For a while now, the internet has gotten into a lot of discussions over "shut up" rings. A "shut up" ring refers to someone proposing just to appease their partner — but in reality, they don't actually want the commitment. The term was popularized by TikTok user Cecilia Regina (@ceciliaregina275) who has created several videos about the subject on her page.
So, we recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the moment they realized they got a "shut up" ring. They shared the heartbreaking signs that their partner actually wasn't committed that they wish they knew before. Here's what they had to say:
1."My brother-in-law proposed to his girlfriend with a shut up ring. This was after they dated, broke up, got sort of back together, and went for couple's therapy. He gave her a ring and asked if she still wanted to get married. The weekend after they got engaged, her parents went to visit and celebrate with them (about a 400 km drive for her parents). He went off camping, alone, with his dog. He finally broke it off a month before their wedding."
"I always had a weird feeling about their relationship, like something between them wasn't right. My BIL actually got a lot of support after breaking it off. Even the minister who was supposed to marry them told them that she didn't think they should get married. They are both now married to other people. My current SIL is definitely a better match for my BIL."
2."The problem wasn’t the shut-up ring — it’s that I didn’t realize that’s what it was until after the divorce. My judgement was so clouded by how much I wanted it and that’s how he kept it dangling in front of me on a string for as long as he did. I remember crying on Valentine’s Day 2015 because in my head, I had made up that that would be our wedding day back in 2011, but we were still boyfriend and girlfriend and not doing anything for the day."
"It made me feel so stupid that I’d even set a date like that in my head, but in retrospect, when you're in a relationship for four years when you’re in your mid-20s and living together that long, having shared finances, and 'loving' each other is a natural progression, and I shouldn’t have been ashamed to expect that. Well, I should have called it quits then, but I didn’t. I thought we both wanted the same thing in the end...we didn’t. Didn’t get married until 2019. Divorced in 2022. Eleven almost 12 years, man — one-third of my life!
3."We’d been dating about a year. I had mentioned marriage, but he wasn’t feeling it. I went out to get Taco Bell for lunch and came home. He pulled out the ring and said, 'Thanks for the food.' I was thrilled at the time (I was 20), but looking back, it was definitely a shut up ring. We lasted eight years."
4."I was young, around 20, and super naive. Unfortunately, I fell for a guy who was in a relationship with another woman and had two kids with her. They all lived in his parent’s house. He left his family to be with me and moved into my house with my parents, leaving his baby mama to move out to her sister's house. For the year and a half we were together, he would cheat on me with her and vice versa — in addition to being extremely abusive, controlling, and manipulative. I eventually gave him an ultimatum, and my parents said he couldn’t live in their house anymore. So, he drove me to the jeweler and asked me to pick out a ring because he 'chose' me."
"I moved into his parent’s house with him after that, in the space his little family used to live. I spent days deep cleaning it out and packing up their remaining things for our 'fresh start.' A week later, I found a messaging app on his phone that he was using to tell his baby mama that the proposal wasn’t real, that she should know who he 'truly loves' (insinuating her), and that it wasn’t an engagement ring that he gave me. I packed up all my things immediately and called my dad to tell him that I was finally done with this man. When he saw me waiting with my things packed, he threw my bags out of the house. I left, but months later, still reconnected with him. I realized that I had outgrown this mistake and finally cut him off for good. I found out nine months later that he died in a car accident from driving under the influence and crashing into a tractor-trailer that was pulled over on the highway due to a flat tire. I messaged the baby mama and asked if I could go to the funeral. She said yes, and we cried together there. I told her that it was time for her to finally be free and focus on herself. I think about her often."
5."I had a friend who really wanted to marry her boyfriend, and after several years, he finally gave her the 'shut up' ring. A few weeks later, he asked her if he could wash her ring for her. (He was a neat freak.) He dropped her ring down the drain and 'couldn't' recover it."
"The ring was uninsured, and he didn't replace it. A couple of years later, she broke off their relationship and married someone else."
6."The first sign was that he proposed with a ring pop. He thought it was hilarious when I started to cry after seeing it was a joke. Fast-forward a few months, he got me a real ring. It was being sized, and the jeweler called and told me it was ready. He freaked that they called me. Called the store and told them not to give it to me. Management got involved. It was humiliating. We broke up."
7."Me and my boyfriend had been dating since the beginning of college, and he was more of the party, don’t-give-a-f***-type, while I was more practical and organized. I always wanted a family, and he never really thought about the future. Fast-forward four years into our relationship, I was talking to one of my girlfriends on the phone, and she told me that her brother was getting married. She then asked when my boyfriend was finally going to propose to me, and I didn’t have an answer — which worried me that I didn’t have a clear future."
"Afterwards I sat my boyfriend down and asked him what his plans for the future were (*cough, cough* marriage). He avoided the question and found an excuse to leave the room. The next moment, he gets on one knee. I said yes because I thought, ‘Maybe he was being weird yesterday because he’d already planned this out, and he didn’t want to give it away.’ Nope. A month later, I was anonymously texted that he’s been cheating on me for TWO years, and he only proposed so I’d stop being clingy, so he could get out to see her more. I fact-checked, and it was true."
8."When after months of my pressing him to set a date, he picked the anniversary date of his wedding to his ex-wife. Right in the kisser!"
9."We had been in a relationship for five years and had a child together; it seemed like the next natural step. About 10 months after the wedding, his side piece came to my job to let me know that they had been seeing each other for the majority of my relationship and the entirety of my marriage. I left and filed for divorce a week after our first anniversary. Afterward, they were married, and I began dating someone new. My ex and I fell into a comfortable pattern of co-parenting."
