Ladies - would you marry without an engagement ring?

I’m probably going to get hammered for this, but here goes…

I think the concept of engagement rings, as practiced in the U.S., is stupid.

I’m not engaged, and don’t plan to be. And as a lady friend has pointed out, I’m not likely to be any time soon given my attitude on this issue. But here’s what I think.

Engagement rings are an ostentatious waste of money. Yes, I realize we humans live by symbols, but these this ring thing is ridiculous. Way out of proportion. Thousands of dollars for a hunk of carbon. Sorry. No. Won’t.

Certainly, I agree that impending nuptuals call for a celebration and a symbolic statement of some kind. I won’t go so far as to be a counter-culturist and suggest that SHE buy ME a ring. I’ll acknowledge that I should plunk down something to show I’m serious about the girl.

So I would happily spend the equivalent dollars on a trip, vacation, or shared experience of some kind. Or on a downpayment for our house. Something that we can do together to help build a shared history.

Anything other than a freakin’ rock. I won’t do that. Not in this lifetime.

Question to the ladies: would my attitude be a dealbreaker?

The idea of wearing several hundred (thousand) dollars on my finger doesn’t trip my trigger. A plain gold band is all I want.

But I doubt that I’m typical.

To me, yes, your attitude would be the dealbreaker, but not the lack of a ring.

The best you can hope for is to find a woman who is also incredibly practical, unsentimental and unromantic. You’d be a perfect couple.

FWIW, my mother and father thought exactly as you do and were happily married for just short of 50 years.

I chose a plain gold band for myself. Husband-to-be was fully expecting to shell out for a diamond.

There are lots of reasons not to get a diamond. The most convincing reason is that some countries have records of human rights abuses in harvesting the diamonds. There is no way to make sure that your diamond was not bought over someone else’s dead body.

Diamonds are also not a good investment. They are a false market. The sale of diamonds is artificially restricted to make them more valuable. Furthermore, someone really has actually learned how to make real diamonds from scratch. They are still expensive, but less so. The main difference is that these are perfect diamonds. Natural diamonds are not perfect.

But I agree that you really do need to find a girl who is very practical. Although I didn’t want diamonds, I have wanted pieces of jewelry and flowers from my husband. His attitude is that flowers don’t last and that jewelry doesn’t do anything; it just sits there and is a stupid waste of money. Otherwise, he’s very generous.

My philosophy is that if it brings pleasure and hurts no one, then the money is well spent.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t request something in return from her if you want it.

After you’ve been married for a while, these gifts of “whatever you want” can get very practical and funny. One friend gave her husband the desired sack of manure for Valentine’s Day. He’s a gardener.

I married with an engagement ring simply because my now-husband proposed with one. It is nothing fancy, and certainly didn’t break the bank, because he knew I didn’t want that.

I certainly would have married without an engagement ring. I wouldn’t have married someone who came straight out and said that it was stupid. It’s a tradition, and lots of people hold to it. To each their own, and I don’t condemn anyone for wanting what they want.

I wouldn’t need a ring. For God’s sake, I’m about to marry they guy. At that point, things like rings are a little less important, you know?

I will never buy a diamond, nor will I accept one as a gift. DeBeers is the evilest entity I can think of, and I’m not into their brainwashing, monopolistic practices or human rights abuses. The idea of spending two months salary is absurd, especially considering that it is an entirely manufactured marketing gimmick.

However, I am sentimental. There is a family heirloom ring (my mom and great-grandmother’s defunct wedding/engagment ring- a bit cursed, but it’s beautiful and I’ve admired it since I was a child) that I’ve let any potential mates know about. I also wouldn’t mind a nice titanium and saphirre ring.

Engagment ring have a certain cachet in female circles. Not having one implies a certain kind of neglect. One of my mom’s biggest complaints about her life are not that she ended up a single mother, that she had to drop out of school, or that she will likely never achieve her dreams. Her big regret is that my Dad never bought her an engagment ring- even a small one. I’d never expect anyone to pay any more for a ring than I would myself spend on one (which is well under $100.00) but I would raise my eyebrows if someone refused to buy me one or at least let me buy myself on to serve the symbolic purpose.

