When do you take your wedding ring off?

As Linda and I have continued to travel down the road from married to divorced (we’re maybe 30% down the road legally, and probably about 50% emotionally) one of the issues that seems to have been the most challenging hasn’t been splitting bills into two, figuring out who gets the kids for specific holidays or anything like that. It’s been the more pedestrian question of when do you take off your wedding ring?
As I have written about in the past, I’ve already been proud of my wedding ring, proud of what it represented, being a part of a holy union, a partnership through life, and so when we really did get to the point of separation, it wasn’t that huge a deal for me to pull it off my finger. Though to be honest…

I have to admit that for a few weeks I’d pull the ring off my finger and just sit and look at my hand without a ring, just a tan line that stood as a testament to what had been and was no longer, and a statement of the reality of our future, a future that doesn’t retain any hope of repairing the relationship but of us going our own directions. Depressing and sad? Yes, but it also seems daft to continue wearing a ring that represents something that no longer is true.
Now, zoom forward a few months, and I no longer have any tan line, no indentation on my finger, and even have some abrasion scars from when I scraped my knuckle helping a buddy move some furniture around. It’s as if I never was married, other than the three devilish angels who flitter in my life day and night and, well, my having been married in my heart.
But what’s the point of having a wedding ring if what it represents is no longer true in your life?
Now here’s the interesting thing: Linda and I share a diamond stud earring pair, one in my ear, one in hers. Neither of us have done anything in terms of switching that to a different earring and to me it has so much less importance or symbolic meaning that it won’t surprise me if a year from now it’s still ensconced in my ‘lobe.
Those of you that have divorced, how long after you started the process did you pull off your wedding ring? And, for that matter, what did you do with it?

65 comments on “When do you take your wedding ring off?

  1. Wow Dave so many emotions were raised by this post as it swept me back to the time of my own divorce now more than 10 years ago. I think there are some fundamental differences between women and men and the meaning of rings and other parts of the emotional roller coaster we like to call divorce.
    To my mind I think it has a lot to do with who initiates the separation and divorce. Perhaps Linda went down the path of her own emotion and when it was “time” she took it off. You on the other hand, being a male and not as tied to the emotion, decided that the contract was over and the ring was a part of that contract. I have actually heard of women wearing a wedding ring because of the protection it affords, not being hit on by every guy at the bar.
    What did I do with my ring? I gave it back to her. She bought it for me and I decided she should have it to do with it what she wanted. There was talk at one point that the rings are assets to the marriage and should be split as any other piece of marital property.

  2. I dunno.. I’m still married.. my wife’s ring was taken of over a year ago to be repaired.. it’s still off.. seems like the kids and house have a higher priority.. Now.. we do need to put us higher on the priority list.. but the ring seems trivial to us… but that’s just us.. I’m sure there’s another symbol that we’d cling to.
    The thing that sticks in my brain after reading this… well.. is that you both were clinging to the symbol of marriage.. and.. well.. you both sound very civil to each other.. which leads me to wonder if you just need more time apart.
    Attachment parenting can lead to Helicopter Parenting.. which means all the energy of the adults gets sucked into the kids… which means the adults suffer.. and adults without energy tend to strike out at other adults (spouses) that seem to want energy from them.. energy that is long gone into the kids…
    Anyway.. I’m sure you don’t need outsiders dredging stuff up.. but.. I suppose in my defense.. if it’s there to be dredged up.. then it still needs going through eventually..
    It just gets so hard to sort out feelings surrounding the kids and how they relate to spouses..
    Just know that you both are good people… stuff happens. Life is goes on .. and Life is good.

  3. Poignant post, Dave. Being in the process of gradually getting unmarried (more gradually than you), I can relate.
    In my case, my husband stopped wearing his ring years ago because he’d lost weight and it kept falling off, and he never got it resized. After he moved out in 2006, I took mine off even though at that point we were still trying to figure out how to make the marriage work, and the indentation remained on my finger nearly a year. Coincidentally, about the time I noticed the indentation was finally completely gone, I decided that we should probably start to figure out how to end our marriage, since even though we were (and are) getting along much better we aren’t getting any closer in the way I’d need from a marriage.
    But we’re not particularly attached to symbols; some people are. I think the more power and emotion you vest in a symbol of any kind, the harder it is to let it go.
    I think, if a couple is trying to come apart calmly and well, it helps to talk these things over instead of just surprising someone with a suddenly missing symbol. That won’t necessarily make it not hurt, but at least you’re being conscious and respectful about it, which helps build a better post-marriage relationship. IMHO, of course.
    – Amy Gahran

  4. In my case, I have never been married but wear a ring. We have been together for 10 years and have lived together for over 6 years. We also have a 2 year old son. For me, having a ring, something I just got a year ago, really helped more with society expectations then anything else. When would I take the ring off? Probably when we no longer live together. Being that I truely have not walked in your shoes, I can’t say for sure.

  5. I came to pop in to your blog and was very surprised to see this post. I was taken aback really… Because of my own situation, and how it is mirrored in what you wrote.
    Our rings were off long before we even decided to separate, so that could say a few things 🙂
    I just read an interesting book called “Marriages End, Families Don’t.” Its about how marriages end but family units don’t need to…
    Personally I have always found ridiculous the whole concept of spending so long with someone and then just being “separative” and cutting things off. ‘
    When my husband and I more formally separated “our” friends started taking sides. Which I couldn’t understand, they seemed more uncomfortable than we were. And I really looked at that and could see it was just “old beliefs” “old patterns” and didn’t really have to do with what was ACTUALLY happening.
    Just like the path of AP, which is different than so many main stream parenting concepts, I think subject of divorce can be approached in a new and different way.
    For my own growth I see more opportunity in approaching this differently than the norm. And status Quo. Loving through…, Stepping in to fears, being uncomfortable and not running away from it, are all some examples.
    Don’t really have a point with this tangent of mine, but….
    Sending you and your wife love and light, I can empathize with all the feelings that come with separation.
    I saw somewhere that you are in Boulder, lucky you! Its fabulous… Anyways, they have a fantastic Landmark Center in Denver. You should check out the Landmark Forum that they offer, I found it particularly helpful during my hard time. I actually did the program in Denver, and fell in love with it there.

