Carolyn Hax: Wife wants to still feel right about the rock on her left hand

Carolyn Hax
Columnist May 9

Adapted from recent online discussions.

Dear Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

When I got engaged a few years ago, my now-husband gave me a beautiful, expensive diamond ring from a well-known jewelry chain. I didn’t ask for it, but I absolutely love it and have gotten a fair number of positive remarks about it from lots of different people.

Since then, many of my close friends have also gotten engaged and married, and either by coincidence or through social influence or because of changes in trends, most have either no ring or an unconventional ring (one friend got hers from a relative, another wears something her fiance made for her out of Lucite). Every time a friend announces her engagement and brags about not having wasted money on a diamond, I feel a little stung.

Is there a socially responsible way I can keep wearing my ring? Do I need to engrave “I know this was an unnecessary expense” in the band?


(Nick Galifianakis/The Washington Post)

Regretting the Ring

I think every time there’s a sea change, there’s an accompanying period of overexplaining as people settle in — especially when it’s a change from One Expected Way to Anything Goes. Keep absolutely loving your ring for what it means to you, and ride it out.

To: Regretting the ring:

This applies to almost any kind of personal choice. There are people who want to brag about uniqueness, size or sentimentality. There are people who are self-righteous and want to make a stink about how everyone else fails to measure up to their personal moral standards. Everything from cars to kids to grocery shopping to your shoes could be viewed this way. Relax.

Anonymous

Love this, thanks. Though I don’t know if anyone has ever not tensed at being told to relax.

Hi, Carolyn!

I am being asked to postpone my wedding date for more than a year so my pregnant sister can attend. She became pregnant soon after I got engaged, and her due date is only a month after our tentative wedding date. She will not allow the baby on a plane until he is a year old and refuses to travel “if he is excluded.”

The wedding is a destination wedding by necessity, not by choice. How far do couples really need to go to ensure that all the family is there?

Family

“How far” fits the classic definition of obscenity: I know it when I see it.

Asking a couple to postpone the start of their lives as a married couple by a full year is too far. A sister who is so invested in being part of your life celebration surely can respect that you’d like to get on with that life.

Any chance you could move the wedding date up to accommodate her? Or bring her in by video? Otherwise, with all due dismay for her absence, you’re just as free to draw your arbitrary line (what happens at the one-year mark, babies sprout wings?) as she was to draw hers. Well, more so, since it’s your party and you really can have it if you want to.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at http://bit.ly/haxpost.

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