I have an engagement ring but it’s not a diamond. I don’t care about the ring, I care about the commitment. The ring’s just a shiny symbol of same. So I wouldn’t care if there was no ring involved. I would care if the very idea of the ring provoked a huge rant about what an idiotic idea it is and how stupid I was for wanting one, of course.

Mach, I think it depends on what your woman wants.

Some women want an engagement ring and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not an unreasonable desire. Sure, there are women women that haaaaaave to have a 1 carat diamond or their world will fall apart (and they don’t care whether you can afford it or not), but most women aren’t that nutty. It’s what the ring symbolizes, not how much it cost. When you’re in love, a tiny diamond from your man means more anyday than a big one from some guy you don’t love.

If you love your woman, you’re gonna overlook your disdain and make her happy even though you think it’s a waste of money. If you know it’s that important to her and you don’t buy her a ring anyway (barring being 100%, absolutely, totally broke), yeah, you’re a jerk, and she probably should dump you because you’ve just shown you have no regard for her feelings.

And lemme be the first to inform you that not all women want a diamond. My engagement ring was $850 and is a sapphire and diamond band (tiny diamonds).

MLS is right. You need an unsentimental woman (yes, they do exist). Lots of women would probably gladly forego an engagement ring if they knew they could have the honeymoon of their dreams or move into a new house soon after the wedding.

I had (and have) the same attitude you do, Mach Tuck. Moreover, when my husband and I decided to get married (we essentially proposed to each other during the course of an originally philosophical discussion), we were very, very poor and were just setting up housekeeping. We decided that we’d rather have a television set than an engagement ring.

If this is the way you think, it’s likely that any woman with whom you develop a serious relationship will either think the same way or be sympathetic to your point of view.

My husband’s proposal was spur of the moment. He said “If I had a ring I’d ask you to marry me” my reply was “you don’t need a ring.” I really ment it too. It’s been almost seven years, and I don’t regret it. I’m just not the kind of person that would want or wear a diamond or any other expensive piece of jewelry.

I’m reasonably sentimental and romantic but I didn’t want an engagement ring. I don’t wear my wedding ring either. I’m just not a jewellery type person.

I didn’t have an engagement ring. When I finally found a ring I loved, it was one that would have looked funny with another band. It was only a few months before the wedding anyway, so I decided to use it as my wedding band. We bought it on ebay. He went on and sprang for the shipping insurance on it, which drove the price up to a whopping $45.

I didn’t want anything fancy or expensive, but I did want a tangible symbol of the commitment we were making. If he’d told me that desire was a stupid waste of his time and money, I’d have put my foot up his ass on my way out the door. I wouldn’t have been leaving over the lack of a ring, mind you, but because he’d have been acting like a complete jackass with no consideration for what’s important to me.

I’m as materialist as can be, but I don’t want an engagement ring. First of all there’s the DeBeers monopoly, blood diamonds issue (like even sven, I wouldn’t accept a blood diamond as a gift), and second of all I don’t like the idea of my boyfriend spending thousands of dollars on something that I don’t want, don’t find pretty and won’t hold its value. My boyfriend and I have discussed it, and he knows my feelings on the subject (he eventually saw it my way when his only arguments were “but that’s how it’s supposed to be” and “people will think I’m too tight to buy my girlfriend a ring”). If he proposed with a diamond ring, I’d be hurt that he ignored my wishes for the sake of convention and not appearing cheap.

Mach Tuck, I think your suggestions are infinitely more romantic than a ring. If my boyfriend proposed with two tickets to Europe, a mutual savings fund, or a five-year plan, I’d be so much more thrilled than if he proposed with a diamond. :slight_smile:

Married without and engagement ring. Never wanted one. Don’t have a wedding ring, either. Going on 15 years of happy matrimony.

