Avoiding engagement ring envy, or: How I learned to love the symbolism

Guestpost by Sarah Eliza on Dec. 22nd
Something Blue!

Thanks to KT Wilson for uploading this to our Flickr Pool.

Engagement ring envy — the stuff of legend and myth? Or a nasty side effect of being engaged and the wedding industrial complex?

Recently I met up with an acquaintance of mine after not seeing her for many, many years, and we were discussing her recent engagement (cue the typical "oohs" and "ahhs" from me). She then proceeded to wink at me and say her new fiancé was taking her to Tiffany on Bond Street in London. I am sorry to say that almost automatically that ugly little Wedding Industrial Complex demon was ranting in my ear…

Demon: You know… you LOVE Tiffany…
Me: I am well aware of that.
Demon: You know… you always DREAMED of having a Tiffany engagement ring.
Me: Your point?
Demon: Well… she has just got engaged, what if she will have the engagement ring that YOU always wanted?
Me: Fuck…

As you can see, it's a sneaky little demon that feeds on your wishes and fantasies. Or, in this case, the wishes and fantasies of twelve-year-old Sarah. The Sarah who was determined to marry a dark eyed, handsome man who had plenty of money in the bank and would ask her to marry him on top of the Eiffel Tower.

I have spent a few hours now considering my rather extreme reaction to her happy news and I have come to a conclusion: screw you, little demon.

  • Am I getting married? Hell yes, I am.
  • Am I having my dream wedding? Not exactly… but this wedding is more than I could ever dream of.
  • Am I marrying a dark eyed, handsome man with plenty of money in the bank? Well, he is dark eyed, incredibly handsome and, alright, he doesn't have a lot of money, but he has a heart of gold and, last time I checked, the gold prices were rising. He is incredibly valuable to me.

So I started to think, why the hell am I so jealous?

It was then that I realized: the entire culture of engagement rings almost asks for it. Many women have reported that other women have almost demanded to see their engagement ring. Some have even had to endure murmurs of, "oh, it is not a diamond" if they chose to step outside the norm.

An engagement ring is not about how much money it is worth, it is about locking in a moment in time. When I am old and in my dotage, I can look at my engagement ring, reflect on the lifetime of love it symbolises and also remember what position we were in our lives when it was bought. I can remember the days where our love held us together, despite money woes and how he made sure that, despite these woes, he bought me a ring anyway. I will be able to look into the eyes of my children and grandchildren and tell them that mum and dad/grandma and grandpa were meant to be together because they rode the ups and downs that life gives and how you know you have found the perfect person the day you hold their hand and step forward to beat down all that life throws at you.

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About Sarah Eliza

Sarah was born and bred in Kent in the United Kingdom. She recently graduated from a university with degrees in Applied Criminology and Psychology and she's trying to job hunt as well as plan a wedding! Currently, she spends her days looking after their three cats, one dog with a Napoleon complex, and a giant rabbit, whilst painting too many pictures for their tiny flat to handle.