cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-05-12 10:05 am
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Dear Abby: Mom's Wedding Rings Lose Their Luster

DEAR ABBY: I've been dating a guy for two years. He has his late mom's wedding rings. He always said he would use them if he ever proposed to anyone.

Well, he proposed to me last week. Last night he informed me that he had let his ex-girlfriend of 10 years wear the rings because she loved jewelry. It made me sick to my stomach, and made his proposal not mean anything to me.

I told him it would be like me giving him my ex-husband's wedding band to wear. He doesn't understand because he didn't use them to propose to her, but to me that's beside the point. They were on her hand. [Emphasis in the original.]

I told him he should have given me the option of wearing the rings or having him buy my own set. He thinks I'm just supposed to be OK with this. Am I out of line feeling the way I do? -- TARNISHED IN TENNESSEE

DEAR TARNISHED: I don't think so. To say this "guy" lacks sensitivity would be an understatement. Are you sure you actually want to spend the rest of your life with someone so clueless?

When he allowed his former girlfriend to wear his mother's wedding rings "because she loved jewelry" rather than because they were planning to marry, the symbolism of bestowing them vaporized. If you do plan to go through with it, "suggest" he buy you ones or use the stones from his mother's rings in a different setting for a ring you will enjoy wearing rather than feeling like Secondhand Rose (third-hand, actually).
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)

[personal profile] zulu 2017-05-12 03:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the core of the advice is good--get the stones reset, or do something to make the jewelry 'new' again--but it seems to be phrased in a really unsympathetic way. Like, personally I wouldn't care who wore the rings before, but I'm notoriously easy-going. So maybe the boyfriend is like me and thinks "I love my mom, I love this as a gesture/tradition, I loved my girlfriend, I love my current partner, ergo everything will work out fine." Okay, he was wrong, and he should probably recognize/own that, but yeah, this alone isn't dumping material.
madripoor_rose: milkweed beetle on a leaf (Default)

[personal profile] madripoor_rose 2017-05-12 03:30 pm (UTC)(link)
If she's having this much of a problem with the idea that he had a life before her, she should dump him, and he should feel lucky he escaped.
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-05-13 03:40 am (UTC)(link)
This.
torachan: (Default)

[personal profile] torachan 2017-05-13 07:19 am (UTC)(link)
Seriously.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2017-05-12 04:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I... don't get it. (Not least because my mother and her mother between them have set up a fine tradition of losing wedding and engagement rings -- my mother is currently wearing her late mother's replacement, bought on the sly, I believe, somewhere in Spain.) (And I'm a geologist: I have very definite ideas about what localities I want to incorporate into any Significant Jewelry I might end up exchanging with someone.)

I just -- they were not being worn as that symbol in the past. And what is it they're actually supposed to be a symbol of, here? I don't... see the point of letting jewelry sit around unworn? If anything, it's "here's another layer of my history and past" but if dude considers it irrelevant then... it's... not relevant to him? If what's bothering you is the feeling of stepping into vacated shoes, then (a) would you have the same problem if he'd been widowed, (b) maybe you should actually address that insecurity, and (c) I generally think it's sensible to avoid falling into the trap of treating any relationship that ends as if it's failed...? (Which I think applies *both* to the reading of the symbolism of ex having worn the rings, *and* to feelings about what the point of This Relationship is.)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2017-05-14 04:15 pm (UTC)(link)
So, to be clear, I don't think he's behaving well either: I absolutely agree with the comments below that this is fairly obviously demonstrating a failure to work together and a failure to be sympathetic to her feelings on the fiance's part -- and a total failure to communicate, again, about symbolism and what they mean and what they're aiming for.

I do understand intellectually that this is a problem for people. I don't have a gut-level understanding of it.
azurelunatic: Extreme close-up of a rainbow moonstone cabochon (clear with blue flash), set in a silver ring with a swirly design. (ring)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2017-05-23 07:56 pm (UTC)(link)
For me, I think it might in part depend on what I thought of the ex-girlfriend. As you know, my present partner has a terrible ex. I would likely insist on some sort of symbolic and/or practical cleansing if they offered me something that had belonged to the ex or been used extensively by the ex even if there hadn't been ownership.

