.

    1. 37.1

      I obviously can’t read her mind and speak for her, but from the context of the rest of the letter–I didn’t think she meant $4999 and think she could be happy with a $100 one.   She describes herself as “frugal” and not wanting to spend a fortune on this wedding.   If she’s as financially prudent as she says, I would think that she wouldn’t demand an expensive ring.

      I think an inexpensive ring would be a reasonable compromise.   She would get the ring she wants and he wouldn’t be financially burdened (and if it brings up ghosts of his ex, they could make this ring completely different from the one he gave her).

      Expensive presents aren’t a necessity.   My guy’s favorite gifts from me are a personalized travel coffee mug I got for him (with our photos on it) and a little photo album I made for him.   From a purely monetary standpoint, this mug and album aren’t worth nearly as much as the new Keurig I once got for him–but he likes the mug and album so much more.

    2. 37.2

      Joe, truth be told most men can not afford to have a traditional wife anymore, so it’s unclear why they would even complain about it, or why would they even WANT that, it just escapes me. As a man you are so much better off with a working wife. She bring home her share of bacon, statistically still does more work around the house, bears your children, and if you divorce she won’t get alimony. Heck, this is such a good deal for a guy that he should want to buy her a ring even more than ever! It’s the woman who is getting shortchanged in this scenario. Give me a break..What kind of logic is that? You are marrying a woman who will enhance your life together financially and you are less likely to buy her a present vs a woman who would depend on you for the rest of your marriage (and beyond)?


      1. 37.2.1
        Mrs Happy

        To Stacy2 @ 37.2,

        I don’t agree with “as a man you are so much better with a working wife”. In fact I think the opposite is true. Maybe the man is financially better off, but in most other domains, life is harder for the man if the man’s wife works, particularly if they have children.

        The following are generalisations, but I think true:

        When she works full time in paid work, she has less free time, the household probably doesn’t run as smoothly, weekday mornings and evenings are more rushed, there are fewer slow/healthy home cooked meals.     The kids are more rushed thus more stressed, homework is supervised while pushed into a smaller timeframe.   The man has to do more household chores and school drop offs and pick ups (or is resented for not doing so), the wife being more chronically frantically busy probably wants less sex, and she has less time to devote to staying fit and healthy. He has to devote cognitive bandwidth while at work to thoughts like “what is for dinner tonight, did I defrost the meat, when does my son’s soccer practise finish, should I move my 4pm meeting to leave early to dash to the grocery store, have I RSVPed to Saturday’s lunch invite”. Sure the working wife still does many of these things, but he does some too if she is in paid work.

        On weekends they both have to divy up all the running-the-home jobs that didn’t get done during the weekday evenings – including grocery shopping, lots of cleaning and washing clothes, cooking, paying bills, kids homework, planning social events, etc. It’s all more chaotic.

        It’s more chaotic because 2 adults are doing 4 jobs – a paid job each, raising kids, and running a household.

        When the wife isn’t in paid work, it’s only 3 jobs between 2 adults, and the man is only doing 1 of these 3 jobs.

        Most men would love to come home from a busy work day to a neater, calmer peaceful home, with a hot meal ready, not have to concern themselves with much of the workload of managing children or caring for ill relatives, not have to do many household chores, to have all these tasks done out of sight while he is at work. His wife is then more available to him of an evening, for company, conversation, support, intimacy.

        Most men don’t get this deal because most women work now. The men that can afford it, often get it.

        In my opinion, as a man, you probably have an easier life, your life is better, if you are partnered with a stay-at-home wife.

        1. Stacy2

          Most men would love to come home from a busy work day to a neater, calmer peaceful home, with a hot meal ready

          And the men who can afford it still do. They probably account for less than 0.5% of the population (I speak of the east coast).   Coincidently, these are often the same men who when divorced are sentenced to  long-term alimony and go around  whining about how their wives “never worked a day” and got half of their shit.

          When she works full time in paid work, she has less free time, the household probably doesn’t run as smoothly, weekday mornings and evenings are more rushed, there are fewer slow/healthy home cooked meals.  

