Ask Demetria: He's Not Getting Me the Engagement Ring I Asked For

If you like him, just be happy that he's putting a ring on it. Focus on what really matters. Dear Demetria:

My fiance told me to pick out an engagement ring. We found one that we both liked and was within the budget. He asked for specifications and pictures. I sent them to him. I asked if he was going to get it and he said I would get what I wanted. Now I think he got me a totally different ring, which would be fine. But now I feel like he's going back on his word. Help! —Anonymous

As I was reading your query, I fell into the same trap you did for a second. I wondered, "How is he her fiance, but there's no ring?" The truth is, though, you don't need one to be engaged or even married. You need a wedding license. A ring is a romantic gesture. I wasn't focused on the right thing for a second; neither are you. Let's both check ourselves here.

A male relative of mine put it this way:

The concept of a wedding ring has been indoctrinated [into] women as a sign of status/level of love to the point where they poison their relationship by focusing on something that is not important. Marriage is about the everyday, not about what you can show to your girls.


If you're calling him your fiance, I'm guessing he has already asked you to spend your life with him and you said yes. I'm hoping that since it appears you've agreed to this, your man is a good guy who has your best interest at heart and wants to make you happy. If he isn't, you've got a bigger problem to focus on than the size, design or cost of the ring he purchased.

I'm going to be optimistic here and guess he's a good guy. If he is, you're focused on the wrong thing. The man you love loves you, too, and is committing to building a life with you. The bottom line here is, "Do you want to marry him or nah?" If you do, stop focusing on the ring.

If he purchased a different ring, it's either because his budget changed or he genuinely thinks you'll like the new ring better. No man who genuinely loves his woman sets out to get her a ring he doesn't think she wants. If your fiance is a good guy, he’s doing his best, even if he makes a detour with the plan. Is it also possible that the potentially new ring is bigger and "better" than what you asked for? Change isn't always bad.

You're talking about getting married. A universal truth held by nearly every happily married person I've ever spoken to is this: Choose your battles. On this one? Your best move is to stand down and smile. You want to marry him? Whatever he produces, your answer is "I love you!" "Thank you!" and/or "Yes!" You will seem entirely ungrateful, controlling and selfish to complain about the possibly different ring. Each of those qualities is a big turnoff that could make a man rethink his commitment.


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Ask Demetria: Your Man Is Not Your Girlfriend

You're blocking your blessings... why? Dear Demetria:

A man I’m seeing for just a few weeks told me to “just pick me” when I was talking about the difficulty of dating for educated black women. I’m confused because the fact that I was talking to him means I want him to pick me. I’m not sure what else I need to do to let him know I’m interested. Help! —Anonymous

Huh? There’s so much wrong with this story.

Your dating life doesn’t sound like the negative stereotype that you’re complaining about. You’ve been dating a guy for several weeks. You’re talking to that man, on the phone, in person, wherever, and he just told you that he wants you to choose him. Isn’t this absolutely the ideal dating life for any woman of any color, educated or not? I think it is. But you’re so busy harping on unfavorable statistics about educated black women and dating that you completely overlooked the clearly interested man on the other end of the phone or in front of your face who is trying to get your attention. C’mon, hon!

And he’s not just interested; he’s really, like, super interested. How can I tell? You’re having all manner of inappropriate conversations with this guy. You’re complaining to a man—one you’re interested in—about men. That’s salon talk, or brunch chatter or ladies’-night lamenting.

No man, especially one you’re dating, ever wants to hear a woman complaining about men. It’s an enormous, gigantic, huge turnoff. Would you like to hear a guy you’re interested in complain about women to you? Wouldn’t you think it was a sign you’re probably wasting your pretty trying to get his interest? When you do hear it, don’t you think, “If he did less complaining, maybe he’d have somebody”? So, um, you know that’s what the average guy thinks when you complain to him about men.


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The Root: "I Got A Tattoo of My Man's Name, He Got My Initials"

I guess she was over "George". #womp Dear Demetria:

"I got a tattoo of my man's name. We were supposed to do this together. He said he would write mine. Instead, he does initials. I'm pissed and feel quite stupid because I think he tried to make it vague. My initials are A.S.K. I asked him why he didn't write out my name. He said, 'It's only for us.' Do I have a right to be pissed?" —A.S.K.

You have a right to feel any way you want. As Bobby Brown once explained, that's your prerogative. But being "pissed" doesn't solve anything. You are still branded with the name of a man who isn't even your husband. You've made a permanent mark on your canvas denoting a man who is temporary in your life and probably won't be around very long. Ouch! I know. But it's true.

If he planned for only you to see him naked in the future, then he would have gone through with the prior agreement. He half-wayed it because, while he likes you, he's keeping his options open for the possibility that this might not work out in the long run. It's not a bad compromise, but he should have told you what he was doing beforehand.

To be clear: This was a bad decision from the beginning. Inking your partner's name on your body shouldn't have been a consideration or discussion until a marriage license was signed and you'd both put a few years into the marriage. Even then, it's kind of crazy, but if both spouses are onboard? So be it. But marking yourself permanently without so much as a ring doesn't even make sense. You can't commit to forever with a partner, but you're willing to commit to a lasting reminder of the relationship on your body? Where, oh where, do they do this at?

I shared your dilemma with some friends online. A woman remarked that her tattoo artist once told her that she hated doing art with significant others' names. Why?

"Most of them end up being covered up," the artist said.

This situation also tells me a lot about your relationship. You're all in and see this as forever ever. Your partner is around for the time being. The communication is also off. You both agreed to do something; he didn't hold up his end of the deal. Instead of telling you, "Hey, I'm uncomfortable with this," he went ahead and did what was best for him and filled you in on the back end. That is not OK.

It sounds like he likes you—if he didn't, he wouldn't have gotten even your initials—but you're trying to push the commitment level of this relationship beyond what he's ready for and in the wrong way. You just found out the hard way that you can't force someone into a commitment that he or she isn't ready for.

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