Us girls have mastered the art of being subtle. This spring, I left three engagement ring books from some of my favorite jewelers sitting conveniently on the table next to “his spot” on the couch. I even marked all my favorites with bright little post-it flags! After FOUR MONTHS, he hadn’t so much as glanced in their direction. Actually, I think he used one as a coaster once.
Carmen Santorelli Photography
The problem is subtlety often doesn’t work when it comes to the “ring expectations” conversation. Guys are direct. Their thought process is simple and straightforward about this major purchase.
So if you’re looking to have a productive conversation with your boyfriend about rings, it’s time to master the “Rules of Engagement.”
Timing is Everything
Follow his lead. If he’s confident talking about your future marriage, then he’ll probably be comfortable talking about engagement rings.
Next, pick a time when you’re both happy, relaxed and feeling loved. Don’t approach the topic for the first time when you’re angry, emotional, tired, (or, in my case, hungry). You’ll both want to associate this moment with happy, excited feelings – not tears or stress. A positive conversation opens the door for future productive chats about what you want. A negative conversation will make him avoid the topic like the plague.
Give Him Credit
It’s his job to get your ring. He can handle this! Even if you think you could do a better job (and you might be right!), at the end of the day, he’s the one who has to get down on one knee. And that’s not an easy job either. If you’d like him to do that willingly, don’t belittle him.
“You know me so well! I know I’ll love whatever you pick.” Start the conversation with a compliment. Obviously, he has great taste – he chose you! Make sure he knows you trust him – and his judgement – when it comes to this major purchase. “You’re so great at researching, I’m sure you’re all over this.” By encouraging his abilities, you’re setting him up for success.
Now that he knows you trust him and his ability to do the job, offer your assistance with the specifics.
“I’ve been saving pictures of some rings I really like. Do you want to see them?” If your boyfriend is like most guys, he’ll be interested in a few pictures. Pick a few of your favorites and tell him why. “I love the round center diamond with a thin, simple band. It’s so classic, and all the attention is in one place.” Keep your description simple and straightforward. “I really like this cushion cut with a halo. It makes the center stone look so much bigger!”
As conversations continue, you both can dive into more specifics. Don’t bring up the prong count or the virtues of platinum-vs-white-gold on the first run.
The examples you show him will also help him understand your expectations for size and sparkle.
Ask His Opinion
Think about how important you feel when your boyfriend asks your opinion on something that matters to him. Setting aside for a minute that fact that he’s paying, he might also surprise you with an idea you never considered but absolutely love.
For instance, I knew the exact engagement ring I wanted. I’d marked it in my ring book, saved pictures on my phone, and shared with all my friends. But when I showed my boyfriend and asked what he thought, he didn’t think it was right for me. Originally, I asked his opinion to check the box, but it turned out he knew what I’d like better than I did! He surprised me with a trip to my favorite jeweler (BEST decision ever) to try them on in person. When I compared my first dream ring with a few my boyfriend picked out, I realized he was right! The ones he chose perfectly fit my style and personality.
His opinion will also help manage your expectations. Asking what he thinks gives him the opportunity to communicate whether what you’ve shown him fits into his plan (does he want to use a family ring?) and budget.
Respond Honestly and Respectfully
A respectful attitude is key. You’d never want to make your man feel ashamed of his taste – or his budget. “Demanding” isn’t a good look on anyone. It’s okay to have priorities, though!
All boyfriends have budgets. But if you’d rather have a bigger diamond than, say, a perfect stone, you can be honest with him about that. If there’s an aspect that means most to you, he’ll appreciate knowing before shopping.
You’ll have to gauge his interest here. Most men do NOT like to be asked every day about the status of your engagement ring. He probably doesn’t want weekly updates with your opinion on the potential design. And he definitely can’t handle you pressuring him about a timeline after every engagement post on social media.
Wait for him to bring it up again. Then repeat step 1 – only discuss when you’re in a happy moment. When the time comes, he’ll probably have a long list of questions for you.
Remember the Bottom Line
Priority check: this ring is a symbol of something bigger – your love and commitment to a life together. While it’s beautiful, the engagement ring is not the end-all-be-all for your engagement. Keeping that in mind will help keep your love for each other front and center during this exciting time!
In the meantime, feel free to “like,” pin, save, share, and tag all the fabulous rings you love! I’m right there with you, sister!
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Madeline Littrell is a corporate PR strategist and freelance writer. Born and raised in the South, she loves big hair, country music, and chicken fingers. Madeline lives in Dallas with her Sheltie puppy, Tennessee.