I had two engagement rings. The first set were matching rings with our names on them. We bought them and had them engraved at Hershey Park. He got down on one knee and proposed. It was so sweet. His aunt took wonderful photos that I treasured for years. I wore the ring at all times to the point where even years later my skin looks weird where the ring used to sit. I have extra freckles below and above that spot. While warmed with my body heat the ring reminded me of his warm kisses, and I'd blush as it slid against my other finger, the smooth metal hot and silky. I cherished that ring more than anything.
Of course, I had no idea where this relationship was going. Nobody really took it seriously. There was an age difference, we were both very young, and it was long distance. We met in an internet chat room, how lame is that? I started wanting a more traditional relationship along with a more traditional ring, the kind with diamonds. I felt like with a diamond ring we'd be taken more seriously and be respected as a couple.
On Christmas Day while I was staring into space he snuck up and jammed a gold ring with diamonds and emeralds on my finger.
"Ouch! What in the world are you --- oh wow!"
Of course, that ring didn't solve any problems. It just deluded me into thinking I was in a serious, grown-up relationship when I clearly wasn't. I wasn't ready to move to his town. I don't think I ever intended to move there. I wasn't ready to change my life at all. Nothing felt more wrong than that ring on my finger.
In contrast, I never felt I needed a ring to prove to the world my relationship with Greg was legit. Greg has always been very open with how he felt about me and where our relationship was headed. Plus, it was nice to not have to wear anything on my hands, especially as my fingers became swollen when I got fat.
There was a time I almost felt like I needed a ring to be taken seriously. I had this friend who constantly put down my relationship with Greg because I wasn't completely happy with him at the time. Plus she had just moved really quickly in her relationship and as her relationship milestones very quickly surpassed mine, I became to get anxious and looked at rings. I was never serious, however. I still believed I never needed a piece of paper to tell me I could be with Greg, nor did I need a rock on my finger for permission to give my heart away. I also didn't need my friend's approval to love who I loved.
My friend meant absolutely no harm, though. She just wants everyone to be as happy as they can be potentially, which is one of her best qualities. She later apologized to the two of us and congratulated us on making it work.
Sometime over the last year, with a complete lack of awareness, I lost any doubt in my mind that Greg was the one. When I try to identify what changed it is difficult. Maybe I matured like everyone says. Maybe I finally learned to love. Maybe it's the way between the two of us we've lost more than 100 lbs and are happier and healthier. Maybe it's the way we work to make our crappy apartment a home, or the way we make a point to make time for each other. I just feel so secure in what we have. It feels rock solid. We can and do talk about anything under the sun. I want to spend as much as my time with him as possible.
I keep looking at engagement rings. All of a sudden I want something as sparkly and as special as what I have with Greg to rest on my finger. I don't need the ring to prove anything to anyone or myself, but for the first time when I allow myself to dream about love, weddings, and a future, it feels right. It feels like what I am doing already. It feels really in tune with not only what I want, but what I already have.
When I look at rings now, I realize I want something completely different than the rings I had with someone else. However, when I think of all of this stuff sometimes I feel terribly afraid and vulnerable. I think the hardest thing to do is trust myself after failing in my previous engagement. Those old insecurities keep chasing me that I'll make this huge commitment and it will blow up in my face like it did before and I'll be humiliated. It's so sad when I won't let myself be happy. I've been with Greg for more than eight years. I think I made my choice long ago. I should be allowed to embrace it fully.