Tuesday’s TPS Report: Benita Blazer

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Benita BlazerI have mixed feelings about silk blazers: on the one hand, yay breathability! On the other hand, boo wrinkles and inappropriate-for-day shinyness. Still, I’d give this cute orange blazer a try by Lauren by Ralph Lauren — the slight shaping is perfect, and the shoulders feel  very now (not too poufed, not too sharp, not too square). Lord & Taylor’s has all 3 colors (orange, white, and navy) in regular sizes, and also has the navy available for petites and plus sizes. Prices range $250-$270, but get a 15% off regular and sale items with code BEST. Benita Silk Jacket

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Comments

  1. Question for the hive. BF and I are talking about getting engaged in the next year or so after 5+ years together. We had a discussion about ring expectations, and he is adamant that if I want a ring, I have to pay for it myself, as he doesn’t see why he should have to pay for it. He has hinted at this before and is generally frugal but this stubborn attitude surprised me. I started the conversation because I am pretty sure about what I want and I’m willing to pay half (using stones from my family, should be about $5k to re-set plus additional stones so $2.5k each). Any suggestions on how to deal with this in a way that doesn’t make either of us resentful? We’re both late 20s, financially stable with no debt but no real savings after travelling last year, planning on a registry wedding without all the frills. We don’t have joint accounts or cards but are completely open about what we earn and spend otherwise.
    He is making me feel like a horrible materialistic gold digger for wanting him to have some contribution to an engagement ring, and I can’t find a way of wording it that doesn’t come off as me expecting him to pay for jewelery for me just because it’s tradition. I suggested that he could get a watch or something but he doesn’t want that either.

    • My suggestion would be don’t look at the norms and other couples. Look and consider you too only. If that’s what he wants, have an open discussion and consider. Acceptance and no expectations go a long way… In the end you have to answer “what’s important?”

    • I don’t know. It seems very selfish to me. If its something you want, why would he adamantly refuse to give you a gift. Simply to hoard the money for some other purpose? It doesn’t sound like you are being unreasonable. Something about it just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. It just seems so un-generous, which is not a trait I look for in a mate.

      • Yeah…I just don’t know. Something feels weird about this one to me, too. If you were being all, “OMG I must have this $25,000 engagement ring but he won’t buy it, what do I do?” I’d be more sympathetic to your BF, but it sounds like you’re approaching this very reasonably, by offering to split the cost or get a watch instead of a ring.

        I think Anna gave good advice, too, about not comparing yourselves to other couples or what’s “normal.” I don’t think you have to have a ring to be engaged (or married for that matter). At the same time, if it’s something that’s important to you, the man you’re marrying should be willing to at least entertain the idea of a compromise.

      • He’s generous in daily life, but I never really ask him for thousands of dollars at a time (he did lend me a few thousand dollars while travelling when I had a card snafu, but that was a loan which was paid back). I’m not sure if he’s being an ass and hoping I’ll just pay the whole thing or if he just never really realised the potential cost before. Maybe he’ll warm up to it?

        • It could be that he’s never really realized how much an engagement ring can run. Unless you’re making very, very good money, $5K is a good chunk of money to throw down. Is there any chance you can/would be willing to go with a simpler ring (maybe foregoing the extra stones)?
          That being said, I still think he’s being kind of selfish. If it’s something that’s important to *you* and you’ve offered to help with the expense, he should be willing to compromise.

        • It may be that he just genuinely has no idea what they cost. My SO was like that. He had a VERY low price point in mind. I took him to a store and showed him what I wanted, and he was unwilling to pay the price. So I took him to a few more stores and showed him what we could buy at his very low price point. He agreed that what I was looking at was much nicer. In the end though, he just couldn’t afford it. I wanted the nicer ring so I paid the difference. Now that’s all done, I kinda like the idea that we each paid half for the ring.

          My ring was less than $2k. I can imagine that if the ring I wanted was $5k, my SO would have blown a gasket. We were in different circumstances though as our financials were not very secure at the time. I disagree with some of the other commenters though that you should rush to dump him because of this. Give it a little time and have another couple of discussions about it with him.

        • I think he’s being really rude. He may have been surprised at the cost, but to insist that you pay for the entire cost of the ring rather than have an honest discussion about whether he could afford to contribute to it, and how much he was able to spend (as well as the timeframe in which he could put together said money)? I’d be really hurt and angry.

          No, you do not need a ring to get engaged, you do not need to spend $5k on a ring, he doesn’t need to pay for the full cost, etc. BUT these initial conversations about your wants/expectations should also be accompanied by discussions about his wants/expectations about money.

          There’s nothing wrong with buying your own engagement ring, if you have the financial means to do so and are happy to do it. But your BF’s refusal to even consider paying for part of it is really hurtful (I’m imagining how hurt I would be if my DH had done that), as is his (seeming) attitude of “take it or leave it,” and I would be really wary of starting an engagement off without a lot of discussion about this issue.

    • I think you are stuck. You might point out that once you are married, everything that each you each have before the marriage is going to belong to both of you. So allocating the funds between the two of you now will be a moot point soon enough. But you should try to understand where he is coming from. Does he have a moral issue with the idea of engagement rings? You might also point out that everyone who asks to see your ring during your engagement (which will be pretty much everybody you see during that time period) will assume that he paid for it. He’ll be getting the credit (or blame) for the ring whether he helps pay for it or not.

      • I think that this is a good point, and points out some important talking you guys need to do, both about the ring and about what you’re going to do after you’re married. How will you handle money? How will you handle large purchases? What if you want new living room furniture but he doesn’t think it’s needed?
        I do think, however, that while you could look at it like it’s rude for him to ‘adamantly refuse to give you a gift’, the fact is, in the rest of life, we don’t go around asking people for gifts and dictating what they will look like and how much the other person will spend. So, I think it’s a little disingenuous for everyone to act like it’s just a ‘gift’ that he won’t buy you. I don’t think it makes him a horrible person, and you mentioned he’s ‘hinted’ in the past that he wasn’t buying a ring, so it seems like perhaps you really knew this was how it was going to be, but thought perhaps when the time came, he’d bow to pressure from you (and society) and wouldn’t REALLY do what he told you all along he was going to do.
        I think some talking is in order, but given he made it pretty clear to you well in advance, and you didn’t really listen, I don’t think making him the epic bad guy is quite in order here. I don’t think the ‘talk’ needs to be as much about the ring, as about the fact that you feel like this is something that means a lot to you, for A, B, C reasons; and you don’t feel like he’s putting any value on your needs. Then you need to give him a chance to give A, B C reasons why he does not want to pay for a ring, even given what you just (calmly) said. If all he’s got is “I don’t wanna spend the money”, then you might be looking at financial conflicts down the road.

        • I agree on all counts.

        • Me too.

        • Thank you for your comment (and all of you). This is exactly the thought process that is going through my head. Rationally, I don’t really care about the ring as such and would pay for it myself (I had kind of expected his response but never heard of any couples where the man outright refused to buy a ring) or not have one, but I don’t know whether to push him on the point or just accept his attitude, and if I do that then what am I setting myself up for later on?

          It does bother me that this is how he is handling it when he has the power to say no. We haven’t ever had conflicts like this over money before, but I’ve found it hard to get responses out of him when I try to talk about things like saving for a house deposit or what he wants his life to be like in 20 years. He always says that he just never really thinks about it and I back off. I’m a bit of a control freak who never thinks about anything BUT the future, and am never sure how much is just personality differences where I’m the outlier (surely I’m not the only 27 year old with excel models of various budget situations that I make for fun?! lol) and where there starts to be a real issue that needs to be dealt with. In a couple of weeks we’ve blocked out our diaries for a weekend with just us hanging out at home, and I think I will try to have a serious conversation with him about these things. I don’t doubt his commitment to me and he is perfectly happy talking about wedding planning, but I worry about what this all indicates.

          We are talking about a wedding in 2014 so there is still a while for us to have these discussions, and I really don’t care about whether we are married or not so I would postpone it if I’m not comfortable, I’m just not sure where that point would be.

          • “I’ve found it hard to get responses out of him when I try to talk about things like saving for a house deposit or what he wants his life to be like in 20 years. He always says that he just never really thinks about it and I back off.”

            RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG

            Are you really going to marry someone when you’ve never had a serious conversation about long-term planning for your future? He doesn’t have to think about it as much as you do, but he has to be willing to discuss it.

            He may be concerned that anything he says about what he might want in the future is binding and he’s afraid that he’ll change his mind (because who can predict the future)? Talk about this – say that you also don’t know for sure exactly what you’ll want then, but nonetheless the two of you need to discuss it to see if you’re even in the same ballpark.

            Are you going to “back off” every time you have a serious issue in your marriage that he doesn’t want to talk about?

          • Oh dear. You need to hammer this out (not about the ring). You do NOT want to be the person in the relationship in charge of “the future” — that’s pretty much a guarantee that one of you will be horribly unhappy. This is actually something that gets covered in most pre-marriage counseling type sessions, maybe you should hit one of those up sooner rather than later.

          • Agree with PghAnon. You need to be able to talk about money and long-term financial goals (ideally agree on them, but at a minimum talk rationally about them). This is something I think needs to be resolved BEFORE you get engaged, or it is asking for issues down the line.

            With all the kindness I can muster in this statement, please think long and hard about whether the fact that he won’t discuss these financial goals/issues with you and won’t put money toward a ring that you care about means that he isn’t fully invested in getting married to you.

          • We have definitely had serious conversations, I just don’t get much actual opinion out of him. He will generally agree with whatever I say and we are very similar anyway, but when I then say ‘okay, well if we want to buy in x location, how about we think about how much it might cost and how long it might take to save a deposit, and what sort of lifestyle we want to live in the meantime’, he has no input and I feel like it’s me telling him how he should feel. If I ask what he would like to see happen that’s when he says he doesn’t really think about it. And then I stress that I am too controlling and that’s making him shut down, which occasionally happens in other situations.

            Maybe it is all too far away in his mind. We spent two years saving for the year that we spent travelling and he was perfectly involved in all of that. It’s a serious issue that worries me a lot, because I’m a real planner, and I want to feel like I’m on the path to something. Other than that we are perfectly suited and have been through a lot together, which makes me think it’s just his personality, but do I want to hitch my fortunes to this personality?

            On the other hand, we would be the first of our close friends to get married, and none of them own houses or even really have serious jobs yet (at 28-30), so I do feel like an outlier in general for just thinking about the direction my life is heading in and trying to make things happen.

          • “(surely I’m not the only 27 year old with excel models of various budget situations that I make for fun?! lol)”

            No, you are not. :) I update mine every year with the new tax brackets and have toggle boxes for “buy a house,” “add kid,” and other significant life events. So fun!

            Kindred spirit-ness aside, I agree that his attitude is a red flag. My DH has a bit of a different sensibility about money than I do, but he has never blanketly refused to spend on something that was important to me. Money is a major part of planning your life and your future, and if you can’t come to a satisfactory resolution on the issue of how to spend and save it (especially $5k, which, in the grand scheme of things, is not a huge sum), I would think very seriously about your future together.

          • There are pre-marital financial counselors who will help you work through some of these financial questions, you might want to look for one. Really, it would be helpful for any engaged couple.

          • “I really don’t care about whether we are married or not”

            This phrase gives me pause. It’s a big commitment and it’s exceedingly painful to undo later. If you don’t care about it, I would SO not do it.

          • “surely I’m not the only 27 year old with excel models of various budget situations that I make for fun?!”

            I do this as well! My BF, however, is not quite as interested in the details as I am. That said, he still gives his opinions, is willing to add his numbers to my excel spreadsheet monthly, and I feel that through 5 years of discussions, compromise, and understanding exactly what formed each of our viewpoints we are on the same general path forward.