          This is all kinda pales in comparison to having the security and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that should something happen to one person, the other can still support the family and they don’t need to sell the house and go on welfare, being able to afford better education for their kids (say ivy vs. in-state) and to outsource all the mind-numbing chores such as grocery shopping and house cleaning to a nanny/housekeeper/hired help,   no? To each his own. In my experience most men  understand this equation really well.

          I remember attending a business dinner recently, and there was an older executive there and a younger analyst who had just gotten engaged. The older guy offered him one piece of advice: “whatever you do, don’t let he quit her job” (the older guy was happily married btw and  on of those 0.5%-ers)

        2. KK

          Agreed Mrs Happy,

          And to expound on the children’s overall happiness and well being, let’s not forget about not having to be stuck in day care all day during the summer. They get to be at home with mom, are able to have friends over or go play at the neighbor’s house, have play dates, ride bikes,   go to the beach, the zoo, the library, the museum… An overall happier childhood, in my opinion.

        3. Stacy2

          Saying a man is better off with a stay at home wife who is waiting for him to come home all rested, dressed up and ready to serve him a meal and serve him in the bedroom is like saying a man is better of with a lamborgini  over toyota. Duh. If you’re not rich, you could still buy a lamborgini, but in reality you can’t afford it and the price you’ll ultimately pay in other ways will be huge. It is just not practical to trade long-term financial security of a family for a home-made mac’n’cheese, IMO – unless the man is so rich and financially secure that he literally can afford it (which is raaaare).

        4. Bonnie Bee

          In response to Mrs Happy KK and Stacy2 in thread #39

          my daughter was in day care from age 1 on and she has all of the things you mentioned, plus she has exceptional social skills for her age, was reading at age 4, and is a stellar student in elementary school, and I do believe being in a good quality day care helped her excel early on. During the summers she gets to experience trips to the zoo, museums, space camp, sports, laser tag etc with her friends from daycare. I think it’s wonderful when a parent can stay at home with their child, don’t get me wrong, but not all parents have that luxury and honestly it’s not the best arrangement for every family.

        5. GoWithTheFlow

          Mrs. Happy,

          I think what you are describing is the fantasy of what life for a man with a stay-at-home wife is like.   Sometimes it will be that way, but there are times it won’t!   I like to dream of having a stay-at-home-husband who does they same things you list a dream SAHW does.   But the two women I know with SAHHs relate that often dinner is not on the table and the house is dirty when they get home because that is life.   Even the most competent and organized SAHM or SAHD will have days from hell when the dishwasher overflows, they have the flu, and the 2 year old has an extended meltdown.   I have male colleagues with stay-at-home wives who complain that their wives have let their appearance go since exiting the workforce, “She’s always in sweats and a baggy t-shirt.”   My sister was a SAHM for 20 years but my BIL did 80% of the cooking since he liked doing it and was a much better cook than my sister.   He also did quite a bit of housework since there is always something that needs to get done when there are kids in the house.

          My mother was home with us kids until the youngest entered 4th grade.   She then spent 2 years working part-time and went back to school to update her professional credentials.   After that she went to work full time in a job where she made more money than my dad.   During the time she was home full time, lack of money was the overriding concern my parents had.   Both were very anxious during those years and my mom was always trying to do things to bring in extra money;   selling Amway, tutoring, babysitting, etc.

          After mom went to work full time my parents were happy and more relaxed.   We got to go on vacations, we ate better food, and my mom lost weight and started styling her hair and wearing makeup (my dad noticed that 😉 )   My parents argued less and we spent more time together as a family because my mom knew she wasn’t there at times so she made an extra effort to make the time she was there meaningful.

