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Playing With / Returning the Wedding Ring

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  • Basic Trope: A promise ring, engagement ring, or wedding ring is returned to the partner who gave them that ring, to signify that the breakup is for real.
  • Straight: Alice and Bob are engaged. At some point during the engagement, it becomes clear that Bob isn't the right person for Alice, and that this relationship will not work. She has the breakup talk, and takes off her engagement ring, returning it to Bob.
  • Exaggerated: Since Bob paid for other things associated with the wedding, such as her dress, Alice returns those things, or (in the case of something abstract, such as an engagement party), reimburses Bob for the cost of those things, as well as returning her Enormous Engagement Ring.
  • Downplayed: Alice returns her promise ring to her (now ex-) boyfriend, Bob.
  • Justified: It's Alice's way of showing that the breakup is final.
    • Alice doesn't want the reminder of her and Bob's failed engagement (literally) on her hands.
    • The laws where Alice and Bob live treat an engagement or promise ring, not as a gift, but as a type of "collateral." Keeping it, in this case, is considered a breach of contract, and so the law requires that Alice return the ring.
  • Inverted: Bob dumps Alice and takes the engagement ring away from her.
  • Gender Inverted: Alice was the one who proposed to Bob, and Bob is the one who dumps Alice and returns the engagement ring.
  • Subverted: Alice keeps the ring.
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    • Alice meant to return the ring, but a burglar stole it from her.
    • Alice pawns the ring, or puts it up for sale on eBay.
    • Alice gives it to her friend, Charles, so he can propose to his long-term girlfriend Dani.
    • Bob has to ask (or even beg) for it back, or sues Alice for it.
    • Alice takes it to the jeweler, suggesting that she's going to keep it, maybe having it altered into some other type of jewelry.
    • Alice is holding the ring "hostage" until Bob does something for her.
    • Alice and Bob get back together, and the wedding is back on.
    • Alice and Bob are engaged, but it's a ringless engagement.
    • Alice goes through with the wedding.
    • Alice is single, but she has a "purity ring" from her church youth group days.
  • Double Subverted: Until she decides she doesn't want it around anymore, and leaves it on Bob's doorstep.
    • The burglar was Alice's friend Charles, who returned it to Bob for her, because she didn't want to deal with him in person.
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    • She pays the money that she received for it back to Bob.
    • Dani returns the ring to Charles a week later.
    • Alice returns it to him.
    • She's just getting it cleaned, and getting details on the ring insurance changed. After that, she returns the ring to Bob.
    • After it's served its purpose, she returns the ring.
    • Alice and Bob get married, but it's not Happily Ever After; they end up getting divorced a year later. Alice returns both her wedding and her engagement ring to Bob (whether voluntarily, or as part of their divorce settlement).
    • Instead of buying her a ring, Bob bought Alice a house, or they bought a house together. Alice returns the cost of the down payment (or her share of it) to Bob and moves out.
    • She was only going through the motions, after having found out about Bob's ongoing affair(s) the night before the wedding. After the wedding, she has the marriage quietly annulled (or never finalizes the paperwork, thus rendering the marriage legally invalid), or gets a divorce, and returns her wedding and engagement rings to Bob.
    • Alice is now in her 20's or 30's, and has decided that purity rings are an outdated and sexist custom, that her worth as a partner and in the eyes of God is not/should not be contingent upon her virginity/lack thereof, and/or that this religion/denomination/religion in general just aren't right for her, and so leaves the ring on the doorstep of the church.
  • Parodied: Alice destroys the ring in a Breakup Bonfire that's totally not a Shout-Out to The Lord of the Rings
  • Zig Zagged: Alice is a Serial Spouse who has had several husbands and fiancés over the years. Some of the wedding and engagement rings, she kept, others she returned, and others she sold on eBay or at the local pawn shop.
  • Averted: Alice and Bob are not an Official Couple.
  • Enforced: Rule of Drama
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked: Alice and Bob break off their engagement.
  • Exploited: Bob wants the ring back, and Alice holds it "hostage", or threatens to destroy it, in order to get him to do something for her.
  • Defied: Since Bob was a total Jerkass and cheated on her, Alice decides to keep the ring and sell it, and spend the money on a vacation.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
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