Why I Sold My Engagement Ring cover

Why I Sold My Engagement Ring

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I know that as we round the holidays, it’s natural to look at your significant other and ask the fundamental questions regarding the relationship. When you’re thinking about making the promise of all promises – to marry someone and be by their side for life, there are many conversations you’ll probably want to have before the big “I do.” When my partner and I were getting serious 14 years ago, it didn’t occur to us to ask the taboo questions – “What kind of engagement ring do I want?” “How much do we want to spend on a wedding?”


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Why I Sold My Engagement Ring

“I do”

I know that as we round the holidays, it’s natural to look at your significant other and ask the fundamental questions regarding the relationship.

When you’re thinking about making the promise of all promises – to marry someone and be by their side for life, there are many conversations you’ll probably want to have before the big “I do.” Some are obvious – how many kids do we want, what kind of lifestyle would make us happy, or where do we want to live (a non-parental abode would be preferred).

Final Taboo

Final Taboo

When my partner and I were getting serious 14 years ago, it didn’t occur to us to ask the taboo questions – “What kind of engagement ring do I want?” “How much do we want to spend on a wedding?” Given the amount of debt the average college student today is graduating with ($28,950 as of 2014), the formerly taboo questions are becoming the essential ones.

Classic Mistake

One of the classic mistakes we make in life in the transition from young to less young, is that we fail to question the expectations that are being held for us that don’t necessarily fit who are as individuals.

We’re quick to set aside the flavor of our dreams so that we can all look like acceptable vanilla chocolate chip ice cream. We want interesting enough that most people like it, but not very original, inspiring, or likely to spur the creative twists and turns that make life worth living. It’s confusing given that family and friends are often the greatest expounders of vanilla chip-style thinking, and the advice is, more often than not, given with the kindest of intentions.

Look-Alikes

Look-Alikes

Learning

So 13 years into my marriage, I’ve only learned a handful of things that would be useful to anyone else. So here they are:

1. My partner’s experience of any situation is the reality, and therefore my willingness to accept his reality and vice versa is the thin but persnickety glue that holds two complicated individuals together for a lifetime.

2. I am often wrong, and so is he.

3. Honoring the other person with the admission that you f***ed up is not an indication of groveling, but is in fact, evidence of empathy, something that is required for the world to go round.

Learning (cont.)

Learning (cont.)

4. When situations get down to the wire, and big decisions have to be made, the last thing that matters to my happiness is an expensive engagement ring. I got one, and sold it 12 years later.

Evolution

At first, I was pleased to have a nice-sized diamond ring – one I could proudly show my parents and girlfriends as a symbol of my fiance’s lasting love and prodigious wallet.

However, by Year 3, I barely wore it. By Year 5, during the depths of the Great Recession of 2008, it didn’t feel right or important to bust it out. And then the fine emerald-cut baguette encrusted ring just sat there, in a box in a drawer.

By Year 10, I knew that the ring was no longer who I was at all, and had nothing to do with the strength of our marriage. I asked my partner if the ring was meaningful to him, and his answer mirrored mine.

“Me!”

“Me!”

It was time for an engagement ring makeover.

I got a good deal at the neighborhood pawn shop, and then fell in love with a hexagonal, labradorite ring, lined with tiny, dusty diamonds and set in rose gold. It was funky, it was cool, and luxurious all at once. It was me.

Happier

The new ring cost us 1/5 the amount that the original one did, and made me 10x happier. We applied the difference in funds to our savings account.

You’re probably a quicker study than me. Tradition is wonderful, but not when strictly applied as the stick by which all success is measured. It just doesn’t work. Before you go ahead and spend 3 months of salary to buy a diamond ring (or ask your boyfriend to) because it’s what’s expected, think about if being another DeBeers poster child of marketing success from the 1930’s is really how you want to spend a significant percent of the money you’ve accumulated thus far in your life for a mostly depreciating asset.

Commodities

Diamonds are commodities, and like all commodities, there are booms and busts.

If you ever want to sell a commodity in the secondary market, it’s usually an automatic write-down.

Why not consider having a ring from inside your family serve as the most heartfelt promise of love?

Ever think about asking your parents to put the funds they’ve set aside for a fancy 300 person wedding toward a down payment on your new house? One will last a night. The other can make the difference for a lifetime.

Your Very Own

Your Very Own

Memories

Of all the many, many weddings I’ve attended as an adult, the only ones I still remember are the ones where the couples handwrote their vows, shared the intimacy of their romance with the crowd, and guests laughed and cried… a lot. None of these things can be bought by expensive cake or wedding favors. You need to be more creative than that.

I only wish I had sold my ring sooner. We had our time together. In the end, I could have passed.

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