Good Manners: "If I Break Up With My Fiancé, Do I Have To Return The Ring?"

"If I break up with my fiancé, do I have to return the ring?" This is a question that has weighed in some people's minds when they were at a crossroads in their lives.

A gift you don't like can always be recycled. Gifts from ex-fiancés can be returned if they ask for them. And if two people break up, it would be a good idea to share items they bought together: one gets a book, the other the TV, and so on. But three rules of good manners apply in at least one case: the engagement ring.

What should you do with this special ring when the engagement is broken off?

The Engagement Ring Is A Contract

No other gemstone conveys such powerful emotions as diamonds. When buying a diamond, it's important to know that millions of years of history lie behind this precious stone and that the brilliant diamond has accumulated the stories of all those who contributed to its birth, until it comes to lighten our souls.

Perhaps without being fully aware, these are the reasons that drive us to give a diamond to our fiancée, turning it into an engagement "contract". A diamond is forever! Or not?

The question appeared at one point on the New York Times website, in the marriage section: "Should you return your engagement ring?".

The author of the article immediately clarifies one thing: if the ring was given with the question "Will you marry me?" and if the answer was "Yes", then it is not just a piece of jewelry but a real contract. So the fate of the ring in the event of a broken engagement is governed by law, which changes from state to state, especially when a diamond is involved.

When Must The Engagement Ring Be Returned

Under New York law, for example, the diamond engagement ring can be returned, but there are some exceptions. The ring won't be returned if one of the two partners is already married (to someone else, of course) or if it's part of an economic arrangement between the two, a sort of compensation for a loan.

Or in the (trivial but obvious) case that it's not a real engagement ring: for example if it's given as a gift for Christmas, birthdays, and also Valentine's Day. But especially if the giver does not pronounce the marriage proposal.

When To Keep The Engagement Ring

For example in Montana the law is much stricter: the engagement ring is "forever", so it must be kept forever by the one who receives it. There is no obligation to return it. In California and Texas, the middle way has been chosen: the engagement ring must only be returned if the decision to break up has been made by the person who received the ring.

In short, if the person who donated the ring breaks off the engagement, they cannot even claim it back. In Kansas, however, the ring must always be returned, regardless of who broke off the engagement.

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