Who Should Wear Engagement Rings?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated January 30, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Within many cultures, weddings and marriages can be heavily influenced by tradition. From this standpoint, it may be expected for a woman to wear an engagement ring during the time between proposal and marriage. However, perspectives have shifted quite a bit, and everyone can be completely free to make the choice that’s right for them regarding engagement rings. You and your significant other may find it helpful to talk with a licensed couples counselor when deciding how to showcase your devotion to one another.

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What Choices Will You Make For Your Relationship?

History Of Engagement Rings

Engagement rings are generally a type of wedding jewelry that can indicate the wearer is engaged to be married. Traditionally, an engagement ring can represent the formal acceptance of a marriage proposal. But where did that tradition come from? And what do engagement rings signify now?

Historically, the use of wedding rings is believed to have begun with the Egyptians. The circular bands are thought to have represented eternity. Wearing a round band on a finger on the left hand usually symbolized a commitment to being together forever. This could also be a physical representation that a person was in a relationship and not available to other suitors.

Though the first record of modern engagement rings occurred in 1477, most people did not adopt the custom until the mid-1900s, and it wasn’t until this time that diamonds were commonly featured on engagement rings.

In 1947, a diamond mining company called De Beers popularized the phase, “a diamond is forever,” contributing to the trend of buying expensive diamond engagement rings. Someone preparing to make a proposal may spend a significant sum of money to buy an engagement ring for their partner. Though many modern couples continue to choose diamond rings to signify their commitment, it is becoming increasingly popular to choose less expensive engagement jewelry or to not wear engagement rings at all.

Who Wears Engagement Rings Today?

Many of today’s couples choose to wear engagement rings to signify their love and mutual commitment, regardless of each partner’s sex or gender. Whether a person chooses to wear an engagement ring can be a matter of personal preference or a decision made jointly by the couple. Both, one, or neither of the partners may wear engagement rings.

The Decision Not To Wear A Ring

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Some people may not like the feeling of wearing a ring on their finger, or a ring may need to be taken off frequently for work or recreational activities. In addition, some may feel that they do not need to wear a ring to show their commitment to their partner. 

Partners who don’t enjoy wearing rings may go without completely, attach their ring to a necklace, or only wear their ring on special occasions. Tattooed bands and durable silicone rings can be other options as well.

Settling Relationship Disputes Regarding Rings

People of any gender might not find wearing an engagement ring appealing for a variety of reasons. Many couples may choose not to buy or wear rings due to cost or personal preference. Engagement and marriage can be about love and commitment for most couples, not about a physical object that you put on your finger. 

If the thought of you or your partner not wearing a ring makes you feel less safe in your relationship, you may wish to talk about the situation with a couples therapist in person or online.

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What Choices Will You Make For Your Relationship?

If you are in a long-distance relationship or would feel more comfortable trying couples therapy from the comfort of your own home, online therapy could be a good fit for you and your partner. Studies show that, while some couples may experience initial reservations in trying online therapy, many find that it enables a greater sense of control and comfort and less fear of judgment compared to in-person therapy.

Takeaway

Couples should feel free to make the decision that is right for them and their unique relationship when it comes to wearing engagement rings. One, both, or neither of the partners may wear rings, or you may opt for matching tattoos or silicone rings instead of traditional diamond jewelry. If you and your partner disagree about marital traditions or expectations, or if you would like to work on strengthening your communication strategies, an online couples therapist could be a helpful resource.

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