  6. You know Dave, I don’t recall. It has been 11 or so years since I got divorced.
    I think part of it is for the person who didn’t initiate the divorce accepting the situation and closure.
    My daughter is going through this now.
    Perhaps I’ll ask her about her thoughts…. although I have recently learned that she is thinking about getting back together.

  7. Dave,
    I was just searching the net and found your blog. My wife made the decision to move into a place of her own in early November. Supposedly for 6 months till we “figure things out”. Well, I don’t really think she wants to do that, and has even stated that she doesn’t plan to come back in 6 months. So, I guess that says a lot.
    She hasn’t been wearing her rings for sometime, that I have noticed. However, I was wearing mine until yesterday (1/15/2008). Why did I remove it. Well, I don’t really know. I spoke to my counselor about it yesterday. Here’s the way it came up. In the last week 3 people asked me “Why do you still wear your ring when Lisa doesn’t?” My answer was, “I like it, and it was expensive”. To tell the truth I never thought about taking it off. Not so much that it was my “wedding ring” it just feels like a piece of ME! So, when I got home last night and changed I took it off just so people would stop asking me. Now I have a tan line and indent where it used to be. I miss the ring, especially (now that it is off) what it DID mean. When I took it off last night I remembered it was engraved with “Love You More, Me”. That was a little thing we had. I said “I love you”, she said, “Love you more”. She always signed little notes “ME”.
    So, what’s my point? When to take it off is different for everyone. For me, I like the ring and liked wearing the ring. I took it off, because people put the idea in my head and when I got to thinking about it, the ring was a piece of jewelery more than a symbol of our love.
    It felt good to type this out, thanks for making your post.

  8. How odd, I ended up getting a link to your blog from an old friend I almost never talk to today. I’ve been looking for other co-parenting bloggers.
    Deciding to take my rings off was a huge thing for me. I would take them off cry and shove them back on. I hated how my hands looked with out them. And then one night after a particularly bad fight with the ex, I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I had a lead weight on my hand. I never quite shook that feeling. I started taking them off when I went to bed, and eventually started leaving them on the ring tray all the time. Then one day I saw them there with dust on them and packed them up and put them away. I never got rid of them, as many have suggested I should. I’m just not sure what to do with them.
    This was an awesome post. Thanks.

  9. My wife and I are separated, supposedly with the intent to work on our marriage, at least that is my hope. It has been two and a half months and I’ve seen changes in her that lead me to believe she doesn’t really want to work on the marriage, but I’m not really sure. I knew as long as her ring was still on, it meant something. Yesterday I noticed it was off (we see each other on and off throughout the week picking up and dropping off kids) and it told me that we’re headed for the end. It’s a huge deal to me. My ring is still on and will be until something tells me we’re officially done. I think rings are a major part of marriage and what it represents as a union before God between two people for life.

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  11. I’ve been on this journey and it’s not a happy one. A few years prior to my divorce I put my wedding ring on my right hand. It got stuck for a year, and no matter what I did I couldn’t get it off.
    Neither of us cared until someone at work said he thought I was single. That’s when I decided to get it cut off. Doing it was physically painful – a symbol of the emotional pain that would be next (and of which I was completely unaware was coming).
    I went to some hippy rock shop and the woman who did it wasn’t experienced in cutting off rings. I got burns on my hand.
    I have the ring in my jewelry box still. It was repaired — a bad repair job by an antique dealer who I mistakenly trusted. It doesn’t hold any sentimental value but for some reason I still keep it.

  12. Life is full of symbols and rituals. The wedding ring is a prime example. What do you do with it after a marriage has died? Our company developed the Wedding Ring Coffin to provide the closure one might need after going through divorce. Placing your ring in the coffin and physically closing the lid on that chapter of your life can be a cathartic experience, and provide some light hearted humor at the end of the emotionally taxing divorce process.

  13. Wow, good posts from all. Im at the end of my divorce, just got the final decree. In the end, it really turned out fair for both of us. My ring meant alot of things for me:
    1) Love for my wife
    2) Right of passage
    3) stability
    4) Commitment
    In short, I was very proud of our decision to marry and spend our lives together. My ring came off on a very profound day when I realized our marrital vows had been broken and that we were holding on to a bad marriage. It was like removing a tumor my friends. Once our decree was final I put the ring back on in sadness for our loss. The symbolism had changed, I remembered what life was like between us and I was happy again for the closure. Im going to take a really long hike to a special lake up in the mountains and im going to throw it in. Im going to wish for a better life for my small and shattered family. When I hike back down I am going to leave it behind me and Im going to focus on who I choose to be. Hope this helps someone.

  14. My husband and I are recently seperated, he has started the divorce process. He is still wearing his ring and I can’t help but wonder if it means there is still “hope” I am so not wanting a divorce.

  15. It seems everybody that has written on this blog
    more or less feels the same way im on my way to a divorce or real close my wife asked us to take our rings off last night and i was heartbroken it
    does really mean something to me and to read everybodys story makes me so sad im not sure were this is going yet but it doesnt look good
    thanks for everybodys story and wish you all luck.

  16. Where to begin, today I finally removed my wedding ring. After being separated for 5 months, my wife had not been wearing her rings for a while. I am the one trying to hold on and letting go has not been easy. All the signs are there and she told me today, again, that we are no longer working out and never will. I have tried to so hard to make it work, but all she tells me is to not try anymore as it is not going to work. I have been depressed for about a week now and just can’t shake it off. I’ve talked to numerous friends and family members and they all have an opinion. I have one child with my wife and it is very difficult to think that we will never be together as a family again. I’ve already cried many times over and I think it is beginning to subside. But each time i flip the channel, I get flash backs of our relationship. I just can’t believe its already over and I’m having a hard time to cope. All these posts above are great and have gained some inisights on what I should do and expect. My wife keeps telling me to change for myself and do things for myself. What does this mean? Since she is the one that left and I still love her, does that mean she wants me to easily forget her in order to move on with my life? I’m in denial and just don’t know how to let go. I know people tell me to get out, get some air, be with friends, be in front of people, but for some reason, I can’t. I’m planted on this couch. I have a home business and its really starting to affect my job performance. I’ve searched and searched for answers, but can’t seem to get what I need to satisfy my soul.

