During the intense period in determining to get a divorce from my ex -husband…..there was another separation that I had to consider. The removal of my wedding band from my left index finger. This decision triggered me to take a deep pause….matter-of-fact I had to sleep a few nights (maybe several) thinking about this separation. How could I be so sure in my decision that I do not want to be married to this man anymore….but stall in removing my wedding set from my finger? I should of easily threw it right back at him, right? But I didn’t…..Matter-of-fact…..there were a few other occurrences when I felt this marriage would not work…..but me dealing with separating from my ring kept me bounded to my marriage. I was cuffed to the “ring”. It wasn’t the beautifully brilliant round cut “bling” on my engagement ring nor the diamond encrusted wedding band that caused this stall. It was what the ring symbolized to me. For me, the ring denoted to everyone in the world that I am “loved,” “appreciated” and “cherished”. I accomplished the fairytale that many of us women dreamed about when watching the animated Disney movies as little girls. I attained the “happily ever after”. I was the main woman in someone else’s life. I was someone’s wife! What a great accomplishment. Why would I want to remove that from my wall of achievements. I was the pragmatic, effervescent Clair Huxtable to Bill on the Cosby Show, the Claire Brady that kept the Brady bunch in tact, the comical Lucy to her Dezi Arnaz, the “got my man’s back” Bonnie to his Clyde, the “keeping it real” Roseanne to Dan Conner, I was the grounded Emily to Bob Newhart, the sometimes raunchy, insulting Peg to Al Bundy. I was the much attained television image of what a wife should be. I was educated, career-driven, a great mother and supportive of my then husband’s career and post-undergraduate education. I was honored that my husband decided that he wanted me to be his wife. And my intentions from the moment that I said “I Do” was to be the best wife I could be. I felt the “ring” embodied a step on the path of attaining the American Dream….a successful career, marriage, family, and a home. This in my view was the optimal environment I saw for myself and my children. Afterall, in my Corporate America setting, most of all my professional peers above the age of 30 were either married, engaged or almost engaged. Every man with a senior title has a picture framed with their wife, children and dog affixed on their desk….as if that is a requirement to achieve the Vice President title at their company. Well isn’t it a requirement that the President of the United States is married? And the senior professional men whom may have had an unsuccessful marriage….their single-hood is short lived and are quick to attain their second wife….to maintain the appearance of a “all around “family” man to aid in future climbing up the corporate ladder. Even the few “divorcee women” at my office all have the infamous “right-handed index finger ring” encrusted with diamonds and/or other precious stones symbolizing they were once someone’s wife. The “ring” also symbolized that I was not a “baby mama”, “sidechick”, or one of three girlfriends to this man. Not the mom-to-be that the man didn’t want to make into an honest woman. No, I was not part of the increasingly rising statistic of single motherhood that is seemingly more common than matrimony in my demographic. My ring was respected, envied, loved more than me at times from my friends, colleagues, community and family. It was also respected and was “adored” by fellow men, because I was considered “unattainable” and I must be a good woman…because I am someone’s “wife.” There was a sense of respect when transporting by subway throughout the city with my kids in tow or alone that my ring afforded me. A large part of my self-esteem as a woman was based on me being a wife, and having the “ring”. I achieved what many woman yearn. Women devote so much of their energy in searching for their husband, their “happily ever after”. Men know this and often question our authenticity to them as a person… which at times women whom are in true search for lifelong companionship with their best friend/mate are often taken advantaged of. I had to adjust in being okay arriving to work with my token of the American Dream removed from my finger, interacting with parents at my children’s school and slowly correcting them when they make reference to my children’s father as my husband….not taking offense when subway onlookers cast judgment on me as I try to manage my children’s behavior on the subway as an unmarried single mother. I had to accept that my removal of the “ring” was not about “failure” in reaching the American Dream but accepting my sense of independence and strength. Uncuffing myself from the stereo-type views that permeate throughout America. Realize that no matter what route I take in pursuing my dreams or raising my children as long as I provide a positive environment and framework for them to thrive….I succeed in achieving the American Dream and my “happily ever after”. So I “separated” myself from the ring and put it away. If the opportunity does happen to arise again where I do receive a ring from a wonderful gent….I will focus on the symbolism of unity, love and trust between myself and my partner and will not attach the “ring” to my self esteem as a woman and the outside perceptions of others.