What damaging my engagement ring taught me about love

Yep. That’s right. After only two months of being engaged, typical Ali has THE WORST luck ever and is involved in a freak ring-accident. What happened? Grab a cup of tea and prepare yourself.

Whilst on holiday in Mexico this month, Andy and I decided to go on a boat trip over to Isla Mujeres. Part of this trip involved a snorkel stop which was seemingly destined for failure: my mask was too big, the waves kept getting water in my snorkel and my eyes were stinging from the salt. Blurry eyed, I decided to get back on the catamaran early. The waves had other ideas, lifting the metal ladder off the boat – almost hitting me in the face every time a wave came.

With the help of the crew, I managed to get back on board but quickly realised that something was wrong. As the ladder had come away from the boat, it had slammed against my hand… or more specifically, my engagement ring.

My ring was dented. Badly. As my finger re-acclimatised to the warm air after being in the cool water, my finger gradually started to swell and the new oval shape of the ring started to cut off circulation.

“I can’t get it off.”

Try as we might, it was stuck. Luckily, the swim stop was over and we were racing towards Mujeres. Over the next hour, we kept my finger in ice and attempted to remove the ring. One lady suggested using dish soap. A man asked the kitchen to bring us some oil. It became a bit like ‘the sword in the stone’ as a number of people came to investigate and to try their hand at removing it. By this point, my finger was starting to swell and had a red raw patch across my knuckle from our attempts at removing it. (And, of course, I was crying… A lot.”

“We’re going to have to cut it off.

Despite the pain, I refused. This ring wasn’t just a piece of jewellery – this ring is a symbol of our unity and our intention to marry. Cutting it felt wrong and somewhat symbolic. But, because of the swelling, we had to do something… and quickly. Andy used a metal tool given to us to cut the end of a fork and wanted to check that it would fit between my finger and the ring just in case we had to cut it.

Apparently I am stubborn as hell, because I made him PINKY PROMISE that he wasn’t going to cut it.

Thankfully, someone found a rubber mallet and I lay my finger on the top of a chair so that Andy could try to hit the ring back into a more normal shape. With a few solid whacks, a whole lot more ice and washing up liquid, and a few tears, I managed to pull it off.

My next mission? Finding a new ring. The sentiment behind having this ring was so huge that I didn’t want to give it up. So, sitting on the wooden harbour of Isla Mujeres, on a warm and sunny afternoon, Andy proposed to me for the second time.

Weirdly, I feel that this experience was such a huge test – we learnt how we deal as a couple in a stressful situation; we navigated our feelings about what being engaged means to us; and I realised how much I trust Andy. (Letting someone hammer your finger is quite a trust exercise!)

Now that my finger isn’t swollen, our temporary replacement ring is far too big (!) so I’ve moved it onto my index finger, and an elephant ring Andy bought me for Christmas has been moved to centre stage until my ring is fixed. I’m missing my engagement ring a little, and can’t wait to get it back, but knowing that I truly am with the right person means a whole lot more to me. (And, of course, not losing my finger due to no circulation is a good bonus too!!)

Ali Hemsley

Ali is a 24 year old lifestyle blogger. She combines her advocacy and awareness work for chronic illness and mental health with her love for fashion. You can follow Ali on social media @alihemsley


  1. February 14, 2019 / 9:56 am

    Hahaha! Oh dear Ali!! I feel this is a “Kim. Kardashion Lost Her Diamond Ring In The Ocean Moment” except well you didn’t lose it nor did you cry about it (or perhaps you did but not to the same extent!)

    A fab post for valentine’s day Ali. Love is way more than a ring or a bunch of flowers. Getting through shit like this is real love. 💕💕

    Have a wonderful day babe.

    Loadsa love
    Sarah xxx

  2. February 14, 2019 / 6:09 pm

    I would’ve totally freaked out in this situation, I wouldn’t have wanted it cut off either haha! Its amazing that you truly know you’re with the right person though and that you’ll be getting the ring back soon!

    Lucy | Forever September

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