It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss the etiquette of returning an engagement ring, dating someone you’re not attracted to, and when to end an LDR.
I was married five years ago, and the engagement and wedding rings I received from my now-ex husband belonged to his mother and grandmother, respectively. I know that when an engagement ends, it is customary for the bride-to-be to offer to give the ring back. But what is the protocol if you are married? When my ex and I split, he demanded my rings back, and I readily obliged. At the time I didn’t think twice because the rings belonged to his family before I had them and because I was anxious to be rid of any reminder of what was a very hurtful and ugly break-up.
Now I have been with my current boyfriend for almost four years, and we are planning to start a family soon. When we recently went ring shopping, it made all of the memories of my first engagement come flooding back. I ask this now not because I wish I had kept the rings, but because I wonder if my ex was out of line in demanding them back. I would most certainly have offered to give them back because they were his family’s, but shouldn’t the choice have been mine to make, not his to demand? Wendy (and Wendy-followers): at what point do your engagement and wedding rings become YOURS? — Aisle Bound Again
I answered a very similar question here in which I said that it would be the kind thing to return a family heirloom ring so it remains in the family. In your case, the ring was definitely yours and returning it was your decision to make, but you did the kind thing — despite not being asked kindly — in returning it to your ex so that he could pass it down to the next generation in his family.
Even though I’m still young and in college, when it comes to relationships, I am looking for something serious and stable. I have a friend whom I had sex with a few months ago — for me, it was a drunken rebound. He immediately wanted more, but I just wasn’t attracted to him, and I knew it was too early for anything anyway. Well, he has a great personality and we get along well, and for weeks, I have been thinking more and more about him. We’ve made plans to hang out again soon. I’m still not attracted to him all that much, but I’m okay with that. And it’s not really about the sex; it wasn’t that great anyway. But, he’s always treated me the way I deserve, and I know he cares about me a lot, even after I showed interest in someone else. My question is: is it unfair of me to possibly start dating him if I’m not really attracted to him? — Weak Attraction
Well, you never know: your attraction may grow as you get to know him. But if it doesn’t after, say, a few more weeks, you really shouldn’t lead him on. Let him know you enjoy spending time with him, but only as friends.
A few months ago, I ended a friendship with a dear long-time friend because of how she was treating me. The back story is that my ex and I set her up with his best friend. A couple of years later, I broke up with my ex. This resulted it in her choosing to be more loyal to him because of her relationship. I started dating a new man (who I am still with) and she refused to hang out with us. I got fed up of being ignored after always being there for her when she needed it, so I ended the friendship. It was horribly messy.
Last night, I was browsing around Facebook, and saw on her profile that she and her boyfriend broke up. They were together for a really long time and were such a strong committed couple, that I know she must not be taking this very well. Do I reach out to her just to see how she’s doing? Or should I respect the termination of our friendship and just let it be? — Facebook Friend
Well, I’m of the thought that one shouldn’t be Facebook friends with someone he or she wouldn’t be real-life friends with, so if you indeed are friends on Facebook — and, hell, even if you aren’t — reach out to your (former) friend and let her know that you’re thinking of her. The worst that will happen is she’ll ignore you, in which case she’s the one who looks like an asshole, and the best that can happen is this gives you an opportunity to repair your friendship and be there for someone who might need you.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. We get along very well, and generally make each other very happy. We met in grad school, and he got a permanent job last November in a city about 3.5 hours away from where I am finishing school. We try to spend the weekends together as often as we can, and so far our long distance relationship has been okay. I applied for jobs where he lives now, but did not receive any offers. I applied for every posted position around the country, and I only received a job offer in a place that is a 12 hour drive away! It’s my dream job, just not my dream location.
My boyfriend refuses to consider moving to my new city, because it is too cold there. We have agreed to continue dating long distance. I know you have written about how important it is to have an end date where both people actually end up in the same location for a long distance relationship to work, but it seems improbable that we could both find new jobs in a location that is warmer. Is there any hope for our relationship when he refuses to consider moving to me, and I can’t move to him without giving up my career? — Career or Love?
Unfortunately, it sounds like there isn’t much promise for your relationship if neither of you is willing to move/give up a dream career to be with the other. It sucks, but I’d advise you to cut your losses now and focus on making a new home for yourself in your new city. Maintaining an LDR takes a TON of energy and commitment and if you aren’t committed to being in the same place in, say, the next two years, there’s really no point to drag yourself through such a draining experience.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.