    • move on let it go if its yours it would have never left
      7 years and did not come back because i found out she was starting to go left getting her papers
      my daughter ask me today why do i still ware it i said a promise but am going to remove it
      because it still a reminder of the pain let go and and hurt don’t ask yourself a dam thing cause you will just get out of the routine you was used to and expect from time to time to get the flash backs that will set your heart and mind and soul hurting know when it comes and cut it short try it youll see

  17. I came to this blog precisely because I was looking for an answer to this thorny little question. I really identify with a lot of what has been posted here about the significance of the ring. Chad’s post about his plan to throw his ring in a mountain lake I found quite moving too.
    My wife moved out 2 months ago though we were living apart since last Feb. The way I see the ring thing is in terms of what it says to others, especially to strangers. Do I want to present myself as single, or do I want to be taken for being married and then explain my situation when I get to know people more? What are my motives – do I really want to start another relationship yet, in which case might the ring put people off? And so on.
    The best answer seems to be to agree what to do about rings with your partner. After all, it was with them you put it on in the first place.
    And Nick – yes you really do have to force yourself to get out and meet people. When I’m at home by myself I can easily get to brooding about what I’ve lost but when I’m with workmates, friends or family I find I’m rediscovering the me that isn’t part of a couple. Do you do any exercise? It really is good for depression, and you can meet people that way too.

  18. She took her rings off over two and a half years ago. I haven’t given up yet. I don’t know how much longer I can deal with it though. Once it’s over I’ll have to leave the state. My boys are grown, but my daughter is still only 11. It’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, till death do us part. We don’t talk. I try to get the conversation going, but I get shut down everytime. I’m a very patient and stubborn person, but it’s been so long. Friends don’t understand. They think there’s something I can do. For 18 years she had short periods of “cold shoulder” when she got upset. I could break the spell by getting overly emotional (tears or shouts). This time, I can’t seem to bring up the passion. Once she took her rings off, I just couldn’t lower myself to that level again. I’m a quiet calm person. I don’t like the drama. I’ll keep this ring on until the end though. It means that I haven’t given up.

  19. David, a word of advice: if you do give up on your wife (and, honestly, it sounds like it’s time to do just that) that doesn’t by any means you need to give up on your daughter.
    In my opinion, it’s CRITICALLY important that you separate the two out or you daughter will lose her Dad, which is one heck of a price for her to pay.

  20. My husband left me a month ago… I took my ring off after about a week because I was so sad by the vows that he broke. (For better, for worse) I type all day long at work as much of the communication is done by e-mail… I had to take my ring off or I would not be able to function in my job as my ring stuck out as a constant reminder. Whether we get back together or not, in the meantime, what that ring symbolized no longer holds true… and I will not wear it again until I know that it symbolizes something “true”. I see so many of you going through so many of the same “rollercoaster” of emotions…. it’s good to see that I am not alone.
    Thanks for this great blog!

  21. I moved out 3 months ago (no affairs, no fights, just two people who no longer share a common view of what they want from their future or a relationship) so I am at the beginning of the divorce process. I’m debating when to take the ring off for an entirely different reason than I’ve seen here.
    I’ve always viewed the ring more as a signal to others of my relationship status than anything else.
    So, given that – am I “lying” by taking it off or “lying” by leaving it on?
    As such, I’m legally married but not emotionally so.
    I’d like to be open to new relationship possibilities – but keeping the ring on says “off limits”. But if I take it off and a new relationship presents itself I could be viewed as deceptive.
    Any thoughts on the right thing to do from that perspective?

  22. I just off my ring today. The divorce started 5 weeks ago. My finger feels really bare after 21 years. I thought about wearing a funky fun ring, but I might leave it bare so the ridge heals.
    I agree with earlier comment that some women keep them on to protect them from male predators. So may pop it back on when I am out socialising.
    Best of luck to you all x

  23. maybe sometimes people take them off if they have problems in their hands… ever think of that? i am married and had to take mine off because they were swolen because i am pregnant… think about some of these things before you post them online

  24. Sorry, Melissa, it appears that my blog entry touched a nerve with you? Of course there is no assumption that everyone who doesn’t wear a wedding ring wants to be single or is in the process (mentally or in real life) of getting a divorce. There are tons of reasons why a married person might not have a ring on and many reasons why a separated/divorced/unmarried person might have one on their finger.
    As for me, we’re now divorced (after 17 months of separation and legal thrashing) and the indentation is gone from my finger, as is the tan line. I occasionally look at my finger and still feel the ring missing and wonder if I’ll restore it with a new marriage down the road. At this moment in time, it doesn’t seem important.

  25. This blog is a blessing in disguise. I have been tortured by this question since my spouse took her ring off probably 8 mo. ago. It has been sooo confusing to me and I am hurting inside and am torn as to what to do. We have been strugling for a while but just exchanged vows in June of last year again after 15 years of marriage. After i got back from vacation her ring was off and in a box now in her bathroom drawer. She has been having migranes now for over 14 months and I think she has detached because she doesnt know whats wrong with herself. The disconnect has been huge and I am just giving her her freedom while trying my best to raise our 2 boys alone. She has been going away alot and has been going on trips to see girlfriends alot. I am still wearing my rings because they represent our union to me and everytime I get upset and mad like I just did when I went upstairs looking for tweezers and found it in a new place i just want to take mine off and leave them in that box with hers. I cant bring myself to do so even though I feel so stupid for trying to hang on. I dont want to take it off but it is feeling like it is my umbillical cord to my marriage and the olny thing that holds her to me in this relationship right now. I took it off while i was reading this blog and then cried so much that I put it back on in hopes of saving my marriage. The ring does symbolize alot for me and I am so lost to as why she would disconnect like that.

  26. I have been seperated for almost 3 months now. Reading everyones blogs is helping me a lot. My husband was the one that wanted the seperation and I am having a really hard time with it. He has already taken off his wedding ring and just discovered the other day that he has it on his keychain. Im not really sure why, but for some reason it helps a little to know that he still carries it around with him. Myself on the other hand has yet to take it off. I’ve tried a couple of times once I seen that he was no longer wearing it, but I always put it back on. For me these rings do symbolize everything about our marriage. Our love. our commitment, the family we started and the life that we planned on sharing until the end of our time. I cannnot give up on any of that and still have hope of one day having it all back, and by taking the rings off would show that I gave up. So until my husband brings me divorce papers and I sign them they are not coming off. And I don’t care how many more friends and family membes ask me why I still have them on i will continue to tell all of them the same thing I shared with you.
    Thank You for listening and once again this blog helps a lot by feeling that I’m not alone in all of this.

