Here's the story:
I (36 male) have a 16 year old daughter named Jane. Jane is a great kid and was really close to my mom until she passed away a year ago. My mother gave one piece of her jewelry to her children before she passed away. I was given her engagement ring.
I have been planning a proposal to my girlfriend, Laura (30 female) for about 6 months now. Jane is from my previous relationship (her mother and I were never married). I’ve been dating Laura for about 5 years.
I told Jane I was going to propose. She was happy about it and asked to see the ring. I told her I’d be using my mothers ring and Jane looked upset so I asked her what was wrong. She said she had assumed the ring would be hers since she is my daughter. I explained the ring was given to me and there are other heirlooms (small items like rosary beads) she can have.
For clarification I do have the money to buy a ring but the sentimental value of this ring is why I wanted to use it. Laura also helped us take care of our mom while she was sick and they were close. I proposed to Laura with the ring and she said yes.
After this happened Jane cried to her uncle (my brother) about it and he understands both points. His wife thinks I’m an AH so do some other family members. I obviously can’t take it back from Laura when I already proposed. AITA?
After reading all your comments, YTA. Of course, you can speak to your fiancé and tell her that you hurt your child and made a mistake. You communicate with her and buy her a new ring.
Before reading your comments, I was N A H. Your daughter’s feelings are valid, it’s a family heirloom. But you are correct too, it’s your ring, your fiancé was close to your mother. But your comments make it clear that your an AH.
YTA. The ring should have been Jane's. Find out if Laura would accept an exact duplicate of the ring and exchange that for the heirloom for Jane. Otherwise I predict you will have a very unhappy daughter who will resent both you and her future stepmother for a long time. If I were Jane, I too would be deeply hurt that a ring that belonged to my grandmother was given to a non-blood relative.
If the ring "should have been Jane's", then her grandmother SHOULD have given it to Jane. But she didn't. She gave Jane something else, and GAVE the ring to her son. Jane isn't entitled to something just because she wants it.
YTA. How is a 5 year relationship mother of an SO become more important than a 16 year bond with a grandma? Sentimental jewelry is typically passed down from generation to generation and you basically skipped over your daughter. Doing this soon after your mother's passing makes you and even bigger AH!
There was no reason you couldn't have just bought her a different ring instead of one with sentimental value to your daughter. This decision has certainly injured your relationship with your daughter, perhaps beyond repair as you've made sure she will resent you and your Fiancé. Don't be surprised if in two years she moves out on her birthday and goes NC with you.
NTA. His fiance IS GOING TO BE FAMILY. also, engagement rings as heirlooms are traditionally used in proposals. Remember it belongs to the grandmother of Jane, not her mom. So the dad has every right to use HIS heirloom that he inherented from HIS MOTHER as he sees fit.
YTA for proposing with the ring AFTER you knew how your daughter felt about it. You completely dismissed her feelings. The best way I see to salvage this is have a conversation with Laura about the ring being an heirloom, it's meaning to Jane, and your hope that it will be passed down to her eventually. If she's a decent person she'll either (a) agree to this, or (b) suggest getting a different ring.
YTA based on subsequent responses. Your daughter and her grandma were very close. You are now giving a very special momento of her grandma to someone else who will in all likelyhood pass it down to someone who never knew the woman.
Your daughter will always be your daughter. Your wife might not always be your wife. YTA
I don’t think you’re an asshole, but I think you should make it clear to Laura that the ring is a family heirloom, and it will go to Jane when she is dating/getting engaged. Laura is not related to your mother, but Jane is. I think the ring should be temporary for Laura but ultimately go to Jane.
Update: My daughter and brother decided to call my father to come to my house and talk to me. Laura was out to dinner with her friends. My daughter and brother explained to my father their thoughts on the situation. I stayed quiet while they explained their point so that my father could really hear what my daughter was saying and so I could also hear her out. My father is a marine veteran and very blunt.
My father stopped them and said he’s heard enough. He said my mother would have wanted Laura to have the ring and Jane isn’t showing fhe maturity to receive an heirloom right now. He told her he’s disappointed in her entitlement and that she needed to get her attitude in check by his next visit. He also reminded everyone Laura’s been family for years even before we were together even if it’s not by blood.
My daughter said yes sir and isn’t happy about the outcome but accepts my father saying this is what my mother wanted.
Final update: Since everyone wants to know Laura’s take here we go. I told Laura what was going on and that Jane is upset. I also told her the ring is hers now and she can decide who it is eventually passed down to. I know a lot of people won’t agree with this but it’s what I’m doing.
We have a pre nup in the works for other properties we own. Laura suggested adding the ring just for secure minds and we agreed we would add that it would be given back to the family if we were to divorce. Laura will not be passing on the ring unless she passes away. That is my fathers request to her and she is honoring that.
We have spoken to Jane and I have explained all of this. I’ve explained she’ll always be my daughter and that won’t change. She understands. She apologized to Laura and me for her behavior and explained she was just upset. Laura had a one on one talk with her as well about how she loves her and isn’t trying to replace anyone or change the family dynamic we have. Jane seems to feel better.
Update: Laura might be pregnant. Jane does know.
Update: The ring has been added to our will. We have decided to continue the tradition I started of the ring going to a son to give to his wife. If we do not have a son then the ring will go to a grandson or to my nephew. Since the ring will not be given to anyone until we pass we are not telling Jane that has been added to the will.