It's an unforgettable moment: your partner down on one knee, asking those four special words, "Will you marry me?"
After the tears of joy are wiped away and the celebratory kiss is over, you look at the sparkler on your left hand and realize: this is not the ring you asked for. It's not even close to the one you talked about and it doesn't even look remotely close to the photos you sent him. Suddenly the excitement of the engagement becomes dulled; you hate your engagement ring.
That's what happened to one woman who took to Reddit's popular AITA ("Am I The A—hole?") thread after her now-fiancé went rogue while ring shopping. According to the post, the woman's partner asked her several months before proposing what kind of engagement ring she wanted.
The instructions: emerald or pear-shaped diamond, rose or yellow gold band, bezel setting, ring size 7.
"I also sent him five or six pictures of the rings that I liked," she said, adding that all the examples had .5 to 2 carat centre stones and ranged in price from $500 to $2000.
"He definitely went rogue on the ring," she wrote. "It is chunky, with multiple (silver bands) all covered in small stones and the centre is three concentric squares of small cushion cut stones. Nothing on this ring is emerald or pear-shaped, no bezel setting, I will give it to him that it is size 7."
According to the bride-to-be, once the post-engagement high wore off, she decided to ask her fiancé about the ring, but he "instantly" became defensive.
"He asked a couple times why I was 'instigating,' until I got irritated and said, 'I don't know, why did you ask me what ring I wanted if you were just going to get everything wrong?,'" she recalled.
When the woman told her fiancé that she wanted a ring that was more "her taste," the couple continued to fight, without the groom-to-be "acknowledging that he had a very clear list in his hand," and decided not to buy a ring that she liked.
A deliberate snub or a deal too good to pass up?
The disgruntled bride-to-be received messages from Redditors urging her to consider the engagement ring a red flag. Many people thought the fiancé was attempting to exert his control over her, and cautioned her to consider walking away.
"He's either trying to set a precedent or trying to get you to dump him," one person said.
"It's a power move," another agreed. "He's telling you that what he wants is more important than what you want."
One Redditor suggested all couples should consider shopping for the ring together, rather than having the groom-to-be choose the ring on his own.
"I wish men would get over the movie/TV trope of buying an engagement ring on their own and proposing on one knee," they said. "This is a piece of jewelry that you'll presumably be wearing for the rest of your life, and it needs to be your style. It's exceedingly common for couples to choose a ring together and not just leave it up to the would-be groom...Tell him you like the ring but it just isn't your style. "
The ring is either fake, stolen, or somebody gave it to himReddit user
Others suggested it was less about being malicious and more a case of finances falling short.
"It's usually money. He maybe couldn't find what you wanted in a price range he was comfortable with, or didn’t try particularly hard but instead of talking to you he tried to improvise," someone said. "Rookie mistake."
"The ring is either fake, stolen, or somebody gave it to him," another wrote. "Or sold it to him dirt cheap."
How do you tell someone you don't like your engagement ring?
Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert, spoke to Yahoo Canada about how to navigate a conversation with your partner when you don't like your engagement ring.
According to Swann, who founded The Swann School of Protocol, an in-person conversation utilizing the "sandwich method" of communication, when a piece of negative feedback is sandwiched between two positive statements, is the best approach to tough conversations.
"You can say something like: 'The proposal was fantastic. It was so surprising. It was so thoughtful. Thank you so much. Looking at the ring a little more, that the shape is not necessarily one that is my favourite. And I really would have preferred something else," she suggests. "'So perhaps we can go looking together so that we can find something that's going to be fit. You know, that'll be the best fit because our marriage is a lifetime and I want to love the ring forever.'"
Emphasizing your desire to commit to one another is an important piece of the conversation. The wedding planning process, and marriage can be stressful and filled with plenty of uncomfortable conversations and disagreements. Because rings can be expensive, ensuring that both parties are clear on what the person wants and is comfortable spending on a ring is important.
"Purchasing of the ring is one of the biggest purchases that you'll have at the start of your marriage," Swann says. "And then later on is the house. And then we look into, gifts and things like that. And so this is just really a preview to what marriage looks like."