During grad school, a slightly older man (maybe all of 30) showed some not-so-subtle interest in me. He was a good-looking guy and was a friend-of-a-friend, which is always a nice perk in an at-least-I-know-he-doesn’t-have-a-criminal-record kind of way. BUT. As soon as I heard the D-word, I was out. Divorced was a deal-breaker.
In my 24-year-old opinion, there was something very unromantic about dating a man who had already donned a tuxedo and said “I do” to the supposed love of his life. He had to be deeply flawed, right? Either he was morally weak in any number of ways, or he was a poor judge of character who had latched on to a cheater or a complete nut job. And I’m not sure which scenario seemed more damning.
What scared me the most was his high potential for baggage. Lord knows I had enough of my own, and I didn’t need to fall for a guy who sent his ex-wife a monthly check or had pictures of her—formerly their—beagle in his apartment. Nor did I want to stumble upon a wedding video while looking for his copy of Good Will Hunting.
Five years later, I felt the weight of the world’s judgment and acknowledged my karmic due. I certainly shouldered some baggage from getting divorced, but I was still me. Except now, when morning light freed me from my nightmares, I practically danced a jig on the way to the coffeemaker. I had a second shot at life, and hell if I wasn’t afraid to use it.
Baggage? Absolutely. But I had collected some lovely pieces along the way, too. Like perspective on what really matters to me. Greater appreciation for my friends and family. The knowledge that unconditional love often comes with a tail. The guts to listen to my heart. And two sparkly bands from Tiffany & Co., which once hocked, might just cover the cost of my divorce attorney and my ex’s COBRA health benefits.
I envisioned a violent eBay war in which some very pragmatic dude wins those little robin’s-egg-blue boxes and plots an equally sensible proposal. You see, the dude isn’t superstitious; he scoffs at the notion that a ring unwed is tainted. To him, it’s simply a phenomenal deal on precisely the ring that his sweetheart has circled in magazines she’s tossed conspicuously about their apartment.
As I photographed my rings to list them on eBay, I sent up a cosmic “sorry” to the guy who didn’t make it past my deal-breaker list. He deserved more than to be labeled as used goods, and I hoped that he’d found himself a partner who made him happy—preferably someone smarter and better-looking than his ex-wife who, as it turns out, was a royal cheat.