It wouldn’t be a deal-breaker - hell, you’d have be incredibly superficial to reject the man you love over something like that - but I would be disappointed. Firstly, I’m an old-fashioned romantic and I love the idea of my man going out of his way to find something I’ll really love (it doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact if he’s paid any attention to my tastes it won’t be because I don’t like flashy jewelery) and that I’ll always treasure. Secondly, I like the idea of it becoming a family heirloom - my mum wears my grandma’s engagement ring, and it’ll come to me eventually, and that’s only a tiny diamond on a narrow gold band, but it’s the sentiment that matters. And thirdly, I’m a totally girly girl, and I want to be able to show it off to all my friends, and spend a few weeks using too many hand-gestures in an effort to get it noticed, and sit looking at it with a soppy smile on my face dreaming about our future. Hey, I did say I was a girly girl! :slight_smile:

Thanks to mining in the Canadian North, DeBeers no longer has a monopoly within the diamond industry. The way that they have tried to buy out the mines speaks volumes of their monopolistic tendencies.

First time I had a antique pearl that my ex bought for around $200. A very pretty little ring.

The second (and last) time I got married we bought one ring - a wedding band with diamonds set in it. It wasn’t terribly expensive (under $500, IIRC), and was both my “engagement ring” and my “wedding band”

My husband did give me a very nice pair of Canadian diamond earings for a gift - worth more than my wedding ring. But it was recently, when dropping a wad of cash on diamond earrings wasn’t going to keep us out of a house (we had one - and we are on the downhill side of the payments), keep us from taking trips (take those), or keep the kids (we have two) from college (nearly funded - they are 4 and 5).

I’m not a sentamentalist. My mother got her “engagement” ring for her 25 anniversary - when my parents could afford it. My grandmother got (in the 1950s) a television set.

I think you could get engaged (perhaps not any time soon, you need to find the right person), but I suggest that you do what - in my experience - couples looking a getting seriously serious do. They talk it over. They say “we should get married” without surprising her with a box under the Christmas tree (I do know people who do this as well). And then they say “Gee, how do you feel about an engagement ring? I’d really rather spend the money on a house for us, but if its really important to you, lets go pick one out.” More than one of my girlfriends has looked at the diamond she imagined, realized the man she loved couldn’t reasonably be expected to give her that, and compromised with a different type of ring (an emerald, a sapphire) and extra cash for a down payment.

I couldn’t have cared less about any ring. I’m completely unsentimental (my philosophy is: if it doesn’t do something, why is it in my house) and find jewelry to be a waste of money. Just be sure that the person you do find one day has a similar attitude.

As has been mentioned, an e-ring need not be an ostentatious diamond. It depends a lot on your financial situation, and what your intended wants. If she likes diamond rings, and you can afford one, she’s likely to be disappointed if you don’t. All the squawking about how it’s a ‘waste’ goes right down the tubes if she really likes them. If you cannot afford diamond, there are many ring options that are more reasonable and are still beautiful.

An e-ring, of whatever type, is a constant reminder of your bond, ever present on the hand. The current trend, diamond in platinum, is also very durable, meaning one can keep the same ring for decades and have it remain attractive.

Plunking down a couple of thou (that you can afford) on an enduring symbol of your love isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world.

I don’t really like jewelry of any kind except for items that have sentimental value to me. However, my husband wanted to get me some sort of engagement ring. Previously, when I was going off to grad school and we were going to be in a long-term relationship, he wanted to get me a promise ring. It was his desire to do so, and so we picked out one we both liked. So, the engagement ring was to “replace” it. We’d intended to buy something small, and not necessarily even a diamond, but he learned that his paternal grandmother had willed him her engagement ring. It’s pretty huge, but tasteful, and the platinum band has an amazing setting and obviously vintage design. I thought it looked neat. So the promise ring moved to my right hand, and I wore the engagement ring. For him, since he loves watches, I bought a titanium watch from a jewelry store. My wedding band cost about $40, just a simple white gold band so as to not clash with the engagement ring, and I picked it out myself. He chose a multi-tone, carved gold band for his wedding band, which cost more.

My sister just finished shopping for an engagement ring, and she and her fiance selected a Canadian diamond. They even got to look at the little engraving under a scope, showing its origin.

To echo the other posters:

  • Find a woman with practical tastes who doesn’t really like jewelry. These three rings are all I wear barring extremely rare occasions, and they have sentimental value to me. I would have been fine without an engagement ring.
  • Realize that if you find a wonderful woman who adores you but just can’t help but get starry-eyed at the thought of you presenting her with an engagement ring, you might want to rethink your total opposition.
  • If you run into a woman who measures devotion by the number of carats on the engagement ring, run.