          When the economy was in the tank a few years back, two of my girlfriends became the sole breadwinners for their families when their husbands had extended periods of unemployment.   I know couples who work opposite shifts so one is always home with the kids, and those dads do a lot of child and home care.   Another man was able to quit a good paying job he hated and enter a field where it took 2-3 years before he started making a decent income because his wife is a working professional.   All of these guys (and their wives) are happy because they are married someone who loves and accepts them as they are, employed, under-employed, or voluntarily out of the work force.   There are greater determinants of marital happiness than whether a wife works outside of the home or not.

        6. SQ

          Rather than argue about who has it better, men with working wives or men with stay at home wives, can we just concede that one size does not fit all families and every one has a right to decide for themselves and their family what works for them, and to quote Evan, “no one else gets a vote?”

    3. 37.3

      Joe please read the clarification the OP posted above: “Actually it’s not about the price. I threw out less than  5k arbitrarily as that seemed like an average price these days and less than that seemed reasonable given salaries and low debt. I’d be happy with something of lesser value, a simple band, or a family ring that he paid nothing for as long as he felt excited and proud to present it to me and ask me to be his wife. I could even get on board with the tattoo if that’s what he really wants, but it  was more his attitude that hurt my feelings.”

  18. 38

    Since I was a wee thing, I’ve observed women’s behaviour about each other’s rings. If it looks expensive, “Oh, he must really love you!” If it’s considered inelegant, unkind comments behind your back. If it’s modest, haha, gossip about how he clearly isn’t as successful as we all thought.   And then there’s the whole element of diamonds having no inherent value while costing a fortune. Or how many couples don’t have sufficient funds to cover the unexpected job loss or plumbing emergency or homecare required by a sick parent… all while the wife sports a piece of bling.   I’d love it if the tradition changed to guys proposing with a, “Here’s the cost of an engagement ring that I’ve locked in a 20-year certificate of deposit to help with the price of our future kids’ post-secondary education?” To me, that seems much more romantic!

    But, my personal beliefs don’t help Kelly the letter writer.   I guess it comes down to, you want what you want and if it’s really important to you, you should get a ring: not because its your “right” but bc its some deep-seated emotional requirement for you and you’ll always resent your fiance if he doesn’t give you one. But then, throughout your marriage, I hope you’ll keep this in mind when your husbands needs certain things to feel loved that make no sense to you, and that you will be as accommodating of him, in return.   Also, remember that this object on your finger means there’ll be less money for vacations, mortgage payments and retirement funds. *shrug*

    1. 38.1

      If there was a “like” button for your comment, Henriette, I’d press it.   Agree 100%.

      1. 38.1.1
        Mi Lee

        I’m in the same boat as this woman. I want a ring but my boyfriend doesnt want to get me one. After reading Jeremy’s comments, it helps me see my boyfriend’s point. However, part of loving someone is protecting them. No If you have a flat chested gf, no guy is going to give you s**t over it. Women can be cruel. If I have no ring, it says to other women that my husband doesn’t think I’m worth it. A ring not only symbolizes love but also the fact that my bf worked hard to save the money to buy me a ring. He’s that committed to me and therefore symbolizes the committment he will make to the marriage and making it work. I will be given a hard time by other people men and women if I have no ring. Men will continue to hit on me not believing I’m actually married and women will feel sorry for me. I love my bf so much that I would never low him to attend a cocktail party without the proper attire. If he showed up in jeans and a holy shirt because he’s too por. Even if he was, I wouldn’t put him in a position of embarrassment. Appearances can make the difference between whether you are treated well or not. What’s wtong with having a big diamond and letting other people think you are married to a guy who really loves you? Especially if it’s true? The only men who serm to have a problem eith buying a ring are poor men. btw I wanted a ring that costs $2k and was used. Hardly breaking the bank. Thrn he called me a gold digger for wanting a ring. I make more money than him. He’s broke and I have money. And yeah maybe I’m insecure that people will know he’s broke and think he married me for my money, but I’ve always wanted a ring and if I were a gold digger I wouldn’t be with a poor man

        1. Clare

          Mi Lee,

          I would be far more worried that my fiance called me a gold digger than that he didn’t want to buy me a ring. That seems like a very harsh and nasty thing to say about the person you love. I’d be very worried if that was his true opinion of me.

