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Let’s just admit that promise rings are stupid.

  Let's just admit that promise rings are stupid
Picture the scene. A man sits down with his girlfriend and begins a heartfelt speech about how much she means to him. ‘I’ve never felt like this before,’ he says. ‘I know I want to be with you forever.’ He brings out a small box. He pops that box open. Inside is a ring… but not an engagement ring. No, no, this is a promise ring. It’s a promise to one day get engaged. A promise to one day promise to make a legal commitment. ‘This is a promise,’ the man says gravely, perhaps with tears in his eyes.

‘A promise that one day in the next few years or so, I will propose and we will get engaged.’ This is the tradition of a promise ring. The promise ring is a fancy ring one person buys their partner when they want to make a commitment, but they aren’t quite ready to be engaged. It’s a promise to one day propose, worn on the ring finger of the left hand (where an engagement ring would go) or on the right hand.

The tradition isn’t new, but it’s becoming increasingly popular. Louise Thompson was given her very own anticlimactic promise ring on the Christmas episode of Made in Chelsea by her boyfriend, Ryan, who talked about how their year of ups and downs together had made him sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. And as Nora Ephron didn’t say: When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start eventually, after a few more years of being in a relationship, followed by a two year engagement, then, finally, marriage. Promise rings are stupid.
Image result for promise ring
They are an entirely pointless affair, designed only to make people spend money to prove that they really, truly love each other. Let’s really think about this. At the moment we have a few stages of being romantically involved with someone – you can skip some if you fancy.

You start dating, then you’re exclusively dating, then you’re in a relationship, then you’re engaged, and then you’re a married couple. Some of these steps are fairly new. We haven’t always needed to declare exclusivity because for many, if you’re dating it’s assumed you’re not dating anyone else. Being engaged as its own stage is a fairly new thing, too.

While once upon a time a proposal was just a step to pass on the way to marriage, it’s now a relationship stage in its own right, with proposals built up to dramatic, pressured displays of affection and couples remaining happily in the engaged stage for years, sometimes with no wedding planning actually in the works. To add in another stage to that chain is ridiculous – and it’ll only make those people not yet in that stage feel rubbish about the state of their relationship.

An engaged couple is seen as more serious than a couple in a relationship, simply because of the presence of a sparkly ring. A married couple is more solid than an engaged couple, because they’ve had a big party and signed some legal documents.

It doesn’t matter what emotional state their relationship is in, sticking an engagement ring on someone’s finger, followed by a wedding ring, elevates a couple to a new level of being seen as madly in love. And now people are trying to add promise rings to the mix – yet another way to prove to everyone else that your relationship is legit through the medium of expensive jewellery. You don’t need to buy a ring to reassure your partner that one day, you’d like to get engaged (you just aren’t ready for it just yet).
Image result for love proposal
Instead you can discuss the idea of marriage somewhere down the line.

You can chat about commitment and where you see the relationship going. Voila, you’re on the same page rather than springing a ring out of nowhere. And yes, you do want to avoid springing a ring out of nowhere, because the second someone sees a ring box, they’re going to think they’re about to get engaged.

Why on earth would you want to put someone you love through that kind of letdown? It’s just cruel. Even once the initial ‘try not to make it seem like you thought this was the big moment’ bit dies down, you’re then presented with a physical reminder of exactly how someone feels about you: They want to make a commitment, but not for a long, long time. They can commit to the idea of one day committing to commit, but that’s about it.

Where’s the mystery? Where’s the enjoyment of a relationship without needing concrete reassurance that engagement, then marriage, is looming? Let’s just nip this tradition in the bud before it becomes a trend that all couples must abide by. Please, don’t let promise ring selfies fill up our feeds, don’t make people save up even more money to represent their love, and don’t add even more pressure for grand romantic gestures.

Making promise rings the normal pre-engagement step will only serve to make people feel a bit sh*t about being in a relationship sans jewellery. A lack of a promise ring will be seen as a lack of longterm commitment.

The air in your relationship will be tense with worry over when they’re going to pop the promise and reassure you that they actually see a future with you as their other half… some day. To a lot of people marriage and engagements are entirely unnecessary – big gestures and spending loads of money aren’t what’s important, the love in the relationship is. For others, marriage and engagement are wonderful, magical things.

Surely both sides can agree that promise rings are ridiculous. Sometimes your word is enough. You can talk about the idea of one day getting married without saving up your salary to buy a pricey ring to prove it. A promise doesn’t need a ring.


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