            Are you sure he really wants to be married yet? Maybe it is too soon? Will he expect you to foot the whole bill for the wedding too?

      • This touches on an important point – are you going to merge your finances when you get married or maintain separate accounts? If it’s the former, then who pays is sort of an academic question.

        • Maintain separate as much as possible. Right now we even buy our groceries separately, but the plan is to have separate finances and a relatively small joint account. We both grew up where our mothers were tied to bad relationships because they didn’t have their own money, so this is important to us, for the first few years at least. I think this attitude is what is causing him to be defensive about it all, he doesn’t like being ‘expected’ to spend his money on something.

          • You say you haven’t had conflicts over money before, but if you keep all your money separate and buy your own groceries, that doesn’t say very much. I am not saying your money should be pooled but it sounds like you are really keeping a much stricker tab than most couples, esp. those in long term relationships. Perhaps this is something to talk about as you talk about the ring?

            I am certainly of the camp that thinks a woman should always have her own little emergency bank account (call me paranoid, but life’s long and I think it’s stupid not to), so I certainly understand and respect the background you’re both coming from but there’s also such a thing as taking it too far. Once you have a house together and if you have children, this kind of demarcation of mine and yours and ours is just not going to be practical. You need to figure out a way to deal with it before the stakes involved involve kids and a mortgage.

          • So, its great to have some independence. But right now he’s using the fact that you’re maintaining separate accounts to control the big decisions in your life (by essentially saying, oh…that’s YOUR money). Eventually we all buy things that we can’t afford on our own, be it a car, or a house, or a vacation. By keeping your finances strictly separate, you essentially are giving him the same power that your respective fathers had — he can sort of refuse anything that you can’t afford on your own, because its “his” money.

            Anyway — just another way of thinking about it.

          • TCFKAG – that is true, and I never looked at it that way before. Food for thought.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            I agree with AIMS. This engagement ring thing really seems like a symptom of a much bigger and more important issue – how to handle your finances once you are married. Consider getting one of those financial books for couples (Smart Couples Finish Rich?) and reading it over and talking about it. Also consider premarital counseling, through your religion of choice or a non-affiliated one. It’s really, really important to jointly figure all of this out in a truly workable way before you get married, or even engaged. I understand wanting to have some mad money on the side that’s all your own, but a “relatively small” joint account and “maintain separate as much as possible” are red flags to me. What if you want organic milk for your cereal and he doesn’t? Are you supposed to pay for the difference? If so, are you ok with that? What if you want to buy organic baby food or a reading tutor for your kid, and he doesn’t care? Does that come out of “your” account, too? Also, from a legal perspective, if you live in a community property state, unless you do quite the financial structure song and dance, what’s yours is half his and what’s his is half yours anyway. You two may want a prenup just so you both are on the same page about financial expectations.

            This lack of communication about finances is really concerning to me. Honestly, it sounds like you two aren’t ready to be engaged. You may end up figuring all this out with or without third-party assistance, and have a long, happy married life together, and I very much hope that’s the case. However, right now, you two aren’t on the same page about a basic issue, which to me means it’s too early to get engaged.

          • Was the issue with your mothers really that they didn’t have separate bank accounts or did they lack earning potential (say, from being the primary caregiver)?

          • “Right now we even buy our groceries separately”

            Wait, you’ve been together for 5 years and living together (I assume) for how long?

            Sadly, I say run. Fast.

            So sorry.

          • Curious – it is more because our mothers were uneducated (neither finished high school) and the primary caregiver. I’m definitely not in that situation but the fear still stays with me.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      He seems very selfish. I don’t necessarily believe you have to follow norms, but it seems like he’s adament not to buy a ring at the cost of your happiness. Not a great way to start a marriage, IMHO. Marriage is give-and-take and it does not work when one half refuses to give.

    • Anonsensical :

      I’m sorry to say this, but I’d dump him. I can’t imagine starting marriage with a guy who’s that stingy and makes me feel like a gold-digger for wanting a nice (and not unreasonably expensive) engagement ring. How do you expect to have a healthy partnership with someone who’s that ungenerous toward you and wants to keep score over who gets what with your joint finances? Honestly, the fact that you’ve been in the relationship this long and are haggling over an engagement ring makes me think he’s not all that eager to walk down the aisle with you. You deserve a man who wants to give you a beautiful engagement ring because he loves you so much.

      • SAlit-a-gator :

        This. Something seems not quite right here.

      • another anon :

        I’m inclined to agree. I don’t know if I would just dump him immediately, but this is raising serious red flags for me and I think you need to have a very serious talk with him about (1) the engagement ring issue, and (2) how you will handle finances in the future. It really bothers me that he is seemingly being so inflexible about the ring. Especially at this stage in your relationship, he should want to make you happy. You are presumably still in the honeymoon stage of your relationship, and if you are having this kind of problem now, it is probably only going to get worse in the future. The fact that he doesn’t seem to care that the ring matters a lot to you is what I find most troubling about this. He needs to recognize that just because HE doesn’t see the value in getting a ring, it is important to YOU, and therefore it is important. Period. If $2.5 K is just too much for him to spend right now, he should be suggesting some kind of compromise (e.g., maybe a cheaper ring now, replace it with what you really want by your 5 year anniversary). The fact that he is not doing so is worrisome, especially after you have been so incredibly reasonable, and it suggests that he is going to have issues in the future with doing things just because they are important to you, regardless of whether he agrees. And as others have noted, there will likely be large purchase in the future that you two will disagree about, and you are going to need to come up with a way to address those issues.

      • springtime :

        This. I don’t know anything about engagement rings, but something seemed off about it to me, too.

      • I agree. I would be SO turned off and hurt by this. I’m sorry, but I think a man who truly wants to marry you wouldn’t give you this kind of ultimatum.

        By the way, are you going to split ALL costs for the rest of your life? If you want to send your kids to a more expensive school than he chooses, will YOU have to pay for it all? He sounds “off”.

        • Yeah! How are you going to pay for a baby? Assuming that’s in your future plans. Have you talked about children?

          I just see you sitting there in the hospital room with him and a print-out calculator, “Well, I didn’t think you really needed that epidural, so I’m not going to pay for it.” “Also, I think you could have gone home last night regardless where you were still bleeding, so you’re going to pay for the night in the hospital.” “P.S. I need $20 so we can split the cab ride home.”

      • I am finding myself leaning toward this position too. I am someone who is personally a little uncomfortable with the idea of engagement rings because of the original concept and history, but I think the most important thing should be realizing when something is important to your partner and being understanding of that. It sounds like this is really important to you and that those particular stones have a lot of sentimental value as family heirlooms. There might be other ways to go besides spending 5k on your dream concept, or splitting the cost exactly 50-50, but the fact that he is unwilling to compromise at all is not a good sign. I grew up watching a marriage where my dad was always convinced he was 100% right (especially about money issues) and refused to compromise or “be wrong” just to make my mom happy. They are no longer married. Your fiance doesn’t have to give up his own money and cultural priorities, but he has to realize that there is no absolute “right” and “wrong” in these situations and that sometimes he has to be willing to compromise and/or accept your point of view as valid in order for this partnership to work. Not saying run out and dump him immediately, but something to seriously think about as you get deeper into the pre-marriage money talks.

      • I’m inclined to agree – it’s not so much about the ring, but about the attitude. If he said something like “Hey, I can only budget X amount to spend on a ring, so let’s see how we can work with that”, I think that would be fine. But resolutely refusing when you do want it and it’s reasonable seems like a really troubling sign of things to come. A couple should take joy in doing things that make the other person happy, even if it’s not something that the doer personally cares about.

      • Agreed if he doesn’t let you take a look at his finances. His financial
        Situation may be a lot worse off than you think and that’s not necessarily a reason to dump him.

      • So agree with this. You’re at the time of the relationship when people are usually at their most generous. It’s only going to be a tougher haul when the newness of marriage wears off and day-to-day pressures of house payments and managing kids enter the picture. I have an unconventional financial situation with my marriage (husband requested prenup and our finances are totally separate). But we’re also not nickeling and diming everything every day and we’re generous with one another to a fault. You can keep things separate–but you need to be on a team where you feel supported. I clearly don’t know you or him. But I just hope you’re not selling yourself short. You deserve someone who wants to be planning a future with you. (And excited about getting the ring.)

      • I mean, it’s a long relationship, I don’t know that I would say run run run. But quite honestly, that’s what my emotions are screaming.

        This guy does not sound AT ALL invested in your future. Not even 1%. I sort of have an independent mind but a traditional soul and on a rational front I think well, you’re rationally discussing getting married, clearly this isn’t some sort of OMG HE PROPOSED! And I don’t have any issue with a woman asking a man to marry her. And if she is going to ask him, why would he necessarily be obligated to buy an engagement ring. And as others have said, there is no need to have an engagement ring (or even a wedding ring!) in order to be married.

        ON THE OTHER HAND, traditional soul coming out, that is the societal expectation. And as non-rational as it may be, I personally would just not feel “right” about asking him to marry me. And although I don’t care about a ring and he can ask me with a freaking paper ring from a cigar (I think that’s a thing anyway!) I would feel like he’s not invested. I would feel like he probably didn’t really want to marry me because if he did HE would have asked. I would feel like this is more of a business merger than a marriage.

        And everything you’re saying about keeping your finances separate, etc…that’s intense. And it would not work for me, not because of the money but because of the distance. It’s like “hey, I’m keeping myself 100% separate so that I can walk away from this at a moment’s notice and without losing one red cent.” Ew.

      • His attitude would bug me a lot. It’s a symbolic thing and the expectation is that the guy provides the ring. Mine was super modest and was chosen by him and bought on his credit card, so the debt is now both of ours which is fine. But it meant everything that he gave it to me willingly and with love etc. If there had a been a fight about buying the ring I think that would have really colored my view of him and perhaps changed my mind about being engaged.
        It sounds like this is some kind of soapbox issue for him and I would worry that there other issues he feels similarly about that you just don’t know about yet. Do you want a lifetime of dividing up the expenses down to the cent? What about when/if you have children and you are not working and depending on his income for a time?

      • Anonymous :

        I think this “dump him because he’s cheap” thinking is ridiculous. I agree there are issues here, especially his reluctance to talk about money & future planning, but as someone who is happily engaged with a (very) inexpensive ring, I think the idea that you should dump someone because he says no to spending $5K engagement ring is insane. At the time I got engaged my fiance was in grad school and had managed to save around $10K on his meager salary and I was fresh out of law school with very negative net worth. We both recognized how foolish it would be to spend big bucks on a ring, but I know that had I asked him to spend $5K on a ring he would have laughed in my face (with good reason!) Why should I demand that he spend half of his very hard-earned life savings on something for me? An engagement ring is a gift. Its a gift that the recipient frequently has more involvement in than other gifts, but it is still a gift, and I think demanding a certain dollar value or particular stone is tacky. Given that they have “no real savings” I think refusing to spend $5K on a ring is not only resaonable, its prudent. Frankly this guy sounds smarter than most of the people in this country who spend, spend, spend and don’t have any savings.

        • Anonsensical :

          FYI ~ I never meant dump him because he’s cheap. I meant dump him because his ungenerous attitude toward her suggests something is wrong with the relationship. My engagement ring/wedding band combo didn’t even come close to cracking $1000, and we paid for our rings jointly. Still, my husband wanted me to have the ring I picked out and was excited to make sure I got it. My point is that OP’s BF doesn’t want her to have a ring unless she spends “her” money on it. Not cool.

    • Ultimately, this is forcing a conversation for you about how you will handle your finances after you’re married.

      If he feels that he shouldn’t have to pay for something he isn’t going to use or that he’d rather spend his money on something he would enjoy more (and that includes just looking at it sitting in a bank account). What happens further down the road?