          I’m not going to criticise your reasons for wanting a flashy engagement ring because those are your feelings and they are valid. However, if marrying this man is truly about your love for him, the cost of the ring really shouldn’t matter. If you have decided to marry a man who makes considerably less than you, it seems strange to me that you now want him to shell out for a ring he says he can’t afford. To me, this seems like you are upsetting yourself unnecessarily.

          If you are truly worried about what other people will say (and again, I do not think other people’s opinions should form the basis for ANY of your relationship decisions), and you can afford to do so, why not just buy your own ring? People do not have to know that you paid for it if you don’t want them to.

          If it’s truly the man you are proud of and not his finances, the size or expense of the ring really shouldn’t matter. A plain ring says commitment just as well as a flashy ring, and you can always replace it later. These seem very superficial concerns to me.

          When I got married, we were just starting out and truly couldn’t afford to buy an expensive engagement ring and didn’t want to get into debt over it. So we mutually decided to buy a pretty but very modest ring, which I actually grew to love because it symbolised those early days of our relationship. My (ex) husband went on to become very successful in his career in later years and could easily have afforded to replace my engagement ring if we had wanted that, but it was never about that for me.

    2. 38.2
      Bonnie Bee

      In response to Henriette 38

      I LOVE this! “I’d love it if the tradition changed to guys proposing with a, “Here’s the cost of an engagement ring that I’ve locked in a 20-year certificate of deposit to help with the price of our future kids’ post-secondary education?” To me, that seems much more romantic!”

      1. 38.2.1

        Sorry i just can’t help it, a guy who locks in funds for 20 years at 0.5% rate has no business managing finances. A brand-name diamond is a horrible investment but even that would probably hold its value better against inflation over this period of time compared to a CD at these rates – judging by the index pricing of 1ct over past 14 years (return 1.2% per year on average).

        I get what you’re saying, it is not practical – and I agree that its not. But it’s a gift, a luxury item and it doesn’t have to be practical. Roses are not practical, dinners out are not practical, designer clothes are not practical, etc.  Those are impractical joys.

        1. Bonnie Bee

          @Stacy2 38.2.2

          I took the man investing in the future instead of buying a diamond to be the point of the anecdote. I’m no financial adviser 🙂

        2. Henriette

          Yes, @Stacy2: I literally meant that a guy should propose only with a CD and it must literally be for 20 years. *eye roll*   And no, a “brand name diamond” will not even earn a 1.2% annual return on investment, unless the guy gets it from a jeweller who’s a relative or manages to score some amazing deal at an auction.   Rings are like cars; the moment you drive them off the lot, their value plummets (and please spare me the explanation that no one can drive a ring… once again, this is not to be taken literally)

          The gist is that Kelly does not “deserve” a ring and a guy who balks at buying one is not some kind of loser for questioning the value of this tradition.

    3. 38.3

      Once again, letter writer replied stating she would be happy with a simple band, it was his attitude that hurt her feelings.

    4. 38.4

      My hubby wanted me to have an engagement ring, but I DO object to diamonds, the diamond industry and the expense, and I also think colored stones are prettier.    When we decided to get married he said “Let’s not announce this until I get you your engagement ring”, so it’s not like I badgered him into it.   However, when he told me what his price limit was I said “Oh honey, I had a MUCH lower price in mind”.   In order to avoid financing the corrupt diamond industry and putting a big dent in our budget, we bought an estate ruby ring for well under one thousand dollars, and well under his original price limit. No breaking the budget, no financing the corrupt diamond industry.   I must admit, it is a rather ambiguous looking ring, and even though I wore it on my left hand, it didn’t immediately signal that I was engaged, which I was fine with.   I now wear it on my right hand, as it doesn’t really fit very well with wedding band, which matches his.   In one way, I actually like my wedding band better, as it is very clearly a wedding band, but I think my engagement ring is prettier, although the symbolism behind it isn’t clear to the outside world.   Of course, it’s a moot point, because men haven’t randomly hit on me for a few decades :)I think at my age, the cattiness over rings is mostly over.   Very few women even asked to see my ring after they found out we were getting married.   Only one younger girl said “Awwwww, why didn’t you get a DIAMOND ???!!! ”   Totally agree with Henriette, that if your fiance buys you an engagement ring reluctantly, because he doesn’t really understand why it means so much to you, you should return the favor.  I would have been fine with no engagement ring, or even just “living together apart”, but he wanted me to have one, and I do like jewelry in general.   I just don’t like breaking the bank over it, or financing a cruel and corrupt industry.

