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Guy Irate After Brother Steals His Engagement Ring As ‘Placeholder’ To Propose To Girlfriend

Man holding an engagement ring
Ksenia Ershova/Getty Images

We can all agree that weddings and the events leading up to them are more expensive to plan and host than they ever were before.

But proposals are becoming increasingly expensive and complicated, as well, as people become more concerned with their special moment standing out from the crowd.

Sometimes the lengths people will go to in order to make that happen are questionable at best, side-eyed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor ThrowawayNewRing was excited to share the news that he was going to propose to his girlfriend with his brother, who he liked to share all special moments with.

But when his brother took advantage of this information and nearly ruined his proposal, the Original Poster (OP) wondered how good of a friend his brother actually was.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for forcing my brother to buy me a new engagement ring?”

The OP was excited to propose to his girlfriend.

“I’m (26 Male) proposing to my girlfriend (24 Female) on our fourth anniversary, September 30th.”

“I’ve been planning this for about a month, and I picked up the ring a couple of weeks ago. The one I got was on sale, so I managed to get it at a surprisingly low price.”

“Last weekend, I told my brother (33 Male) about my plans and showed him the ring.”

“He informed me that he was proposing to his girlfriend (29 Female) as well.”

Then the OP’s brother made a surprising request.

“The next day, my brother came to my apartment while my girlfriend was out. He asked me if he could ‘borrow’ my ring to propose to his girlfriend.”

“I thought he was joking at first, but no. His plan was to propose to his girlfriend, explain he was using my ring as a ‘placeholder,’ and then take her to pick her own ring later.”

“His reasoning was that he didn’t want to spend too much money right away in case she didn’t say yes.”

“I’d never heard of ‘placeholder rings,’ so I said no, and the conversation moved on.”

But the OP’s brother did not listen.

“On Tuesday, he proposed to his girlfriend. With my ring.”

“He’d taken it before leaving my apartment. I got distracted at work and didn’t notice it was gone until his fiancée sent a picture of herself wearing the ring to our family group chat.”

“I called him to ask about the ring, and he immediately apologized and said he’d ‘keep his promise’ and give it back to me.”

“But at this point, my girlfriend had seen it, and his fiancée had posted about it on social media, so it was pointless for me to propose using the same ring.”

“We fought about it, and he confessed that while he’d told his fiancée the ring was a placeholder, he didn’t tell her where he’d gotten it from.”

The OP decided to hold his brother accountable.

“I felt more angry and betrayed about him going behind my back and taking the ring after I said no than the fact that he stole it.”

“I also know his fiancée enough to know she wouldn’t like to learn her engagement ring had been stolen from me.”

“So I told my brother I’d tell her the truth if he didn’t buy me a new engagement ring.”

“He fought against it for a few hours but finally gave up and agreed. We went to a different jewelry store yesterday, and I picked a new ring. I managed to stay in the price range, but the new one was still 100 dollars more expensive.”

“My brother bought the ring but is still accusing me of being inconsiderate and childish.”

“He is insistent he would have given me the ring back had I given him the opportunity, and I didn’t need to threaten him to spend so much money on me. He’s now refusing to talk to me.”

The OP felt conflicted about his relationship with his brother.

“I don’t know how to feel about this anymore. I’d usually talk to my brother about these things, and it’s surreal that he’s the one I’m fighting. I can’t tell my girlfriend, and many of our friends overlap.”

“The only other person who knows about this is our mom, who’s divided: she thinks what my brother did was wrong and I’m right to be p**sed at him, but I didn’t have to stoop as low as I did by threatening his relationship.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some reassured that the OP was totally justified in holding his brother accountable. 

“NTA. Your brother created this entire situation and is 100% at fault. If it were me, I’d make all four parties sit down and explain everything. You might as well rip the band-aid off now cause it’s going to come out sooner or later. It will be much worse if it’s later.” – Tyler4u2

“NTA. He STOLE your ring. That was a choice he made, and it’s also the choice that is threatening his relationship, not your reaction and words.”

“It’s completely fair if you never trust him again, since he also decided that having that ring was more important than a good relationship with you.” – lemogera

“Your mother shouldn’t be ‘divided,’ she should be p**sed at your brother. He stole and disrespected you.”

“Then he’s mad at you for this? This is a story that will come out one day, it will, and I hope he’s ready for the fallout. I’d be horrified if my husband had done something this low.”

“I’d tell your fiancé for sure though. No secrets. NTA.” – Littleballoffur22


“Your brother had to be like, ‘Hey, will you marry me? But also, this is the ring my brother bought for his girlfriend because I couldn’t be a**ed to spend money on this until I knew you’d say yes and make it a good investment… So I’m gonna need that back actually once you’re done posting it on Instagram…'”

“He never intended to return the ring, OP. I’d be shocked if he actually told his new fiancée it was a ‘placeholder.'”

“Good for you getting him to pay for the new ring, and shame on your mother for trying to rug sweep this whole thing.” – Reevadare1990

“Keep the real info between you and your fiance. Feed him incorrect info. Tell him you’re going to have the reception at a super-expensive hall, exaggerate the costs of the wedding dress, flowers, and photographer, etc. Tell him how extravagant your around-the-world honeymoon cruise is going to be. Give him a date far into the future.”