      Is this a debate your’e going to be having every time you want something and he either doesn’t or isn’t there yet? And are you comfortable with that?

      If you are, then the other suggestions to do what works for the two of you is probably the way to go. If it isn’t then you have deeper issues to discuss.

      • I agree with TNT. This issue has broader implications than just an engagement ring. You two need to talk through those issues she laid out.

      • I agree with this as well, although I have to say I think it’s a good thing if a money talk happens now – they’re really important, even though they’re often awkward and unpleasant!

      • Have you discussed how you will pay for the wedding and what size of wedding you would like? Is he expecting you to pay for all of it?
        Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach is a great book for discussing money and goals.

    • I would dig deeper in to the issues. Is he against engagement rings from a social/political perspective? We lumped the engagement ring into the cost of the wedding. Due to finances at the time, my husband essentially paid for everything, but lumping in like that sort of minimizes the “I’m shelling out x amount for a ring.” That won’t work though if he has philosophical arguments against engagement rings. He’s being difficult, but it’s possible he doesn’t realize how much this means to you. Does he come from a family/social circle where engagement rings are unusual? I know that in medicine, large engagement rings with big diamonds are very common, but it’s sort of rare air. Maybe he doesn’t get why it’s important to you. You are approaching it from a very sensible angle in my opinion, but he may not see it that way.

      Are you wanting him to propose with this ring, or just wear it? Something about what you wrote makes me uncomfortable with how he’s responding. He comes across as selfish or not sensitive to your desires, but I just hope he knows how you feel about this. Tough issue.

    • Haven’t read all the comments yet, but you’ve been together five years and are getting engaged, getting married. At a certain point, it does have to become “our” money. I mean, sure my BF bought my ring, but since we had pooled our assets I guess we bought our ring together. This to me is the bigger issue than the ring itself. You guys eventually have to be able to communicate about and prioritize major purchases and he shouldn’t get to veto them or place them entirely on you just because he thinks their frivolous (does that mean he gets to pick the house, what cars you drive, etc.)?

      • Anonsensical :

        This: “I mean, sure my BF bought my ring, but since we had pooled our assets I guess we bought our ring together.”

        My husband and I pooled our finances early in our relationship and never looked back. When I’ve made more than him, I’ve never said, “Oh, you can’t get that expensive electronic thingy you want with my money.” When he’s had more money than me, he’s never said, “No way I’m spending my hard-earned money on another pair of shoes for you.” When your finances are pooled, it’s more a question of “how are we going to spend *our* money?” And I think that in a good, loving relationship, each partner will be inclined to say, “Hey! I know you really want that XYZ, and we have the money, so let’s get it for you!” I just can’t fathom this guy’s stinginess. My first instinct when my husband wants something is, “Let’s get it!” even if it’s something I don’t even understand, let alone want for myself (ah, being married to a computer geek). I just love him and want him to have stuff that makes him happy. Same goes for me – I’m sure he doesn’t understand my fetish for tribal jewelry or why I need another pair of boots, but when I see something that makes me eyes light up, he’s the first one to say, “Buy it!” It’s not about whose money it is, but it’s about how each of us wants to use our joint funds in a way that makes the other person happy. I don’t see the OP’s BF being that kind of guy.

    • Something about this is giving me bad vibes. It is really quite normal to give an engagement ring so his refusal to do it at all is giving me a bad feeling – is this the start of an endless series of arguments because you disagree on save vs spend attitudes? On the other hand, wanting a $5K engagement ring incremental cost when you already have multiple diamonds and have no savings also strikes me as excessive. So “doesn’t see why he should have to pay for it” is a big flashing warning sign to me – what about “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine”? But if his objection is actually “this is a really bad use of money right now” I see his point, but it doesn’t seem that is what’s being said. So sadly I think you’re both wrong and you should have some lengthy conversations about money, possibly with a neutral counselor, but fighting over an engagement ring and ending up with something that upsets one or both of you every day is not a good start.

    • To be honest I don’t really see what’s selfish about his behaviour. He doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring either – so I didn’t. I know it is tradition but (and I honestly don’t mean this to be rude) I don’t understand why it’s “selfish” to not want to spend thousands of dollars on something he doesn’t want. And, I mean, why should he? I love my husband, but if he decided he wanted a new £5,000 camera and said “oh, don’t worry, I’ll pay half! You’ll only have to pay £2.5k!” I’d be pushing back too!

      • But an engagement ring is not the same as a camera. Right or wrong, it’s an emotionally loaded tradition. It’s selfish only because it obviously means a lot — emotionally — to the OP, and the fiance is just not willing to take that into account. I think it would be a different story if he plain couldn’t afford it, but it sounds like he can and she is willing to meet him more than half way (stones + 1/2 the cost) and he still won’t budge. He’s not wrong for thinking it’s frivolous, but he needs to take into account how his wife-to-be feels, too. It’s like one person being a vegetarian and the other a die hard steak lover. They still need to find places to eat together. One can’t go, well I think that’s crap so not going there.

        And this is all coming from someone who could give a crap about engagement rings. Oh, and not that it makes much difference but $5,000 < £5,000 :)

        • Totes McGotes :

          This. To me, if he can’t afford the ring (and 5K is actually relatively inexpensive as far as engagement rings go), the correct response would be either to postpone buying one, or to split the cost as the OP suggests; not to just cross his arms and say, “Hey, buy it yourself if you want it.” If the guy has moral/philosophical objections to engagement rings, that’s one thing, but it doesn’t seem like he does – he just doesn’t want to buy it. And this is a situation where he only has to buy a setting for stones she already has available.

          I am not engaged, but if my BF couldn’t afford a ring, he would be genuinely sorry about it. If I got the sense that this man felt similarly, I would understand; but the fact that he “doesn’t see why he should have to pay for it” is utterly sketchy to me. It’s true that rings are expensive and there are other ways to use that money, but if it’s truly to be an *engagement* ring, not just a piece of jewelry she bought for herself, he needs to make some kind of contribution – whether financial or by at a *minimum* spending the time to choose the setting – not just pass it off to her and say, “You deal with this.”

        • It wasn’t emotionally loaded for me – it clearly isn’t for Zelda’s fiance either. I do understand that it’s something that’s important to her, but $2.5k is still $2.5k! You can take into account the way your partner feels and still say “that’s a massive amount of money and I’m not spending it”. To be honest it sounds to me like neither of them is budging, if you think of the position as “I want you to spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring for me”.

          • Totes McGotes :

            But it is emotionally loaded for Zelda and the vast majority of people. If he were saying “I can’t afford to spend above X” or “I’m willing to shop around for a deal and see what I find” or “Let me ask my mom if she still has her old setting and will give it to me for free” that would be different. The tone is coming off as “I don’t see why I should put a dime toward this or even be involved at all.”

          • Anne Shirley :

            But it doesn’t sound like it is a massive amount if money for them. Which I think makes the reluctance feel different. And he hasn’t expressed financial concerns, just put his hands over his ears and said la la la I don’t wanna.

          • I just wanted to add that, to some people, engagement rings are nothing but a symbol of the patriarchy and an oppressive anti-woman history – they are to me, a woman. (It’s funny how, when some people hear I am wholly uninterested in an engagement ring, they are “convinced” I am “just saying that” or “being coy.” Heh!)

            I have absolutely no idea if that is the case for your boyfriend, but it is just something to consider. Ask him why.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        I completely second Frugal City Girl and other commentators who don’t find the boyfriend/fiance’s behavior as reprehensible as everyone seems to do. Firstly, the engagement ring devalues the value of a woman compared to the man, because there is typically no equivalent gift that the man receives upon the engagement. Here is where Frugal City’s comparison to the camera is especially apt–why is this a one sided transaction? Just because something (the engagement ring) is a tradition doesn’t mean that it’s any more valid to require one half to pay for something from which he obtains no benefit. In fact, one might argue that the camera is actually much more useful for the couple as a whole than an engagement ring. In a sense, he has expressed financial concerns. I guarantee that he would not be saying this about a $300 ring.

        However, the fact that Zelda and her boyfriend have different views on this concept suggest that they are possibly not well-suited as a couple, and may also indicate other problems as to how they deal with conflict.

        • I responded above in the same manner, but I wanted to reiterate how much I agree with this.

          OP, is this an engagement ring-specific matter or a general financial-incompatibility matter? It could be very different. Good luck!

    • Speaking from my whole three years of marriage, you do NOT want a partner who doesn’t have some openness and flexibility to other ideas besides his own, especially when it’s something that is important to the other half of the couple. What the OP wrote above is a big red flag to me.

      • Same feeling here, based on my own experience. My ex was frugal (actually, he was tight) when it came to everyone else but himself. Does he spend money on himself? Personally, I think being excessively frugal is as somewhat extreme as overspending in that there are underlying emotional issues with regard to money.

        • Finally, it almost seems like you are feeling apologetic for what you want (you’re already using family stones, willing to pitch in half the cost of the ring, having a wedding registry with no frills, etc.). You’ve compromised and are willing to compromise; please don’t overcompromise or settle – not specifically this issue, but just in general with this relationship.

        • I agree with both frugal city girl and eek here.

          I don’t really think this is as awful and selfish as some people are making it out to be *given the fact he told her well in advance he wasn’t buying a ring*. Her failure to *listen* when the man was talking is every bit as problematic as his eventual refusal to contribute to the ring. She sees this as a ‘joint purchase’ area, he sees it like FCG’s example of the $5k camera. “It’s not for me, it’s an accessory you want to wear, sure you really really want it and all your friends think you should have it, but what’s that got to do with me?”

          The real issue, I think , which eek pointed out well, is, is this JUST an issue with this item? Or does he consistently seem perfectly fine to buy whatever he wants and is cheap and stingy where anyone else is concerned? If the latter, talk it out now. A friend’s husband is that type, and it manifested into things like: after new baby was born, friend wanted to go visit her family for a week. Friend was not working at the time by JOINT decision bc of said new baby. Husband did not want to spend “his” money (they previously had been two-account people) on that, because HE wanted to go skiing instead, and it was HIS money so shouldn’t he get to spend it on what HE wants to do?

          Now, that is what they’d always done before, his money was his and hers was hers, and they split household costs 50/50. She had just assumed that given the changed circumstances, his attitude would change. *it didn’t*. You guys have to talk this out now, before you get there.

          The other thing is, it seems like the decision to have totally separate finances (I mean, down to each buying your own groceries?? That’s roommate level separate) is partly your desire because of your mom’s situation. I can understand that, but from his perspective, do you see that this kind of could look like “I want all our money separate, because I don’t want to ever be stuck being dependent on you, UNLESS I want a really expensive thing that you don’t want, and then you have to kick in 50/50 and I get to tell you what to do with your money”.

          The conversation that’s really needed here is not ‘why won’t you buy me a ring’ but about money, how you’re going to handle it, and more importantly, if you’re going to split “joint” or ‘household” expenses 50/50, WHAT CONSTITUTES A JOINT EXPENSE??? because THAT is the problem right now. It’s perfectly logical to split ‘joint’ expenses, and he probably agrees. The problem is, you guys have not defined what is a joint expense. So you think obviously, he should split this with you, and he thinks, obviously, this is a personal expense on your part. That’s what you guys need to figure out.

          • This. My ex and I made about the same amount of money and split household expenses 50/50 until we had a child. I always assumed I would keep working, but that if I wanted to stay home, he would support that decision. No, he was adamant that he did not sign on to be the sole financial support of the family. Oh, and he was only willing to pay a certain amount per week for child care, if I wanted something more expensive I could pay the difference myself. Well, okay, but I was still forced to work fewer hours because 1) I couldn’t afford a nanny at least not with what he was willing to contribute, and 2) I was primarily in charge of taking care of the baby and picking him up by 6. So I made less, but he still expected me to pay 1/2 the household expenses, and he could spend his money however he wanted. Needless to say, I’m still bitter, and these financial issues had a lot to do with our divorce.

