Editorial: Ringing the alarm on engagements

By Staff Editorial

Even if you like it, you might want to reconsider putting a ring on it.

If… Even if you like it, you might want to reconsider putting a ring on it.

If the engagement gets called off, you might not get it back.

A New York man recently sued his former fiancee after she called off their four-month engagement and refused to return the $17,500 ring, according to Slate.

The case called into question whether an engagement ring constitutes simply a gift or a contract — “the exchange of a ring for the promise to wed,” Slate reports.

After marriage, such things are considered marital property and divided in half. But before marriage ,we have to rely on rules of etiquette. Unless, of course, we sue, in which case it seems necessary to view such trials on a case-by-case basis.

There are many situations during which it can be argued that either party should get to keep the ring, depending, for example, on who called off the engagement or whether one party wronged the other. But in most cases, it doesn’t seem socially acceptable to keep the ring, even if it is viewed as a gift.

But mature adults, who at least used to care about each other, should not need a courtroom to resolve these issues. If this was someone you could tolerate enough to consider spending the rest of your life with, why can’t you settle matters using rules of etiquette instead of suing? If you can’t, maybe you shouldn’t go around popping the question or accepting marriage proposals. Just like getting married shouldn’t be taken lightly, neither should engagements.

When giving an expensive ring, it might be safest to spend extra time making sure you’re giving it to, or taking it from, the right person.