  27. I kept from my wife a personal issue from before we were married. Once I had to finally confess she considered our marraige a “sham” and stopped wearing her wedding ring. That was three years ago. Now, with a new job, she’s discovered someone at work to whom she’s attracted–her boss, actually. Things have been eroding preatty quickly since she shared this little tid-bit with me nearly four months ago. We’re at the place where she says she wants “space”. So, knowing I can’t control her heart I’m stepping back and leaving her alone as much as possible; allowing her to dictate the parameters of the relationship. But I decided that I, too, would remove my wedding ring, but I’m not sure why. I want my marriage to be a strong and healthy one. I want to rebuild what we once had. I just don’t know that she wants that anymore. I guess by removing my ring I’m trying to prepare myself emotionally for what seems and inevitablility. I hate this place in my life. I wonder if there’s happiness on the other side.

  28. I just found your blog through googling “when to take off your wedding ring”. I am now going through this dilemma. It was my husband that pulled away and stopped talking, feeling or anyhting else. He doesn’t want to seek counseling and he even moved into the guest room a few weeks ago. This has been gradually getting worse over a course of months. We are more like roommates than anything. Well our 5 year anniversary was Friday and he didn’t even acknowledge it. I at least gave him a card. He didn’t even open it. So to me that shows this marriage is over and didn’t mean anything to him in anyway and i don’t even want to wear this ring anymore. But i know as soon as i take it off and people notice then come the questions. It makes me very sad to take it off and as of right now its on. It meant so much to me as did my marriage and it makes me very sad.

  29. My wife left a year ago, 12 years down the toilet, hasn’t filed, left me in ruins. They say the second dump is easier for them, now I see. Tonight I want to take my ring off, I guess I was hoping and praying for the possible, but as always there the new OM.
    Seems we get to a point that the ring is just a ring. When she wore her wedding dress to a Halloween party that tells me who she really is and what she valued. She looked better as a witch. I won’t need to throw a bucket of water on her, she will do that herself. OZ……………

  30. I separated from my husband 9 months ago. He took his off immediately and sold them for a pittance. I will keep mine on until the divorce is final and on that day the contract will be over and that is what the rings symbolise to me.
    Not to be too downhearted though, I intend to get them fashioned into a new piece of jewellery that I can wear, maybe a pendant or a brooch, which will be a way of making the best of the situation and not throwing away all those years.

  31. I really was comforted by the posts on the blog. My husband and I are going to have a trial separation starting in September. I am the one wanting the separation in order to figure out what I really want. My husband does not want it. I am going to continue wearing my wedding band because I don’t want anyone at work to ask me about it right now besides the fact that taking off the ring feels too final.
    I am worried about my kids. I hope they adjust ok. My husband and I do not fight and will make it as smooth as possible for them, but it still seems drastic in breaking up our family unit. I am just not happy being married to my husband and need some space of my own. Anyway, I will wear my ring until…

  32. I have been married for 25 years. I love my wife and am committed to our marriage. She has given up trying and says that she has never loved me – that she knew when she walked down the aisle it was a mistake. She says she’s tried, but just doesn’t feel that ‘click’. She wants out – but money (lack of it) keeps us together. She won’t consider counseling – she feels that it would just be brainwashing or a guilt trip. We have six children. She loves them and would die for them. In April of this year, she stopped wearing her ring. She had injured her ring finger cleaning, so took it off so her finger could heal better. It is now August – still no ring. I mentioned it to her, and she said she might put it back on in the fall. I have my doubts. I feel that she was very concerned that folk would comment on her not wearing her wedding ring. But she has discover that no one (except me) seems to notice it (or at least no one will mention it to her). Not her mom, sister, our grown children, our younger children – no one. I feel that she no longer fears the stigma of not wearing it and doesn’t want to – because it represents a relationship she wants out of. As for me? I’ll always wear my ring ’till death do us part’. As a bible believing Christian, I read that when divorce is mentioned in the scripture, Jesus said that the spouse who divorces the other causes him/her to commit adultery. If the marriage was ended by divorce, how could there be adultery? Of course, this assumes that the spouse is a Christian too. My wife lead me to Jesus. I don’t believe that she would say that she isn’t one herself. I have learned much of what it is like for God to love us and for us to reject Him – but he still keeps loving. So will I – the ring stays on.

  33. My wife took her ring off about 3 weeks ago about when she started a new job. Everyting is going good in Marriage except she isnt wearing the ring. Not sure what to do.

  34. I took it off the day my husband revealed he was having an affair and not just a business trip in our 24 year marriage. It was a great marriage until he responded to his ‘old’ girlfriend at age 12, email and started the preposterous 3rd person in our marriage scenario.I had a hard time but washing my face of tears used any and all available lubricants to remove what I and he designed ourselves…a stylish and weighty piece we received many compliments for. I ripped off a chunk of finger on my right hand (Ukrainian Orthodox tradition)saw he was ‘resting’ on the bed…Cheating and deceiving is a weary activity…. walked in and chucked it his way and told him that it was now hunting season and he could pick and scr-w whoever and however….he wanted …as he made our marriage from a loving and fine family to trash in 30 seconds… We met as teenagers…and 38years later…he flushes his wife 2 adult children at home and takes a taxi back to airport yet another business trip?…does not hang around to tell the kids… 🙁

  35. My husband and I separated last month, he had had a three year affair. I found out about it in April 2009, we decided to give our marriage another try… he wanted to stay the same and disregarded his words he would do anything to keep us together… I loved and love this man but cannot live with any more deciet and lies.
    The last time I saw my husband with his ring on was last Thursday, he came round last evening and i noticed he was not wearing his ring, I was gutted, he was moving on quite well and I seem to be stuck, I had not even thought about the ring until that moment and what the ring meant… your posts helped me a lot… I felt hurt when I saw he did not have the ring on… even though it was he who betrayed me, I did not think about the removal of the ring yet, I tried taking it off and as another person said, I felt like a piece of me was missing, it gave the separation a more of a final feeling … thing is I still love my husband and he clearly never loved me like he could have. I am going through a lot of emotions right now. This blog has helped me a little. I di dnot know if you had to wait until a separation was finalized before the ring came off.