          • I did half expect this response, so it’s not that I didn’t listen, but I just don’t know if it’s at all normal (I’ve never heard of the woman paying for the whole thing, but I don’t have much experience with engagements), and if I’m completely out of line by sitting him down and explaining that this is important and we at least have to talk about it, which most people agree I have to do.

            “I want all our money separate, because I don’t want to ever be stuck being dependent on you, UNLESS I want a really expensive thing that you don’t want, and then you have to kick in 50/50 and I get to tell you what to do with your money”.
            This is why I asked the question, because I completely understand his point of view, but I wasn’t sure if it means he’s being an ass or if I’m out of line.

            Totally agreed about needing to talk about it more.

          • Wow — anon’s story about her ex who insisted they continue to split expenses 50/50 after they had a child and she had to reduce her hours at work is really appalling. In my experience and that of basically everyone I know, splitting expenses doesn’t work anymore after a couple has kids. It becomes very difficult for both spouses to pursue their careers as before. Typically, one person makes changes that result in reduced income — not necessarily staying home full time, but maybe working part-time, or moving to a different full-time job that requires fewer hours or less travel. I did the latter, and now make probably 25% of what I could have earned if I’d pursued my former more demanding career path. Meanwhile, my husband has reached the apex of his profession. My feelings about this are mixed. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if my husband refused to take on the greater financial responsibility.

            Premarital counseling is such a good idea. Discussing expectations around these issues before marriage really couldn’t be more important.

          • Zelda, I don’t think that this necessarily bodes poorly for the relationship. Maybe he really just doesn’t think that this is the best use of money right now. Who knows maybe he would rather get married with a cracker jack box ring and put that money into your IRAs or maybe he wants to donate it all to charity or go on another awesome trip. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Too many people are thinking too much about the fairy tale-ness of the wedding and the ring and not enough about real life and the consequence of spending so much money on these things. Having gone to an engineering school, I can totally see a lot of totally sweet guys taking this sort of hyper rational stance. And frankly, I would be totally pissed if my partner bought me a $5k+ ring since I would feel it was such a waste of money – so to each their own. So as long as you guys reach a solution here that genuinely work for each of you, don’t sweat it if it doesn’t match convention. You are the only two people in your marriage.

            What strikes me as odd though, is that he does not engage with you about longer term money planning. He never has to completely enjoy it but he does have to at least be engaged in it. I too am someone with various models of possible savings and investment scenarios and my partner distinctly does not enjoy that at all. She does, however, participate in discussions and work in coordination to meet whatever goal we decided to set.

          • anon May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm, his reasoning was that it was my choice to work less, so he shouldn’t have to pay for my choice, and our agreement when we got married was that I would pay half of the household expenses. So I was trying to renege on our agreement, in his eyes. He never put any value on child care, and figured I could just “find someone” to pick up the baby if I couldn’t leave my office in time. He was a selfish jerk, but I wish we had discussed these issues before getting married, at least then I would have known, and hopefully had the sense to run away.

          • anon, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. It sounds like divorce was probably the only way to get that selfish jerk to support his child, and I hope it did work out that way.

    • I agree that my initial gut reaction is — uhoh, this doesn’t bode well, and I’m pretty open minded about who pays for what and that e-rings don’t have to be a ‘traditional’ diamond costing 2-3 months of his salary.

      That being said, you said he was generous in day to day life — how do you deal with expenses now? Split the cost of everything? Go back and forth with who pays for what? What would happen if you did get married and you were laid off or quit working to raise a family?

    • I agree with everyone who says this is an opportunity to discuss how you will deal with your finances after you’re married. Also, think about your expectations down the line. What happens if you have children, and decide to work less, or stay home? Sometimes things that work well when both parties are making similar salaries fall apart when one party makes less money, but is primarily responsible for childcare. It’s really good to talk about these things now, because surprises later on can really stress your marriage. And if what you want is a guy who values you enough to at least attempt to get you the ring you want (especially with you paying half and not asking for anything outrageous) this may not be the guy for you. If that’s really not important to you, this is the time to figure that out.

    • Does he think any amount is reasonable to spend on a ring? My husband is also generally frugal, and we have realized that we have different values for things (like with movers, I’d rather find someone reliable, pay them, and be done, whereas he is inclined to do more ourselves to save money). It’s important to realize you have different priorities and figure out a plan for how you will make financial decisions together. Even if you don’t combine finances, I don’t think it’s a great idea for you to be contributing more to something you both benefit from because it’s worth it to you, whereas he just gets the benefits. He also should not be making you feel badly about wanting something–even if he doesn’t want to spend $2.5k or $5k, there are nicer ways to work it out.

      Does he have other issues with engagement rings? Is he uncomfortable using stones from your family?

      Also, what is “a registry wedding without all the frills”?

      • Anne Shirley :

        UK equivalent of a small courthouse wedding

      • “He also should not be making you feel badly about wanting something–even if he doesn’t want to spend $2.5k or $5k, there are nicer ways to work it out.”

        Definitely agree with this. However (and I promise I’m not trying to rag on you, Zelda!), as someone who gets really antsy about big purchases, I can really see things from his perspective. He told you he didn’t intend to buy you a ring. Now you’ve approached him with a “compromise” that still involves him spending two and a half thousand dollars, and seem unhappy that he isn’t jumping on it. If I were him, I’d be thinking: I told you I didn’t want to spend money on an engagement ring, you said you understood that, and now you’re upset at me because I don’t want to spend $2,500 on a ring – just like I told you I didn’t!

        It doesn’t seem to me that you’ve been communicating the emotional side of it (“a ring is important to me because _____”, rather than “oh, it’s just $5k, it’s a steal! and I’ll pay half!”) , or working together to find solutions that don’t involve dropping so much money if he isn’t comfortable with that. It seems like you’ve put the options in front of him of paying $2,500, $5,000 or more than $5,000 – when he doesn’t want to pay that much at all, and has told you so.

        I don’t know about you guys but $2,500 is a lot of money to me! If someone dropped that expectation on my lap I’d be crossing my arms and refusing to budge too!

        • “I don’t know about you guys but $2,500 is a lot of money to me! If someone dropped that expectation on my lap I’d be crossing my arms and refusing to budge too!”

          Sorry, I totally disagree. When you love someone, $2,500 is not a lot of money. If that’s what it takes to make the person I love feel happy, then I am happy to spend it. As almost all other have said, her request is not bratty or outlandish. Its fairly simple. And I’d run from a guy (or woman) that was that much of an uptight tightwad that didn’t have the long term perpective of how small an amount of money that is when you are talking about a lifetime of marriage.

          • AAA- just saying- it sounds like you may have never been without adequate funds. Not that the OP is poor– but sheesh, that is a lot of money to a lot of people. Perspective.

          • AAA, you sound extremely naive, and I hope your spouse and kids make similarly ridiculous comments to you to guilt you into funding the BS items they “need” or “deserve” or just “want.” You love them, don’t you, so what’s $2,500 in the grand scheme of things?

          • I used to make $18,000 a year. $2,500 is still a lot of money to me even though I luckily make more now.

            I think it’s more important to put the sum into context. $2,500 for a piece of jewelry (however symbolic of your love and commitment), when there are plenty of other acceptable alternatives available — yes, that’s a lot of money, too much in some people’s eyes. $2,500 in medical care, or to improve your housing situation from unsafe to somewhere safe, or as the differential between a sub-par and better-than-average daycare — yes, that’s probably worth it.

          • They have “no real savings.” $2,500 is therefore a huge amount of money (that should be going in the bank). It many parts of the country, you can rent a nice house for $800 a month. 3 months rent is a big deal to most people. Get some perspective.

    • I agree with the others who say talk, talk, talk, and listen, listen, listen. Explain what it is that bothers you about this, and let him tell you where he comes from.

      I certainly wouldn’t dump him, as someone suggests. People have different attitudes about money and engagement rings, and these aren’t necessarily right or wrong. Personally, the engagement ring fetish (sorry if this sounds judgmental) has always bewildered me but I have come to understand at some level that it’s a big thing for many other women. And my attitude seems similarly baffling to others — often, when I’d tell people I was getting married, their gaze would instantly go to my hands and they’d look puzzled. I agree that culture has a big impact.

      At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that you two are happy together. This ring could become a source of resentment or it could be something that has led to some very good and honest discussions and a solution that works for both of you.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Second you on the engagement ring fetish! I am trying to start a movement to have couples (if they choose they want to commemorate their engagement with anything) to buy each other tokens that are equivalent for each half of the couple (e.g. watches).

    • Lots of wise things already said. I would add two points.
      Your issue 1 is the engagement ring situation itself. You should aim to resolve it so that neither one of you walks away feeling resentful. It’s important to really talk about this and figure out what each one of you really feels/wants and why. I’d say something along the lines of, “I know it’s a lot of money, but this is not a just any old purchase. We’re buying a family heirloom and it’s really important to me that it be a certain way. I don’t expect you to pay for all of it, but I don’t think it is unreasonable that you should pay half. Can you please explain to me how you feel about this?”

      Issue 2 is trickier – how you guys handle this situation will in many ways foreshadow how you handle financial matters in your marriage down the line. The no. 1 thing married couples fight about is money. If your BF is being unreasonable about this, what else is he going to be unreasonable about? And, btw, there is nothing wrong with someone being really thrifty and not wanting to buy a $5K ring, or even to buy a ring at all, but that person should be with someone similarly thrifty or there will likely be problems down the line. I’m not passing judgment on your BF one way or the other, but it’s important that you’re both on the same page and that you can resolve this productively. If one or both isn’t the case, I would really think hard before saying I do. Fights about finances usually don’t get better as your life and obligations grow more complicated.

    • I think you should see some sort of financial or marriage counselor before you get engaged and sort out your financial expectations and how you will deal with spending disagreements once you’re married. This sort of financial attitude could definitely cause problems for the rest of your relationship. Frankly, I don’t like engagement rings and I understand that some people don’t consider the giving of material gifts to be an expression of love, but if you do consider giving gifts to be an expression of love, you guys are going to have resentment later on.

      I also suggest you read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I’m not married, but several of my married friends raved about it. Basically, it’s about how people express their love in different ways, but if you are a person who expresses it one way and your partner expresses it another way, you may not recognize it as his expression of love (and vice versa) and it can lead to resentment in your relationship.

      • This. And as this thread shows, I think that you need to talk about your plans regarding children in addition (and in relation) to money. These things are hard to talk about, but necessary. I wish you all the best.

      • By the way, this book is good for singles too if you are dating and trying to figure out what kind of person you’re compatible with. If you google it you can find the book’s website and learn more about it.

      • my husband and i both really like that book!

        • Anonymous :

          I both recommend that book regularly (my husband and I both read it, and it really helped!), and also recommend seeing some sort of counselor before marriage — both for finances and for communication.

          My parents (who have been married for almost 40 years, not always happily) keep separate accounts — and I will say that it was, and continues to be, the biggest source of discord in their marriage. From the point of view of a kid who grew up in the middle of those battles about who pays for what, I would not recommend that as a long term strategy.

    • When people tell you who they are, listen.

    • new york associate :

      I agree with the hive that you must talk this through. But if the jewelry is the impasse, here’s a possible solution: take your family diamonds and make yourself the ring of your dreams. Call it a non-engagement ring, and wear it on your right hand. You get exactly what you want, and it can become a family heirloom that you can pass down to your daughter. It’s a sign of your strength and independence. My mom gave me a ring when I was 13 that had a tiny family diamond in it, and it meant so much to me. It was a family legacy and a sign of her trust in me as I grew into an adult and I loved it. And I still wear it — engagement/wedding ring on my left hand, family ring on my right hand.

