For three years now I’ve been wearing a ring on the fourth finger of my right hand.
It’s rose gold with diamonds encircling a large oval aquamarine. At the time, I chose the water-like stone simply because it’s my birthstone and I loved the pale blue colour.
Often when people see it, they comment that I’m a “lucky girl”, assuming as most would that someone gave it to me as a token of love with the fairytale promise of forever. Others come straight out and ask if I’m engaged, and I smile and jokingly say, “just to myself”.
I bought the ring when I was recovering from the worst breakup of my life. It had been a toxic, on/off relationship and when it ended, I couldn’t forgive myself for what I considered to be an appalling lack of judgement and self-care.
I’d always considered myself to be a woman of boundaries and self-respect and, up until I met him, I was.
On our first date, he took me kayaking and enthusiastically and without care for my too polite and obviously unconvincing protests, pulled me into the water.
My head went underwater and only later did I realise I'd lost one of my earrings: a small gold round stud with a heart pressed out of the centre.
I remember being irked by it, but as I was to do many times in the future, I let his feelings and needs trump mine.
Months later he told me he thought it was “poetic” that I’d lost my heart in the ocean the day I met him. At that time, I thought it an incredibly romantic comment, an emotional response I cringe at today, but now I realise with acute and breathtaking hindsight how accurately the events of that day foreshadowed what was to come.
The first few months were magical, full of sweeping, grand gestures of helicopter rides and handcrafted, bespoke gifts; home-cooked meals when my parents (and even my aunt) were in town; being picked up from work on his motorcycle for lunchtime picnics, and seemingly endless expressions of adoration.
He opened up quickly, divulging intimate details of his divorce and custody battle and I felt such empathy for him and amazement at his bravery and vulnerability in loving again.
I was so overwhelmed by his intensity, charm and attentiveness, and how special he made me feel. He put me on a pedestal and I mistook that fleeting adoration for genuine love.
Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.