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We’ve all been there. Drunk and spontaneous on New Year’s Eve, trying to do something special. But one too many drinks and an accidental proposal later, U.K. redditor u/Propermistakeregret needed legal advice and turned to the internet.
“Proposed to girlfriend whilst drunk on NYE night, can I cancel and get the ring back,” the viral post on popular subreddit LegalAdviceUK begins, before our hungover antihero dives into his night of regrets. He says he fell in love with a co-worker and bought the ring for her, and has been planning to break up with his girlfriend for a while. But now it’s too late: “It’s been posted on my friends Snapchat, my girlfriends Facebook page, everywhere. I saw people proposing so I wanted to go with the flow and proposed to my girlfriend whilst partially pissed. Can I get the ring back and cancel the engagement please?”
Though genuine legal advice was quick to follow, many Reddit users chose to point out the problems with u/propermistakeregrets’ decisions. Why was he dating two women at once? Who just decides to propose because everyone else is doing it?
One user pointed out that in the U.K., engagement rings are an “absolute gift,” which means that “unless some agreement, express or implied, was made when giving it” that it “would be returned if the marriage did not occur.” They even provided this very helpful link to a site for legal advice.
Another user agreed, telling u/propermistakeregret “You can break off the false engagement by being a real douche and telling her you’re actually seeing someone else and this was a mistake but the ring is hers to do as she wishes. I hope she sticks it where your sun doesn’t shine when you tell her.”
Only one user, Dusty-Pilgrim, gave him any leeway for having been inebriated. “If you were so drunk that you lacked legal capacity to make a gift then that could be grounds for getting it back,” they wrote. “Realistically, unless the ring cost a fortune, lawyers aren’t going to get involved and you will have to resolve this between you.”
Propermistakeregret didn’t actually seem to regret his decision all that much, as he spent most of his time in the comments complaining about the cost of the ring and the unfairness of the situation. He did not reply to a request for comment and the Daily Dot cannot independently verify his story.
He later considered stealing the ring back, apparently, though Reddit advised him not to: A user pointed to the first section of a 1968 law stating that “A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.”
The top commenter on the thread hit the nail on the head. “Well, from a legal perspective you’re shit out of luck because a gift is a gift, even when given by a moron,” they wrote.
In the end, propermistakesregret did some soul-searching and came to a (likely terrible) decision. He is going to conceal his affair for the rest of his life and marry the woman he accidentally proposed to.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.