Two months after my husband left me, I was still dutifully wearing my wedding band and my engagement ring, the devoted wife I’d always been. Our divorce was not anywhere near finalized, and I wasn’t ready to give up on the hope of him changing his mind and coming back. By the time the third month rolled around, I began receiving emails from him about the practicalities of divorce. This was a man that was not interested in resurrecting our marriage. The emails were cold; his cruel manner and stinginess towards me were devastating. Though I wanted to stay in our marriage, I was alone in that desire, and, of course, a marriage will not work unless two people are present, willing and working at it. I had no choice but to face my new reality.
“My rings were a beautiful, bulky reminder of how my husband had, shockingly, walked away from his commitments.”
My rings were a beautiful, bulky reminder of how my husband had, shockingly, walked away from his commitments. Their presence on my left hand had always been a source of contentment. It was with pride that I placed the rings on my ring finger each morning. Now, though, every morning when I’d put them on, I felt a sting that hurt. I felt like a fraud, walking around with bands and diamonds that represented a marriage that had fallen apart. I felt hapless, like I was living a lie and deluding myself. These feelings grew as the emails from my husband became more and more frosty.
“Walking around without my rings felt like such a step backwards in terms of my life plan, an announcement that my marriage had failed.”
I took the rings off one evening, put them in my jewelry box and cried. Walking around without my rings felt like such a step backwards in terms of my life plan, an announcement to my co-workers and friends that my marriage had failed, and a way of telling the world that I was newly single. After wearing rings on my ring finger for so long, my hand just felt naked. I didn’t like the feeling. After a few weeks, I came up with an idea. I decided to buy myself a beautiful, expensive ring (not too expensive though… There was a lawyer to pay, after all) and to wear it on my left hand. Not on my ring finger, but on my index finger. I wanted a ring on that hand, and I was going to make it happen.
Back when my husband was ‘in’ the marriage, he’d told me he’d buy me a sapphire ring for my 40 birthday, a birthday he’d missed because he’d walked out shortly before it happened. I’d always wanted a sapphire. I decided I would buy myself this ring. I walked into my local jewelry store with a set amount of cash in my wallet (money I had recently earned from the sale of my first book). I walked past a young couple picking out an engagement ring and headed for the sapphires, a woman on a mission. I found the perfect ring – it had a large dark sapphire at its center and diamonds around the edge, along with a vintage setting. It was very ‘me.’ The ring in the display case fit me perfectly so I didn’t need to even order my size – I could walk out of the store with this one. It felt right from the minute I placed it on my finger.
“I am a strong, independent woman who can place my own ring on my own finger...”
When the sales attendant rang up my purchase, she asked what the occasion was. I told her I was treating myself to a new ring because I had recently stopped wearing my engagement ring and wedding band. She nodded her head, and with a smile told me, “We see a lot of separated and divorced women in here. It makes them feel good when they buy something for themselves, something to look pretty on their hand again.” She’s exactly right. I wear this ring every day, all the time. I only take it off when I go to sleep or have a shower. It brings me comfort, because it reminds me that I can do this. I am a strong, independent woman who can place my own ring on my own finger, a ring which I paid for with my own money. I can look at my hand every day and still see something beautiful, something permanent that reminds me of commitment ― my commitment to myself.