A quick search for women’s engagement rings will uncover over 149 million search results. But if you search for men’s engagement rings, this drops to just under 40 million results. While this is still a lot of choices, it’s certainly much lower than for women.
What’s the cause of the discrepancy? It’s likely that men are much less likely to wear an engagement. Obviously, this information is only relevant for heterosexual couples.
In same-sex and non-binary relationships, it’s far more likely that both partners will wear an engagement ring. But in heterosexual relationships where the man proposes to the woman, only around 5% of men will wear an engagement ring.
We’ve scoured the internet to determine why men are less likely to wear an engagement ring. We’ll also explore how and why this trend might change in the future.
Reason #1 – Men are more likely to propose
The simplest reason that men don’t wear engagement rings is that they are more likely to propose. Traditionally, the person who pops the question also hands over a ring. It would require the woman to then go out and purchase a ring for her partner after they are engaged, and this just isn’t a popular move.
Until women are popping the question an equal amount of time, then it’s unlikely that men wearing engagement rings will become the norm. That’s not to say that it never happens. A survey of straight couples found that 5% of women proposed to their partner.
Reason #2 – It isn’t traditional
Another simple reason why men don’t wear engagement rings is that it isn’t backed up by tradition in many Western countries. However, that’s not to say that this practice isn’t popular elsewhere.
In places like Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Sweden, it’s customary for the man to also wear an engagement ring. Interestingly, in Chile, both parties wear their engagement rings on their right hand and then switch to their left after marriage. In Argentina, the engagement ring is typically made from silver while the wedding band is made from gold.
Some men like to break and bring in aspects of cultures from around the world. For this reason, we could see more men choosing to wear an engagement ring in line with these traditions from around the world.
Reason #3 – They aren’t as widely available
Companies don’t target men with marketing for engagement rings, so they are less likely to want one or to ask for one. Many men like wearing jewellery, so it’s not beyond the scope or reality that they might respond well to the idea of wearing an engagement ring.
Men’s engagement rings are available to purchase, but they are less common than those for women. With the right marketing approach, it could become a sweet trend for women to surprise their partner with their own ring after their engagement. This will allow both parties to display their status and not just the woman.
Reason #4 – Men are more likely to work with their hands
Men who work in physically demanding roles might be reluctant to wear a special or important ring every day. And if they’re going to be taking it off for work every day, there is a greater risk they will lose it. This could lead some couples to wonder if it is even worth the extra expense.
While many women work with their hands and are apt at taking off their ring and caring for it all day, it’s more common for women to put up with this inconvenience than it is for men.
Reason #5 – There aren’t enough role models yet
While there are some famous people who wear men’s engagement rings, it isn’t common practice just yet, so men aren’t seeing the role models they need to take this step. Ed Sheeran and Michael Buble famously wear men’s engagement rings, but this isn’t widespread practice just yet. If a few more famous men would opt to wear engagement jewellery, this could help to start a trend for men wanting to display their engaged status.
Reason #6 – It’s not considered masculine
Another likely reason that men won’t wear engagement rings is that they worry that it isn’t masculine. Getting engaged is traditionally seen as a time when a man asks for a woman’s hand in marriage. Some men see the engagement ring as a way to “mark” their partner and let others know they are off limits.
For this reason, men might see the engagement ring as a feminine symbol. They also might be concerned that people might assume they are in a same sex relationship or that their partner proposed to them. Very traditional males might not enjoy clearing up this confusion.
It takes a very secure man to wear an engagement ring if this is not common in their culture. There may be lots of societal barriers we need to tear down before men wearing engagement rings will become the norm.
While it might not be common, it certainly isn’t unheard of for men to wear engagement rings. Around the world, men commonly wear an engagement ring before their wedding and some men choose to do this in Western countries, too.
With more role models and a greater understanding of what the engagement ring really means, we could see more women buying their partner a ring as a gift after he has proposed. And with more women feeling empowered to push the relationship forward and propose to their partner, this could also increase the number of men wearing engagement rings.
For men that love to wear jewellery, they will be pleased to know there are many unique styles available. They’ll have their pick of unusual metals like tungsten or cobalt, often in a two-tone design.
They can also choose an engagement ring that is more ornate than a typical wedding band, with stones set into the band, or engravings. It’s also common to see unique materials like carbon fibre and fragments of meteorite in men’s engagement rings.