Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

By: Patricia Oelze

Updated July 21, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Richard Jackson


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Tradition dictates that the man gets down on one knee and, in a grand and romantic fashion, asks the woman he loves to marry him and presents her with a diamond ring. He gets a wedding band at the exchange of vows, but what about the time in between? Do men wear engagement rings, too?

The answer might actually be a bit more complicated than you would think. Examining the history of the engagement ring will show you that it was originally more about the woman than the man. Regardless, things have changed quite a bit in modern times. Taking a look back and examining how things are now can give you a clearer picture of the relationship between men and engagement rings.

History Of Engagement Rings

An engagement ring is a ring that shows that the wearer is engaged to be married. It is a popular engagement gift in Western Cultures as can be found in the United States. Today, 80% of betrothed women are given engagement rings to mark the occasion. But where did that tradition come from? It actually has its roots in the distant past.

Historically, the use of wedding rings began with the Egyptians. The circular bands represented eternity. Wearing a round band on one's finger symbolized their commitment to being together forever.

There was also the tradition of paying a dowry in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. By the 2nd century B.C., the ancient Romans began giving "betrothal rings" instead of high-priced gifts and dowries. This was a physical representation that a woman was "taken" and was meant to show ownership. The engagement ring was born.

Fast-forward to the 1880s when diamonds were discovered in South Africa. Purely a commercial campaign, diamonds began to be marketed as an engagement ring necessity. That is how we get to the engagement rings we are familiar with today. Many engagement rings are quite expensive and very ornate, making it easier for some couples to afford them than others.

In the United States, there was a decline in the popularity of diamond engagement rings after World War 1. It is also good to note that the jewelry industry began to make men's engagement rings in the early 21st century.

Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

The original engagement rings were meant to convey the "ownership" of a woman. They no longer mean this. What they now represent is that a woman has made a free choice to marry her husband-to-be. The engagement ring now symbolizes love and commitment. Whether men wear engagement rings or not is an entirely personal preference. While the vast majority of men don't wear engagement rings in our society, some choose to do so based on what they believe it represents. It is an outward symbol of an emotional commitment they've already made.

Additionally, today traditional gender roles are more fluid. Women may ask men to marry them, or same-sex couples choose to become engaged with the same long-standing traditions of heterosexual couples. In these circumstances, the engagement ring still stands front and center in the act of proposing marriage, and men may be presented with one to wear during the engagement period.

Some Men Do Not Like To Wear Rings

The truth is that there are many men who simply do not like to wear rings or jewelry of any kind. In this situation, it is possible that the man may want to display his relationship status in another way. It is not uncommon for the partner of such a man to want him to wear a men's engagement ring to show that he is taken. You have likely seen some men wearing their rings around their necks.

Attaching an engagement ring or a wedding ring to a necklace and wearing it that way feels more natural for some men. It is a way to show the world that you are committed to your partner, even when wearing a ring does not make you feel comfortable. There is nothing wrong with being honest about how you feel, and if wearing the ring in a traditional fashion just is not for you, then this may wind up working out better. You can keep it in mind if you are a man who does not want a ring on his hand.

There are sometimes practical reasons why men do not want to wear male engagement rings too. Men who work in certain career paths may tend to get messy quite often. Anyone who works as a plumber, waste collection specialist, construction worker, or any other messy job knows that hands can get dirty. Getting your nice and expensive engagement ring dirty on the job is not something that you want to do.

Taking the ring on and off is not always perfect either, as it increases the risk of losing the ring. Rings are small enough that they are surprisingly easy to lose. Wearing it around your neck or keeping it somewhere safe at home may be more practical for you. It largely depends on the situation and on your thoughts on the matter.

No One Has To Wear A Ring

It should also be noted that no one absolutely has to wear a ring in modern times. There are many young couples that choose not to buy or wear rings due to the cost. Of course, you can buy inexpensive rings to mark the occasion, but it is up to you whether you wish to do this or not. Engagement and marriage are all about the love you have for your partner and not about an object that you put on your finger.

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A ring can indeed be a great symbol that represents your love. It is appropriate for either a man, a woman, or a gender-neutral individual to wear these rings. There is nothing wrong with forgoing the idea of wearing rings either. Speak about your desires with your significant other and come to a conclusion about what they would like you to do. If your partner would prefer for you to wear an engagement ring in some fashion, then it may be worthwhile to do it in order to show your love.

Set Yourself Up for Success


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If you are engaged (or thinking about it), set your marriage up for success by participating in some pre-marital counseling to learn positive communication and to identify - and work through - things that have the potential to be major points of dissension in your impending marriage. Betterhelp.com offers online counseling so you and your sweetie can even do it in the comfort of your own living room. If you are in a long-distance relationship, it is a practical alternative to traditional office-based counseling that may not work for your situation.

