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What I Did With My Engagement Ring After My Divorce

That beautiful engagement ring was so important, but after a divorce it's hard to look at it the same way. You don't want to wear it. So what do you do?


Before I was engaged, I never wore any rings on my left hand, and definitely never on my left ring finger -- heaven forbid I jinxed any potential marriage proposals. And so my left fingers remained bare, waiting for love and my future husband.

When the big one-knee moment arrived, it was emotional and moving and the ring was gorgeous. I gazed at it constantly -- it  sparkled like crazy. I felt so special being a member of the committed-relationship club. And I was so ready to start the next, grownup phase of my life. I kept my nails neatly manicured with sheer pink polish, so my left hand would always be ready for a closer ring look. What was most remarkable to me was how quickly that ring turned from a symbol of love to something that turned my stomach.

Less than two years into our marriage, we both knew our relationship was in trouble. I struggled constantly with the fact that the person who had so thoughtfully and lovingly chosen this ring just for me was now someone whom I didn’t even like, let alone love. The contrast between the expensive ring and our emotionally starved relationship was often too much for me to bear. I continued to wear my $100 wedding band, which felt OK, but I kept the diamond ring in its black velvet box, tucked away in my jewelry drawer. It was tainted.

After I filed for divorce, I moved the ring to my parents’ lock box. It was hard at first and I was acutely aware of it’s absence. But then it started to feel like a really big step in the right direction -- a symbol of me beginning to move on. And the more time I spent without the ring, the less I missed it. I was forever detaching and I didn’t want to look back. Good riddance.

Ultimately, I decided to sell my old engagement ring and put the proceeds toward paying off my portion of the joint debt I was stuck with post divorce. It was practical, logical and very fitting that the money came full circle in this way. I often felt that had we been more practical, perhaps we wouldn’t have been plagued with so many financial issues. Selling it quickly was one of the best decisions I made during the whole divorce process. It felt like real closure.

But then I did something else. In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of starting my life over as a single woman, I went to a special jewelry store I’ve always loved. It’s very me. (I remember one visit a while ago, the salesperson told me that I should drop hints to my husband about what I wanted for the holidays -- but I forgive them for that.) I looked around and decided on a statement ring that is bold and feminine, pretty and strong. It looks edgy on my left pointer finger, where I have never worn a ring. I figure the time is right to try something new.

The more I look at my new ring now, the more stunning it is and the more I fall in love with it. I have hope for the future. And I know that the better days will soon outweigh the crappy ones. But in the meantime, I’m going to live my life, not waiting in anticipation for someone else to put a ring on it, but embracing my own present, catching the light in the most beautiful way.

Michele is a writer and editor living in Montclair, NJ with her daughter who is in first grade. Follow her at http://heartstringsandshoelaces.com.

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