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What if She Doesn’t Like the Engagement Ring?

Turn your worst nightmare into a positive moment in your relationship by working with your fiancée to rethink the engagement ring.

You’re on a bended knee. You’ve asked the question. You’re offering the engagement ring. She’ll react any moment now. Wait for it …

You’re about to face the first big test of your impending married life. Despite your best efforts at selecting an engagement ring she will love, she clearly doesn’t share your enthusiasm about it.

She might stare in silence or stomp away — but probably not. More likely, she’ll pretend to be pleased so as not to hurt your feelings, but she may have trouble hiding her disappointment. Inwardly you may feel defensive, upset or irritated. But you can handle it with style and grace.

Getting engaged is an emotional time for both of you, and how you handle her rejection of the engagement ring will demonstrate your skill at handling the challenges all married couples face.

Take it step by step


Tell her you’re sorry she doesn’t love the engagement ring and that you want to work together to find the perfect ring to symbolize your commitment to one another.

Propose a solution

Offer to let her accompany you to the jewelry store to choose another diamond engagement ring. If she would prefer to maintain some aspect of surprise, she can pick out three or four rings and then let you make the final choice. Or ask her to simply window-shop with you at stores or online, pointing out rings she likes along the way. The final choice will still be yours, and you’ll have a good idea of what she wants.

Ask for input

If you discussed or even window-shopped for the ring from the beginning, there was a disconnect that you’ll want to avoid the second time around. Even before shopping for a replacement ring, ask questions that will help both of you narrow the options. For example, your first thought may be to look at rings that are the polar opposite of the first one. However, it may be as simple as her liking the style of the first ring but not the metal.

Get the details

Is the first ring traditional in style with a raised pattern but she prefers sleek and contemporary? Would she rather have a platinum ring instead of yellow gold? Is it the cut: Did you choose square or marquise diamonds but she wanted a traditional round one?

Size up the issue

Less comfortable to ask is the question about size, because that also involves money. If she was hoping for a 3-ct. diamond ring and you chose a 1-ct. diamond ring, consider whether the larger stone is in your budget. If it is, proceed. If it’s not, tread lightly. Money will be an issue throughout your married life, so don’t be afraid to discuss it now. How you handle it will set a pattern for the future, so make sure it’s a reasonable pattern that benefits you as a couple.

Explain that you understand how impressive and beautiful a 3-ct. diamond would be, but that you don’t want it to be financially taxing to both of you. Discuss some options. Inquire at your jewelry store about any financing plans or, in exchange for a higher carat weight, give in a little on one or two of the other 4Cs to keep the cost in line.

Make new memories

After you choose a new ring, the memory of her rejection of the first one still hangs over both of you. Even if she chooses the new engagement ring herself, explain that you’d like to present it in a special way, so keep it with you after it’s sized to fit her finger. Then whether you present it to her on a twilight cruise on a local river, in a ring box attached to a bouquet of her favorites flowers, or another scenario, you’ll both have good memories that will last a lifetime.

Navigating return policies

For your own protection when purchasing an engagement ring or any other type of jewelry, first visit the consumer protection agency website in your state for information on return policies.

That said, jewelers understand that many of their sales involve gift purchases and sometimes the gift misses the mark. Most jewelers have established easy return policies, but there are limitations you should understand. Policies vary by jewelry store, so be sure to ask about return policies before making a purchase.

Generally speaking:

  • You can return or exchange merchandise for a set number of days, usually 30, 60 or 90.
  • The merchandise must be in its original condition. A missing prong, chipped diamond, or misshapen ring is a problem, for example.
  • Custom designs typically can’t be returned or exchanged.
  • Hold onto all sales receipts and other purchase documents such as certification papers. A jeweler will typically recognize customers and remember their recent purchases. But in case you deal with a different salesperson on the day you return to the store, having these documents will speed the process.

Talk to your jeweler before you buy to make sure you have options if the unthinkable happens — so if she doesn’t like your choice, you can turn it into a hero moment.

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