      This doesn’t solve the problem about your boyfriend making you feel like a materialistic gold digger, which is (IMHO) totally unacceptable. But it does solve the ring question and takes it off the table. You get the ring you want, and your boyfriend can make his own decisions about how to propose. He can propose with whatever token (or lack thereof) that he wants. And you can make your own decision about whether to accept his offer :)

      If you go this route, then one suggestion: don’t let him co-opt it. He might say “Oh, well you’re buying a ring anyway, so let’s just use that as an engagement ring.” You say, “Sorry, honey, but that’s not how it works. If you don’t want to buy an engagement ring, that’s your decision. You don’t get to use the ring I’m buying for myself as an engagement ring.”

      • Totes McGotes :

        ” If you go this route, then one suggestion: don’t let him co-opt it. He might say “Oh, well you’re buying a ring anyway, so let’s just use that as an engagement ring.” You say, “Sorry, honey, but that’s not how it works. If you don’t want to buy an engagement ring, that’s your decision. You don’t get to use the ring I’m buying for myself as an engagement ring.” ”

        THIS!!!!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Yikes… Nothing wrong with him not wanting to be traditional, but making YOU feel bad for wanting to be traditional is a red flag for me. Even when my husband and I disagree about something, he doesn’t make me feel bad for feeling the way I do.

    • Let me preface my question by saying that I 100% agree on recommendations for pre-marital counseling to dig deeper into how you will manage finances as a married couple. I see some red flags, as so many other commenters have said, and I can’t emphasize enough that any issues you have around housing, vacations, cars, other spending will be exponentially worse once you have children.

      But I also wonder about how you brought the ring issue up with him. You say you have a pretty good idea of what you want, have the stones already, etc. Did you just tell him what you wanted and, in essence, present the bill? Maybe he’d like a little more involvement in the choice, or maybe since it is traditionally a gift from man to woman, he’d like to feel like that — rather than you’ve chosen the gift and all he gets to do is write a check? It’s possible he’d like a voice, or that a big ring doesn’t represent his values, or whatever. So I’d try to see it from that angle.

      I say all this as someone who had a pretty good idea of what she wanted — and ended up with a much smaller ring. I also had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to go on my honeymoon — and again ended up with a much more modest trip. My fiance felt bad (self-imposed, I never said anything) that he wasn’t able to buy me a ring that more similar to people in our social circle, but he bought a ring that was completely appropriate to our financial situation, and our honeymoon was also in keeping with our salaries and savings. It hurt at the time but in the larger context was just a blip. All this is to say that maybe your fiance is not opposed to contributing his “share,” he may not feel the same way about ring size that you do.

    • If this is how he is with a ring, that is usually a drop in the bucket compared to the wedding itself. Not to mention the marriage tax penalty if you both work and are relatively equal earners. If it is a money thing, the ring is the tip of the iceberg (and down the road, perhaps: don’t even get me started on what day cares / nannies / strollers cost).

      There is a book called something like 50 questions (or maybe it is 100) to ask before you get married. We read it and talked it over a lot before getting married (and we were older people with lots of baggage and even his-and-hers houses). We are largely on the same page and STILL there are issues left to navigate. Maybe something to add to your weekend alone-time?

    • Hey Zelda, I really feel for you. You asked for one thing and you got your whole relationship super-duper analyzed by everybody. Please let us know what goes on in the future, we really care.

    • Consider a vintage ring. I have a gorgeous art deco diamond one that was $1000 on ebay that I got after we were together 10 years (before that, I wore a simple opal ring he gave me when we got engaged). I love it. I have never understood why the material aspect of wedding rings is so important to women. I understand his mindset, though it is unusual. If that is really important to you, this probably won’t be the last time spending in your marriage is an issue, so something to think through/talk about. If it isn’t that important to you, get a ring that you like that doesn’t cost a lot of money. A ‘need’ of $7,500 for a ring with stones you already have is, in my book, exessive American behavior. I grew up living and traveling in countries where people have nothing, so I have never lost that perspective and am always amazed at what people here think is the norm and expected. Sorry if this sounds harsh as I’m aware it IS our cultural norm- but just because it is does not mean you need to be part of it.

    • He sounds like a DOOSH and I find it shocking that you’ve been together for five years and are just figuring this out about him. I’m not saying hold out for a man who will buy you a ginormous ring, but making you feel like a “horrible materialistic gold digger”? What a creep.

    • Put the ring issue aside for right now. That’s a red herring. The long-term planning and odd money issues are a major issue. The two of you are not ready to be engaged, and IMO, need to look into pre-marital counseling ASAP.

      My husband was a lot like your BF, for many years. No opinion on lots of things, didn’t have much to add re long-term planning. Said he was fine with my ideas and just went along, or just plain hadn’t thought about it.

      Guess what? He *wasn’t* just going along. He was stockpiling *H*U*G*E* amounts of resentment. We’re now dealing with the fallout from that, and it’s been awful. He is slowly learning to speak his mind and share his opinions, even when they disagree with mine. No, I didn’t have a problem with him disagreeing with me … he had a problem expressing opinions that were contrary or might make waves. His lack of involvement was sometimes a passive-aggressive way of (not) dealing with the issue when he disagreed. We’re working on it. But it’s long, slow, painful and lots of stuff in the past cannot be undone.

      Please, please, please work this out now. It horribly painful to be dealing with it many years and several kids later.

    • I know it’s late in the game, and I haven’t read all of the comments, and I don’t mean this to be mean, but your situation reminds me of the daughter in the Joy Luck Club – the one who splits everything with her husband 50-50. Her mother comes to visit and upon seeing how her daughter is living (in a beautifully modern and expensive home) asks her, (more or less) “Why did you sell yourself for so little?” From the outside looking into your relationship, it doesn’t sound like your BF respects you. After 12 years of a solid marriage, may I suggest that you never settle for less love than what you need and deserve. Good luck.

  2. That is a very nice blazer by the way, I wish orange (or any bright colour) suited me.

  3. Oh the tangerine orange blazer! Love. I’ve been seeing so many dresses in the streets and parties in this color, not too many blazers, looks hot and makes the outfit very summery.

  4. phillygirlruns :

    love this blazer. excellent pick.

  5. Computer @ summer assoc. job? :

    Threadjack and stupid question of the day: Do summer associates bring their personal laptops to work? If not, is the firm-provided computer usually a laptop or desktop? If it makes any difference, this is Biglaw. Thanks!

    • Firms provide summers with laptops. I have seen one summer supplement by also bringing in his personal laptop for listening to music – would not recommend you do that (definitely not typical for my office anyway).

    • DC Anon (the lawyer one) :

      At my firm you wouldn’t get a laptop unless (and this would be very unlikely to happen to a summer) you were traveling for the firm. At all the firms I’ve ever worked at the computers are standard Dell desktops. I can’t think of a reason why you’d bring your personal laptop to work, as the documents you’ll be working on will be on a document management system that your personal laptop won’t be connected to. If you need your laptop for some reason, ask your firms HR person or recruiter before your first day.

    • Oh.so.tired :

      No, you won’t have to bring your personal laptop to work. You’ll be provided an office with a desktop, and many firms also provide you with a laptop and/or blackberry to work from home.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Unless they expressly tell you otherwise, most law firms (big, mid, and small) have desktop computers for summer associates to use. Since a lot of firms are into facetime, laptops are not as common. The expectation is that your bright smilling face will be glued to that desktop in their office. Usually partners get laptops, however, not associates or summer associates.

      • Computer @ summer assoc. job? :

        Great, exactly what I suspected and wanted to hear. Thanks for the quick responses ladies!

        • AnotherLadyLawyer :

          It’s also possible that they give you the option – laptop or desktop. Personal recommendation — go with the laptop if given the choice.

          • downstream :

            completely disagree – go with the desktop. If you ever NEED a laptop the firm will buy you one; but they will never buy you a desktop if you already have a laptop.

          • AnotherLadyLawyer :

            Possibly, but as a summer, a laptop was a bit easier. As a summer, I wish I could have both!

          • huh? everywhere i’ve worked last several years is laptop with plug-in desktop station (screen, keyboard, docking). should be pretty standard i hope.

      • Pre-PDA BigLaw :

        Do BigLaw firms now expect summers to add their firm email account to their PDA and check their email during evenings and weekends? That wasn’t even technologically possible when I was an associate (I still remember when you knew that if someone sent you an email s/he was sitting at his/her computer in the office), so I’m wondering what the norm is now.

        • It depends on the firm. My firm didn’t even let us do this because they didn’t want us to have that level of stress. But some of my friends at other big firms got blackberries and were expected to check them frequently.

          • Pre-PDA BigLaw :

            I knew as a summer (1994) that there was a difference between summer associate life and real associate life. But real associate life circa 1994 was very different in terms of these expectations than real associate life circa now.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Mine does.

        • AnotherLadyLawyer :

          No way you’re allowed to add your firm email to your personal smartphone — not enough security and too much risk. Some BigLaw firms give summers blackberries, some don’t (I didn’t get one a handful of summers ago). What ends up happening is that the gunners give out their personal email address/cell phone numbers, so that they can be reached if necessary (I may have been guilty of that, but I was working on a trial!).

          • Not true for all firms. Mine lets you choose between an issued BB and your own smartphone, but you have to hand your smartphone over to IT for them to set it up securely and sign an agreement that if you lose your phone you will inform them immediately and they will wipe the phone remotely. Several of my friends at different firms have the same setup.

          • AnotherLadyLawyer :

            We have the same for associates and partners, not for summer associates. Here, most people don’t combine personal and work devices, although I’m not sure why; I wonder if it’s the same elsewhere.

        • MaggieLizer :

          Mine didn’t but I wish they had given us Blackberries. Partners in my midlaw firm treat the summers like any other associate but sometimes forget that they don’t have email access after hours. I came into the office every Saturday afternoon to check my email; usually there was nothing, but the two or three times there WAS an email waiting for me, it couldn’t wait until Monday to be taken care of.

          • wow – your firm didn’t even have a webmail account so you could check from home??

          • MaggieLizer :

            Cat – we do but we don’t give the summers access for security reasons.

      • “The expectation is that your bright smilling face will be glued to that desktop in their office.” This made me giggle.

    • At my office you can request either a desktop or a laptop, although summer clerks are probably just going to get whatever is assigned to them. The majority of people have a desktop at the office and use their own personal laptop if they need something portable, although we have loaner laptops available as needed. You definitely don’t need to bring your own laptop.

    • We got laptops at my biglaw firm as summers, but they were old and clunky (not something you’d carry with you unless you absolutely had to). I have friends at other firms who have desktops even as associates (and even when they travel) — they have to get a laptop on “loan” when they need a firm computer outside the office.

    • huh – I checked back to see what other people thought about this, and am genuinely surprised at the prevalence of desktop computers! my biglaw firm gives laptops to all attorneys/summers, and summers are issued blackberries. Support staff and other people whose jobs turn “off” when they leave the office get desktops.

      In any event, joining the consensus that you will not need to bring your own laptop into work.

  6. Good morning!

    Anyone have any good blogs for fitness / getting back into shape?

    I am trying to change my habits. I was in very good shape and then exactly one year ago had some family issues that took me away from the gym. I am feeling better mentally and ready to go back. I’ve hired a trainer 2 days a week for weights and my goal is at least one more day of weights on my own and at least 4 cardio sessions a week. Thanks in advance.

  7. Anonymouse :

    Great shape on the Blazer — wish it wasn’t silk!