“Don’t give him any real details until he’s made his plans. That will teach him to try to one-up you and steal your thunder.” – WaldoJeffer65

“OP is NTA. And OP, please give your brother inaccurate info, just in case he wants to steal your ideas or your thunder. The only proof you need to see if this is happening would be to tell your brother a date about one year out and see what he does. Obviously don’t give him the correct date.”

“Also, you need to tell your fiance everything that happened, she deserves to know so she doesn’t tell the brother’s fiance anything accurate.”

“To keep the details straight about the fake wedding, you and fiance should consider writing it up with everything the opposite of what you really want so you both can feed that info to your brother. Pick a date so that if brother wants to beat it, he will really have to scramble, and then sit back and watch.”

“Have a code word for EVERY vendor so no one can call and cancel or make any changes. Do NOT take any chances. Don’t tell anyone about the passwords and ask vendors to contact your fiance or you if anyone tries to change anything. And DIFFERENT passwords for each vendor.”

“If no one tries anything, then no one will even know about this, and it should only take a few minutes when you initially talk to the vendors.”

“I know most of this is being paranoid, but also it’s all easy to do and could prevent major amounts of problems for OP and his fiance. Consider it a type of insurance for a known risk factor.” – floridaeng

Others pointed out the only one being “inconsiderate and childish” was the OP’s brother.

“Wait, YOU are inconsiderate and childish? Let me re-read that. Y O U are inconsiderate and childish? YOU!?” – SaltNorth

“NTA. ‘…accusing me of being inconsiderate and childish.’ Brother DEFINITELY has that backward; he stole your engagement ring from you.”

“If brother had chosen to be an adult, or remotely considerate of his girlfriend, he could have gone to a jewelry store and simply asked, ‘what if she turns me down?’ Many have refund or return policies.”

“Brother miscalculated that his girlfriend would post the ring online (everyone posts that) and might not want a different ring, forcing him and you into a lie. Even if the ring hadn’t been posted and hadn’t been kept, the girlfriend may have later recognized it on your girlfriend’s hand, resulting in a very awkward conversation between the girls and the guys.”

“The conversation would have been especially bad if everyone were truly honest about what had transpired. Now if his girlfriend keeps the ring, that you specifically chose for your engagement, you and your mom have to help your brother by holding onto the lie forever. He is the AH!”

“I hope he comes to his senses and realizes he treated you like crap and started his engagement/marriage by dragging you and your mother into his lie. Sometimes good people make really, really bad decisions. I hope relationships can be mended, but definitely NTA here.” – JuJu8485

“It’s hilarious he’s calling YOU inconsiderate and childish. Snatching something when the owner has explicitly told you ‘no’ is something I would absolutely expect a small child to do. Holding the person accountable and insisting they make amends is what the grown-up in the situation does. NTA.” – SeaworthinessNo1304

“He’s accusing OP of being ‘inconsiderate and childish’ after he STOLE AN ENGAGEMENT RING MEANT FOR SOMEONE ELSE AND USED IT IN A PROPOSAL? OP, you are absolutely NTA but your brother is a huge, gaping AH.” – WerewolfDangerous441

“His girlfriend posted pics online wearing the ring, how was your girlfriend supposed to handle you presenting the same ring? You had to threaten his relationship or he would not have corrected his f**kup and hung you out to dry. At this point, you should make him tell his fiancee just out of spite.”

“If it is not a big deal, he shouldn’t have a problem with telling her. He knows he is a turd and is trying to shift blame on you. If he is going to be childish and continue giving you grief, you might as well make the trouble worth it and tell her yourself so she knows just how manipulative he can be.” – Birdapotamus

“NTA. He was the one being inconsiderate and childish by stealing your property. A ‘placeholder ring’ can be anything, like a dollar store ring, a bread bag tie, a piece of string, etc. He could have found ANY cheap ring to buy and use as a placeholder; instead, he stole your property AFTER you said no.”

“What was he going to tell his girlfriend when you proposed with the same ring after he gave her another one? That you bought it off him? That doesn’t make you look good at all.”

“The only reason he’d do this is to propose before you. He got what he deserved by having to buy you a more expensive ring; don’t feel guilty at all. He’s threatening his relationship by pulling this kind of thing, not you.”

“Sorry to say this, but he has now proven that he’s not the supportive person you think he is. He’s a selfish thief, and he needs to be on an information diet from now on because he obviously can’t handle NOT being the center of attention.”

“Tell him every piece of news you have whenever you tell the rest of the family; no earlier, or he’s going to try to one-up you.” – cl_thulhu

The subReddit was totally appalled that the OP’s brother ever thought that this would be okay behavior or that he wanted to keep something this big a secret from his future wife and future sister-in-law.

Not only did the OP do the right thing by holding his brother accountable, the subReddit believed, but he also likely should fill in his future wife on what the story behind her engagement ring was.

And perhaps most importantly, maybe the brother’s behavior was an indicator of why he thought his future wife would not say yes to his proposal…

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.