When An Engagement Gets Called Off, Who Gets The Ring?

Illustration for article titled When An Engagement Gets Called Off, Who Gets The Ring?

The Tennessee Court Of Appeals has ruled that if the wedding is canceled, the person who gave the engagement ring is entitled to get it back, reports blog Say Anything. In the ruling, Judge Charles D. Susano wrote, "We hold that an engagement ring is given in contemplation of marriage, and as such, is impliedly a conditional gift." This news comes just in time, because over the weekend, we received an e-mail from a reader named "Joshua":

I'll start at the beginning. Me and my fiancée were together for 12 glorious years. We were never in a rush to get married because neither one of us wanted kids, we already lived together, and she already had the ring (2 fucking carats).

Well, things started to sour earlier this year. We went on a break, for about a month, but I eventually came back and we tried to make it work. When I came back she would not wear the ring, saying that she didn't want to fuck it up at work (she bartends and works at a motorcycle dealership). Well a few month back into it, I ask her again why she's not wearing the ring and she said that when I came back "we weren't exactly on that same level"! WTF! She called off the engagement without me knowing! Anywho, it didn't take long after that for it to end, for good.

What I'm asking is, Am I an asshole for taking the ring back? Its not like I took it off her finger, all I had to do was go into her bathroom and grab it. I keep getting shit from her about how everyone thinks I'm a dick for taking it back. Is she right? Am I an asshole? Was I in the wrong? I need the Jezebels help!

The Jezebels weighed in thusly:

Anna: Yes, he was a dick to take it back. He should have asked for it, and she then should have (or shouldn't have) handed it over. But to just TAKE IT from her without her knowing... No.


Moe: My feeling is, she sucks, end of story. I mean, he looks kind of like an idiot, but he actually made it easier on her by taking it back: now when she tells that story she looks less like an asshole.

Me: It is proper etiquette for the ring to be returned, but it is not right to go in the bathroom and take something. But, seeing as how it seemed like she was being shady about the whole situation, he may have done the right thing — he may not have ever seen the ring again otherwise. I call extenuating circumstances. But I would love to hear her side of the story.

Tracie: Judge Judy says that the ring is the property of the person who bought it, once the engagement has ended. So I think it's fair of him to have taken it back, even without asking. Since she cared so much about him taking it back, it seemed like she had other plans for it. But I bet he was annoying in other ways to her, which made her hate him and wanted to keep/hock the ring out of spite. But basically, etiquette doesn't really matter in situations that are so hostile anyways.

Jennifer: I think you shouldn't take things. When you give a gift, it's not yours to take back. But he shouldn't have left the ring with her. He should have said, "Hey, I think I want my ring back," and then taken it. And I think women who keep the rings from a broken engagement are weird anyway.


One thing's for sure: The state of Tennessee is on his side.

In Tennessee If She Doesn't Marry You She Has To Give The Ring Back [Say Anything]

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@axel_f: Ooh, I got to do that once. Wasn't an engagement ring so it wasn't quite as powerful, but still very dramatic. Threw the ring, slammed the door, ran down the stairs... Good fun! I agree with Dodai, it was his to take back, but stealing it from someone you've been with for 12 years is def shitty behavior.