Should You Always Give Back Your Engagement Ring?

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Getting engaged to the person you consider the love of your life is one of the most exciting moments in an individual’s life, and for most women, a unique ring with a flawless diamond is the cherry on top.

give back engagement ring


Unfortunately, not all engagements end in marital bliss or even marriage. Once each person goes his or her separate way, there’s always the matter of obtaining items that were yours before dating. The furniture, the TV, pieces of clothing you shared at the space you once called home. But what happens to the ring? Do you keep it or do you return it?

When it comes to returning her engagement ring, reality star Evelyn Lozada is not having it. Former MLB player Carl Crawford reportedly gave Lozada a 14.5-carat diamond ring worth $1.4 million when he proposed in 2013. Apparently, she broke off the engagement due to her suspicion of cheating. Smart move.

Still, upon hearing this news, I was conflicted. On one hand, I assumed that if Lozada were done with Crawford then she would want to return the ring as it would remind her of the relationship that didn’t work and she wouldn’t have any use for it. On the other hand, since Lozada’s ex may have cheated (per her supposed allegations), I say she should be entitled to keep the rock.

I believe that an engagement ring signifies the beginning of a life-long journey together. It tells the world that you are going to be, or are planning to be, with someone forever. If the party who gave the ring no longer wants to marry and irreparably damages the relationship, why should they get it back?

But what happens when things just end? And by “just end,” I mean both parties come to the conclusion that they aren’t meant to marry. As it turns out, the state in which you reside will decide what happens to the ring for you.

According to The Spruce, there are three categories that help states determine the outcome of who should be the true owner of an engagement ring. The first is figuring out whether it’s a conditional gift, which means that if a couple does not get married the ring has to be returned; second is determining if it’s an implied conditional gift, which means that if the man breaks off the engagement, the woman gets to keep the ring; thirdly, it needs to be decided if it’s an unconditional gift, which means the ring never has to be returned regardless of the situation.

One situation that is not so clear-cut but should be a standard for all broken engagements is that if a man gives a woman an engagement ring that is a family heirloom, she should most definitely give it back.

But late family law attorney and legal scholar Joanne Ross Wilder, who won a case in 1999 in Pennsylvania which many consider to have set a precedent (the giver of the ring should get it back), told the New York Times that if the marriage didn’t happen, it doesn’t make sense to keep the ring. In reality, who did what doesn’t really matter.

“If you get into who was at fault in deciding whether the ring should remain with the donee or return to the donor, you do a counterintuitive analysis,” she said during an interview on the subject in 2008. “Isn’t the purpose of an engagement to be a trial period and isn’t it better to break an engagement than a marriage? Whose fault is irrelevant.”

Recovering from a breakup is never easy and it’s especially hard after getting engaged. If you find yourself in this situation, it might not make it any easier by wasting time arguing over who will keep the ring. While I have my opinions, based on what experts like Ross Wilder said, it’s probably best to give it back and let it go.

What do you think? Should a woman always give back the engagement ring?

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