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Clutch describes what has to be on the list of every woman’s nightmares: You’ve announced the you’re getting married, invitations have been sent, the bridesmaids have been alerted, the venue and the cake have been chosen. And then the unthinkable — he calls off the engagement.

Once that sinks in and many, many tears are shed, you have to start going about cancelling the wedding. The final step is deciding what to do with the ring.

“In the case of etiquette versus the law, etiquette says that the ring should be returned. But according to the legal system it all depends on where you live, who broke off the engagement and how you received it,” the article says.

In places like New York, New Mexico and Michigan that have no-fault divorces, there are also “no-fault engagements,” so you have to turn it over. In California, it depends on who broke off the engagement. If it’s the lady, she has to hand over the goods.

In Montana, the ring is considered a gift and no matter what, the recipient gets to keep it. The author thinks this is appropriate. We’re going to disagree in favor of etiquette and the no-fault states. In those places “an engagement ring is considered a gift in contemplation of a marriage.” But it’s not just in those places. Anywhere in the world that a marriage proposal is offered and accepted, it’s in contemplation of… yes, a marriage.

If the engagement is terminated, the sentimental purpose of the ring is also. Rather than asking why he would want the ring back, you should ask why one would want to keep it. For the money? Perhaps during the course of planning the wedding, you’ve made deposits that are now forfeited. If you’ve mutually decided that the ring is meant to cover those expenses, then fine. It’s no longer a symbol of love and devotion, it’s an item with enough value to be used towards the cost of the failed wedding, which is now a failed business transaction. The former couple should now feel free to trade it in to mitigate the financial damage as much as possible.

But in all things, one must act with honor; be your best self, as Oprah might say. A difficult situation is made only more difficult when you have to have awkward or angry conversations about the sorts of matters that too intimately mix the emotional and practical.

The ring was intended to be a tangible expression of your feelings of love. When the love is gone, the ring should go with it, back to the giver, the first step in wiping your slate clean so you can move on.

What do you think?

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