  19. 39
    Karl S

    I asked my girlfriend about this question and she said if it were her, she’d like a ring, but probably something like a colored stone or an interesting mineral. I have no idea how much those sorts of rings go for but I figure if it’s just a few hundred dollars it shouldn’t be a big deal for an engagement present. This is coming from a man on hospitality rates though, so don’t judge. 😛

  20. 40


    You are thinking about amenities, then affordability. We have to recalibrate our thinking. The lifestyle must match the income that we currently have at our disposal. Let’s say that we are a young couple starting out in today’s environment and you want to be a stay at home mom eventually. We have to consciously plan for that reality together. Our rent or mortgage can’t be more than one week’s salary for either of us. If it is, the area that we chose to live is not currently affordable at our present earnings. We need to relocate so that we can accumulate funds, while I gather the necessary work experience to command a higher salary in an urban environment.

    You would exit the workforce when we have saved enough for a home down payment and reserves for mechanical home repairs.   The down payment should be enough to keep the mortgage at one week’s salary. We both have to be able to resist the temptation to keep up with my frat brothers and your sorority sisters. European luxury sedans and vacations in Barbados will be out of the question, but our work life balance will surely reap the benefits. I’m amazed sometimes that so many people can’t see the forest through the trees.

    1. 40.1

      I agree D_M.

      It really comes down to priorities. I was watching a news show several years ago and this was the topic being discussed among several couples. One young couple who had married right out of college had planned on waiting to have children for at least 5 years or so, until they were more financially stable and the wife really wanted to be able to stay home with their children. Well, she ended up pregnant their first year of marriage and then had a second child not too long after the first. They were living paycheck to paycheck. Both young children were in daycare, and the mom hated not being able to keep her kids at home.

      Long story short, the financial adviser on the show went through all their expenses with them and showed them how they would actually be better off financially if the mom stayed home with the kids. Factoring in the high cost of daycare for 2, the work commute, expensive wardrobe, etc, they weren’t really coming out ahead. So the mom is now a happy stay at home mom.

    2. 40.2

      if you don’t mind me asking, how old are you and where do you live? What you describing sounds like something that would may be happen 30 years ago and may be happens today somewhere in Midwest. I don’t know really.

      I can only speak of what I see around me on the east coast, where people tend to date around after college for a long time and get engaged in late 20ies or early 30ies, when both future spouses already have significant earning potential. At that point giving one income up would really be impractical, especially if both went to grad schools for example and invested in their careers. Middle class homes cost $1m plus, so good luck getting to the point where you can pay the mortgage with 1 week salary (that would require half a million dollar salary). Moving to cheap parts of the country is not that simple, they are cheap because they don’t have the high paying jobs to begin with, etc.

      Of course if wife’s income is so low that she is barely covering the costs associated  with beingn out of the house, and has no prospect of growing, this could make sense. But I don’t really see a lot of couples with a large disparity in income these days.


      1. 40.2.1

        I find it interesting / funny you keep asking me where I live. I suspect it has less to do with the housing market or median income and salary in my area and more to do with trying to fit me in a box or stereotype me, like you attempted to on the last post and failed…and then again on this one and failed again.

        I’m 42. I live about 30 miles outside a major metropolitan area in a nice, middle class suburb. I think that’s enough information for your purposes.

