I’ve been divorced for 8 years and I still wear my engagement ring. It reminds me of how far I’ve come.

Woman holding ring

The author showing her engagement ringCourtesy of the author

  • When I got engaged I loved my ring so much.

  • When my marriage ended my ex didn’t ask for the ring back and I didn’t offer it.

  • I still wear it as a reminder of all the hard things I’ve done in the last decade.

“That’s a beautiful ring,” the cashier at the mall says as I slide a blouse across the counter.

I glance down at my right hand out of habit: five diamonds arranged in the shape of a flower set in white gold. It’s the most expensive piece of jewelry I own — the kind that gets passed down to a granddaughter or great-granddaughter on a special day, adorning fingers and jewelry boxes long after my name has faded to memory.

The cashier hands me my receipt. I mentally steel myself for the question I know is coming: “Where did you get it?”

It was my engagement ring

A decade ago, I sat across a restaurant table from the man I loved. Platters of sushi stretched between us, delicate slices of salmon and mango curling artistically around the rice. I couldn’t stop peeking at the new ring glittering on my finger. My future husband caught me looking and smiled. I’d never liked the idea of an over-the-top surprise proposal, which sounded more like an ambush than a romantic encounter. We’d simply talked and decided we were ready for the next step. I’d chosen the engagement ring; if I was going to wear it for the rest of my life, I wanted to decide what it looked like. Instead of a typical unwieldy solitaire that would forever get caught on sweaters, I’d fallen in love with a white gold five-diamond flower design. The ring symbolized our relationship:

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