Psychic Pauline: The Truth Behind Promise Rings

Truth Behind Promise Rings

The Promise Ring: Commitment or Cop-Out?

It’s a pretty, sparkly piece of jewelry called a promise ring and a number of my callers have mentioned that they have either received one or have talked to their partner about being given one as a means of solidifying their commitment. Who doesn’t want a nice piece of jewelry? But my readings often reveal that there are ulterior motives surrounding this token of commitment.

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What is a Promise Ring and What Does it Really Mean?

Some consider a promise ring to be a pre-engagement ring. These rings are often exchanged among teenagers who are far too young to be thinking about getting married. They get caught up in the euphoria of the idea of having someone to spend the rest of their life with, but they don’t know what that kind of commitment really means. It’s young, naive love.

Then there are those adults in 30s and 40s who exchange promise rings. As an adult, the promise ring has a different meaning which is no longer sweet and naive. Here’s what the promise ring actually means:

1. Since it’s not an engagement ring, a promise ring isn’t a true promise to get married. What exactly are your committing to when you partner would rather give your a promise ring than an engagement ring?

2. A promise ring takes the pressure off your partner. It’s like saying, “I might marry you one day, but I am not sure or I am not ready, so I am giving you a promise ring, which looks like an engagement ring to other people, but it isn’t an engagement ring.” Like an engagement ring, accepting a promise ring means that you can’t keep your romantic options open and have to continue to put your life on hold while you wait for your partner to decide if they want to marry you or not.

It’s Time to Wake Up!

When faced with the engagement discussion, if your partner gives you a promise ring instead, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship. Chances are they have no intention of marrying you, but they would like the relationship to continue on their terms. Mature adults take the leap towards marriage, even if it scares them, as a means of showing their commitment to their partners. Do not settle for less by accepting a promise ring, when what you really want is an engagement ring!

You’re Not Closer to Marriage

Let’s face it, if he really loved you and wanted to commit to you by marrying you, you’d have an engagement ring, not a promise ring. If you settle for this phony pre-engagement ring, you are desperately trying to hold on to a relationship and a partner whose desires and goals don’t align with yours. Deep down inside, you know you aren’t one step closer to marriage than you were before they gave you a promise ring.

You’re Wasting Your Time

How many years of your life are you willing to waste while you wait for your partner to decide if they want to marry you? They’re not going to plunk down more money on an engagement ring when they just gave you a promise ring, so it’s going to be a while. If you choose to accept a promise ring, at the very least, you need to set some kind of time frame for when the promise turns into an engagement. Otherwise, you could be waiting for something that may never happen.

Someone once said, “Promises are made to be broken.” If your partner has given you a promise ring, you shouldn’t ignore this adage. The future of your relationship could be at stake!

Psychic Pauline ext. 5777

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18 thoughts on “Psychic Pauline: The Truth Behind Promise Rings

  1. Teige

    I am 35 years old, been married and divorced from a very abusive man. I have a 15 year old daughter that I have raised on my own for 13 of those years. The guy I am dating has been married and divorced, he has no children. We have talked about marriage, but neither of us are quite ready to take that leap just yet. I bought him a promise ring. I wear mine all the time and I love it. Never thought I would get a chance at real love! I think everyone views them differently and that for some they might be pointless or stupid, but to others it might be something they will cherish forever.

  2. Raynee

    OK a promise ring can mean many things to different people. Life is never certain. But the moment is. Do you love, respect one another and cannot imagine life without each other. The ring is a reminder that you are holding them. Like the ring surrounds and hugs their finger, so does your heart and mind. You are with them always in spirit and support. If given in dishonesty and with motives that are not true, nothing is going to be worth it. Find out their heart.

  3. waiting

    I’ve been gathering many opinions on this subject and have been questioning my own. I am 35, divorced with two children. He is 43, also divorced with two children. He speaks of marraige more than I do, talks about adding a room to his home for my girls, has even had several bids, but I feel doubt there.

    He presented to me a ring for my birthday, simply sat the box under my napkin while at dinner. I came back from the ladies room, saw it there, wrapped so carefully. He just sat there and didn’t say anything while I opened it. No explanation on what it meant, no putting it on… yet he has made comments on how it’s a promise of better things to come. 5 months later after the ring (1 year and 8 months into the relationship with a two week break) and I am feeling like he’s in no hurry to seal the deal.

  4. Pat

    Re Promise rings – depends on the couple. My daughter and her significant other have both agreed not to get married at this time. She was about to undergo some serious surgery and his promise ring to her as he indicated to me also, was to be there for her and take care of her. In this case I thought it was a beautiful gesture. She wears it proudly.

