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O/T. ex and engagement ring issue

2Tired4Drama's picture

My ex husband and I have been divorced for almost 20 years. It is a distant but civil relationship we have now. We touch base once a year or so - usually with family news like deaths, births, etc. He is remarried (3rd wife) but has never had children. His family's females(mother, sisters in law) were never friendly or welcoming to me - pretty much ignored me or were bitchy our whole marriage

When we got engaged he gave me a ring that had been in his family awhile. By law, it belongs to me. I have no children either. I decided to list his eldest niece who I knew as a kid back then (and who now has a daughter of her own) as getting the ring when I die. I figure it will get back in the family's hands that way and avoid going to his 3rd wife or bitchy sisters, etc.

I have not told my ex this as I feel it's none of his business what's in my will or quite frankly, what I do with the

ring since its my legal property. But he has now asked me if I still have the ring and if I have any plans to give it back to his family.

What should I tell him?

B22S22's picture

I have a ring that was given to me by my first DH. It was his grandmother's ring. DH's mom thought it was "junk jewelry" so never paid any mind to it after Grandmother passed away; Grandfather was the one who gave it to my DH to give to me, as it was Grandmother's original engagement ring (she had the stones removed and put in a more "sturdy" setting).

The ring is an antique, 22Kt white gold filigree. My first DH had diamonds reset in it and gave it to me for our 5th anniversary.

My first DH passed away, and one of the questions my MIL asked me was where the ring was because she wanted it to "keep it in the family" (mind you, my first DH didn't have any sisters, only brothers so "keeping it in the family" means she'll take it). I however, have a daughter and plan on giving it to her when she is an adult.

My DH passed 10 years ago, and to this day it is still an issue with the MIL. It eats her alive, as she's convinced I'm going to pawn it or something (eyeroll). I also know she often asks my DD15 about it, if I've given it to her yet; does DD15 want to give it to her for "safe keeping" etc.

I just wish MIL understood that I am quite sentimental, and would NEVER do something like that. I've made it very clear to her what the disposition of that ring will be, it's not like I'm going to give it to my SS's or something. I'm not sure what is speaking louder with my MIL -- sentimentality over the ring, or plain old jealousy and greed.

I agree that technically the ring is YOURS, and you can do with it what you want. Kudos to you that you are going to in essence "return" it to the family by giving it to the niece.

giveitago's picture

I'd tell him I was keeping it to pass on to the next generation. Do you have kids? Traditionally it's the first daughter who gets the mom's rings. You really do not need to make any plans yet, unless your demise is imminent?! People hold you to plans once you voice them, just a cautionary note. I agree with your plans, as a 'so far' thing. None of us know what's in our future so I would not make concrete plans for the ring.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I think it is nice that you are going to leave the ring to one of his daughters. It is a family heirloom from his family and belongs there.

I would not hesitate to tell your Ex what you have planned.

New second wife-step-mom's picture

I'd just give it back if I were you. It will ease their minds, plus give the niece a chance to wear it while her hands aren't covered in wrinkles and sun damage.

^^^ THIS. I would give it to the niece now.

stormabruin's picture

Is this a piece of jewelry you still wear? If not, why continue holding onto it now? It seems to be a common thought with a lot of people here (when it comes to DH's/SO's holding onto past wedding jewelry) that pieces from past relationships have no place in the home when a new relationship is formed.

I am a sentimental person & putting myself in his place, I would also hope that someone I've managed to remain civil & peaceful with would offer me the courtesy of at least letting me know it would make it's way back where to my family.

Perhaps what's in your will is none of his business, but that doesn't mean that sharing that piece of it isn't a cordial & civil thing to do. What would it hurt just to let him know that much?

2Tired4Drama's picture

For what it's worth, I am sentimental about the ring myself. Since I will never remarry it is the only ring like it I will ever have. I have had it for most of my adult life and do wear it -although not daily.

stormabruin's picture

Does it bother your SO that you still wear this engagement ring?

Not judging, & not suggesting that your SO should be telling you what you can/cannot wear. Just asking.

2Tired4Drama's picture


oldone's picture

My grandmother had a ring that went to my mother (one of 7 sisters) because they had the same birth month. GM got it for her 60th wedding anniversary so did not have it but a couple of years. My mother wore the ring for decades.

One of my cousins (same birth month) wanted the ring but I kept it as it had been my mother's. I am leaving it to her granddaughter but she doesn't know it.

It probably isn't worth anything. 10K gold and fake stone - but it's very pretty. All the value is sentimental.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Thanks for your insights, everyone. I've let my ex know my plans and reiterated I know the importance of keeping this in his family. Will wait to see his response ...

Orange County Ca's picture

I assume the neice doesn't know of this. If true ask your ex what his thoughts are and share yours with him. Unless he feels strongly about who gets it other than his daughter give it to the daughter now. If he can convince you to give it to someone else then obviously go along with him and do it now.

If the daughter knows of your plans don't ask him just tell him you're giving the ring to the daughter and do it now.

Note I use the word 'now'. Unless you're really actively using the ring get rid of it. There is always a possibility of it not going where you want it to go and it could actually be stolen or lost between now and then.