Future in-laws get snide about engagement ring they dislike
Q: I have an odd issue for you. I am engaged, and my future in-laws are harassing their son (my fiance) regarding my engagement ring. I am not much of a jewelry-wearing person, and I told my fiance that I didn't want anything big and flashy, just whatever he felt I would like. He chose a beautiful nontraditional ring with two rubies and several small diamonds, which I love. It suits my taste and personality — to me, it's perfect.
His parents HATE it and keep making snide comments about it: "No one will believe she's engaged with THAT thing" and "Couldn't you have gotten her something not from a gumball machine?" I think the problem is that they are very status-conscious, and when his male cousins all got married in the last few years, they all gave their fiancees these gigantic rocks that probably cost an arm, a leg and a major organ.
If they make comments within earshot, I always state how much I love my ring and how it is exactly what I wanted, but they keep insisting I'm just being polite.
They have harped on this so much my fiance has started apologizing to me for not getting me something impressive and offering to switch it to something better.
How do I get everyone to believe me that I love my ring and just want them to shut the bleep up? I'm about to offer to take a lie-detector test to prove it.
Diamonds aren't this girl's friend
A: Eh, they'd just reject that as inadmissible.
Three things, in ascending order of importance:
(1) It is not your job to "get" people to "believe" anything. If they want to regard your ring as a Cracker Jack prize, then let 'em.
(2) It is your job to communicate clearly. Right now you're saying you love the ring and it's exactly what you wanted, which may be true, but it isn't the relevant truth anymore. That truth is the desperation you feel to get these hyenas off your back. So, that's the truth you need to communicate now, in as politic a fashion as you can muster. Maybe: "When you insult this ring, you insult me, because it's exactly my taste. I don't like large diamonds. Can we please agree to talk about something else?"
(3) Don't have any illusions that "something else" will be any better. The problem isn't that your boundary-challenged, status-conscious, snide-swiping future in-laws are contemptuous of your ring; it's that you have boundary-challenged, status-conscious, snide-swiping future in-laws. This is just the prologue to the opera.
That means now is a fine time to brush up on your line-holding, starting with the ring. And, it's also time to make sure, before a vow is uttered, that your fiance has your back and can manage the drama without getting sucked in.
If neither of you counts (ahem) standing up for yourselves as a strong suit, then I urge you to track down a good premarital counselor or seminar.
His family has already clearly gotten to both of you, and unless you find a mutually agreeable and reasonably productive way to deal with them, they'll get to your marriage, too.