Should a girl return a promise ring if she breaks up with the one who gave it to her?

Should a girl return a promise ring if she breaks up with the one who gave it to her?

A girl that I work with received a promise ring from her boyfriend in November. She broke up with him in March for reasons not related to something wrong that he did. He is asking for the ring back because she broke the promise to love him forever. Is is proper etiquette for her to return it, or is it considered a gift and she has no obligation to return it?

May 02, 2011
What to do with promise ring after break-up?
by: Kevin (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

This is a great question, and there are two issues as I see it. They are:

1. Should she continue to wear the promise ring or not...and
2. Is she under any obligation to return the ring or does she keep it?

Should she continue to wear the ring? In my opinion, no. I think it is tacky and tasteless. That ring was given as a symbol of love and commitment which no longer exists. I hear of people that continue to wear them because they like the ring, but I think they are missing the point. If nothing else, the ring would serve as a reminder of a failed relationship. That is not something that I would want to keep looking at every day.

Should she return the ring or keep it? I don't know that there really is a right answer to this question because none of the alternatives really make sense. Look at the options:

1. She gives back the ring. What does the guy do with it? Sell it? Give it to the next girl? Either choice shows poor etiquette.
2. She keeps it and sells it. It is a viable option, but it just feels kind of slimy. Making money from a bad situation is wrong and doesn't make it "better."
3. She puts it in a jewelry box and leaves it there. That really accomplishes anything.

Based on the alternatives, I (personally) would give the ring back even if he didn't ask for it. I wouldn't want it anymore and it would be a negative reminder every time it was seen. I would be better off getting it (and him) out of my life and moving on with a positive mindset to the next relationship.

Plus, this would also give the old boyfriend no argument to say that she took something from him. The only excuse he would have is that he goofed up.

Hope that helps!

Click here to post comments

Return to Ask Question.

Follow Us!

Follow Me On Facebook    Follow Me On Twitter

Sign Up For Our Free Monthly Newsletter!

First Name


Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Modern Manners.

Top Features

Phone Etiquette
Business Dining Etiquette
Overcome The Issues Of The Past