Should She Pay For Half Of Her Engagement Ring?

stocksnap / Jeremy Bishop
stocksnap / Jeremy Bishop

One of my coworkers ran up to me one Monday morning to share some good news. She told me one of her friends got engaged over the weekend. She even showed me a picture of the engagement ring.

I thought it was beautiful. Since I didn’t know the friend, I didn’t have much more to say. As I was about to return to my computer screen, my friend shared some more information.

My friend believed that the engagement was a mistake and that the marriage was to be doomed from the start.

I asked why.

She shared her perspective on their rocky decade-long relationship. And she even hinted at the idea that the woman might have chipped in on the engagement ring.

“Interesting,” I thought.

Since she knew that I was passionate about all things romance and finance, she posed the question, “What do you think of women going half on her engagement ring?”

That was a super hard question to answer because it takes into account so many different factors: beliefs about men, gender roles, and money which can be as unique as fingerprints.

With all of that being said, here’s my take multi-layered take on women contributing to the payment of their engagement ring.

If you aren’t into traditional roles, it may be liberating. If you are part of the camp that sees nothing wrong in women proposing to men than paying for part of the engagement ring is par for the course.

It may cheapen (no pun intended) the moment and the memory of the engagement proposal. One of my favorite moments in life was the day that my then-boyfriend asked me to marry him. My husband isn’t the most traditional guy and the way that he proposed was perfectly him and perfectly us. Now, I’m thinking had he asked me to pay toward the cost of the engagement ring shortly after he popped the question, it would have honestly made me feel some kind of way.

Even as a feminista, it’s less about the gender-specific roles, and more about what buying something that you want someone to have and asking them to pay for it. Asking me to pay for some or all of my engagement ring makes it seem less like a gift or romantic overture and more of brokered deal. It’s loses its sentimental feel for me.

It may be sign that he’s buying too much ring. From a personal finance perspective, I find that a request to go half on an engagement ring could be a sign that he can’t afford the ring that he’s trying to buy. If a woman’s choice of engagement ring is pressuring her man to buy bling outside of his budget, then requesting a helping hand for the payments may be a consequence of this financial predicament.

A few solutions to this issue would be to:

  1. Choose a less expensive ring
  2. Wait until he can afford the ring of choice
  3. Begin with the less expensive ring and consider an upgrade in after a matrimony milestone

Women going half on a ring is a prickly topic because of what society tells us about what women deserve in love, what men should provide, and the role that money plays in demonstrating said love and worth.

And then, of course, there’s what intellectually makes sense and what emotionally feels right.

I can’t lie, if I had a daughter and she told me that her boyfriend asked her that he wanted to marry her but she would have to pay half of the ring, I would tell her that I raised her to be the type of woman who would be able to buy any ring that she wanted for herself and that I would want her to find a mate that also was financially independent enough to buy whatever ring he wanted (whether it be for myself or the woman that he loved). TC mark

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