Boyfriend’s family ring? No thanks. Carolyn Hax readers give advice.

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We asked readers to channel their inner Carolyn Hax and answer this question. Some of the best answers are below.

Dear Caroline: My boyfriend and I started talking about getting engaged in the next 12 months. My dad was a jeweler and I grew up hoping for a custom engagement ring. Meanwhile, my boyfriend has a family ring he picked out. His mother let him and his sister each choose a ring from their “family collection”. There is no particular attachment except “it’s free” and his mother really wants him to use it. We discussed how important it was for me to make this decision together and he kind of understands but also doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t just want a ‘free’ ring. I don’t know how to explain my desire to choose a ring together. No advice? Or am I inflexible?

New ring please: My current husband followed his mother’s suggestion rather than my preference written on which ring to choose from the list I provided to him (our agreed-upon process). And guess what? This ring has been returned and I am happy to wear the one I wanted. My husband and I agreed that the engagement ring was a major purchase that we should both feel good about and, ultimately, was there for me to enjoy. We also discussed the budget openly.

You say you can’t explain what you want, but in the course of a marriage you will need to explain your desires hundreds of times. Take the opportunity to practice. Try words to explain your feelings the same way you try on rings. Next, talk to your boyfriend about what’s important to you, to him, and what’s financially reasonable.

You also need to align yourself with her mother’s appropriate role in this decision – which is not hers to make. If she’s prone to imposing her opinions on her son, it’s a good idea to start setting boundaries now while remaining sensitive to his feelings. The ring may have sentimental value to her or represent your to be welcome in the family. If so, you can find a way to express your gratitude for the sweet feeling without pandering to her preferences.

New ring please: It may be worth focusing on this point: “His mother really wants him to use it.” Is he completely ignoring your wishes and considering giving you a ring that you’re supposed to wear every day that you don’t like because he just prefers to appease his mother? If so, know that this is a problem that does not go away. If you want to marry this guy, you have to be prepared for his mother’s emotional needs to come before your own – always, whenever they conflict. People have a lot of opinions about engagement rings, but her happy, sweet reaction to something that’s hugely meaningful to you — and carries your own family significance — says something about her character that you should think about before you go. marry.

New ring please: I was in a similar situation and we found a compromise. While the ring itself was not important to my husband, he feared that my strong desire for something different and more expensive symbolized that what he (and his family) had to offer was not enough. . Neither of us wanted to start the marriage that way, and neither of us wanted me to wear something I didn’t like every day “for the rest of my life.” So we cut off the end of that sentence and agreed that I would wear it for our engagement and then wear whatever wedding ring I wanted.

I chose a diamond cocktail ring that I still adore 20 years later and wear the other ring on my right hand for family events. Her family and strangers are still gushing over the beauty and meaning of the TWO rings.

New ring please: I have always liked people. My suffocated future in-laws pushed the family ring that was given to the eldest son, who later divorced and reclaimed the “treasure,” onto me, future wife of the younger son. I hated it and its legacy but I didn’t know how to say no.

Say no. Please. Now is the time to proudly wear the representation of your love and your future, on your own terms, on your own finger. I never wore this ring, making up a new lie every time I was asked where it was. Then, as our 17th anniversary approached, as I was walking through a wonderful jewelry store with my two young sons, we walked in and I let them choose the ring they wanted me to wear. Since then, I proudly wear this representation of the love of our family. He represented my future, as we now approach our 40th anniversary.

New ring please: My dad inherited a two-carat diamond ring. The diamond itself was beautiful, but the ring looked dated. So he used that diamond and had a ring made for my mother with the diamond as the centerpiece. It could be a great compromise for you and your boyfriend, especially since the custom-designed ring is part of what you’re hoping for anyway. Assuming the gemstone(s) from the heirloom rings are worth incorporating into a custom design, of course.

Each week, we ask readers to answer a question submitted to Carolyn Hax’s live chat or email. Read last week’s episode here. New questions are usually posted on Fridays, with a Monday submission deadline. Responses are anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself and are edited for length and clarity.

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