Here's the story:
I have two daughters, Claire and Emma, who have never gotten along well. Claire was the rebellious one growing up, hated any type of societal expectations, and Emma was much more conventional. Claire began dating her now husband when she went away to college and the first time she brought him home my husband was not happy.
He had black nail polish and a streak in his hair. I actually had a conversation with my husband about how he can't be such a pompous @$$ and he is going to drive Claire away. Neither of us like her husband, but we try to bite our tongues. He did not ask my husband for her hand in marriage and when they told us they were engaged she already had a ring.
Emma also met her husband in college and he was much more clean cut and someone my husband would approve of. Emma's fiance came to us before he proposed and asked permission. This did endear him more to my husband and my husband told him that he had a family heirloom ring he had received in his mother's will and if he wanted to use it for Emma he could.
It is a very expensive ring and it was left to my husband on the condition I never wear it (long story, MIL hated me) He did offer it to me but it didn't feel right.
Emma's fiance accepted the ring and Claire found out and thinks that we punished her for making different choices, being with a man we don't like, and not going along with a "sexist tradition" I feel like it was my husband's ring to do what he wanted and since Claire's husband didn't tell us before he proposed, she already had a ring and we are not playing favorites.
"He had black nail polish and a streak in his hair" I don't know how you both got through that. What a trying time. YTA for favoring one daughter over another. Not everyone is clean cut and follows the same path. Why don't you like Claire's husband? You didn't really explain that.
Yta for expecting your sons in law to ask permission to marry your daughters. The only permission they need is from the women they are marrying. You do not own your daughters. Also Yta for not even offering the ring to the first daughter to wed, it smacks of favouritism.
This is a tricky one, not the @$$hle in terms of being able to do whatever you want with your own property, light YTA for playing favourites. Wearing black nail polish and having a streak in his hair is hardly reason to hate on the guy, though you haven't gone into detail about how he is a 'pompous @$$'.
Also, asking for a daughters hand in marriage is a bit of a conservative tradition, my partner would have been annoyed at me if I did this.
ESH. Claire needs to get over herself. She had no right to this ring and seems to have ageist ideas that the oldest should automatically scoop the pool. That’s at least as archaic as your sexism.
But you and your husband have made no attempt to balance things between your two daughters. You’ve favoured one over the other. The problem is not how Claire and Emma have got along but how the two of you have got on with Claire. That looks unfixable in the medium term now. She looks driven away, just as you feared.
Lol at black fingernail polish being a reason to not like someone. YTA for treating your in-laws the same way your MIL treated you. The ring now has a history of drama. You should have taken the ring and made two necklaces or whatever out of it. What was your plan anyway since you weren’t going to use it? A little thought and effort would have gone a long way.
YTA. That is blatant favoritism. I can hear it just in the way you describe your eldest and her husband. You should have sat both daughters down, informed them about the ring, and allowed them to hash out who got to have it.
You have one ring to pass on. You handle it by finding a way to compensate the one who doesn't get the ring, through another family heirloom, or some money toward their ring, etc. You don't get to pick who your kids marry. You aren't the one who has to be married to them. Blatant favoritism over looks is gross. You should care about how they treat their partner. No one needs to ask for permission to get married.
NTA - Claire came to you already engaged and with an engagement ring of her own. She doesn’t need a second one. I will refrain from weighing in on the cultural implications of the whole “asking permisssion” ritual, save to point out that Claire clearly wants no part of it, other than wanting the shinies that go along with it even when she already has one of her own.
Tell Claire that her sister is exactly as deserving of that ring as she is, and she doesn’t need two. You and hubby are perilously close to being @$%h@les about Claire’s guy, based on the lack of concrete reason to dislike him beyond mere nail polish.
YTA. I, as a female, would be mortified and embarrassed (not to mention pissed) if my fiancee asked my parents' permission to marry me. No one needs to be asked that but ME. Anyway, the ring should have been put away and put in your will to be given equally to both sisters so they can figure it out themselves after you are gone. The way you handled it was very sexist and was blatant favoritism.