  5. Seren ext. 5445Psychic Seren, Ext 5445

    Very intriguing comments reflecting a number of differing perspectives. One which has me perplexed, however, is the point of view that accepting a promise ring leaves a woman in a state of limbo while the man who gifted her with the ring keeps his options open. I can’t help but wonder what is actually at cause in those limbo situations, the woman or the ring?

    I would think that, with or without a piece of metal and stone, a woman would respect herself enough to opt to end a relationship with a partner who had promised her exclusivity but then continued to cheat on her, because that is what “keeping his options open” while she has restricted hers comes down to, cheating.

    Once that promise of fidelity is made, it should be honored and, if either partner elects not to honor it, then the relationship should be ended.

    Brightest blessings,
    Seren, Ext 5445

    P.S. for Tom: My comments are based on my very Pagan perspective. 🙂

  6. libby 5288

    Great Article, I love how you worded this situation about promise rings, you are so on point about this one, best article I have read on the blog, this is so important, I get many calls regarding this question, sometimes it’s very, very sad that some women don’t want to accept the truth, yes, it hurts, but it’s life, we have to grow within ourselves n really see and face the music about these promise rings. For women out there, please read this article it can save you from a relationship that you will wait years believing that this magic man you so love is going to marry you. Women need to believe in themselves n need to feel that they are worth that Engagement ring, when a man is very interested in giving you this engagement ring, it means he made a very strong decision, yes, is in love with you, he does not want to lose you n he wants you only, no one else, it means you are a very special unique women in his life, you give him something that he feels no other could have fill those shoes to get that engagement ring. A man takes action when he really is in love, he makes plans to go to the jeweler, he looks at every ring in detail, he wants the best n only the best for you. He buys it, he thinks of a special place to take you, he makes plans to set a special table in a restaurant to give you this beautiful love that he feels for you thru a very special engagement ring. He sets his goals for you in motion. Promise ring is not plan, nor does he make any kind of special arrangement, the only arrangement he has for you is to move in with him in his apartment, n that right there just says it all, no plans, he has already made his plans, he wants you to move in with him n there is your future, his made his nest with you n he feels his given you all you ever needed, n you will be waiting for a long time. So ladies be wise.

  7. Psychic Pauline

    I agree with Gina Rose wholeheartedly. A ring is a symbol of imaginary safety whether it is an engagement ring or a promise ring. The point that I intended to make was that clearly, if someone wants to marry you, they will not hesitate to do that. They will ask for your hand and set a date in which to legally marry and although a piece of jewelry is a lovely gesture, it is not necessary. In my opinion, a promise ring is a manipulative, stalling tactic. It perpetuates the illusion of an ownership situation leaving the recipient in limbo.

  8. Tchiwa kaligande

    Between having an engagement or a promise ring
    Dating is a stage of a relationship. When both feel that this relationship is mature and can advance to the next stage, then the best thing is to move on to the engagement ring. If anyone still has doubts, but believes for example that this relationship has the potential to succeed, it is best to give time and space for doubts disappear. Nothing worse in life than move to a nebulous relationship. Instead, it is an absolute irresponsibility! When we are at this stage of dating or “trial” already have a predisposition to go to the wedding. And marriage is in principle to last a lifetime. At least that’s what they taught me, I believe in and defend my values and principles. Marry and then divorce or marry because there is divorce, it seems a priori stupid. Clearly there during life situations that may require us to divorce. But that does not mean and should not mean that we should risk taking a relationship to a higher stage where further damage may ensue as a result.
    When you give her an promise ring and not an engagement ring, it is time to rethink your relationship, to reevaluate what is not right (in accordance with the aspirations of our partner) and what needs to be improved so definitely you can be the option and choice and not an alternative. This applies to both.
    “Promises are made to be broken”? No way I can not agree with that! A serious, responsible and respected person who wants to be can not promise not to comply! So I have to disagree wholeheartedly with this statement.
    Could write a lot about this, but I think everyone should be able to properly reflect on this matter so as not to follow advice that does not lead you anywhere or only worsen the situation.
    Psychologist & Educator

  9. kelly

    In my case my partner was going through a serious illness and surgery it wasn’t the right time for either of us to make a commitment under those circumstances. However since we were dealing with prostate cancer that generates all kinds of additional fears for a man than just the loss of life I wanted to provide a reassurance of my love and commitment to him and our relationship (through sickness and health) We are both almost 50 still raising families and live 4 hours apart. It was just the right amount of assurance under the circumstances. While the intent of your message is appropriate for the young and Naive everyone should evaluate their particular situation and draw a conclusion that is appropriate for their situation.