  36. The ring came off on the “actual” day of the divorce – it has been redesigned into another piece of jewellery and gets worn now and again

  37. I reached this site for answers I suppose as
    I am perplexed that my current boyfriend still wears his wedding ring (moved to the middle finger).
    When I asked why, he was quite defensive but could not actually give me a reason.
    From my perspective, a wedding ring symbolizes love, commitment and fidelity between two people. Never ending – thus the circle.
    Keeping it on is an inability to relinquish those emotions/feelings. You can divorce legally, but sometimes the emotional separation is much harder.
    For me, I wanted him to deal with the emotions, and me honestly. It isn’t about the ring, it is the symbolism.

  38. My husband for years has been telling me he was unhappy and wanted a divorce….it seems to me that this was a defense machinism that he had growth to use despite that he never acted on anything. More recently after I had surgery which was my husband’s day off he told me he was going to work for a couple of hours. Needless to say I was hurt after 8 years of marriage and always being pushed aside for other things that were not as important as me. We argued over this and eventually he said he wanted to get all of this stuff out so I finally grew a backbone and packed his stuff myself. He did leave my home and that day was last day he has had his ring on. To me this is even more hurtful as this is a symbol of US. Neither of us has drawn up divorce papers as I think he is confused which just leaves me filled with empty promises and no security for a future with this man.
    I still wear my rings because I am not willing to give up completely. It is a huge challenge everyday to try to think about taking them off.

  39. My wife left 2 months ago. She “found” an old boyfriend of her’s on FB, and they began to email, chat, and then it eventually led to them meeting behind my back. I have been very ill for the better part of 5 years, with this last year being the worst, I nearly died. But instead of my near death experience bringing us closer, I believe it ended up giving her some type of green light to go further with this other man. But I started getting better and better, and I think that she got “stuck” in a way. She truly thought I was going to die, and when I didn’t, and I stated getting better, she had already gotten in real deep with this other man. So she left, after 16 years of marriage and 4 children. We had been together since we were 16 yr old High School sweethearts. So today my youngest son asked me if I was going to get my ring cut off like Mommy did. That’s how I found out she had taken off her ring last week. I thought about my 5 yr old son’s question, and I guess that’s why I went online to see if there is a “proper” time, or a “traditional” time people removed their rings. But after reading all your posts, I can see the answer is, it’s just different for everyone. I really liked Chad’s post from a couple years ago, hiking up to a lake and throwing it in. That is symbolic on it’s own, which I thought was really interesting. So I’m sitting here typing this and I’m looking at my ring on my finger and I guess I don’t know why I still have it on. My wife hurt me in so many ways. Not only cheating on me, but leaving me when I am still recovering from my illness. What ever happened to, “In sickness and In Health”? Or some of those 10 commandments, like, “Thou Shalt not commit adultery” or ” Thou Shalt not covet thy neighbors wife”?? Don’t any of these simple moral guides mean anything to people any longer?? Anyways, she says she is filing for divorce, which, I know is the best thing, especially when she can’t stop her lies and deceit. But taking off my ring? Until today, I hadn’t really thought about it until my son’s little question. I guess I can look at it either as an ending to something, or as a beginning to a new and better life. I will have to think about that for a bit, but the starting a new life option just seems like a much happier approach. When will I take my ring off? I guess that is now something I must add to my list of “Things to think about”, but that list is sure getting longer everyday…

  40. Love all the comments – trying to deal with this issue right now while I look at a plain gold wedding band that I bought to replace my original wedding ring. I’ve already moved it to my right hand, but now I’m wondering what it’s even doing there. Been legally separated for nearly six months, but my husband was on the couch long before that by his own choice. After 18 years of marriage, he re-connected with an ex-fiance on Facebook… the rest is history.
    Was going to wear the ring until we’re divorced, since that is where he insists we’re going, but I realized that there are only two reasons I’m still wearing it right now: other people’s expectations, and me being unwilling to accept that he’s not coming back. You cannot force someone to love you, it’s as simple as that, heartbreaking as it is, and as devastating to your children as it is. So…
    I LOVE what Chad wrote in his post and I think the ring is coming off; then when it’s all final, I’m going to take that hike he talks about to get closure. Thanks for that, and thanks Dave for starting this post. For such a little thing, a ring carries so many emotions, and it’s good to know I’m not the only one who is struggling with this.

  41. My husband left two weeks ago after 10 years together and he has already removed his wedding ring? Does that leave us no hope for a reconciliation at all?

  42. I just got married a year ago, well almost a year, and we have been not getting along. Every time i could get mad at him or something huge, i would take off my ring and not wear it until we made up. I take if off when i go to sleep, take a shower, even when im just home. Not wearing jewelry when i was younger, that’s why i think im not into the whole wedding ring thing, even though our marriage means alot to me. I love the ring he gave me and it was expensive, i should not take it off!
    If ( i hope never this would happen) we were gunna to get divorce or something, i would not give the ring back i would keep it but not wear it. i believe it all depends on how long you;ll been married.

  43. I was looking for some solid advice on whether to remove my wedding ring or not. It’s interesting reading the different blogs. I have been married 22 years with 2 kids. Found out 2 1/2 months ago my husband is having an affair. We spent this last few months seeing if he could develope feelings for me and we could work on us. He never fully committed and still talks to her. I asked for a separation yesterday and took off my ring. I felt like I can not feel married to a man that hasn’t committed to our marriage. He needs time to sort out his feelings and maybe we will be able to try again. But in the meantime I don’t know if I want to wear it or not. If he doesn’t see it on I wonder what he will think?

  44. I had mine cut off as the marriage is dead so no point wearing it. We will separate and in many ways quite siginficant of my independence and end of emotional tornment. No emotions no symbolism in the ring removal. But there is an impression mark whcih is fading quicker than I thought!
    The jeweler who cut it off said nothing. I asked him to cut it off ,he then cut it off, put in wee bag. I joked to the jeweler about not cutting off my finger and he joked about his eyesight and no enquiring comments from him or big emotional stuff from me…. and that was it.
    The jeweler adopted the role for a short moment as a diplomat, a stress councillor or perhaps just a quiet observer of another of lifes rites.