On the other hand, I have the deepest respect and affection for my (now ex) Figment's late wife. If Figment had etc., I would have been deeply honored (and probably run away screaming because we wouldn't have made good spouses).
kiezh: A kitten investigating a toothbrush (kitten with toothbrush)

[personal profile] kiezh 2017-05-12 06:14 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't think the problem here is the rings. I think this is the problem:

He thinks I'm just supposed to be OK with this.

They just decided they want to spend their lives together, and they ran into a snag re: ring symbolism. This is a solvable problem! ...if they try to solve it together and find symbolism that works for both of them. Which ought to be a priority, given that they are really going to need that kind of teamwork for a marriage.

This guy thinks that if she has a problem with how he wants to do things, she should just suck it up and play by his script. (And feel exactly how he says she should feel.) He is not marriage material.
minoanmiss: Minoan women talking amongst themselves (Ladies Chatting)

[personal profile] minoanmiss 2017-05-19 04:29 am (UTC)(link)
This. This is a definite time to practice compromise and it says a lot that they can't/wont.

redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-05-12 06:34 pm (UTC)(link)
This would make more sense if she had expressed interest in wearing them before he asked her to marry him, and he'd said no, especially if he'd combined that with telling her that he was saving the rings for a marriage proposal. If that felt like she was taking second place to his ex, I'd understand—not necessarily agree, but the moment someone says "I am keeping my late mother's rings so I can use them if I propose to someone" he's putting symbolism on the history of the rings.

But that "sick to her stomach" reaction indicates something, which could be that she is unusually jealous in general, or that this is her subconscious signalling second thoughts about the engagement for other reasons.

This also ties in with the idea that a woman is supposed to wear, every day of her life, a piece of jewelry selected by someone else, whether or not she likes it. However reasonable her reaction is or isn't, telling her she "should just be okay" with wearing the rings, when he knows she isn't, is overbearing. If he gets to feel however he does (which he does), so does she: and that includes not wanting to wear those rings, but to pick her own.
kiezh: Tree and birds reflected in water (Default)

[personal profile] kiezh 2017-05-13 01:34 am (UTC)(link)
Re: "unusual" jealousy... why exactly was he bringing up his ex-girlfriend at that particular moment? To his new fiancee, while they were talking about wedding rings? Why, when this topic distressed her, did he keep self-justifying and insist on being "right" and ignoring her distress?

It seems to me that, again, the rings are pointing out a different problem. She feels like she's in some way in competition with his ex, and when she mentions her discomfort he tells her that his ex wearing the rings totally didn't count and frames her objections as irrational. Even if there is nothing going on between him and the ex, he's doing the thing where all relationship problems are LW's problems, and he has no desire to build up her confidence in him or comfort her when she worries. (Or figure out ring symbolism that they both like.) She's just supposed to be okay with whatever he wants.

I think the LW is talking about the rings and the ex because they're the surface stuff she can put into words; underneath that, she feels sick to her stomach because she doesn't feel respected or cherished by the man she wants to marry. His reactions... are not promising.
naath: (Default)

[personal profile] naath 2017-05-12 08:17 pm (UTC)(link)
ring*s* I have a confuse. But anyway I think she's being daft, but she gets to be daft and want irrational things and a man whose main response is 'shut up and deal' is not great hubby material.
eleanorjane: The one, the only, Harley Quinn. (Default)

[personal profile] eleanorjane 2017-05-13 01:42 am (UTC)(link)
I think there's two issues being elided, too:

1) They were his mother's, and supposed to be saved for a proposal, and

2) He's proposing to her using a ring that his last girlfriend used to wear.

Even leaving aside 1, 2 is kind of icky for a lot of people. Having recently come out of a relationship where my partner did not let go of his ex in a reasonable manner (and which in the end spelled the end of our own relationship), I can sympathise a lot with LW. I think she should not even delve into #1, and just explain that #2 bothers her, and ask for the stones to be re-set or the rings to be redesigned.

If he's not willing to do that, or thinks she's being ridiculously, they at a minimum need to do a bunch of work on supporting each other's emotional needs, and probably aren't well-suited.