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Not Engaged Yet

To Ring or Not to Ring

Hello! I'm new to this board, as my SO has only recently expressed interest in wanting to get married soon.  We are both in our last year of undergrad, and money is pretty tight.  He has recently been saying "let's get married...in 6 months" and I keep asking if he's proposed or wants to start planning the wedding.  I don't want to plan it until we are officially engaged, and he doesn't want to get engaged until he can afford a ring.  That's our dilemma, since I keep telling him it shouldn't be about a ring, it should be about us being married and committing our lives to each other.  I've been trying to come up with alternatives to getting an engagement ring now that he would be happy with (I've suggested using an emerald ring my grandmother gave me that she used to own or doing just wedding bands for now and purchasing a diamond ring later when we have more money) but he says he wants to be traditional.  Any advice on what to do?

Re: To Ring or Not to Ring

  • kaitlynmichellekaitlynmichelle British Columbia
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper
    I agree, as usual, with @bethsmiles.  Lose the deadline on getting married in 6 months. If he can't afford a ring right now, how can you afford a wedding?  There are a lot of great options for budget weddings, but if you are in school and money is tight, it could be very stressful.

    That isn't to say that you *must* have a ring to be engaged.  And an engagement ring doesn't have to be a diamond either.  You can always use other stones, or none at all in a ring.  You have a great attitude about it not being about a ring, it is about the commitment you are making to each other.

    Deadlines aren't a great idea when it comes to weddings or proposals.  Things happen, and you might just be setting yourself up for disappointment. 
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  • What @bethsmiles said, times 10.

    When you get proposed to is not up to you.  If he wants to go the traditional route, it means it's really important to him to do so.  For many men, it's important that they be more financially settled before they propose to a girl.  It doesn't mean he doesn't want to marry you...it means that he wants to be able to provide for you.  (This has been the hardest lesson I've had to learn.  Mr. H has a well-paying job, but it keeps him away roughly 49 weeks of the year.  He won't propose until he has a job that keeps him here and allows us some more stability.  I wanted to get married yesterday.)

    Plus (I'll be the first one to say it): you're still quite young.  There's nothing wrong with being married young, but the reality is that if neither of you are settled in a career, money is going to be tight for a long time.  Instead of having the "let's get married in X months" conversation, you could sit down and say "OK.  We know we want to get married and spend the rest of our lives together.  What is that really going to look like, and what is a realistic timeline for that to happen?"  It's easy (and I would argue perfectly normal) to go a little BSC (batshit crazy) right after you first have that conversation.  It's exciting to know that the person you love is on the same page and you both are in this together!  (I say this as someone who went TOTALLY BSC after the first time Mr. H told me he wanted to marry me.  I have a big white dress sitting in a closet at my parents' house.  I don't know what I would have done if he had actually said, "let's get married in 6 months.")  But I think sitting down, getting rid of the 6 month deadline, and letting him go the more traditional route that's important for him would probably help.  By suggesting alternatives to rings, you're essentially suggesting what he probably sees as inferior options to what he really wants to do for you.  Give it a little breathing room.

    Good luck!

  • I agree with what the girls said,and only can add from personal expirience.
    It's better not to have a deadline,especially if you're not financially stable.
    If you want you can get engaged,and if you like a small diamond ring he can afford that's even
    better.I chose mine to be small and love it.
    Then think together how you want your weddings and how much it will cost.
    How both your parents want to help with it,and where you are going to live/do to pay it.
    It's better to wait to get what you truly want and enjoy than rush.Believe me.
    If you are happy together that's all that matters.
    He may be just stressed to give the best for you,and fulfill your dreams or start a family.
    Talk with him about how you both see it happening and do give it a little space.
    Good luck!

  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    As already stated - lose the deadline.  Traditional weddings can be pretty expensive, if that's what you're after.  There are ways to cut down costs (everything from getting married at the courthouse to eloping (potentially, you can still go big here) to having a simple backyard BBQ wedding).

    As far as the ring goes, ways to cut costs there are to use a different stone other than a diamond.  If you still want the diamond look moissanite or white sapphire are good options.  Look at other metal options if possible.  If either of you had time for a part time job and you were planning on purchasing the store from a major retail chain, you could always try to get a part time job at one of the chains (assuming they still offer employee discounts to part time employees).

    If your SO wants to be traditional, he's going to want to be traditional and it becomes more of a conversation about moving the timeline out.  My honest advice is that you guys are young, graduate from college, get your careers started and work for about a year in those careers; possibly move in together (I think everybody should live on their own before living with a SO) and go from there.  After you're out of college, depending on your career paths, the job market can be pretty tight and may be a little on the stressful side to find a job that you're comfortable with.  I don't know how to say this very delicately so I'll probably be more blunt than I want to be:  Right now you're in your undergrad - when you're in school you are in this little bubble that makes things easier before going out into the 'real world'.  When you get out in the 'real world' there are other stresses that do start adding up and can change people and sometimes make people grow apart (no fault of their own, doesn't make anybody a bad person, it just sometimes happens).  **Please note: I'm assuming you're in the traditional undergrad type program; either still living at home or on campus or in a college apartment.

