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For newly-single women out there--when do you take off your wedding ring?

By Expert HERWriter March 8, 2009 - 10:49pm
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I was talking with a friend of mine today, and she was telling me about a girlfriend who recently split up with her husband. The girlfriend was feeling a lot of uncertainty and angst about when she should remove her wedding ring. My friend advised her to wait until it felt ready, but not to rush it, and then mark the moment with some type of simple ceremony (like maybe the friend treating herself to a nice dinner, or reading a poem or quote she finds soothing or something). I thought that was good advice.

Our conversation got me to thinking how other people handle this situation. If you are newly single, or even not-so-newly single, when did you take off your ring? It seems like a very difficult decision and action for so many, probably because it is so symbolic of the marriage itself. After all, it's called a "wedding" ring--not just a "ring." Did you mark the occasion in any way when you did it? Maybe if you are widowed, you are still wearing it? I could see where a divorce might lead to the ring coming off faster than if your spouse passed away.

I would be curious to read your stories if you are comfortable sharing them, and maybe my friend could find more suggestions for her girlfriend too.

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EmpowHER Guest

my first divorce, I traded them in; second divorce I had them remade into a necklace. Being single again I wanted to change and evolve into someone new and I did my house and jewelry the same way

July 29, 2010 - 6:04pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I love the way you "evolved" your jewelry! After my divorce, which was a real nightmare situation, I tossed my ring away, and never looked back.

July 29, 2010 - 7:03pm

I have a friend who divorced after 22 years of marriage. It was hard for her to take her ring off permanently, though she had taken it off occasionally during their separation. It had been a marriage with some joyful times, in addition to the very difficult times, and I know it was very hard for her to give up on it. She wore the ring when she was hopeful for it, and took it off when she was not. But I don't believe she's worn it at all since the divorce was final.

After my dad died, my mom wore her rings for quite a while. I think she loved them there and she loved what they represented. After what I think was a couple of years, she also had them resized to fit her right hand, and she wears them there to this day (even though there is another man in her life now). They are beautiful rings that meant a lot to her all her life, and it makes sense to me that she didn't just want to consign them to the jewelry box. But it does make a lot of difference, I think, if a person is widowed rather than divorced.

It may be that rather than just being a symbol of the marriage to your friend's friend, that taking the ring off is also an "advertisement," so to speak, to the world that she is now single. Isn't that what we always do, when we are single and meet someone interesting -- look to see whether they are wearing a ring? Perhaps having the ring off makes her feel vulnerable. If that's the case, her friend's advice about taking it off when she's ready, no rush, is the best thing for her. Divorce is a huge change and maybe she needs the safety zone of her ring for a bit longer.

March 10, 2009 - 8:18am

Congratulations, Kristin!

I can totally understand your fiance's position about the rings. Perhaps you can sell your old wedding bands and get something new.

I think my mother finally took off her wedding ring when her divorce was finalized (and that took 10 years to settle!), I imagine because it really didn't seem final until then.

March 9, 2009 - 5:11pm

After wearing my wedding ring for 18 years, I happily took it off the day my ex-husband moved out.

Interestingly, when he and I sat down our three kids and told them that we were going to divorce, my youngest, who was 6 at the time, threw herself into my lap and said, "Oh, but Mommy, you'll have to stop wearing your beautiful rings!" I was shocked, and found it pretty funny, that it was the first thing she thought of. (But then again, she's always been into "bling.")

I had a beautiful diamond engagement ring that I wore, that was surrounded on either side by wedding bands of alternating diamonds and sapphires in a channel setting. I was more attached to the two bands than I was to the engagement ring, and wanted to keep wearing them. The meaning behind them died along with the marriage, so it didn't bother me at all emotionally to continue wearing them. I simply had them re-sized to fit my right hand, and have continued to wear them off and on.

Now, in a couple of weeks, I'm going to re-marry. My fiance isn't too crazy about me wearing my old wedding bands, even though they're on my right hand --I guess he sees them as more meaningful than I do. (They don't mean anything to me other than pretty rings to wear.) Or maybe he doesn't like the fact that they were given to me by my ex. In any case, I think you've raised an interesting question to explore, and I'd also like to hear what other women do with their wedding rings when they're single....and when they've moved on to a new relationship....

March 9, 2009 - 4:48pm
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