Ask A Very Smart Brotha: He Won’t Propose Because He Can’t Afford The Ring

July 17, 2013  |  


Hey Damon,

What do you do when a guy says he doesn’t want to buy you any kind of ring for fear of what your friends and family will think of the value? So therefore he’s saving an undisclosed amount of money in order to buy one. We’ve been together for 3 and a half years and he says I’m his wife and I was sent and meant for him. He loves me, respects me and inspires me. We are in love…it’s just that everyone else is getting married and we’re 38 years old. Time is of the essence.


Dear Anxiously Waiting,

Rarely do I have a question here where both sides of the situation have an understandable and—most importantly—rational stance. You want to spend the rest of your life with this man, and want to get married sooner rather than later. I don’t go around quoting Jagged Edge that often, but you’re also right in that y’all ain’t getting no younger.

Your boyfriend seems to share your feelings. And—giving him the benefit of the doubt that the hesitation is due to the ring issue and not him just not wanting to get married to you—while his insistence on wanting to be able to give you a “show-off-able” ring may seem stupid and even shallow, I do see his point. Right or wrong, a woman’s ring is seen by many as a reflection of both her husband’s income level and his commitment to her. And, if you do have the type of family and friends that would side eye a small ring, his concerns are legitimate.

The answer here is obvious—you need to convince him that being married matters more to you than any expensive ring does—but it’s not going to be easy to convince him of that. So, here are three things you could incorporate in your argument.

1. Stress that the marriage is the important thing here. Not the ring, and not even the wedding. You just want to be his wife.

2. Remind him that anyone who’d be judgmental would actually be doing them a favor by showing their true colors. Plus, you’ll be saving money when you take them off the wedding invitation list (or, still invite them to the wedding, but give them sardines at the reception when everyone else gets salmon.)

3. Also remind him that, if it’s still a problem for him, he could always buy you a bigger, more expensive ring a couple years down the road when he can better afford it.

Basically, he needs to get over himself—That male pride thing is a Itchbay, isn’t it?—but he needs your help. Think of it as an investment on something more valuable than your ring: your future.


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at 

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  • KamJos

    My mom jokes that she’s still waiting for her diamond. Both my mom and dad have a simple gold band but a marriage that is still going strong after 40 years. Reading about conflict diamonds and reading about how diamonds are pretty much worthless makes me sour on the whole idea of a huge diamond rock.

  • Cass

    As a fourth point, I’d add that it’s more important that he help you save up for something for your life together rather than a pretty rock.

    It might not sound very romantic on the surface but things like car down payments, house mortgages, even a nice vacation package for the two of you convey a greater commitment to your relationship than a piece of jewelry which, while nice and pretty and gives you bragging rights, has no functional value and can always be purchased later (think anniversary).

    • hiswomanandlovingit

      ^^THIS IS ROMANCE!!! A DOWN PAYMENT ON A HOME! MONEY TOWARDS OUR NEST EGG!! nothing is more romantic than security. and that pretty piece of rock decreases in value the moment you walk out of the store. get something that matters, like a home or a long term CD.

  • OliveValleydotnet

    “Remind him that anyone who’d be judgmental would actually be doing them a favor by showing their true colors.”
    You are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth right here.

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