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.

(This post originally ran on Divorce Doula – Welcome to the After Wife)


Pam is a Vancouver-based mother of two who writes with honesty, humor & hope about her post-wife life at After working through a difficult separation and divorce. she now enjoys a enlightened co-parenting relationship with her former husband. She started to share her experiences and resources with others who may be going through a separation or divorce of their own.

1 Comment

  1. I hear you! My ex and I are friends now, but in the beginning, it was rough. So during mediation, when he requested the engagement ring back, I lost my breath. Technically, we weren’t married when he gave it to me, so it wasn’t considered joint property, and therefore, still mine if I wanted it. At first, like you, I thought of taking it apart and making a necklace for my daughters. But then I kept thinking that the diamond represented a failure, and I didn’t want a piece of that hanging around my girls’ necks (yes, I am an over-thinker). So, after finding no real reason to keep it for myself, I let him have it. Who knows where it is now, but I kind of wish I would have kept it. Because failures sometimes can be our best lessons, and why not have a piece to remind us of that? I’m sure you’ll figure out what to do with it in time, Pam. Great post! 🙂

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