    Other options:  How would he feel about you helping to pay for your ring (if you're able)?  How would your SO feel about you proposing to him (and then later getting a ring)?

    [Deleted User]
  • As per usual, @bethsmiles FTW.

    Also, I got engaged the summer after I graduated from college.  I was 22 and DH was 25 at the time.  And looking back on it now, I can tell you, I was YOUNG.  It ended up working out fine.  We had a two year long engagement, and when I said, "I do," at 24, I was ready to be married.

    Though I will say, the amount of personal growth and maturity that I've experienced even since my wedding has been HUGE.

    My point, I guess, is that while you CAN get engaged and married young, there really is no rush.  I would really recommend getting to know yourself well, and getting to know life as a grownup well.  And that takes time.
  • Blackbird230Blackbird230 Connecticut
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper
    I am a lot like @loves2shop4shoes‌. I will be 23 tomorrow. Was engaged last May at 22 (FI is same age) however because of finances we are not getting married until Dec 2016. But we see our engagement just as a commitment to one another and are taking our time with it. However we are also both out of school with me with a good career and him unemployed at the moment. FI will be 26 by the time we marry and I'll be 25.

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  • I agree, you don't need that deadline putting pressure on you to get married. After rushing into my first marriage, partially because he wanted a specific wedding date, I'm not a fan of pushing yourself to get married on a deadline. I'm assuming you're young so you have plenty of time to enjoy each other while you transition to a post-college life. A lot of changes are coming up for you in life so why not focus on that? Looking back, I wish I hadn't crammed moving to a new state, starting a new job, and buying a house into the same year as my wedding. Life was so hectic that it was hard to sit back and enjoy the wedding process. Also, funds for me were tight too and I regret not having more of a celebration because we couldn't afford it. If we'd waited just a year or two we could have done something even more special. 

    I didn't have a ring but I did still get a proposal. I was fine with no ring as I preferred that we spend that money on buying a house instead. So you certainly don't need a ring to make your engagement a reality. 

    Once he does officially propose, whether it's with a ring or not, take your time to enjoy the engagement and the wedding planning. You'll only do this once, after all! A short deadline is a recipe for stress.
  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    I agree with all the advice already given. I just wanted to note that traditional engagement rings had a variety of different stones in them-- diamonds are not the traditional center stone for an engagement ring. De Beers ran an ad campaign in the 30's about diamond engagement rings, and they've now taken over the market, but originally, many different gem stones were used. So, if you guys decide on using your grandmother's emerald ring, that may actually be more "traditional" than a diamond ring. I'm not pressuring you to choose one ring over the other-- whichever you guys prefer is the best option for you both, but if you want to use that emerald ring, don't let the fact that it's not a diamond stop you.

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  • phiraphira Bahstin
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Deeeefinitely lose the deadline.

    One thing that I think is important, no matter how young or old you are, is that you have to be able to make big life decisions together. That doesn't mean you always have to agree about everything; it means that if you don't agree, then you have to find a way to compromise.

    When he says he wants to be traditional, I honestly get a little bristly. There's nothing wrong with being traditional, but it sounds like it's being used as a way to end all discussions. You're offering alternatives and compromise, and all these other lovely ideas that you'd be happy with, and he's just, "No, I want to be traditional." It makes me wonder what other conversations will be shut down with, "I want to be traditional."

    Anyway. Ditch the deadline for sure. There's zero reason to be married in six months.
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
  • Thanks for all the advice.  The 6-month "deadline" is actually the soonest we would both want to be married, since we both will have graduated.  We've both settled on waiting to get married so my SO will have time to save up for a ring, but since we are talking about moving in together and I don't want my conservative parents to have a fit about living with my SO before marriage, we were seeing if we could push things sooner.  I know I'm young and I want to enjoy my engagement so I appreciate your input!
  • Girl I've been in your shoes,and I truly wish you good luck.
    But better be safe than later sorry and disappointed.
    It's better to talk to your parents to move in together and be just engaged,
    than rushing,and not having them 100% by your side.
    Timing does matter.And to me it matters twice to live together
    before the I-dos.It's a challenging period and you have to be tested yourself
    before a wedding.You will see what aspects of your personalities you will
    have to accept and others you will have to talk about.
    And standing on your own feet is also important.
    In the end you will do what you want,no matter what we say.
    Just considering the wedding subject,think of what you want and not
    of what you ''just can afford now''.Because you are young,and a couple
    of years is nothing,waiting and preparing to have it the way you wanted instead of regretting
    for ever..

  • I dont see how using your grandmothers ring would be un-traditional, besides the fact that it isnt a diamond (but so many people have non-diamond E-rings).
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