  45. I know this is should be about rings, not just marriage and divorce advice, but I swear, the ring comes up in my story…
    My wife and I have been married for nearly seven years. When we were dating (before we even got engaged), we agreed that I should make it a goal to be the breadwinner and she would work part time or be a full time stay at home mom, raising our kids. This seemed like a good plan at the time, but here we are 8 years later and things have not turned out the way we wanted. I had changed jobs, and switched industries completely, trying to find a better way to provide for us, but it was never enough. My wife has an advanced degree (attorney) and has the capability to literally make 5-10 times as much as she does working for a non profit organization, but refuses to do so on the principal that she is holding up HER end of the deal- why can’t I hold up mine? We have a 3yr old daughter, my wife is 3 months pregnant and I just lost my job 2 weeks ago. I have been relocated to the couch, we have canceled daycare and my fed-up wife home in occasionally to interrupt my job hunt and reprimand me. I’m sick of being kicked while I’m down.
    Today she came home from work and threw her ring on the counter and said “Sell it.”
    This isn’t the first time she’s asked me to do this. Last time I freaked out about how we would be lucky to get 15% of what it was actually worth and besides, WTF, that’s your wedding ring! That’s how I stumbled upon this site, incidentally… I was looking for jewelers that could take her wedding band and engagement ring apart (she had them welded together a few years ago). I’m kind of at a loss. I don’t want to get a divorce. I want our daughter and our unborn child to be raised by 2 loving parents, but I’m not sure if that’s who we are any more. I might be unemployed and I’ll even take being called a liar for saying that I would come through financially and then failing my family, but I’m still a man and can’t be treated like dirt and reminded of my shortcomings repeatedly. I spoke with her mother recently and was told that she’s always been argumentative and holds grudges forever. Nearly everyone in her family has been shunned by her for something that they said or did at some point. Her mom said that they tried to get her counseling in high school, but she wouldn’t be told what to do. Now they say they are walking on eggshells every time they speak to her. My parents have said the same thing. It’s like she’s angry at the whole world and I’m her punching bag. Now that I’m essentially useless to her (other than daycare) I think that things are finally going to fall apart. I’m so worried about keeping our messed up little family afloat and I hate change, but something’s got to give.
    Do I go ahead and pawn or put her ring on eBay for her? It feels like such a big step, like there’s no turning back, but it might actually be the best step to take. Right now I’m completely numb and deflated.

  46. Hi,I m 31 years old my wife is 22,we been married for almost 3 years,we was going to do 3 years together on may.
    In end of January,she left me by email,and we after few days saw each other and talking about it,she said she needs separation,to refind her self,and doesn’t love me the way used to.she said I gived to her too much love and affection,I’m Italian,she is American,I believe in values like family,love trustiness,passion,devotion.
    My dream was and still is to have a family like mine own in Italy,she said when I meet that she felt in love for me because I’m sweet honest nice guy with the same values,I have.for almost 2 years and half,we been together,everywhere,without no friends,she was not talking with nobodyelse,she asked me to leave mine friends to stay all the time with her,I was supporting her and my parents also with help,so she now recently 6 months ago restarted to hanging out with her friends,most of them are guys(musicians)and started to ignore me at all,she started to not sleep back home,but crashing in the couch’s friends,when she had day off at work,I’m studying in university really hard 3d animation,trying to be engineer in 3d,so I can’t work cuz I have a really crazy schedule.
    so less then 2 months ago,she started often go out in concert and with her friends,and getting back with his best friend,bisex guy musician also,that she is been friend for a while.I don’t see her now for more then 2 weeks,she didn’t called or texted,she erased me on fbook,change her profile to marred to single,and our last name(Italian),I ve been really depressed for more then 2 months,she asked me to not bothering her and leave her alone,I heard that she added like friends her exbf that really jutted her years ago.
    I was under shock,I m having really bad problems to deal with this pain,I love her really bad,and I still have a hope,she toke the ring off exactly that day she said was need separation,she said also to be single,and think about her own,nobody,only herself friends and music she wrote.she didn’t asked the separation legally yet,I toke off my ring after 2 weeks we separate and she kicked me out from my own leasing house,I felt really sad and bad about it,now i dont sleep for weeks,not eating enough And i m afraid to’ talk with people,Friends told me to’ take out The ring,And told me then im a stupid If still have hope on her,she is not religious like me,she doesnt believe in god And in what means to wear ring,she toke off,And asked me why i was still have it on finger,i told her that i love her And i still believe it in Our marriage,she kind lough on me,And changed argument.week later i toke off,forget after shower to’ reputting in,we meet And she noticed i didnt have on it,she said oh finally You coke off The ring,and I said yes but I still have hope on us.she told me that she won’t be back,untill I need work on my self,And be’ older,wise And better adjusted.
    Its been 2 weeks then we dintorni see Or talk eachother,3 days ago was My 31 th birthday,And she didnt text Or Call for anything.
    Im crying And in pain And praying god every night for give me stenght And hope,i dont know what to’ do,she seems to’ young for this responsability,i dont know If she still love me like i do,but she left me on The first obstacle for been brainwashed from her sister And His bestfriend that lives with her now like Roommate.
    I dont know what ti do please i need some advice.

  47. Hi
    My boyfriend has been divorced for a little over 2 years now and this past weekend, he gave me his wedding band. When I asked why, his reply was:
    ” because it means something to me & i want you to have it its kind of like me a bit old/worn but still worth something & maybe one day you can give it back to me?”
    His wife divorced him after announcing she was lesbian, and it brole his heart. He said he honestly believed they would be together forever. He truely believes in the meaning and symbolism of marriage and I found it strange and special at the same time, when he gave it to me.
    The thing that bothers me is that all my friends dont share my feelings. They think it’s strange and weird.
    Am I missing something?

