Love, Self

Battle Of The Exes: Do You Keep The Ring Or Give It Back?

Divorce: Do You Keep The Ring Or Give It Back?

As a relationship coach, it's definitely not my job to publicly weigh in on celebrity disputes when I don't even know the people involved. It is my job, however, to look for "teachable moments" and try to provide value to people that will help create more conscious, loving and productive relationships. The situation between NFL superstar Mario Williams and his ex is one of those moments. (Also bear in mind, this is a relationship forum. I am not qualified, nor interested, in giving legal advice here.)

The Story Behind The Headlines

Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills, is a former number one draft pick and one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL. His former fiancée has refused his repeated requests to return a $785,000 diamond engagement ring after their breakup; resulting in the court case, claiming instead that he made it "abundantly clear in writing" that he wanted her to have it. Which is a curious argument considering the fact that his lawsuit is also, "abundantly clear in writing." As part of the proceedings, her attorney has released private texts between both parties that are potentially very damaging to Williams and his career.

Making The Break

Let's put aside the legal implications of ring possession for a moment. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing is more important when looking for a potential soulmate than to find someone of great character — and it is never too soon to begin exhibiting great character. In fact, a situation like this might be the greatest time of all. This is a time to begin to transition from thoughts of the past to thoughts of the future. Any time a couple splits up due to irreconcilable differences, it's not necessarily pleasant, but it can always be positive. Frankly, sometimes it's also absolutely for the highest and best good of both parties long-term. The number one question to focus on is getting the lesson — and I don't just mean "he's a jerk" or "she's a witch." That's not a lesson at all. That's a character assassination that protects your ability to feel "right" or justified. Plus, it greatly increases the odds that you'll miss what you needed to learn and be right back in this place again ... only with someone else next time. So I would suggest there's an even better question to ask in order to move forward and begin the process of healing.

Who Do I Want To Be Here?

There's probably nothing in life that can create as much pain, or as much growth as your intimate relationships. And a great deal of the difficulty in relationships happens when people value "things" more than "people." This case is a perfect example of that concept. It's clear that these two people are no longer on the same page in regard to what they want or need. I would suggest that there is a far bigger and better question to be asked here that will serve both parties well and bring out their very best instead of their worst. That simple question is: "Who am I committed to being here?" In other words, if you could change time and perspective, and look back on this situation a year later, or a decade later, could you feel satisfied when you ask the question, "Am I proud of how I showed up there?" If your answer is an emphatic and resounding "yes" then that's the empowering choice. If not, there may be some additional lessons in your future and beware — those tend to get progressively uglier.

More breakup advice from YourTango:

From His Perspective

This whole lawsuit situation is so disempowering. What if, instead, a man could use it to find the empowering meaning? That only comes from elevating your mindset, refusing to squabble and asking far better questions:

  • What if he found the gratitude in the situation and remembered how blessed he was with abundance and that this "learning experience" was worth far more to him than the value of the ring?
  • What if he used it to drive him to even more success and wealth because a real man knows he can always find a way to earn more money?
  • What if he took pride in his generosity and knew that the sting of that loss would be an excellent reminder to choose even more carefully next time?
  • What if he recommitted to finding "the right one" for him and used the situation to get even clearer on what he wanted and wouldn't tolerate any longer?
  • What if the price of the ring was a bargain compared to the cost of marrying a woman who would try to harm his ability to make a living?

These are all powerful and life-changing choices but decidedly less news-worthy nowadays.

From Her Perspective

Likewise, a woman could also use this scenario to find an empowering meaning:

  • What if she used it to get clear on her value and take pride on not selling out her principles for any amount of money?
  • What if she embraced her good fortune to have enjoyed such a lifestyle for a period of time and had the confidence that she could absolutely attract it again?
  • What if she was proud of the fact that refusing to keep the ring said far more about the content of her character than anything else — and in fact, her integrity might even be the thing that got her next man's attention?
  • What if she got even more clear on what she wanted and didn't want, and committed to being the woman who could attract that?
  • What if she remembered that men take a great deal of pride in providing for their women and that sometimes having money can create unexpected challenges?

These are just a handful of the empowering alternatives available if she chose to focus on them. 

It's Not About The Ring It's About You!

Perhaps you've noticed in life that sometimes huge disagreements that spin out of control are less about "right" and "wrong" and more about winning at all costs and saving face. In fact, to prove it, just about every day, somewhere in the world, an engagement is called off and a ring is returned without even being asked. Likewise, every day a ring is offered back and it's declined by the giver. It never goes in front of a judge.

So what's the difference between those situations and our "case in point?" It's simple. The difference is the character and consciousness of both parties. As I said earlier, these are critical attributes in your choice for a potential mate. The only other difference is simply the meaning that they've attached to the situation and I've offered you multiple possibilities there as well. Of course there's always a number of solutions in any disagreement. What if both people decided together to sell the ring and use the money jointly to support a favorite charity in their own names? That would be yet another way to insure that something good and positive came out of a situation that currently isn't so good. Remember, in any moment, we always have a choice between calling out our best and showing up at our worst. The only question is, What do you want to choose? If your honor isn't worth more than any piece of jewelry, you have even more trouble ahead.