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It’s Over: Should You Give Back the Engagement Ring After a Breakup?

As a relationship coach, it’s definitely not my job to publicly weigh in on celebrity disputes when I don’t even know the people involved. It is my job, however, to look for “teachable moments” and try to provide value to people that will help create more conscious, loving and productive relationships. This is one of those moments.

Here’s the situation:

Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills is a former number one draft pick and one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL. His former fiance refused his repeated requests to return a $785,000 diamond engagement ring, resulting in the court case, claiming instead that he made it “abundantly clear in writing” that he wanted her to have it. (Which is a curious argument considering the fact that his lawsuit is also “abundantly clear in writing.”)

From the man’s perspective:

This whole lawsuit situation is so disempowering, what if, instead, a man could use it to find some empowering meaning? That only comes from elevating your mindset, refusing to squabble, and asking far better questions.

– What if he found the gratitude in the situation and remembered how blessed he was with abundance and that this “learning experience” was worth far more to him than the value of the ring?

– What if he used it to drive him to even more success and wealth because he knows he can always find a way to earn more money?

– What if he took pride in his generosity and knew that the sting of that loss would be an excellent reminder to choose even more carefully next time?

– What if he recommitted to finding “the right one” for him and used the situation to get even clearer on what he wanted – and wouldn’t tolerate any longer?

– What if the price of the ring was a bargain compared to the cost of marrying a woman who would try to harm his ability to make a living?

These are all powerful and life-changing choices…but decidedly less newsworthy nowadays.

From the woman’s perspective:

Likewise, a woman could also use this scenario to find an empowering meaning.

– What if she embraced her good fortune to have enjoyed such a lifestyle for a period of time and had the confidence that she could absolutely attract it again?

– What if she was proud of the fact that refusing to keep the ring said far more about the content of her character than anything else – and in fact, her integrity might even be the thing that got her next man’s attention?

– What if she got even more clear on what she wanted, and didn’t want, and committed to being a woman who could attract that?

– What if she remembered that men take a great deal of pride in providing for their women and that sometimes having money can create unexpected challenges also?

These are just a handful of the empowering alternatives available if she chose to focus on them. It’s not about the ring – it’s about who you are.

Perhaps you’ve noticed in life that sometimes huge disagreements that spin out of control are less about “right” and “wrong” and more about winning at all costs and saving face. In fact, to prove it, just about every day, somewhere in the world, an engagement is called off and a ring is returned without even being asked. Likewise, every day, a ring is offered back and it’s declined by the giver. It never goes in front of a judge.

Of course there’s always a number of solutions in any disagreement. What if both people decided together to sell the ring and use the money jointly to support a favorite charity in their own names? That would be yet another way to ensure that something good and positive came out of a situation that currently isn’t so good. Remember – in any moment – we always have a choice between calling out our best – and showing up at our worst. The only question is: What do you want to choose? If your honor isn’t worth more than any piece of jewelry, you have even more trouble ahead.

What do you think — should the engagement ring always be returned?

More at YourTango:

Four Behaviors That Result in Divorce 90% of the Time

What do men find sexiest in women?

Ladies, why your career is ruining your love life


This article was originally published on YourTango: After a breakup – do you keep the ring – or give it back?