Isn’t it amazing how much couples and individuals think about the big day they get the engagement ring, and when they say ‘I do to that someone they hope to spend the rest of their lives with, but no one talks about what happens after?
Granted, most individuals don’t think about the possibility of breaking up or pray that the worst happens, but the truth is that at the end of the day, you really need to think about all the possibilities, especially where the engagement ring is concerned.
Emotions may run high during the engagement ceremony and the days after, but any couple that is open to any and all possibilities may want to take into consideration the possibility that despite their best interests, things may not work out in the long run, and when this happens, a guideline on what happens to the ring is important.
Keep in mind that in cases where things don’t work out, and either of you calls it off, and things turn gnarly, the state law may be the deciding factor.
This doesn’t have to be the case, though, and in the rest of this article, we’ll guide you on everything you need to know about what happens to engagement rings after breakups.
Who keeps the engagement ring after a breakup?
In most cases and states, the engagement ring is deemed a gift which, once given, the recipient chooses to do with it whatever it is that they wish, well, unless there was a condition early on that required that the recipient gives back a ring in case the engagement fails.
For most people, however, after a failed engagement, regardless of who breaks things off, the woman or the recipient of the ring will keep it.
But then, what happens when the two of you cannot decide who keeps the engagement ring after calling off the engagement?
In such cases, the state laws will be applicable, which is why you need to learn about the fact that jurisdictions hold different views on the matter.
In some jurisdictions, the ring is regarded as an implied gift, meaning that the ring’s ownership will vary depending on the person that chooses to call off the wedding or breaks the engagement, and so if the giver breaks off the engagement, they won’t be entitled to the ring, and so, the recipient keeps the ring as a gift.
And in case the receiver of the ring is the one who breaks the engagement off, then he or she would be entitled to ask for the ring back.
But this isn’t all; the determination of who owns or gets to keep the ring will also differ depending on whether the ring was given as a conditional (semi-contractual) or a non-conditional gift.
Can you still wear an engagement ring after a breakup?
Well, it depends; although in most cases, the emotions and feelings attached to the ring are too strong, with the recently broken up couple dealing with too many feelings that they may not be ready to come to terms with or haven’t taken time to sit with and process – most broken up couples choose not to wear the ring.
In fact, most of them will take off the ring immediately after the breakup. Note, however, that this is not to say that the ring holds no meaning.
If anything, the engagement ring retains a lot of meaning and remains a valuable part of the relationship and the feelings the couples share. Most of the time, people choose not to wear the ring anymore.
Why should you or should you not wear an engagement ring after a breakup?
Wearing the engagement ring after the breakup is generally not a good idea because the ring often represents the pain of a beautiful thing ending.
Keeping the ring on when the engagement has ended and when there is no sign of the relationship working out again causes too much pain and agony, and so, even though you still want to keep the ring, wearing it might not be the brightest idea.
Out of the pain from the breakup, some people even throw it away, and for this reason, we don’t think you should still wear the engagement ring after your breakup.
Months after the breakup, however, you may get away with wearing the engagement ring.
2 Tips for wearing an engagement ring after a breakup
If the ring is a family heirloom, the right thing for you to do would be to keep the ring on close because even if things don’t work out, the ring is an important symbol you can pass down to your family.
The fact that it holds great sentimental value is the other reason why you may want to keep wearing the ring or, at least, keep it close.
However, if you must wear the engagement ring even after the breakup, here are some helpful ideas to guide you.
I. Turn the engagement ring into something else
If you keep the engagement ring and want to wear it even after the painful breakup, it might make you feel better and make it easy to create new memories if you turn it into something else.
Turning the ring into earrings or charms or redesigning the ring by adding new features will make the ring more meaningful and comfortable for you. This is the case because the ring will symbolize the new start in your life and the new phase of life that you are starting.
In this case, you could upgrade the stones or maybe even opt to upgrade the whole ring.
II. Wear the ring on your right hand as a fashion accessory
After the relationship ends for months or years, you may want to wear the ring on your right hand, especially as an important accessory, to show that you have moved on.
In most cases, wearing the ring on your right hand signifies that you have moved on or are ready to get back into the dating world.
Wearing the engagement ring on your right hand, especially if your engagement ended amicably, is an excellent way to show that you appreciate the lessons and memories you shared with each other.
And also, the ring that is now on your right hand will be an excellent reminder of your continued positive relationship and friendship with your ex.
What to do with your engagement ring after a breakup?
As mentioned above, the rule on this isn’t written in stone, and there are many instances in which there is no contention regarding who gets to keep the ring after the breakup.
But in most instances, the law determines who keeps the ring and what it’s done to it after the split. Regardless of your breakup, common etiquette dictates that you return the ring to the giver if the engagement is called off.
This often works for individuals who don’t want to hold onto the painful memories from the broken relationship.
That said, for rings deemed family heirlooms, particularly those with some sentimental value, you may have to keep them in the family or return it as a courtesy.
In such cases, you also need to consider your personal feelings and how they direct you to handle the situation and the ring.
Other things you could do include:
Keeping the ring – there is no harm in keeping the ring after the engagement is broken off. But if you don’t harbor any negative or ill feelings around the ring, you could keep the ring in your jewelry box. And later, when you are ready, you could wear the ring or later pass it on to your kids or your grandkids.
Repurpose the ring – you could also turn the ring into something else more beautiful to symbolize the new start. You could upgrade the stones, the band, or even the whole ring, turning it into a more stylish piece that holds the memories while representing the new changes in your life.
Sell the ring – if you get to keep the engagement ring after the breakup, you may want to sell it, especially if you are ready to move on, and you can use the proceeds from the ring’s sale to settle some bills, go on vacation, save for your kids, or anything else that may make you happy.
After a broken engagement, you may or may not keep the ring, but in general, what you do with the ring is largely a personal matter.
That said, if the ring was given as a conditional gift, you may have to give it back.
On the other hand, you can keep it on if it was given as an unconditional gift.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.