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Breaking off an Engagement, who gets the ring?

Updated on March 12, 2012

Breaking off an engagement

Relationships come and go some are special and loving and others are fueled by lust, they are fantastic while they last and when you are in a loving relationship nothing else matters, the world could stop spinning you wouldn't notice because you are in love and everything is great in the world.

Imagine your surprise when he suddenly gets down on one knee and asks you to be his life partner as he hands you a small box containing the most beautiful ring that you have ever seen in your life, you say yes and for that split second in time you are the happiest girl on the planet and nothing will ever spoil the memory of this moment.

Three months later things have changed, you no longer feel the same way about each other and you are both unhappy together, you decide to call off the engagement and go your separate ways, so what do you do with that beautiful ring that you love so much?

Do you give it back or do you keep it?

Bleeding Heart

You may have a broken heart but that ring is still up for grabs.
You may have a broken heart but that ring is still up for grabs. | Source

Who gets the ring?

The relationship is over, broken beyond repair and there is no way on this earth that you two will ever get back together even if you were the last two people on earth you would live on different continents.

So who gets the ring?

There are many schools of thoughts on this debate, He gets the ring because he paid for it, she gets the ring because it was a gift to her from him. no matter what at the end of the day someone will stake a claim for the ring and the argument will go on long into the night.

Breaking up is difficult on both partners and deciding who gets to keep the ring is a decision that should be made when both parties have calmed down, maybe after a week or two when you both have a clear head you could both sit down and discuss it calmly.

Yes it was a gift from him to you but it was to signify his intention to be his wife. He now no longer has the intention of making you his wife but why should you give him back the ring.

He gave the ring to you because he wanted you to have it just like every other gift he has given you in the past, does that mean that he wants the Christmas and Birthday presents back that he gave to you in the course of the relationship?

Before any decision is made there are many factors that should be taken into consideration concerning who gets the ring.

Male Hearts Break too!

His Heart is breaking too but should you give the ring back?
His Heart is breaking too but should you give the ring back? | Source

When he Should Get The Ring

Most people think that after an engagement breaks up that the ring automatically stays with the woman, simply because it was a gift from him to her, it is true that most of the time she will get to retain the ring but there are times when she will feel obligated to give the ring back to him.

The three main reasons for her handing the ring back to him are:

She breaks off the engagement.

She has been found out to be cheating on him.

The ring was a family heirloom handed down from generation to generation.

Another reason a woman would give the ring back to him would be quite simply as a way to sever any remaining ties between them or she throws it back at him in the heat of an argument.

He Broke her Heart

Your Heart Bleeds but you have the power of the ring.
Your Heart Bleeds but you have the power of the ring. | Source

When She Should Get The Ring

The Ring was a gift from him to her so in reality it is at her discretion what happens to the ring after breaking up.

Apart from the reasons above the ring is hers to do with what she wishes especially if he cheated on her, broke up with her or even if the break up was amicable the ring is hers the contract is annulled and void and her reward for putting up with him for so long is the ring.

So What Does She Do With The Ring?

Incredibly only 5% of women keep the ring and with 4% of those 5% the ring is stuck in a drawer as a keepsake never to see the light of day again the other 1% wear the ring on the other hand.

20% of Engagement rings from failed relationships end up in water, either thrown into a river or thrown into a lake or even into the sea.

50% of the rings are sold on to a Pawn shop or a scrap gold website.

15% of the rings are given to friends and the remaining 10% are lost or the owner can't remember what they have done with it.

Who Got The Ring?

Have you encountered a broken engagement if so who got the ring

See results

It is always sad when a loving relationship breaks down, but it is better to find out that it is over before you go the full hog into marriage, If you cant get on together as an engaged couple then the chances of a successful marriage is very very slim.

It may sound difficult at first but you will get over it and your life will go on for the better and one day you will find the right person for you.


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    • CreateSquidoo profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting post. I'll just keep the ring for myself. LOL.

    • emilybee profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't know what to do with my ring, not engagement but fairly expensive! I still have it, debating pawning it someday :) Voted up!

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You gave some good answers as to when a woman should give back or keep an engagement ring. I heard another one, when the guy won't commit to a wedding day, and the thing has dragged on for a long year or two. If a man can't commit to a wedding day, he surely can't commit to the year-long process of setting up a great wedding, much less to a spouse. So, give the ring back and move on.

      I always advice clients to give whatever they have of the other person's property back immediately if your partner breaks it off with you. That way you won't find an excuse to visit him or her and bring the crushing heartache on all overr again in full force.

      Good post; well thought out.

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 

      6 years ago from California

      Interesting subject. I hope your article settles some disagreements voted up.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      6 years ago

      GREAT Hub Jimmy! I have given back the few I have been given over the years. I never considered them a "gift" but a symbol. An engagement ring does not hold the same meaning as a holiday or birthday present. And generally costs thousands of dollars more. In the U.S., whoever has the receipt is the owner. Assuming "he" bought it, by law it belongs to him. (There are exceptions ~ like proven infidelity and/or fraud that could alter the moral outcome.) None of this would even be an issue if both parties gave each other rings symbolizing the same intentions ~ assuming somewhat equal value. It would be a far better foundation to begin from ~ and open the door to many questions that should be asked and answered long before "I do!" Blessings always, Earth Angel

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I was engaged once, but luckily, the guy was too cheap to ever buy me a ring. At least that saved the awkward situation of who gets the ring and who doesn't. Great hub and voted up!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Good job on this hub jimmythejock. I've never personally been involved in this type of situation but I know people who have, and I've heard a variety of opinions. I think you did a good job of answering my question.

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I had a chuckle at the number of rings ending up in water. I'm sure there's something Freudian in that act!

      I returned my engagement ring, because I wanted to sever all ties. A few years later he gave the ring to his brother; the brother's fiance broke the engagement, returned the ring (just as I had done), and the ring was eventually lost. I think there's bad karma attached to unfulfilled engagement rings. :(

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      I love those statistics. I can't believe so many get tossed in the water! Great hub.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      A gift is a gift. It's her decision whether to give it back or not. Hopefully she will do the right thing. Either way the ring can't be reused, that's just tacky.

    • Attikos profile image


      6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      It depends on the devil in the details. There are times she has every right to sell a ring to recover costs incurred in a fraudulent relationship.

      She never has a moral right to keep it, though. Return it, or sell it. Legal privilege is another matter. Most rulings treat engagement rings as property freely transferred, and so in the eyes of the law it belongs to her.


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