I Want An Expensive Engagement Ring But It’s Not About The Money

As Jennifer Lopez once sang, “Love don’t cost a thing.” I agree for the most part, but now that my boyfriend and I are talking marriage, I have to admit that there’s one area that this song maaaaybe doesn’t apply to. I’ll cut right to the chase: I want my boyfriend to buy me an engagement ring, and I don’t want it to be cheap.

  1. It’s not about the ring, it’s about the thought and effort behind it. I understand the assumption that I must be materialistic because I want an expensive ring, but I assure you this isn’t the case. Maybe it’s because there’s a part of me that’s still a bit traditional or maybe it’s because I’ve seen multiple guy friends spend a lot of time working hard to save up for a ring and then take a lot of care in picking out the perfect one, but I see an engagement ring as more of a symbol than a material item. Now, my boyfriend is more of a “live in the moment” type of person than one who takes a lot of time to move towards longterm goals. While there’s nothing wrong with this, him actually putting in time, deep thought and real effort into getting me an engagement ring really would mean the world to me.
  2. I’ve already spent way more money on my boyfriend than he has on me. The guy regularly does nice things for me and always has my back so I shouldn’t care how much money he spends on me, right? Well, the truth is that the whole engagement ring area is an exception. I can’t help but think about the fact that I’ve spent so much more money on him than he has on me during our relationship. While I’m generally fine with this because I do make more money and have been building my savings for years, it’s pretty irksome when I see some guys (not him, mind you) complaining that they shouldn’t have to pay for engagement rings because it’s “not fair.” I mean, if my boyfriend doesn’t get me a nice engagement ring due to cost, wouldn’t it then be unfair that I’ve already spent a lot on him?
  3. Allow me to define what I see as “expensive.” I’m not looking for a ring befitting of royalty here,I just really want something that’s nice and isn’t totally devoid of value. If I had to put a price tag on it, I’d say around $1,000 but probably not higher than $2,000. I know that at least for my boyfriend, that would be expensive but maybe not entirely unreasonable.
  4. There’s actually some data to back up my feelings. OK, so there are a lot of studies out there that say spending large amounts of money on engagement rings correlates to shorter marriages. But there’s a flip side to this: engagement rings costing less than $500 also have higher divorce rates. In fact, the sweet spot is considered to be between $500 and $2,000—no more, no less. And remember what I just said my personal definition of “expensive” is?
  5. I don’t care about expensive things in general. Speaking of expensive, the ironic truth is that I don’t care about pricey stuff overall. I shop at thrift stores and don’t own many designer items (and I couldn’t really care less if they were known brands or not). I don’t care if I ever live in a big house and I’ll happily buy pre-owned cars for the rest of my life. Overall, I just don’t see a point in flashy stuff and I don’t believe that large price tags always mean better quality. But at the end of the day, I admit that an engagement ring is a whole different ballgame.
  6. Heirloom rings can work, but only if they actually mean something. Part of the reason I’m stressing so much about what my boyfriend might spend on an engagement ring is that I know there’s a very real possibility that he won’t spend anything at all. You see, a while ago he told me that his mom showed him “a bunch of rings” and told him those were his options if he wanted to go the heirloom route. Unfortunately, something came up and the conversation ended before I could tell him my true feelings about heirloom rings—one will only be worthwhile to me if it actually carries significant meaning for him. And from what he told me, I just didn’t get the feeling that any of his “options” really meant anything to him. On the contrary, him actually saving up money and picking out a ring especially for me would carry extreme significance.
  7. Yeah, I do want something I can show off. Can I be even more real here for a moment? I don’t own anything I can really show off and as I said, I don’t really care for the most part. But the more I think about it, it would be really nice if I did have an engagement ring that I could flaunt. That may sound silly but to me, it would also be a way of showing off my boyfriend to my friends and family when he’s not around.
  8. Unique rings do often cost more. I admit that I’m like most women in the fact that I would also just like an engagement ring that isn’t just some carbon copy of so many others out there. I’d like mine to be something unique to us as a couple and I’m aware that this means it’ll have more cost to it. Is that so wrong?
  9. I don’t know if I’ll say yes with a cheap ring. I can admit that I’m a little unsure of how quickly I’ll say yes if my boyfriend spends less than, say, $500 or just gives me an heirloom ring that doesn’t mean much to him. Eh, I really love the guy so I’ll probably say yes regardless, but I know some hesitation would still be there if the ring isn’t up to snuff. After all, that would demonstrate to me that maybe he doesn’t know me as well as I think, and that would be a problem.
Brianna Gunter is an NYC-born Jersey girl now living in the Rocky Mountains. A graduate of The College of New Jersey's journalism program, her work has appeared in a multitude of publications both online and in print. When not writing about life as a millennial, she can be found hiking, hunting for pizza or making new dog friends.