  48. This has been a very interesting read for me. I also just love that this post is actually a number of years old and people have continued to respond to it. I got here because of a search I did…

    I’ve been married almost 12 years, we have 5 kids. My wife had an affair over a year ago and we have been working on things. It’s hard. About a month ago, she got up one morning and said that she was done trying. Last week I got a letter from her lawyer saying that wants to finalize things. I am going to be moving out shortly. I don’t want the marriage to end. Maybe for her it already has. She took her rings off that day. I took mine off more recently. But I have not been comfortable with the idea. After reading through this entire blog post and the responses here tonight, I just put my ring back on. I will continue to wear it for a while. For me, it is a symbol of the commitments that I made to her – and those still hold true. I do hope for reconciliation and believe it is possible. I’ll continue to wear it for a while. Maybe until I see there is no more hope, maybe until the divorce is final, I’m not sure. But, right now, it seems to early for me to take it off. I don’t want to keep wearing it just to try and fool everyone into thinking that things are fine, but at the same time, I don’t want to appear available to anyone else – I am not, nor am I interested in looking yet.

    So, ya, I am still on the fence as to whether I should keep it on, but I think that until I am comfortable being without it, I’ll wear it. I only ever took it off once for a few days in the past 12 years. I got a funny rash under my ring that I just could not get rid of. I went without my ring for about a week until it healed. Ironically, I found out later that this was after she had cheated on me, but before she confessed.

    But whether either one of us likes it or not, I am still married. The ring is on for now. Thanks for everything I have read here, now I know that I am not the only one who has struggled with this question.

  49. I don’t actually know how I got to this site, I was googling something that had nothing to do with wedding rings but now that I am here I read everyone’s story. So many sad ones indeed. Maybe it was fate that lead me here because I too caught my husband cheating with my best friend (his best friends wife) a year ago and he left the day I found out without explaining and took his girlfriend with him the next day for a Florida vacation for 2 weeks. We have been married 23 years and have a 14 year old daughter. I went through a lot of pain because I love my husband dearly and he just disappeared from our lives for approximately 3 months and then out of the blue started calling me when at work so that he could “really talk to me with out her around”. He works mid nights so each night he would make his daily call or texts. It finally lead to him telling her he was going to work and he started to spend a night every 2 weeks. I continued to wear my rings as I too like many believe in the symbolism of the endless circle of love they represent. During the time my husband was staying the nights and approximately showing up twice a week to talk I continued to have hope that we would work this out and have our family back together again. After about 3 months of my husband playing his cheating act with me on his new girlfriend I realized that I now was becoming the other woman and decided to end his evening romps with me. I guess he didn’t want me but didn’t want anyone else to have me or was just plain confused but I couldn’t keep letting him play with my heart any longer. At that time I took my rings off, it was a very sad feeling and many times I wondered if it was what I should have done and put them back on but eventually decided he was no longer committed and left them off. He continued to make his usual twice a week visits to talk and cry about not knowing what to do saying that he still loved me and did make mention of me not wearing my rings anymore, his girlfriend who has lived with him for the past year since leaving her husband still wears all of hers. I told him the day he makes his decision and wants to come back and put my rings back on my finger and carry out the commitment that they were meant to mean I would wear them again. That day still has not come. We have talked and cried many times in the past year but he is still living with her and hasn’t made an effort to come back home to his family. He has recently as of 2 and a half months ago mentioned he is ready for a divorce and has asked to meet to try to settle this between us because we have what is consider a high profile divorce. We have built up a very successful life and it will cost thousands to end it. Well since mentioning his readiness to end this marriage he has yet to talk to me to try and settle it even though I see him, I live in the marital home and he walks in when ever he wants because he feels he can due to him paying the mortgage. I have offered the home to him as I have others and have offered to move into another home that I own but so far he doesn’t want us to do that and he calls quite frequently. I have ended contacting him as much as possible, I feel as long as he chooses the life he has now we really have nothing to talk about, he doesn’t pay child support (he is fine financially this isn’t due to not having the money to do so he just chooses not to until family court issues arise), rarely sees our daughter ( we own a business and he also has a separate job and says he has no time but does vacation a lot with his girlfriend and has weekends off) but does occasionally help with clothing and I ask him for absolutely nothing. I really have no idea what to think. I don’t know if he is trying to still keep me on the string and scare me into keeping me from looking for another or if he really does want it. It is quite ironic that I met a great guy not long before my husband asked for this divorce, but we are friends, we go to dinner, movies and etc. with other friends so I don’t have to feel like a third wheel. All my friends are married, it makes me feel like a tag along through no fault of theirs I just do. He understands my situation and I have told him I am not ready for a relationship. He is a great listener and helps me understand from a guys point of view and who knows with what the future holds maybe in time he could be my next Mr. right but right now I continue to hold to my commitment to this marriage as I love my husband with all of my heart and also believe I need to be a good role model for my daughter who means the world to me and want to do everything I can to mend my family. But as for now the rings continue to sit in a box until he either decides to put them back on my finger because he wants his family back or if it does turn out he does really want this divorce the box will be their resting place. My wedding ring was my mother’s, a very beautiful customized artcarved band that was offered to me when I decided to get married. Which in turn I will offer my daughter when she meets the man of her dreams in hopes that she carries the tradition of having it carried down the isle on that satin pillow next to the ring her husband will wear but if she doesn’t that’s ok it will continue to rest in it’s box until another generation and she offers it to one of her children.

  50. My husband and I have been living apart for several years due to our life circumstances but still committed to each other. Over the last year however we’ve realized that there is little likelihood of us living together ever again. We’ve decided to separate and divorce so that we can have closure on this relationship and be open to future relationships. Neither of us wants to hold the other hostage in this long-distance relationship.

    We are both still wearing our wedding bands. In his culture it has no significance, but because it was important to me, he embraced it fully and has worn it continuously since we married more than 18 years ago. He says now that he doesn’t want to take it off because he still values me and our relationship, though the nature of our relationship is changing. It will not be “read” where he lives as a sign of marital commitment.

    I however feel conflicted about when to remove my ring. I have kept it on to buy myself some space from questions, and thought I may wear it until our divorce is final. However, recently my ring has resulted in several very awkward conversations and I’ve felt uncomfortable and deceptive with questions asked and assumptions made because I am wearing my ring. So I’m thinking about removing my ring. There will still be awkward conversations and questions, I know, but I will feel better prepared to face them honestly.