"My phone rings one day, and it's his now-wife asking if I knew where he was because he hadn't come home from work and that she had been out looking for him. I couldn't believe her nerve that she wanted me to show her sympathy. It gave me so much pleasure to say to her, 'Sorry, you wanted him so bad that I gave him to you. Not my problem anymore, sweetheart!' Before hanging up the phone."
10."I've struggled with mental health issues since before I met my husband. Three years, two kids, and one purchased house into our marriage, we had an argument while I was in the middle of a particularly nasty bout with depression and OCD. He complained that he always knew I would never change. I asked him why he had married me if he'd always felt that way. He said, 'I felt obligated.' Four years later, that answer still haunts me."
"I can still hear the exact way he said it, right down to the venomous inflection in his voice, and the deafening, earth-shattering silence that followed. We're still married and have moved past that dark time, for the most part. But I'll carry that with me for the rest of my life."
11."He wasn't involved in actually planning the wedding except to tell me what he wanted, not what I could afford. A year into our marriage, he wouldn't celebrate our anniversary. We were married for 13 years, and three children later, we divorced, and I was still fooling myself that he cared for me. After the divorce, I took a hard look back to see that he never really wanted me in the first place."
12."First words he said after giving me the ring were, 'Thank God that's over.'"
13."My boyfriend kept moving the goalposts. First, it was when he graduated college, then when he got a career established, and then when he got a little more security. In the meantime, I was watching everyone around me get married, and I’ll admit, I started dialing up the pressure for caring, and he got one."
"The next several years, he deflected any wedding talk, quit his job, got involved in a Star Trek fanfic circle, and then, it became when he sold his script to Paramount. One night, he waited until I was at work, and he packed all his stuff and moved back into his parents’ home. I gave up."
—55, New York
14."When I walked in on him banging FIVE chicks at once. I took the ring off and threw it at him. One of the girls bit me. It was rough. Anyway, I ghosted him on what would have been our wedding day."
—34, New York
15."We were together for four years, and when I turned 30, I told him I wanted to get married or there was no point in staying together if we were not moving forward. Eventually, two months later, he proposed to me. I was overjoyed, but immediately after, he told me that proposing was one thing, organizing a wedding was another one, and we would do that later. I picked the venue with his mom, and in the following months, he kept changing what he wanted for the big day: religious/non-religious, small/big, etc."
"Eight months after the proposal and one year before the wedding, he told me out of the blue that he was leaving me for a 25-year-old girl from work who was like him because she didn't want to be married but just 'live the moment.' It was horrible."
16."He proposed on Christmas — the ring was my present. We’d been together two and a half years at that point, and I said I wasn’t going to be a forever girlfriend. He was divorced, and I don’t think he will ever remarry. He proposed, I said yes, then nothing. No excitement, no planning, no talks of actually getting married; he did it to buy time. But what do you do when you get what you think you want? You shut up, too. I never pushed marriage and neither did he. We lived like that for two years, and then, I was done."
"By the time I physically left, I’d been checked out for months. I started dating a guy not long after, and it was everything I’d been missing for years. I felt wanted, not a matter of convenience. We have a fun, caring relationship, and a sweet baby. It all works out for the better, but you have to know your worth and don’t accept less than, ever. If you have to beg for something or someone, you probably don’t need it. I’ve learned that lesson for you!"
17."I gave him an ultimatum after six years of dating, and after, he said he still didn’t know if he wanted to marry me. He finally proposed, and he asked me how I felt. 'Happy!' I exclaimed. 'You?' I asked. He replied, 'This is a big commitment...' Not the answer you’d want during a proposal."
"Two years later, he tells me he regrets marrying me. I filed for divorce. Looking back, when he told me he had doubts after six years, I should’ve walked away then and found someone who can’t live without me."
18."I had been dating my boyfriend at the time for two years. He kept talking to me about marriage and family and how 'when we get married' — you know, this and that. It was my 21st birthday, and he told me he was going to get me something. We had been looking for apartments to rent to move in together. He tells me to go get his coat out of his car. When I get back, I hand him the coat. He threw it back at me and said, 'I think there is something in the pocket?' He then told me to pull it out. It was a tiny box, I opened it, and it was a cute promise ring. I got excited and said, 'What does this mean?' He said, 'You know what that means.' I was so excited that I didn’t realize I was never asked. He just assumed because it was a ring that he didn’t have to ask me."
"It was later that I found out his controlling parents said they would disown him if we moved out and had a place together before we got married. I was so stupid, young, and ignorant. I would never wish I hadn’t married him, but only because I wouldn’t have my two beautiful daughters if it wasn’t for him. We ended up eloping because we were moving into that apartment soon. I just wish sometimes I would have run instead of wasting 10 years of my life on someone who wanted me to be his wife, mother of his children, maid, chef, secretary, and servant — all because he had no backbone and allowed us to be bullied into marriage before we lived together. It could’ve saved me thousands on the divorce that was a nightmare, the trauma my girls and I dealt with after I left him, and the abuse I suffered at the hands of his 'perfect' parents. Barf!"
19."It was the same day I decided it was time for a divorce. I always kind of knew my first husband wasn't as deeply in love with me as I was with him, but I had at least thought he respected me. Then, I came home from work early one night to a note taped to my door. From my best friend. To him. Telling him how awesome the night before was, and asking when they can do it again."
"Apparently, I was wrong on all counts, and I began making my exit plan as soon as I stopped throwing things."
Have you ever gotten a "shut up" ring? In the comments below, if you feel comfortable sharing your story and what you learned, tell us the signs of a "shut up" ring that you noticed. Or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, feel free to use this Google form.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.