    Help! Does anyone know how Lafayette 148 fits, especially in dresses? I’m pear shaped and tend to run 4/6 on top and 6/8 on the bottom in AT/BR/Calvin Klein. Recently I found that I needed a size 4 in Milly and a size 8 in DVF.

    Why can’t they standardize women’s sizes?

    • MaggieLizer :

      Have you tried comparing their size charts? I’ve found Lafayette to run quite large in the bottom and a bit large in the top, but I’m larger on the top than bottom so ymmv.

    • downstream :

      I am a similar size and I wear a 2 or 4 in Lafayette, depending on the cut of the dress. I.e, if it’s a little flared on bottom I will go with the 2 but if it’s pencil on the bottom I’ll go with the 4 and alter the top if necessary.

    • Weird. I’m a pear, and I am a 0/2 on the bottom in AT/BR, but AT LEAST a six in Milly–the stuff runs really small in the rear.

      How is that possible?

      • Anonymouse :

        I have no idea — the difference in sizing not only between brands, but between styles within a brand is seriously driving me insane. I tried to do a major wardrobe upgrade this weekend and had to bring in 3 sizes of everything. I left nearly empty-handed (thus resorting to online purchasing).

    • Lafayette 148 in my experience runs bigger than AT/BR. Their dresses are ample in the waist so you may need to get it taken in.

      • Seriously. I am size 10-12 in regular clothes, like CK, but wear a Lafayette 148 skirt in size 6.

        • MissJackson :

          Agree. I’m an 8 or a 10 depending on brand and cut (and, ahem, sometime a 12 *cough*Theory*cough*), but I’m a 6 in Lafayette 148. I have skirts, pants, and dresses from Lafayette 148 — all size 6.

    • Lafayette 148 looks wonderful, and yet it’s just way too pricey unless I’m shopping clearance and/or sample sales.

      There are enough people who demand vanity-sizing that companies probably don’t think it’s economic to standardize women’s sizes. I suspect a number of people order several sizes because they don’t know whether a label is true-to-size (or true to their own size charts), and forget to return stuff that doesn’t fit (or don’t return the items in time.) Those also allow the label and/or retailers to make more money.

  8. Diana Barry :

    So are the sleeves too short on this blazer, or is the model just pulling them up/wearing a size that’s too small for her??

  9. Any advice on good websites to look for gvt or non-profit law jobs in DC? I’m familiar with pslawnet but want to make sure I’m not missing listings elsewhere. Thanks!!

  10. Question for women who wear suits – are we supposed to unbutton the blazer while sitting down? I’ve seen men do it – they walk and stand with closed buttons but unbutton as they are about to sit. Is this expected of us women too?

    • I don’t know if women are “supposed” to, but since I’ve always seen men do it, I do it too! :)

    • I don’t usually because (for me) it tends to communicate “Hey, here are my boobs, they want to join this conversation too!”, which is less than professional.

    • For suits where I wear a shirt underneath, I button when walking distances (so buttoned for out to lunch, but not to the printer), but am otherwise unbuttoned.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Maybe I’m having a reading comprehension fail. You are unbuttoned when you are not wearing a shirt under your suit lol?

        • Absolutely — the girls went to law school, non?

        • another anon :

          I’m now imagining that V is like that woman from the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine gives a woman a bra as a gift (can’t remember the character’s name), and the woman wears it as a top under a blazer, and causes George (or was it Jerry?) to get into a car accident?

          • That is called . . . clubwear? I am thinking about a purchase from the mid-90s that I thought was an undergarment before a close reading of the receipt. Bring it!

          • I think it was Sue Ellen.

        • :) She’s unbuttoned when she’s not walking distances. If it’s the type of suit where she doesn’t wear a visible shirt underneath then she’s buttoned all the time.

    • I believe the reason men unbutton their jackets is that otherwise they bunch up and the fit looks wrong when sitting down (I am open to other explanations). I would say the same goes for women – if the fit of your jacket looks wrong is or uncomfortable when sitting down, then by all means, unbutton your jacket.

      Unless, it’s one of those jackets that’s meant to be worn closed all the time, then you should be sure it is comfortable to sit down in that jacket closed.

      • Yeah, I think it’s a comfort/aesthetic issue as well. Jackets are typically fit to your body so when you sit, it can be a little more snug. Stressing the fabric and buttons out more than necessary is not ideal (or good looking). If the jacket buttons on top (like a cropped blazer), then I think it’s fine to leave it buttoned.

    • Unbuttoning allows both men and women to sit more comfortably and avoid creasing their jackets. But no, it’s not ‘expected’ of you if you’re happier with your buttons done up.

    • I generally don’t button my jacket, so there’s nothing to unbutton when I sit down. Hmm…

    • I always thought the men do it because of comfort (most of them have fat stomachs.)

  11. Love the blazer. I just bought a blue suit skirt in BR… guess this would go perfectly with it. And may be with white, beige, and black bottoms too. I love spring/summer and all its colors….

  12. Does anyone know a good brand of those clip thingies you can use to pull together the straps of a regular bra to make it sort of a faux-racerback? I bought a sleeveless top and the armholes are cut in such that my bra peeks out a bit. I don’t feel like buying a new bra just for this top, so I want to try the clip. Maybe I should look at Amazon?

    • I tried something called Strap Perfect, which I had seen on TV and purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It didn’t work for me because my bra straps were too thick (ah, the joys of industrial strength bras for larger sizes!) but I imagine that if you have thinner straps, it would work well.

      • I bought those too. My problem was that it was too difficult to actually place them on.

        • That was also an issue. Before I realized that my straps were too wide, I was doing all kinds of uncomfortable contortions and risking dislocation of my shoulders. Then I took my bra off to try and do it more comfortably – and that’s when I realized about the strap width.

      • PharmaGirl :

        They didn’t work for me either. For the same reason.

      • SpaceMountain :

        I tried it. It was uncomfortable, bent my bra in a strange way so my boobs looked odd, and it was hard to put on. Just get a racerback bra; you’ll eventually wear it with other outfits as well.

    • How about a safety pin?

    • Or a ponytail holder looped through it self around both straps and then tucked under the straps?

    • I did not think about BB&B – they do seem to carry a lot of that “as seen on TV” stuff. And there’s one just up the road from my office. My bra straps are not particularly wide, so maybe it would work for me. I think I’d worry about a safety pin coming undone, and I’m not sure I understand how the ponytail holder would work, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

      The top is from White House/Black Market, has a nice 1960s vibe. I also bought there my first (ever) pair of white pants. They are ankle length and magically do not make my butt look bigger than it is. I need to have the waist taken in a bit (I think yesterday there was a discussion about having a significant curve/swayback to your lower back? That’s me.) but I think it might be nice to have white pants for the summer.

      Thanks for the ideas!

    • Nordstrom definitely has them. BB&B seems like a good place to look too.

    • I actually saw them yesterday at Old Navy – among the things they have lined up while you are waiting to pay at the register.

    • going anon :

      No idea where you are but I saw some of those on a whole rack of similar items (heel pads, etc.) at SteinMart last weekend.

    • I think bradini is what I use, you should find them on asos.com if you look

    • I got some of these and LOVE them. They were definitely the “as seen on TV” variety but have worked like a charm. No need to spend more than 4$ for these.

  13. LOL! Good point!

  14. MaggieLizer :

    How do you all feel about pointless lies? I’m almost more upset about being lied to for no reason because there’s just no purpose to it; it makes me question the person’s integrity. On the other hand, it’s such an insignificant issue I wonder if I should really be that bugged by it.

    I was emailing with a guy from match for a couple of weeks but had never met him in person. He told about a week ago that he’d met someone through friends and wished me the best of luck. He emailed me today to tell me she was an internet scammer and asked if I wanted to continue talking. I asked about the internet scammer thing and he admitted he had met her online but had told me he’d met her through friends because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings, especially since he’d started talking to her after me. I’m not going to continue talking to this guy for a variety of reasons, but the lying thing is really nagging at me. I give people the benefit of the doubt to a fault, but I want to be with someone who is in the habit of conducting himself with integrity.

    • I can’t stand lying also but online dating is such a weird world. I don’t think something like this is a big deal but I can understand why it left a bad taste in your mouth. You should be pi$$ed that he treated you like a backup more than anything else. And my $.02, it’s much easier to deal with online dating if you’re talking to multiple guys at one time then focusing on each person at a time because you can hyperfocus on someone who’s just not worth it, yet.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think it’s sketch. I don’t blame you for being bugged.

    • I’d give him the benefit of the doubt for a first date, but unless he wowed me, probably not for a second one.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I totally get that you are vexed. One of the reasons why I stopped online dating is that it started to annoy me how somehow the fact that you speak to/meet people online somehow translates to not having to be civil to them or treat them like real people. Somehow lying, ignoring people, not telling them you are not interested (which I’m also guilty of on occasion) is more acceptable and I didn’t like that.

      • MaggieLizer :

        You’ve put your finger on something that’s been a problem for me, too. Just because I’m meeting someone through a different medium doesn’t mean I will hold him to different standards than any other man. Besides, like Godzilla said, there are a lot of other guys online who WILL treat me the way I want to be treated. I have 3 dates and a very busy work and social schedule this week; I really don’t have time to waste with a guy who doesn’t meet my expectations.

    • I don’t know…it seems pointless to you now because he reinitated the conversation. If it had worked otu with this other woman, it would have just been a white lie he once told some woman on the internet to spare her feelings.

      If this is the only thing stopping you, I’d overlook it – but if you get to know him better and this is a pattern, then it might be something worth worrying about.

  15. TeamHive — if anyone is interested, Talbots is having (and has been for a couple of days) a 40% off sale on their sale items. There’s a pretty good selection of the Spring line still left, including some pretty tops and a couple really nice looking skirts. Most sizes are available as well.

    • Is it me, or is there some extreme photoshopping happening at the Talbots website? Linebacker shoulders!

      • Hey! I have linebacker shoulders without any photoshopping! Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to Talbots. Either way, I got a dress, a pair of pants, a shirt, and a sweater all for about $75. (Of course, I guess we’ll see if any of it fits!)

  16. Nosy Parker :

    I don’t want to threadjack Zelda’s post — but what did you/spouse/fiance spend on your engagement ring and how did you decide what a reasonable cost was?

    There has been discussion with the SO about rings, and I confess that a little itty bitty part of me wants to be a pretty pretty princess with a $25,000 ring. However, the much larger grownup sensible part of me thinks most rings are crazy expensive, not to mention I’m generally uncomfortable with the diamond industry.

    I realize this is such a nosy question– there is no way I’d ask anyone this in real life!

    • so anonymous :

      I would never divulge this to anyone, but a lot. I am a very low maintenance chic and would have been happy with a modest diamond. DH is very non-materialistic and also low maintenance but it was important to him to get me something nice to express his intentions, and his parents pitched in to make it even nicer. Which is why I count my blessings to have such a great family and not have to deal with someone like Zelda’s SO.

      • Happy anon :

        I’m the same. My engagement ring is worth a shocking amount of money. More than my yearly salary at my public interest job. Everything else about me, and about my fiance, is totally low maintenance and unassuming. He is very successful though, and decided that the engagement ring and great big wedding in general was a generous, special gift he could give to me and our friends and family that would be meaningful and long-lasting. Given the rest of my clothing, shoes, appearance, house, etc are so unassuming I’m sure people have no idea what my ring is worth, or might think it’s surprising that it’s so big/special, and I like it that way.

      • MissJackson :

        Me, too. My husband and I didn’t really talk about my engagement ring (he knew what I wanted, on a very basic level, and he enlisted my sister’s opinion). I knew that I wanted to marry him and that he was going to ask me, but that was about as far as the conversattion went.