    I appreciate the symbolic gestures described above for helping with closure (like Chad who planned to throw it in the lake, leaving behind all the hurt that it symbolized). But for me and my husband, our rings don’t symbolize anger or hurt or betrayal. We are just on different life paths now; there is sadness, but no regret. But the symbolism of the ring still holds true in many ways. We are tied and committed to one another forever through our two teenage daughters and also our continuing love and respect for one another. What I’m going to propose to my husband is that we either each give one of our daughters a wedding band, or have them made into new rings for them as a symbol of our every-lasting love and commitment to them. Our daughters are a product of our loving relationship, and my husband are committed for their benefit to remaining loving and respectful to one another in this new stage of our relationship.

  51. Dearest helptemple

    With my heart and soul I thank you. You have given me the strength to perform the work that was making me emotionally, psychologically and physically ill. I have yet to finish but I am thankful I have made progress. People came into my life to help me. They helped with my bills, my mental well being so that I was able to make good decisions. Today I received the highest rating at my job even though last year was the most horrible year of my life. I have never been rated lower than far exceeded during my entire career and I thought for sure it would happen this year. With that comes a lot of responsibility and I hope I do not fail as times are still tough and sometimes still feel sad and helpless. I wished that I could feel like a women and a person again. To be able make good decisions and get through this paperwork. Any help financially I would be extremely grateful. If it was more than I needed than I would do good with it. I have been provided with all that I prayed for.
    I am extremely grateful to you and all that you do. You are very gifted and I will never forget you. I am also grateful for the Blessed Mother, Jesus, God and St. Anthony whom I also pray to.
    I hope that my journey in this life continues with a clear mind and an open heart and soul so that I can do good for my children and this world.
    Again I thank you and send to you all that is good.you can as will email him helptemple@yahoo.com

    D. from USA

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  53. smith
    Thank you for changing my life,smith and I am so happy and inlove again,Thank you for working your Spells on him.if you have lost your love before he can help you bring her back;his email
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  54. testimony
    i am jenifer from Malaysia
    i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 6 years to my husand and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture.. he started haiting me and he was abusive..but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost…then he filed for divorce..my wholelife was turning apart and i didnt know what to do..he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster…so i decided to try it reluctantly..although i didnt believe in all those things… then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 7 days, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realised his mistakes..i just couldnt believe it.. anyways we are back together now and we are happy..incase anyone needs this man, his email address churchofproblemsolvedchurch@yahoo.com his spells is for a better life.

  55. I googled about when is the right time to take off your wedding ring if you have been separated for a year. And it lead me to this sight… I can’t believe the stories I have read hear it all sounds to familiar in my head over and over the challenges we face being married to a liar and cheat for whatever reason it’s all the same….. My story starts a year ago today I caught my husband chatting on Facebook and instergram and sending naked pics of himself and having conversations with random girls and text messaging back and fourth… I confronted him and he said it was not a big deal it was no sex involved that was his excuse long story short we fought I kicked him out of the house we been married for 13 years and we have a daughter together. I gave this man 23 years of my life to end up this way no trust and looks like I’ve been the fool throughout this marriage he has been doing this underneath my nose for a long time now.. He seeks attention from other ppl instead of appreciating what he has at home…. We’ll now we live apart he moved to another City and apparently his been seeing someone he met but he keeps communicating with me and my question is should I let him go…. He sold his wedding ring like the first week he was there in his mom home and I can’t believe he would do that… I on the other hand still wear mines… I just feel weird not having it on… And besides the fact that I believe in the union we build and I believe in commitment I trust god that he will find his way…. But in the mean time what do I do? Should I take it off…. Is it hard to say that I don’t believe in divorce I believe in working it out and getting a second chance… But will I be setting my self up for failure… Once again I don’t trust him I don’t believe in his words actions speaks better than words and he has failed in all….. Did I also mention that that year we have been apart we have seem each other twice and we had sex and that makes it all hard to let go… We have this connection…. And it sucks…..! Help I need to find a resolution to all this…..

    • Darling Mel yes it sucks; many women and men have been/are, where you are now or have been in your shoes, me included.
      Take off the ring and Liberate Yourself my darling girl. Think how you’re still trapped by that ring its a metaphor for your life being put on Hold, Trapped, Locked in, (remember the movie where the Ring made anyone who wears it Mad?).
      The Ring is not what traps you but How you see yourself as being half of a couple instead of seeing Yourself as a Powerful, Amazing Strong Woman.
      Check out Lisa Nichols inspiring story of how she overcame Loss, Poverty, Abandonment etc etc. Live your Life to Your Fullest Potential Dear Woman by claiming your Power.
      Love, Peace and Harmony Dear Friend.

  56. Excellent blog you have here, Dave. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. And I’m still thinking about when I’d take my own wedding ring off if I got divorced. Maybe the day we signed the papers? I don’t know. Fortunately, that’s not an issue right now.

  57. So this is a little dated post and I am not sure who will read my reply but I too am in the beginning stages of a divorce. My wife of 13 years no longer loves me. She moved out 3 weeks ago and here I sit; feeling nauseous that I am still wearing a ring that means nothing anymore. I am legally still married and papers have not been served (probably in the next week) but I think I am ready to remove my ring. I wish it still represented a vow and a covenant but it sadly does not. I have tried to save this marriage for the past year. The woman that I made my vow to no longer exists and I accept that yet I struggle with this ring. It now reminds me of a year of heartbreak and hurt; this should be an easy decision. Why is it not?

    • Sorry to hear about your situation, TJ. It’s hard to take the wedding ring off because it’s so deeply symbolic. For me, it was a symbol of my dreams and hopes of what married life would be like and what my relationship with my wife would always be. And even when it was clearly something else, it was $#$@ hard to let go of that dream. Good luck.

      • Thanks for the reply! That sums it up for me. I got the courage to take the ring off yesterday and I feel relieved. I can hold my head high knowing I didn’t break the vow and now I don’t have to see the ring to constantly remind me that she did. I truly believe that there will be a time that my wife will want me to put that ring back on in the future and I will feel pity for her…because that space will likely be taken by a ring that will represent something true that my first ring could not. It will be given to me by someone much better than her.

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