It's the moment you've been waiting for, but it's not how you expected it to look. Now what?

afton travers wedding rings
Credit: Kayla Barker

The moment your partner gets down on one knee and opens that little square box may be one you've been dreaming about for a long time. But what happens when what's in the box isn't what you imagined? Do you tell your partner you don't love the ring? On the one hand, it's the ultimate gift from the love of your life; on the other hand (specifically, your left hand), is a ring you're not sure you'd be excited to look at every day for the rest of your life. To figure out how to get a handle on this tricky situation, we consulted Jill Weldum, a marriage and family therapist, who assured us that honesty is still the best policy. "Trust in your partner's best intentions," she urges. "If this is meant to be a lifelong symbol of your love, s/he would want you to wear your ring with genuine pride and pleasure."

Plus, an engagement ring is a major investment, so your partner will want you to love this piece of jewelry. Still, hearing that you don't love the ring they chose just for you can sting. Before you say anything, heed the advice of Weldum and do the following.

Enjoy the Moment

The days following a proposal are a whirlwind of emotions and excitement, so Weldum encourages couples to savor this special time before bringing up the topic of the ring. "Consider a waiting period in which you allow yourself to focus on the happiness of your engagement without fretting about the jewelry," she says. "This time should be about celebrating, not worrying." While the ring may be a symbol of your new relationship status, it's by no means the most important part of your union. Make it a point to be present for all the intangible gifts an engagement brings-the excitement of friends and family, the blank canvas that is your wedding, and, of course, the love between you and your future husband. Who knows, after a few days you may even come to find you like the ring more than you originally thought.

Be Loving and Honest

"If, after some time, you find that the ring still doesn't feel right, try to approach it as an opportunity to practice expressing your needs in a loving and respectful way," says Weldum. This type of communication is a skill that will serve you both in every stage of the relationship, the pro adds. But what does this difficult conversation sound like? To start, Weldum suggests emphasizing where your fiancé succeeded rather than going straight for the problem. "Whether it's the way they proposed, or specific to a part of the ring, like their choice of metal, giving some positive feedback can be a great lead in showing that they do truly know and understand you." After that, let your partner know your true preference ("I've always envisioned myself having an oval diamond," or "I really love the timeless feel of a gold band,"). With a fix in the works, Weldum says couples will start their communication with three things crucial to a lasting relationship: "Clear communication, trust, and a ring that will bear testament to these virtues for the rest of your days together."


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