  10. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Nice article, Pauline !!!

    However, I’ve seen guys play head games with actual engagement rings too.

    Once read on a guy that had given out 4 different rings, very nice rings too, engagement rings to 4 different women in an 8 year timespan.

    In fact, over the years, I’ve read on many guys that toyed with a woman’s affections after giving her a real engagement ring.

    A ring means NOTHING, I don’t care if it’s a promise ring, engagement ring, OR an actual wedding band…IF the emotions behind it aren’t real or sincere.

    It’s what’s in the heart of the man giving the ring that counts. Otherwise, those rings are only worth the dollar value amount of the content of gold and stones in them.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

  11. Debbie

    Let’s say a couple in their 50’s, both previously divorced not intending to marry but are in love and committed to each other; a promise ring could be nice

  12. Debster

    I agree 100% with this article. My ex tried to give me a promise ring with the intent that I stay off the market while he continued to keep his options open. Notice, there’s not too many “promise,” rings for men…. so who gets the shackles put on? The girl. Lose-lose, ladies.

  13. Tom

    Well written Pauline, but covers only one side of the many sided coin– so to speak. Seren’s perspective covers another, but how about other beliefs then the christian one, that doesn’t require a symbol (ring) to make a commitment. Bottom line is to follow your own heart and customs and take any commitment you make seriously.

  14. Juanita

    I lived with my husband for years before we got engaged and when we did get engaged, he gave me a serious piece of ice that wasn’t a promise ring. We’ve been happily married for two years and I can’t imagine myself with anyone else. Don’t listen to statistics and don’t let them dictate how you run your life. If I could go back and redo our relationship, I would do it the same way!

    And by the way, just because a woman moves in with a man, it doesn’t mean she automatically becomes a 1950s housewife! My husband didn’t get any “freebies” off of me that I didn’t get off of him. We both had full-time jobs and shared our chores, including cooking and cleaning.

    Relationships are all about the people in them, not stupid statistics, or old-school, backwards thinking.

    I also agree that a promise ring is childish and a cop-out when two people in a relationship are in their 30s and 40s. You’re either engaged or you’re not.

  15. Regina 5764

    Very well said! I’ve done so many readings trying to help people untangle and decipher the difference between a promise ring and an actual engagement ring. This is very well written, and unfortunately usually correct.

  16. Maxine

    Sounds like excellent advice and corresponds exactly with “living together” before being married. For both the promise ring and living together, the question is, “What’s the point?” If a woman moves in with a man, just like with the promise ring, he then has no reason to marry her. He’s likely already gotten everything he would get out of a marriage including possibly children and or a live in house cleaner and chef. Statistics show couples that live together don’t stay together. Skip the promise ring and skip playing house! Go for the real deal.

  17. Quinn ext.5484Psychic -quinn ext 5484

    Hi Pauline,
    Great article. I find it interesting how people go for 4-6 years dating with the promise ring on the finger.
    if you are under 20 a promise ring is a okay but really grownups need to get real about the intention of the relationship.

  18. Seren ext. 5445Psychic Seren, Ext 5445

    A very interesting perspective, Pauline, and one with which I tend to agree when applied to mature adults.

    I feel it is crucial, however, to keep in mind that certain situations might lend themselves to a pre-commitment “commitment.” For example, is one partner separated but has not yet received their finalized divorce? In such a situation, many would feel it tacky or classless to become engaged. Yet the partners in the relationship might feel they want to acknowledge their deeper commitment to each other in some manner. I can understand how, in this scenario, a promise ring would serve as a sincere sign of their commitment to become engaged once circumstances are more appropriate.

    Finances are also a consideration. Engagement rings are far more costly than promise rings. A gentleman of limited means might wish to gift his lady love with a commitment ring and yet have to save for a considerable time before he can afford an engagement ring. A promise ring could bridge the gap until such time as he can gift her with what he truly desires to give her.

    And that is the key point, in my eyes… a ring of any sort, whether it be a promise ring or an engagement is a gift, not a requirement. Nor are either type of ring really determiners of the commitment, or lack thereof, that is truly in one’s heart. They are external symbols and nothing more.

    I do understand and agree with the underlying spirit of your article and agree that it is crucial to be honest with ourselves about whether it is a commitment or a cop out.

    And for those who are too emotionally connected to the relationship to objectively determine the giver’s true intent, we are always here to help.

    Brightest Blessings,
    Seren, Ext 5445


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