Though it seems only fair that jilted brides get to keep unconsummated engagement rings so they can go out and buy a better boyfriend post-breakup (and vice versa), New York State law dictates that the giver must get the ring back if the engagement is broken, no matter who got cold feet or slept with the caterer. But law is a tricky thing, and it appears this particular mandate applies only if the engagement happened in the first place—one woman who dumped her erstwhile manfriend gets to keep a $10K engagement ring because he never officially asked her to marry him. Courts don't look kindly on your coy language, sir!
The Post reports that a Nassau County judge ruled that Debbie Lopez, 48, can keep the ring bestowed upon her by ex-boyfriend Joseph Robert Torres in 2010, even though she dumped him in 2012. Apparently, when Torres handed her the ring, "he said it was a gift for being a great woman, a good mother of his child," Lopez, who has a young son with him, told the tabloid.
And though Torres reportedly thought he was proposing at the time, since he never explicitly asked Lopez to marry him, the courts are on her side. According to the ruling, that ring was "given as a gift and not in contemplation of marriage."
The lesson here, of course, is that if you a) want to get married or b) want to get that $$$$$ back if you or your partner decides, in the end, that "'til death do us part" is not quite right, make sure the phrase "WILL YOU MARRY ME" precedes the handing over of a ring. And perhaps bring a tape recorder with you lest someone disputes said proposal in court once things go sour. Nothing's more romantic than covering all your legal bases.