      2. 40.2.2


        I don’t know you, but love you to pieces!!!! LOL. My comments were to address your statement of being able to live on one income. I laid out how a young couple in today’s environment could go about accomplishing that goal and you respond with first world problems. I already said we can’t have European luxury sedans and five star Caribbean vacations. You respond with, “but honey, we need that middle class $1m plus home”. Stacy2, I really don’t know how to respond, other than what I have already said. If part of the family plan is to give up luxury cars and luxury vacations, how in the world would a $1m plus home be in the equation? Once we have a certain lifestyle in our heads, sometimes it’s impossible to see past it.

        If we are older, it should be even easier because our incomes are higher. It’s like you are trying to run a race with ankle weights and I keep pointing out that you should take the weights off. You keep responding with, “No, I will not run the race without the weights” The inability to shake off our respective labels puts so much unnecessary pressure on the family unit. Come on Stacy2, we probably can’t afford the house, but could probably swing a three bedroom condo. Everything is about choices. It clearly takes a certain personality type to see the world around them from this perspective. I am middle-aged and live in the DC metro area.

        1. Stacy2

          Fair enough and I get your point (live simple life rather than kill yourself trying to get nicer life) and this is a valid philosophy some people subscribe to.

          I just don’t think you get exactly how low should one go to live on one income these days. My ex-s parents were a teacher and a government worker, they owned a 3br  apartment in a really good city neighborhood, a car, a country house and put two kids through a private school and college. They never had luxuries. These days, this same private school costs 50k per year, and a 3br condo in that area costs upwards of $2 million. You would need to consistently bring in 7 figures to go anywhere near it. Even two average private sector workers can’t afford the same life now that a teacher and a government employee had a generation ago. Everything has become so out of reach. I can swear off every little joy and luxury in life, and still I wouldn’t be able to afford that on one income. So, it’s nice to tell how in theory a young couple can approach this, but the reality is ugly out there, there’s no real path to comfortable middle class lifestyle anymore.

    3. 40.3

      Also, I actually have experience living on one income (which was MY income), and not only was it miserable in terms of the quality of life (I do well for myself but still a bit short of half a mil), but it also put such enormous stress on me, thinking what would happen if I lost my job, being unable to adequately save for retirement because of high cost of living, killing myself at work to get to the next promotion to make more, etc. that I had head full of grey hair by the age of 31 not to mention other issues. Making money is hard. I don’t know how would that feel any different for a man. Why would anybody want to be in that position, male or female? Why would you want to subject your husband to that stress if it’s someone you love, if you can help with the burden? You are approaching it with no consideration of what your husband experiences being a sole bread winner in today’s environment.

      Being a housewife is a good deal for a woman who wants that kind of life first and foremost. If you can find a millionaire husband like KK here did you can live privileged life, run the household and tell the rest of us how our priorities are all wrong, while your husband slaves at work. If you divorce you make out like a bandit in a divorce court and in some places get lifetime alimony. Doubt the husbands think they are getting that high a value out of it though 🙂


      1. 40.3.1

        Stacy2, someone who is making just short of $500,000/year should be able to adequately save for retirement regardless of where he/she lives.   Doesn’t matter if he/she lives on the Upper East Side or SF proper.   I would re-assess what expenses are truly necessary versus discretionary.

        1. Stacy2

          Yes Chance, and now that I don’t have a “househusband” with expensive tastes and needs to support I can…

        2. Shaukat

          I agree Chance. Comments like Stacy2’s above   remind of Bill Gates infamous statement, that he was only going to leave his kids a 10 million inheritance because he wanted them to work for a living.

          My guess is that Stacy is either living well beyond her means and hence drowning in debt, or she has a gambling problem:)

      2. 40.3.2

        “Being a housewife is a good deal for a woman who wants that kind of life first and foremost. If you can find a millionaire husband like KK here did you can live privileged life, run the household and tell the rest of us how our priorities are all wrong, while your husband slaves at work”.

        Besides being highly offensive, that’s a false statement. My ex was not a millionaire when we met or married. He became one while we were married. Maybe there is a little truth to that old saying about a good woman being behind every successful man.

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