Like most girls, I love shiny, sparkly things: sequins, disco balls & above all else: diamonds. But what happens when one of your most prized accessories – your engagement ring – becomes a burden instead of a bauble?
When my ex & I separated, I immediately took my engagement ring off but continued to wear my wedding band. The engagement ring is over a carat of perfection set in platinum. Taking it off made my left hand feel like it was experiencing anti-gravity for the first time. As comforting as that ring was, it felt like an albatross around my ring finger & I couldn’t bear to wear it anymore. Wearing this beautiful piece of jewelry that my ex had designed just for me felt immature, false & pretentious. Like I had failed to live up the fairy tale that we had written together: a 5 year courtship that endured some challenging years but resulted in a storybook proposal in Tuscany in 1998. I loved being engaged. Everyone was so happy for us & planning the wedding was a blast. The actual wedding was one big madcap romantic adventure & we have friends who still say it was one of the most memorable weddings they have ever attended.
When our marriage ended, the fairy tale was the first to go. And so was the engagement ring. It immediately went into a safety deposit box to keep it safe & also to keep me from looking at it every day. The wedding band was much more difficult to remove; it became a sort of security blanket & reassured me that despite the current state of our relationship, I HAD successfully been his wife for nearly 10 years. It validated the existence of our children in a way that my engagement ring couldn’t. The wedding band represented more than my marriage – it was symbolic of our family. The day I finally took it off & put it alongside the engagement ring in the box was one of the saddest days of my life.
But now I’m left with these beautiful platinum ruins. Should I save them for my first born to give to his finace? How about turning them into a new piece – like a necklace or earrings? It would be criminal to cut my perfect diamond into pieces, but nor can I bear wearing it around my neck like the Ancient Mariner.
For now, they remain close by. And to be honest? I sometimes put them on, just to remember the love that they once represented, but also to remind me of the girl I once was, the wife I wished I could be & the woman I have become: The After Wife.
I love the insights you bring to one of life’s challenging–yet common–pathways. Married, single, separated, divorced–we all have something to learn from your writing!
Thank you, Shirley. I love hearing that Divorce Doula is not just for divorced people! xo
beautiful and haunting.so good.
That was a hard one to write, Heather but so glad I did. Thanks for your support!
Well done my friend!
Touches so many in different ways how to except the Final Closure and become as you put it The After Wife.You have handled the transition respectfully for your children’ the Ex and your family and hope your writings can pass that on to others helping them do the closure in the same manner.
Beautifully written! I never felt like I was “attached” to my rings but then I lost my engagement ring four years ago (yes lost – so tragic), and I felt naked without it. A few weeks ago the Mr bought me a replacement and I just broke down in tears – I felt complete, so in a weird way I can understand how taking them off must have felt for you.
Thank you for sharing:)
Thank YOU for reading & sharing your story, Raj! xo
This post brought tears to my eyes, my husband and I are seperated and I find myself in the same shoes you were once in. Do I wear my rings or not? Like you, I have stopped wearing the engagement ring, but I completely agree with your feelings of attatchement to the wedding band.
It represents our family. Everything ive fought for. Our beautiful two year old son and the child I am now pregnant with. Thank you for writing this blog, your posts bring me some solace in this difficult time of transitioning into the after wife. Keep in touch xx
Hi Kaylyn – thanks for the lovely note sharing your own experience. This sounds like an incredibly challenging time for you – I hope you have a strong support network in place for when you need someone to lean on. I hope that you & your ex can find a way to be a family once again for the sake of your children. As I often tell my boys: we are still a family, just not one that lives together all the time. The wedding band is symbolic but it’s just that: a symbol. Take it off when you’re ready but know that it doesn’t reflect who you are either as a wife or an afterwife. Keep me posted on your progress. xo