Sometimes counseling can be a great way to prepare yourself and your partner for the rigors of married life. Most relationships have flaws, and getting a little bit of help can assist you in identifying ways to improve your communication. You absolutely love your partner, and you want to be with them forever. If a little bit of online counseling can make a difference in your life, then it is worth the small time investment that it will take to make it happen.

If you want to reach out to the online counselors, then you can do so at any time. They will be readily available at times that are convenient for you. Just keep this in mind if you would like to work on certain issues ahead of your nuptials. You will feel like you are ready to succeed and will be confident that your marriage will stand the test of time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which hand do guys wear engagement ring?

Wearing an engagement ring is a personal choice that is an option for both men and women. Guys wear male engagement rings on either hand, depending on social traditions, geographical location, and other factors. In cultures like Chile, guys wear an engagement ring on the right hand side. This can be seen as a break in tradition for countries who traditionally wore an engagement ring on the left.

Do both male and female wear engagement rings?

In some cultures, only females wear engagement rings. In other cultures, guys wear male engagement rings or a male engagement jewel as a signal of emotional commitment as well. Wearing engagement rings is a personal choice that depends on many factors. With that being the case, engagement rings for women seem to be more common in many cultures. However, some countries where both men and women wore an engagement ring as a sign of devotion and affection.

In what cultures do men wear engagement rings?

You may be surprised to learn that some guys wear male engagement rings too. In some cultures like Chile, guys wear engagement rings on their right hand to sign emotional commitment and engagement to be married. Chile's culture and traditions advise that engagement rings for men and women are worn on the right hand during the engagement. After the marriage where the boy also wears a ring -- engagement rings for men and women are moved to the left hand and placed on the ring finger. Male engagement rings hold a high level of importance in those areas.

Why do guys wear ring on right hand?

In some cultures, guys wearing engagement rings dates back for centuries. Some traditions state that the guy wears the engagement ring on his right hand. Wearing an engagement ring represents an emotional and lifetime commitment to your spouse prior to marriage. Regardless of how they are worn, wearing engagement rings symbolizes trust and commitment between two partners who intend to marry. When engagement rings are worn on the right hand in cultures like Chile -- upon the marriage, the couple wearing engagement rings switch them over to the left hand.

Does the woman buy the man an engagement gift?

Much like the engagement ring trend, whether a woman buys a man, an engagement ring, or gift depends on tradition and preference. In some cultures, guys wear engagement rings to signify an upcoming marriage. In these cultures, some guys didn't wear engagement rings, but they do wear wedding rings after the marriage. Deciding whether or not to follow local traditions surrounding engagement rings dates back many years.

Do guys wear engagement ring on right hand?

A male engagement ring can be worn on either hand, depending on culture, geography, and tradition. Some cultures dictate that men wear an engagement ring on their left hand or not at all. For instance, the U.S. Other cultures (like those in Chile) provide that the man wears an engagement ring on the right hand and then transfers the engagement ring to the wedding finger after the marriage.

Why do only females wear engagement rings?

In some cultures, it's rare to find a man wearing a wedding ring or engagement ring. In others, cultures guys wear engagement rings too. While it seems to be more common for females to wear a diamond engagement ring as a display of commitment and affection -- many guys wear engagement rings as a sign of commitment too. Wearing an engagement ring is a personal choice that doesn't have to be bound by tradition or any other factors.

How long should a widow wear a wedding ring?

Losing a spouse that you have decided to share life with, is one of the hardest things to go through in life. The wedding ring, which symbolizes your commitment to each other, becomes an issue. A widow then decides on what to do with it. Hence, the duration of wearing a wedding ring varies. For many people, they decide on what they want based on their feelings. Some widows remove their wedding ring as soon as the partner is dead either because they are not comfortable wearing what connects them to the dead.

Some other people will never remove them, maybe because they want to always remember the memories of their partners. They may choose to wear the wedding ring until they also are no more.

In the same vein, there are some persons who will change the location of their wedding rings. In order not to lose them, the wedding rings are worn on the neck it a chain. For some others, the wedding bands are worn on the right hand instead. Another set of persons may have it redesigned to suit their lifestyle and personal taste.

The bottom line is that a widow has lost someone dear, so it is best to do what feels right to her. There is no limit to the time of wearing the wedding ring.

Do you still wear an engagement ring after wedding?

Men’s engagement rings or the male engagement ring is meant to show commitment and love. The choice of wearing an engagement ring after the wedding is based on personal preferences. In many cultures, a woman wears her engagement ring down the aisle while the wedding ring is slipped on the same finger after the vows. On some occasions, the same goes for men’s engagement rings. There could be instances where you may decide not to wear your engagement ring after the wedding. These instances include regular long distance travel, doing grubby chores in the home, and lots more. For example, a regular traveler may not want to lose the ring to theft during trips. As a result, a cheaper ring can be bought instead of the original engagement ring.

