By Stacey Freeman
When I separated from my husband (once my high school sweetheart) a few months after my 39th birthday following 16 years of marriage, I had almost no dating experience to call on. And what little I did have was from so long ago that I pretty much rendered it useless. After all, my last first date happened more than 24 years earlier!
After I nursed my wounds and felt ready to dip my toe into the dating pool, I realized that not only did I know nothing about midlife dating, I also had nothing to wear on a date. For more than a decade, I was a stay-at-home mom. And as time went on had traded my single girl style for bulky sweaters, leggings, and workout clothes. I had a few dressier outfits in my closet, but nothing that was even remotely stylish enough to consider wearing on a date, let alone a first date.
So off to town I went where I found a 20-something-year-old salesgirl at a local boutique who was eager to dress me from head to toe. Once she did, I couldn’t believe the result. Not only did I look different, I felt different, too. Prettier. Sexier. And a little more confident.
I made my purchases. And when I returned home, I hung my new clothes in my closet, saving them for the coming weekend. On the evening of my date I took my time getting dressed, relaxed in a bathtub filled with bubbles, flat-ironed my hair, and carefully applied my makeup. As I scrutinized myself in front of the full-length mirror afterward, I was happy with the result but not 100 percent satisfied. I felt like something was missing.
For the longest time during my marriage, I wanted to reset my diamond engagement ring. I got engaged when I was 20, and since then styles had changed. I also wanted a diamond wedding band to complement whichever new setting I chose instead of the gold band I used during my wedding ceremony. But with rising expenses – car payments, a mortgage, and, of course, children – it never seemed to be the right time for us to indulge in such a luxury purchase.
The time did finally come, shortly after I became a mom for the third time. As a gift, my husband reset my engagement ring in a setting we chose together, and he bought me a beautiful diamond wedding band to wear with it. I was so pleased with how both rings looked that I would often find myself staring at them as I folded my laundry. It was probably no coincidence that for months after, there was rarely a load of laundry waiting around for folding.
Removing my rings for the last time after my husband and I officially separated was heart wrenching for me, not only because doing so signified my marriage was over, but also because I adored both pieces of jewelry immensely. Dressing up for my date only a few months later, I felt their absence. Even today, nearly five years later, I admit that I sometimes catch myself running my thumb underneath my ring finger as I often did during my marriage, checking to see if I had remembered to put on my rings that morning. Rarely did I forget.
As my divorce proceeding moved forward, I often wondered what I could do with my engagement ring and diamond wedding band. On some days I contemplated selling them and either investing the money or using the proceeds to seed the business I dreamt of starting. On other days I envisioned repurposing them into a new piece of jewelry.
Today I wear the diamond from my engagement ring in a pendant around my neck, having sold the platinum setting and diamonds that surrounded it to help pay for the new design. My mother, as a 40th birthday present to me, generously paid for the rest, making the transformation that much more meaningful.
Until now my diamond wedding band lay tucked away in a drawer, out of sight but not mind. In much the same way I will always be able to recall that period when my husband was my best friend, a moment forever frozen in time, I recently wanted, at least for a few seconds, to remember what it was like to be married to him. On an evening not so long ago I opened up that drawer, picked up my ring, and slid it onto my finger. As soon as I did, I realized that it no longer felt the same. Though the ring had not changed, I had. It was time to let it go.
A couple of years ago I started that business I always wanted and finally turned my dream into a reality. I went back to work, transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to a work-at-home mom. I have not made any final decisions about what I am going to do with the money I get from auctioning my diamond wedding band. Maybe I will buy another piece of jewelry to lift my spirits, should my spirits need to be lifted. Maybe I will invest the money, either in my portfolio or me. I just do not know yet. But what I do know is that, like a best friend should, those diamonds will be there for me when I need them.
Stacey Freeman is a writer and blogger from the New York City area, a divorced single mom, a lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for divorce issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, The Huffington Post, xoJane, Scary Mommy, The Stir, MariaShriver.com, The Good Men Project, and various well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights on the divorce experience and has repeatedly been quoted in The Huffington Post’s divorce vertical. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.
Are Diamonds a Divorced Girl’s Best Friend?
By Stacey Freeman