        I would have been very happy with a modest ring, but he spent a shocking amount (like, it’s worth more than our car). I like nice things, and I work in BigLaw (where my ring is within the realm of normal), but I worried for awhile that my husband felt like he had to impress my co-workers as much as he had to impress me.

        Anyway, I love my ring, and the deep-down-terribly-materialistic part of me loves that it’s big and gorgeous. He had the cash, we both make good money, and it was something that he wanted to do. But it was a lot of money that we could have used to pay down student loans even faster. If given a choice, I like to think I would have gone the more practical route.

        I will say that lots of people assume that I “demanded” or at least “asked for” a big, honking ring. Anyone who thinks that knows nothing about me as a person, so FOOEY.

    • Second Time's A Charm :

      We had long discussions about the ring and the price over the course of a couple years. But we have long discussions about everything. And, this was a second marriage for both of us, which means: we have both “been to appreciation school” (phrase from our couples counselor that I love), we both had substantial assets, we both had prior obligations (mortgages, alimony, kids). We spent a few days looking at and trying on different rings over the course of several months. When it came time to the dollars and cents, he insisted on paying (even though he was heavier on the prior obligations (read: alimony and kids) from past marriages than I was). So I asked him numerous times if what I wanted was OK. He said it was. I gave him options (ex: this ring, but in that metal). He told me what he could and couldn’t do. Then we ordered it together.

      Some might think this unromantic. I happen to be totally turned on by the utter transparency.

    • We didn’t do the engagement ring thing – I proposed (kind of, it was a bit confused!). Our wedding rings were a gift from a friend who does metalworking as a hobby, but they’re just simple silver rings.

      Honestly, I didn’t really miss it as much as I thought I would, and I also had dreams of waving a big rock around on my finger growing up. What was hilarious was me telling people that I was engaged, and having them GRAB my hand and pull it towards them to look at the (nonexistent, as they discovered) ring. That happened at least three times! People are so weird.

      • also happened to me!! I just didn’t want an engagement ring, and now have a plain gold wedding ring that goes with any other jewelry I want to wear. My mom didn’t have an engagement ring, and I honestly didn’t know they were a THING until college. But some people just assumed that there was some problem because why else would I not have an engagement ring?

    • DC Darling :

      I good friend of mine spent close to 10k on the ring. Diamond+setting+ insurance. However, they are both earning upwards of 100k a year so in the scheme of things it wasn’t out of the realm of normal relative to their lifestyle.

    • Mr. 30 proposed without a ring and told me that I could pick it out. We were both law students and he had NO money (I actually paid off his credit card debt before we got married), so I chose a gemstone ring that was about $1500. (I never wanted a diamond anyway.) I know Mr. 30 was relieved but felt a little guilty about how “easy” he got off – he keeps telling me I can upgrade in the future. But he shouldn’t feel guilty – I love my ring and wouldn’t change it for the world.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Not married but one of my good friends who got married recently has an engagement ring with (I think!) an unlucky story. Her husband bought it from a neighbor for $2k, and later found out that the neighbor had found it in a parking lot of the local grocery store. Had it appraised for insurance and the ring is $35K+. My friend kept the ring but I’d be nervous about that story – and about the original owner seeing it on my finger one day!

      • so anonymous :

        That is craziness. The other thing about having a nice ring is that you can always sell it if bad luck comes your way. I like to think that DH wanted me to have a nice “asset” to turn to if we ever fall on hard times (although I realize you likely can’t fully recoup your money).

      • My mom lost her wedding ring in a grocery store parking lot! (It was several years ago and in a small town, so I’m sure it’s not the same) We left notes with all the local businesses, filed a police report, and still never saw it again. The stones were from both sides of the family and my dad designed it. He bought her a new upgraded ring, but she still misses that original since it had so much sentimental value. Hopefully your friend’s ring doesn’t have a similar story!

    • anonforthis :

      My fiance sold his “fun” car to buy me a $12,000 ring which is way more than the already extravagant 3 months salary guideline. I feel REALLY guilty that he spent that much money but he keeps saying it’s worth it. He wanted to get me my dream ring and while diamond quality wasn’t important to me, it was to him. I am the breadwinner and I hope to replace his fun car for a future anniversary.

    • My husband spent I think about $1,500, though it might have been closer to 2K. This was 1999, and I was still in college, so this was a bit of money for the time. He would have definitely spent a bit more if I had approved, though! (I was pretty minimalistic about jewelry at the time, I have small hands, and I didn’t think that we should spend too much.) I still love it, but since I’ve entered the lawyering world, I do notice that most of the ladies have much bigger ones.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I got married young (23) and didn’t care at all about an engagement ring. As Hindus, what matters most is a gold necklace (thali), which women wear after marriage. And hubby was already paying for that, so I thought that a ring on top of that was not necessary. However, hubby insisted on getting me a ring because “how else can you let the world know that you’re married)? Mine cost 3K, I believe. Just a simple platinum band with a small solitaire. My friend’s fiance just spent $50K on her ring and that simply boggles my mind. But, to each her/his own.

      • DC Darling :

        I used to work at a relatively well known non profit. Boss lady (started, headed, and is still currently Pres of the company) had a 75k ring. She didn’t wear it for years, or would wear it turned around so the diamond faced her palm because she was in the midst of starting a business, and a non profit at that, and didn’t want to give the impression she was doing this for leisure and was rolling in dough. Regardless, she does wear it now that she’s established but I think also because it hurt her husbands feelings that she didn’t. I mean, can you imagine dropping almost 100k on a ring and your wife is too embarrassed to wear it? Hurts man.

        #firstworldproblems

      • Nice to know that there as desi guys who are not cheap b@st@rds out there. My ex refused to buy me a ring, smugly saying that is was not part of our Indian traditiion. They also got me a really cheap Thali (it was some old gold that they had hanging around, didn’t bother to even get it polished.

    • Diana Barry :

      We spent $3400 – 1 carat diamond (actually just under – there is a big price jump at 1 carat even, then at 1.25, 1.5, etc.), 2 sapphires, white gold setting. This was in 2003.

    • About $2500. Initially he wanted to spend a little less (based on the amount he had saved) but I couldn’t find anything I liked in that price range. I offered to pay the difference myself but he insisted on covering the whole thing. I think we struck a good balance of getting a ring I was happy with and proud to wear but that also fit out financial situation and priorities.

    • downstream :

      I got married young and we had zero dollars, so we used a family stone and reset it. I had no choice but now I kind of do want the $25k pretty princess ring, and it’s definitely easier to get that ring before you’re married than afterward.

    • Anonynonynony :

      Mr. Anonynonynony spent about $5000 (I think) on a one carat princess cut solitaire in a platinum setting (Blue Nile…seriously, its the best, we also got our wedding rings there).

      Its about as big as I could wear and be entirely comfortable with it (but he knew that about me in advance). And if it matters, at the time our income was about $100,000 a year and it was about 2008.

    • My only requirement for a ring was that it be bigger than the ring my fiance gave to his ex-wife (ok I’ll admit that is petty). Lucky for him her diamond was only 3/4 carat. I think he spent $2,500 for a 1 carat princess cut diamond in 2007. I adore it.

      • Nosy Parker :

        Hah! I am so glad you said this — because I’ve had similar thoughts re: his ex-wife’s ring. Yay, I’m not alone. Although I haven’t voiced this to him at ALL.

      • Second Time's A Charm :

        This was not an issue for us, but the sentiment certainly comes up in other arenas. Mostly, I try not to be too smug about the fact that I know we have a happier and healthier marriage than they did.

    • I was very explicit that I did not want a ring. I had inherited wedding and engagement rings from both my mother and grandmother. Too many rings already . . . .

      My husband got me a goregous diamond solitaire necklace. I believe he spent over $10,000. (He was finishing up his residency, and I was a first year attorney with student loans.) I certainly did not expect for him to spend that type of money, and I was completely floored. I believe I blurted out, “This is exactly what I wanted, but I never knew I wanted it.”

      I am very low key and fairly frugal, and I expected nothing. My husband is also very frugal, but he wanted to desparately to woo me. I must say that I feel incredibly blessed but not guilty.

      My husband (of now 3.5 years) is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He has continued to be incredibly generous in all areas of life- including letting multiple family members live with us at various times and helping to care for my terminally ill father in our home before he passed.

      • Anon too, you are very lucky–so glad you cherish and appreciate the wonderful person you married.

        • Hmm. I got an engagement ring…but maybe I can get an “anniversary” necklace (though…10k is prob not in the budget!) I’d love a nice diamond necklace to go with my ring and to be kind of a daily wear item.

    • I had circled a ring I liked in a jewelry catalog years before my engagement. (There was no price listed next to it) Apparently, when my husband went to go and get it, it was in the “clearance” case, and was half price. Now that we are married and use Mint.com, I know the ring was less than $1k. I love it, and wouldn’t want anything else. No one knows the cost but me and my hubby, and we are both happy with the ring.

    • We were (very) young (I was a teenage bride), and it was almost 18 years ago, but dh spent aroudn $1,000 on my ring (I think – I never saw the price or the bill, but it wasn’t an expensive ring). The proposal was spontaneous, and we went ring shopping together the next day. We both fell in love with it, and it suited my age (a 1 carat diamond would look very strange on a 18 almost 19 year old university student).

      My ring has 5 diamonds, a larger middle one, and then two more that are progressively smaller. I wouldn’t mind if someday dh wanted to replace my centre diamond with something a little larger, but on the other hand, I feel pretty sentimental about the ring, too, so I wouldn’t mind if he never did either.

    • Anon for this :

      DH spent about $15k, which I realize is a lot. 1.5 carat round center stone, diamonds on the band (total carat weight ~2). He wanted to spend more but it would have taken longer for him to save than I was willing to wait. But, if I’m being completely honest, I wish my center stone was slightly bigger (2 carats). I know that it is so awful and materialistic of me. *hangs head in shame*

      • Second Time's A Charm :

        What size ring do you wear? I am 5’2″ and wear a ring size 4 3/4. I can’t imagine what 2 carats would look like on me.

        • Anon for this :

          I’m 5’7″ and wear a ring size of 6. My ring is gorgeous, and the center stone looks proportional on my hand. My engagement band is somewhat wide, so I feel like the 1.5 carats is a teensy bit dwarfed by the more elaborate band.

          But I totally hear you on the ring size – my center stone would look crazy large on my BFF who has a similar ring size as you.

          • Oh my god, I didn’t know they made rings that small! I’m a 9.5…on my pinky!

          • My sister’s ring finger is a 4.5 =).

          • SF Bay Associate :

            My wedding band is a size 4 :).

          • Heh. 5’4″ here with a ring size of 9. Diamond is 1.25 carats and I would love a bigger one/could easily wear it on my bear-paw sized hands.

        • SoCalAtty :

          I have little hands, and wear a size 6. I was not yet out of law school, and my husband was then just in the beginning stages of starting his business. I knew I wanted something about a carat, but with a pretty high color/quality and that I wanted something at least somewhat vintage, even if we couldn’t afford an old european or mine cut like I really wanted.

          We found a vintage set from the 1940s, a little under a carat but VS1 color E-F, round it square setting so it is similar to a mine cut look. It also included a matching band about 1ct total weight of VS1 E-F diamonds. It was $3800, and the vintage shop we used did 6 months interest free layaway if you put it on an AMEX (which has to be paid off at the end of the month, so that works for me), so that was great. I sometimes want something bigger (now 7 years later), but I love the original one and I trend toward smaller, very unique vintage pieces. The last thing my husband bought was a 1ct high quality alexandrite stone to be set into my grandmother’s wedding band. Just the stone was almost more than my wedding set! I love it and wear it on my other hand, since I already have the 1 diamond. The shop (and I know I plugged them another day!) is Dianne’s Old and New Estates, based in San Francisco. They are having a trunk show in Anaheim May 5, so call their store if anyone is shopping for quality vintage!

