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Ask Kathy B: I want to have my say!

Question: My boyfriend and I have been together for 18 months. We have an amazing relationship and we are now discussing the topic of marriage – which we are both really keen on.

However, my boyfriend is of the belief that the man should choose the engagement ring. He has told me that he really wants the proposal to be a surprise and how can that happen if I choose the ring. I have said that the proposal can be a surprise and that we can go out after the proposal to shop for a ring. But he’s not budging on this.

Is it wrong of me to want to choose my own engagement ring? At this stage I’m happy to have no ring at all, rather than one I might not like.

Kathy B: Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and that gorgeous carpenter Aiden get engaged – she freaked out about his choice of ring and ended up wearing it around her neck, not on her ring finger? Not good! If you remember the engagement didn’t last terribly long. Unfortunately if your boyfriend?s going to spend a lot of money on a ring then it does seem ridiculous for you to have one which you don’t love. However, if you have already tried talking about it directly and he’s not budging then why don’t you try being just a tad sneaky? Get a good friend of yours who he also likes onside to help you in your cause. Meanwhile don’t mention the ring, a future engagement or refer the situation in any way because if you keep on keeping on about it he’ll only get more annoyed and odds are the proposal might be a lot further off than you’d like it to be.
NOTE: Whatever you do, do not ‘casually’ leave jewellery catalogues strewn around the house with your ideal diamond cut ring circled with ‘Love it!’ It will definitely cause an argument.

Get your pal, brother, or mother, whoever you think would be the best person to help you out if this tricky situation. Visit a few jewellery shops with your trusted confidante and try on some rings with them (just make sure you do it somewhere where you won’t be recognised or seen by your boyfriend). Ask your confidante to be subtle but get them to manoeuvre a situation where they can take your boyfriend and feed him some information at the appropriate moment. If it is a male friend of yours for example then he could manoeuvre a situation where he could take your boyfriend to a jewellery shop and subtly feed him information in the guise of asking him for his advice. If you hate a particular cut of diamond or can’t abide white gold then your friend can be the one to pass on this information and send him in the direction of the right type of ring for you. It isn’t terribly romantic but there’s always the option of your boyfriend keeping the receipt and doing an exchange.

Finally, don’t get too hung up on it. You don’t want all the joy of that wonderful moment to be overshadowed by the love of your life not giving you the exact ring you want. It is his dream day too and the day you decide to be together forever will be the first in a long line of times where you may need to learn to lovingly compromise. After all are you more excited about having the perfect man or the perfect engagement ring? If you are smart about it then you’ll hopefully get both (and remember at least you’ll be able to choose the wedding ring). Good luck!

If you want Kathy B to answer your relationship dilemmas, email feedback@shesaid.com with your question.

Kathy Buchanan is the author of Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette, Happy Endings: The Ultimate Movie and Book Guide for Women and Quit for Chicks. Charm School offers fun but helpful advice on why manners are sexy and how to use them to create the life you?ve always dreamed of. It deals with difficult love, social and work situations like how to ace an interview, help a friend through a difficult break-up, keep your hairdresser faithful and how to not fall in love with gorgeous gay men. Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette Penguin. RRP $24.95 but only $22.46 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

Happy Endings is the ultimate book and movie guide for every possible situation you could face ? it will become your well-thumbed companion through life?s ups and downs. RRP $26.95 but only $24.26 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

Quit for Chicks is a how to quit smoking support guide for women, with a foreword from supermodel Sarah O?Hare, Penguin, RRP $9.95 but only $8.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop