What Does a Promise Ring Really Mean?

You may have heard of this phenomenon of men giving promise rings. They’re not engagement rings (and they’re not worn on the third finger of the left hand), and yet, they are supposed to symbolize the intention to marry, or at least to become engaged (at some point). In short, they’re a pre-engagement ring, if that makes any sense. But what does it really mean when you receive such a promise?

Not to rain on your parade, but all it really says is that your man isn’t serious about getting married yet. You’ve probably been talking about marriage. Maybe you’ve been together for a while and you’ve started to actually hear your biological clock ticking (possibly making you a little pushy on the topic of marriage). Perhaps you’ve even hinted that your relationship “isn’t working out”, hoping that he’ll get the clue. Or maybe you simply feel that he’s the one, despite the fact that you’ve only been together a short while. The truth is that he’s probably giving you this ring in order to appease you without actually having to propose. A promise ring may hint at a future, but an engagement ring is a bold declaration of the intention to commit.

Of course, there could be other factors. Perhaps he simply doesn’t have the money to give you the engagement ring and wedding that he thinks you deserve. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were actually the case? Or maybe he really does love you, but just isn’t quite ready to commit (although he is beginning to think along those lines). It may also be part of his religion, given to symbolize his commitment to you and only you, or a promise to practice abstinence until the wedding. There are all kinds of reasons one might give a promise ring, but generally, you can bet that it has to do with a certain amount of hesitation to actually propose.

On the other hand, you do get a nice piece of jewelry out of the deal that you have no obligation to return if the relationship doesn’t pan out (whereas an engagement ring you would almost certainly want to give back). And at least he’s starting to think along the lines of marriage (even if he is putting off the engagement to some degree). So take him at his word, wear his promise on your right hand, and consider this as evidence that he’s starting to crack (meaning it’s time to push a little harder!).

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