Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Broke up with boyfriend and now regretting it? Found out your engagement ring is a fake?

DEAR NATALIE: I made a big mistake three months ago with my (now) ex-boyfriend. I’m 28 and he’s 30. He wanted to move in together, but I didn’t think we were ready. We had only been dating a little over a year. Since our relationship wasn’t “heading anywhere,” he dumped me two months later. I never wanted to break up and I have been really upset about it for months. He hasn’t been seeing anyone else, or at least I don’t think so, and I was wondering if you think it is a good idea to try to get him back? I am willing to move in together, but do you think it is too late? --MISSED OPPORTUNITY

DEAR MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Sometimes, it is all about timing. In this case, it was just the wrong time in your life for that next step. I believe in second chances, and if you both want to give it another go, then go for it. Having that time apart has made you realize that you did want to be with him. Just ask him to get together and share what is on your heart. Be prepared that he may still feel hurt by what happened, but time does heal. He may have taken this time to reflect on his feelings, too. If he hasn’t seen anyone since your break up, it may be because he wasn’t ready to really let you go. Since you are ready to move in, a one year lease is a good way to see whether this is the real deal before you decide to buy a home together. Give yourself four seasons to learn about what it is like to live together and then take it from there. Remember, open communication and trust can do wonders for a relationship, but having the same vision of the future will enable you to go the distance. This time, it seems as though you are on the same page.  

DEAR NATALIE: I recently got engaged and went to have my ring insured. He looked at my diamond and told me that it was actually a cubic zirconium. I was truly embarrassed. My fiance had surprised me with the ring and I cannot believe that he did this. When I confronted him about it, he just shrugged it off, saying a real diamond ring that size would’ve cost him a small fortune and what’s the difference, anyway? He said that the ring looks real, and my girlfriends will never know. But I don’t think he understands why I’m upset. I am upset because I feel lied to. I am ready to call the whole thing off. What do you think I should do? --FAKED OUT

DEAR FAKED OUT: File this under “bride-to-be-worst-nightmare”. Having your engagement ring turn out to be a fake is not exactly the way you want to start a life together. People may scoff at this and call you “shallow” or “materialistic” but the symbol of what this ring stands for is important. This is a symbol of your love and commitment to one another. To have it be a fake may make you feel as though your relationship is a fraud, too. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with a cubic zirconium. It’s the fact that he didn’t tell you that it wasn’t a diamond. He let you believe that it was. I wouldn’t want to start a life with someone who is so willing to lie to me to make things easier on himself. What else could he be lying to you about? I would think long and hard where to go from here. Personally, I would be edging towards the door.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: It’s easier than you think to build connections. While we isolate ourselves in the digital world, sometimes all it takes is a smile and “How are you?” to remind your neighbors that you can become friends, too.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email,; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)