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My girlfriend found the engagement ring box and thinks I'm cheating

Tagged as: Big Questions, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (8 October 2018) 11 Answers - (Newest, 11 October 2018)
A male United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

More than a year ago I bought an expensive emerald engagement ring to give to my live-in girlfriend intending to propose. I never quite found the right time because of some personal problems in her family and then later on we had big fight and I realized there had to be some issues addressed in the relationship before I made that commitment. I would say things are a little bit rocky right now.

Unfortunately for me, although I put the ring in an antique silver box in a very safe place I decided that the leather box it originally came in was fancy enough to save, too. I put it on the top shelf in the kitchen behind a lot of other stuff and forgot about it.

My girlfriend decided to do some reorganizing and she found the (empty) box. She confronted me about it and told me she would DEFINITELY remember getting jewelry in a fancy box like that and why I had it. Also, the name of the well-known jeweler was imprinted on the paper box that the leather box was stored in. She told me "I don't know who you bought that for but it wasn't me." I of course denied I bought jewelry for anyone other than her and told her I couldn't remember which piece of her jewelry (I have bought her quite a lot) came in that box but I saved it because I thought it might be useful.

She didn't buy that.

Now I am in a pickle. I could give her the ring for Christmas, I suppose, and pretend I was trying to keep it a secret from her. However, this ring is a lot more expensive than the usual jewelry I might buy her which might raise other questions.

I am not really sure what to do. Any advice is appreciated!

View related questions: christmas

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (11 October 2018):

Honeypie agony auntEDIT:

Should have been...

No, I wouldn't give her the ring either. Sorry for the confusion.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (11 October 2018):

Honeypie agony auntNo, I would give her the ring either. You bought that ring SPECIFICALLY to propose with.

What you DO need to do is to figure out, IS this relationship salvageable? What needs done to fix stuff and then HAVE that conversation and PUT in the work to fix it.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2018):

No, be honest, you bought the ring for the intention to propose but for all reasons you have explained you did not.

You keep the ring and say that if you feel inn the future it's the right thing to do you will propose, but you need to work on your relationship.

I am taking it that you would consider marrying her if you felt it was back on track or are you saying you do not want to marry her full stop now and you know that?

If you can't see a future with her then it's time to sit down and be really honest with her.

But I don't buy she is solely to blame, you need to be honest with yourself on your part in the problens you have...

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (11 October 2018):

OP here:

Thanks for the advice. One thing I want to clarify is that I didn't mean to suggest I propose to her. I am not ready for that. I was just suggesting that I could give her the ring as a Christmas gift. My concern with that is that it would be a very expensive gift - out of line with what I would usually get her. Also, if I did that then - should I some day wish to propose again - I'd have to buy ANOTHER ring.

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A female reader, Ivyblue Australia + , writes (10 October 2018):

Ivyblue agony auntBe honest and upfront. Tell her when you bought it you thought it was the right time for you to propose to her but chose to but things on hold because events dictated hanging on to it. I keep jewellery boxes too because they do come in handy. Nothing sinister in doing that.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (9 October 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntI agree with all of the posters. Time to choose:

"I want to marry you, but I want us to go to therapy first, to try to fix our issues"


"It doesn't matter what it was for, but it was for you. I'm afraid this isn't working any more, though, and I don't think we're right for each other any more"

You can't sit on it indefinitely and an engagement isn't the right way to handle this. Either get couples' therapy to try to work on it or leave. No more waiting around and not actively improving it.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (9 October 2018):

Things are rocky enough that you know marriage is not right. You keep thinking that things will get better but they haven’t. You need to ask yourself honestly are they ever going to get to the point that you can ask her to marry you. If not then maybe you need to tell her the truth without giving her the ring and let the chips fall where they may.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 October 2018):

I guess honesty is probably the best policy now. Explain to her that you bought a ring and that you were planning to propose, and then because of the argument you felt that there were some things you wanted to work on as a couple first before getting engaged. Tell her that you will show her the ring if she really wants to see it, but that you would rather keep it as a surprise for her in the future when you do feel ready to propose. Remind her that you are fully committed to the relationship, that she has no reason not to trust you and that you do envisage spending the rest of your lives together, you just have a few things you would like to sort out between you first before making such a big commitment.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (8 October 2018):

Don't propose to someone out of guilt or to smooth-over a disagreement. If she's temperamental or unreasonable; I can see where you would be hesitant and might delay the engagement. Don't keep sitting on it either! Poop or get off the pot! Either you love her enough to marry her, or you don't! There's no place in the middle.

Compatibility and trust are very important ingredients for a successful long-term relationship and/or marriage. Temperamental or touchy people never change. In fact, age makes them worse. Why so much doubt and procrastination?

Why do you fight so much? That's not a good sign for things to come!

How can you marry someone who doesn't trust you? How can you marry someone you have to continuously keep delaying your marriage-proposal? You're two mature-people; and experienced enough to know how to navigate or maneuver your way over rough-spots. If that can't be done, marriage won't work.

Worse comes to worse, you will have to show her the ring and explain to her why you've delayed your proposal. Be honest and straightforward with her. She can't be distrusting and argumentative; and expect someone to want to make her his partner for life. She'll insist on taking that ring; but you're going to have to decide if she truly deserves it.

Stop messing-around! You're old enough to know better!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (8 October 2018):

Honeypie agony auntIf she thinks you are cheating, this is NOT the time to propose.

There is a lack of trust here and I have to ask why.

I don't see a logic leap from an empty box from a jeweler to cheating.

So I would definitely NOT propose if there are trust issues going on.

Giving her the ring for Christmas to get out of a lie, it's just not the right thing to do.

Proposing is an offer of marriage, not a way to get out of "trouble" brought on by lying.

So you have to decide, DO I really WANT to marry this woman? Have we made progress with the issues we had?

Because a RING on her finger won't fix issues.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (8 October 2018):

You're right; it is tricky. An engagement is a bad idea if things are rocky. Telling her might make it worse because of the "I was going to propose, but it's not right, at the moment" thing.

I guess you're going to have to say "it's an engagement box and I've kept the ring separately because I was waiting for the right time. I want us to work through some things first, but you are who it's for."

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