On the other hand, the wearing of the male engagement ring or male engagement jewelry is not as popular as that of the females. The male engagement rings; hence, the choice to continue wearing the engagement rings depend on personal decisions based on lots of factors, including love for jewelry.

What does the bride pay for?

When it comes to weddings, there is no rule specifying what should be handled by who. Although, traditionally, it is said that the family of the bride does the heavier spending on the wedding. For instance, the groom may pay for the male engagement, and the engagement rings wedding offer. These days, many couples choose to bear the whole burden or split the financial responsibility with their respective families. Despite all these, there are certain things that individual persons should handle on their own. For the brides, they are meant to pay for the male wedding ring or wedding bands or wedding jewelry altogether. A bride is also responsible for the wedding gifts for her groom, bridesmaids, and parents. She is solely responsible for her hair and makeover too.

In the same vein, she can collaborate with her family members to do the duties of the bride's family, such as engagement party, invitations, wedding dress and accessories, flowers, etc. For brides in New York and the United States, they can get the average price for wedding gowns and buy the best for their budgets.

What do you give a man when you propose to him?

In the past, proposals were more commonly done by the man, but things are gradually changing. These days, a lady can propose to a man with the male engagement jewelry. Sometimes, you may be wondering whether or not to purchase male engagement rings or male engagement jewelry. Since you are the one making a move, the man is not expected to buy the male engagement rings. You will buy the male engagement ring while you get yours too. This depends on your man, though. If he is not into wearing jewelry like male engagement jewelry, then you should get him any other gift to signify the commitment to you.

Who traditionally pays for the honeymoon?

Usually, the honeymoon comes after the whole engagement, exchange of male engagement rings, and female rings and wedding. At this point, rings and wedding thoughts may have left their minds. Traditionally, the bulk of wedding expenses is done by the bride's family. For the honeymoon arrangement and everything related to the honeymoon, the groom and his family see it. Times and tides are changing, so the financial responsibility is appropriately distributed by the families. Therefore, parents may allow the couple to plan their honeymoon and make payments, too, while respecting their privacy policy.

Who pays for the wedding ring?

Culturally, the brides pay for the men's wedding rings while the groom must have paid for the engagement rings. In other words, the groom may have paid for the male engagement rings, and the women engagement rings. The bride, with or without the contribution of her family members, can pay for the men's wedding ring. Bills for women and men’s engagement rings are sometimes split between both parties. Generally, it is more acceptable for the couple to buy each other's wedding rings or wedding bands. Also, it is now more common for couples to invest together to purchase their engagement rings and wedding bands.

What finger should you wear your divorce ring on?

Divorce is a rather unpleasant and somewhat stressful process. When a marriage is over, the wedding bands or diamond engagement rings or wedding rings may be needed to be out of sight. It's over, and memories may need to be forgotten too. The man may decide to keep his male engagement jewelry away, and the woman too. Hence, the decision to buy a divorce ring or not depends solely on the individual. A divorce ring can be worn on any finger. In many cases, people choose to wear a divorce ring in place of a wedding band.

Does a ring mean she's married?

Wearing rings in the United States and other countries could mean a lot of things depending on the location of the ring, type of ring, culture of the lady, or religion. Generally, if a lady wears a ring on the ring finger on the left hand, it is safe to assume that she's married or, at the least, engaged. Although it is not always so. Ladies may not wear diamond engagement rings unless she is engaged. A lady could wear a promise ring which could be made of stainless steel or other materials. It shows that there is an engagement ring on the way. She might also wear a ring to mean that potential suitors should stay off because she's not interested in a relationship.

A female could also wear a ring if she is widowed or divorced or separated. Some rings are worn for religious purposes as a commitment to a deity. Above all, she may just love to wear fashion pieces, including rings of different materials ranging from white gold to stainless steel to other durable jewelry materials.

Can a guy wear his wedding ring before marriage?

It is a widely held belief, especially in the United States, that for those who wear engagement rings, male engagement rings are to be worn before marriage while wedding rings are worn after the marriage. A male engagement ring or sometimes male engagement jewelry is primarily for the engagement and wedding rings for the marriage after the vows have been exchanged.  In the United States and some other countries, male engagement rings may be worn before marriage. However, men’s engagement rings cannot be compared to the rings wedding offers.

Who wears the engagement ring?

The engagement ring can be worn by either the male or female or both. Usually, the female wears the engagement rings more, but some men wear the male engagement ring so as to show their commitment to the relationship. Male engagement signifies a lot to a man. So, a man that wears this male engagement jewelry appreciates and is committed to his relationship. Please note that the male engagement jewelry refers to the male engagement rings. However, traditionally, engagement rings are worn by women on most occasions as a symbol of acceptance. Surprisingly, engagement rings are worn sometimes after marriage in the United States and other countries. Please note that after marriage the rings wedding offers should be worn. On some occasions, it may be the same male engagement ring, and sometimes, it may be different.


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