          I bought my husband’s wedding band at Costco! He wanted a platinum band, brushed with some edge detail, and Costco had exactly what he wanted at the best price on platinum per ounce. I think it was around $1800 and that was around 2006. We were already sharing expenses at that point and had been together for almost 10 years, so we just came to an agreement on a ballpark budget.

    • I’ll go ahead and throw out a number: ~$4k on the engagement ring, ~$1,800 on wedding bands. We spent about $1k on DH’s wedding band, which has a diamond in it. At the time, platinum was ridiculously expensive, so that drove up the price of the e-ring. We did my wedding bands in paladium, which kept the price down on it. We didn’t really discuss rings at all prior to our engagement, but DH said that when he started looking for rings in his original budget, he was dissatisfied with the quality and design options, so he decided to pick what he liked, and pay the cost for that. I was pretty shocked at the pricetag, but his logic was that I’ll be wearing it for the next 50-60 years, so he wanted it to be perfect. Yes, this was old-fashioned, but I love my ring.

    • Ours came in just under $1,000, with resizing and tax included. It’s a lovely 1928 art deco estate ring, a little over.5 carats with baguettes and two sapphires and beautiful filligree metalwork and I love love love it. We picked it out together at an estate jewelery shop after finding out that family heirlooms were a no-go. We’re both in grad school and thus don’t make much in salary (we’re lucky to get stipends, though), but he really wanted to pay for it on his own. So, we agreed that $1,500 would be a good guideline, but were prepared to get something more expensive ($2000 or $2500) if that’s what we ended up liking best, in which case we would both contribute to the cost. As it happened, the ring we chose was priced so that he could pay for it himself relatively easily and I offered to pay for rent and groceries for the next month to even things out (he took me up on my offer, but definitely didn’t think it was necessary).

      I knew I wanted an estate piece ever since we talked about getting married, and he was totally on board with that from the beginning. Though estate rings can be super pricey, you can find something really nice and different at pretty low price points, which was perfect for us. We found the whole ering discussion to be painless, and I just love my ring (I also love the look on his face when he sees it on my hand and when people admire it).

    • Mine was appraised for $12k for insurance purposes, but fiance said he didn’t spend “quite” that. I pretty sure my ring is the pretiest ring ever made. I have a lot of friends with rings in the $25k range, but mine is from my fiance, that he picked out on his own, and he went with quality over carat size. I understand the wanting to be a princess and get a $25k ring thing, but think of all the things you could buy with $15k while you walk around happily with $10k on your finger.

      • I love your statement, “I’m pretty sure my ring is the prettiest ring ever made”… largely because I feel the same way about my ring :) Husband picked it out from HIM to ME, and it brings me great joy to think of the time, effort, and thoughtfulness he put into picking out something that I would love. Sure, it’s not the biggest or the most expensive or the most sparkly, but it’s the perfect ring for me. That’s what makes it the prettiest (same with the hand-made cards husband occasionally gives me! He’s not the best crafter in the world, but I love those cards every time.)

      • Nosy Parker :

        Thank you so much! I’m thrilled with the the wide range of answers and how each poster’s ring/non-ring/story suits her. I love all the sentiment!

        We have discussed Moissanites, which I think would meet both my practical and pretty pretty princess sides. Of course, I do feel like I’m getting way ahead of myself with this — we’ve discussed a whole lot related to marriage, but nothing is confirmed. We shall see what happens.

        • Nosy Parker :

          Whoops — this was supposed to be a reply to my question, since it’s applicable for everyone’s response.

        • Just wanted to say – I have a 1.0 carat equivalent Moissanite ring, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We got engaged when we were very poor law students (and before either of us had confirmed post-graduate employment).

          To me, the ring was important as a symbol, but not as an “asset.” I love it because he picked it out and because he gave it to me. He’s been very, very generous to me in the time since we’ve been married, including offering to “upgrade” my ring to something “real.” But really, I want this one. I’ve only had it about a year and a half, but it’s been through a lot with me and the DH.

    • I refused to even give my DH hints of what I wanted because I wanted it to be 100% from him but with that said, I already knew we had the same taste. I had no idea whether he’d spend $1k or $30k. He spent $8500 + insurance for a phenominal 1 carat simple solitaire as his opinion is that it is more important to get a quality diamond over size and band. Luckily we share that philosophy. At the time, he was making about $80k a year.

      We now make more than $275k per year combined and I still love my ring and have no plans to upgrade. To me, I look at the ring and think about him and us and our life we made together and that’s the whole point, I think.

    • PharmaGirl :

      I don’t have the slightest idea how much my ring cost and have never even asked!

      • Funny story, as part of the proposal, my husband gave me a journal full of his thoughts on deciding to marry me, finding and purchasing the ring, creating the proposal, etc. etc. Included in the diary was a copy of the certificate of authenticity for the diamond, the price, and the insurance claim. So practical and unromantic, but pretty sweet that he really wanted to put ALL the cards on the table. We’d been vague about actual earnings and how much we spent on purchases up to that point, so it was kind of a big “we’re in this together forever” moment for him to so bluntly tell me the price of the ring.

        • This is really sweet.

        • PharmaGirl :

          This is so ridiculously sweet!

        • I’m glad you think it’s adorable… it was the perfect proposal for me :) One of the many reasons that I knew my husband was the one for me. I still pull out that journal and read through it every so often. He even spent a whole day at Hobby Lobby with my mom picking out nice paper to package the journal entries. I’m an avid scrapbooker, and he generally hates all things cutesy, so the fact that he was willing to step foot in a craft store speaks volumes :)

    • Anon for this :

      I *think* mine was around $3,000. Lucky for DH, I prefer very streamlined jewelry and didn’t want a giant center stone. :)

    • Anon for this one here... :

      My ring is worth quite a bit, and the pair together even more so, but my husband worked with a jeweler in the Diamond district that he used several times before and after and bought the stones loose. I knew how much he spent, and was shocked when the appraisal came back at more than double…. but not nearly as shocked as when I went into Tiffany and saw what they were selling a single stone in the weight of my center stone…. it was more than both my engagement ring and band cost.

    • I got a cow. It was awesome.

    • My ring is from Blue Nile. It was about $5.5k, and purportedly appraises for close to $8k. It is definitely the smallest attorney engagement ring in my office. Nosy Parker, I tried on the $25k ring I thought I wanted and was surprised to realize that I didn’t like it nearly as much as I thought I would.

      • I was surprised too, at how much what I actually wanted veered from what I thought I wanted. I started out wanting a 1.5-2 carat stone with an eternity band in platinum. Expected it to cost around $15K all-in (including the matching wedding band). We had already bought a house together and finances were pretty much merged.

        When I went to try on rings, it turned out that anything bigger than a carat made me uncomfortable and looked way too big on my hand to my eye (I still love them on other people). And the eternity band looked too bling-y on my finger. I would have loved it if it had been presented to me, but we went shopping together and this realization cut our budget in half.

        • anonforthis :

          I was surprised what I discovered when trying on rings, too. I did end up with a pretty ginormous awesome 3 stone ring that is 2.5 carats total (1.3 center stone and .6 carat side stones) but it looks HUGE on my fingers. They’re not particularly dainty but they are short. I was also surprised at how wrong my attraction to thick bands was. The ones I’d been eyeing just looked awful on my finger and the dainty one I got, while not something I would have initially gone for, looks so much better.

          • I know :( I am still attracted to thick bands but a daintier one looks SO much better. It’s funny because I never pick them out of a jewelry case, I ALWAYS go for one that looks terrible and then turn to my bf and take whichever one he’s already picked out that ends up looking perfect. But I can’t resist trying at least one!

    • I actually already feel guilty about this. I know he hasn’t purchased the ring yet, I’m not picking it out (he has better taste than I do anyway!) and I know he will spend way more than I would want. He has a different sensibility than I do, before I met him I did not own a piece of jewelry that cost more than about $20.

      Last time I went shopping with him I told him I wanted a bracelet to match a beautiful (and comparitevly cheap!) ring and pendent he had given me. He said that was fine, but I made sure he would have a “safe word” to give me if it was just too expensive. He never did, but then later he said he was surprised at how much it costs and that it would have been better if I’d gotten something else. I do love the set though.

      • Don’t feel bad Ca Atty! I am/was much like you (other than my ring and band, my most expensive piece of jewelry still cost no more than $50 I think). As long as you’re not getting anything that’s going to cause financial hardship for the two of you, a diamond really is forever. :-) One thing my DH did very right was that he got me a very simple, timeless ring, which was perfect for me because I’m not a big jewelry purpose. Anything more complicated or bigger would have been all wrong for me. (I believe he got that tip from Blue Nile’s “how to pick out an engagement ring” FAQ).

        • Thanks :-) Also, I feel better about it because his late wife was a real jewelry snob as she got older (how you go from refusing to work to the point of living on $300/month to refusing to wear jewelry that isn’t “real” stones is BEYOND me!) and he actually gave me, full of apologies, a ring that he had purchased for her a few years before she died and she REFUSED to wear it. It is Moissanite (I think that’s how it’s spelled) and looks and sparkles just like diamond, but he made the mistake of telling her it wasn’t diamond so…nope! It’s a beautiful ring though and I love it I think even more for the fact that he loves it so much he wanted to give it to both of the women he’s loved.

          I don’t care if it’s a real stone or a lab grown stone or a pretty piece of glass (as long as we don’t pay real stone prices!) as long as it’s pretty and we both love it :-)

    • lucy stone :

      $1100 for a just over one carat moissanite. My wedding band will be my great great grandma’s and we’ve paid $30 to have it resized.

    • ANON for this :

      I am not a jewelry person. I would have been happy with no ring or a CZ. He wanted me to have a ring, no CZs. He proposed without one and I was ringless for about a month. I didn’t think I’d find one I liked that I didn’t think was screaming instanity to buy. A good friend found an antique ring at a pawn shop via e-bay that is the OMG best ring I could have ever gotten (although if you go this route — get an appraisal — caveat emptor). He was a sport and went along and I am oh, so happy with it.

      Also: consider a jewelry rider if it is that big of a purchase. It covers you if you lose it, which for me is much more likely than having it stolen.

    • Apparently my solitaire cost 13k and is about 2 carats. After the fact, wish he’d spent less since I don’t wear it often, just my eternity wedding band. I’m not much of a jewelry person and find it a bit awkward to wear and work at the same time.

    • No engagement ring (didn’t want one – why do I have to be “tagged” for marriage and the man doesn’t?) and just simple white gold wedding bands (under $200 for mine). I’m not an expensive jewelry person. I like the freedom of the simple band.

    • I didn’t know for several years, but mine is worth about 40k. The center stone was from his family, and he paid about 3k to add two small stones and for the setting. It is much bigger than I would like, but the family history and the fact that he designed it himself means so much to me that I love wearing it for those reasons. I do take it off when I feel it would be out of place or ostentatious.

  17. For Future 'Rettes :

    For anyone with teenage daughters, step-daughters, nieces, friends etc:

    I just came across the inaugural issue of “Smart Girls” magazine and think it looks great:

    http://issuu.com/smartgirlsgroup/docs/smartgirlsguideissue1

  18. So…remember that green peplum top with the cutouts on the sleeves – totally saw it on a character from Make it or Break it last night. (yes, I watch cheezy ABC family shows about teenage gymnasts.

  19. DC Darling :

    I see the green amazon color of the Skirt is sold out so only coral, purply blue, yellow and black are left. Anyone remember what the 6th color was?

  20. Today is my last day in biglaw!!! Aside from checking all the boxes on the departing associate checklist, any advice on what I absolutely should/shouldn’t do?! I’m thinking I take a long shopping lunch to celebrate.

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