4/22/09

when should i stop wearing my wedding ring?


After your spouse/partner dies, you may have mixed feelings about when to remove your wedding ring.

Because there are no firm rules about if and when to take this emotionally loaded step, it’s really up to you to decide when to stop wearing your ring.

You might practice removing it for short periods and see how you feel. Or try a more gradual change by shifting the ring to another finger, different hand, or a chain you wear around your neck.

However you proceed, take the time you need to make the decision that's right for you.

35 comments:

deb e said...

I took my ring off right after my husband died. I keep it with his ring in a special place. For me, it was a symbol of a marriage and a part of my life that had ended. What keeps me connected to him are the memories that I carry in my heart.

Anonymous said...

My husband died almost 3 months ago. I have been struggling with whether or not to stop wearing my wedding ring. Today I took it off and put it on my pinky finger. Maybe someday I'll take it off completely but I doubt it.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Thanks for that great suggestion. Remember that there's no "right" or "wrong" here. It takes some people years before they're ready to take the step you've just taken.

So give yourself time and do whatever feels best for you.

We appreciate your comment!

Anonymous said...

I have been a widow for 9 months. I took my rings off and chose to put the engagement ring on my right finger but not wear the wedding band. The band is with my husbands. Unfortunately, my husband died by suicide and I feel that he "chose" to end the marriage but the engagement ring is too beautiful not to wear. So I am reminded of the love we had by continuing to wear it.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Anonymous,
Mourning a death by suicide is especially complicated. It sounds, however, that you’ve worked out a good solution to the ring dilemma. Thanks for your wise and insightful comment!

Anonymous said...

I lost my wife to breast cancer In December 2009. After wearing and not wearing my wedding band, I've decided to take it off and keep it with my wife's ring. I do not need ring to remember my wife. In fact, the absence of the ring is a better reminder that wearing the ring. My love for her is the same as it has always been, whether I wear the ring or not.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Thank you for your comment and the beautiful sentiment you expressed.

Anonymous said...

Joanne

I lost my husband of 27 years nearly 5 years ago, it would have been his 53rd birthdat today. I moved the diamond engagement ring to my right hand last week and finally took my wedding ring off. I think this is a sign of moving forward but it is very painful so I may put the rings back. Its very individual....

Laurie and Ruth said...

We agree thats it's a very personal decision. Give yourself a big pat on the back for taking this difficult step. Big steps are never without mixed feelings, so be patient with yourself.

Anonymous said...

My father passed when I was a freshmen in high school. My mother was very upset and had a hard time taking the big step of taking off her ring. But when she did, she took my father's ring and her's and had it made into my wedding ring which I wear today. It means alot to me to know that I can have something that stood for so much in their lives in my new venture in life.

Laurie and Ruth said...

What a beautiful way to remember a loving marriage and inspire a new one! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

MY HUSBAND PASSED AWAY IN JUNE OF THIS YEAR AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE MY RINGS OFF FOR IT WOULD BE A SIND THAT I DO NOT LOVE HIM AND I AM JUST THAT WAY

Laurie and Ruth said...

You lost is very recent and this is a decision that most people don't make until more time has passed following their loss.

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong here and it's a personal decision. Only you know what's best for you.

Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband this year 2011 and I don't know what I should do he died unexpected. We have 2 small children boys they are finding it very hard to cope with losing their daddy whom died on the 24 of june 2011. I don't think anyone should force me to take off my wedding ring that my beloved husband placed on my finger when we got married. Charlene Jackson

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Charlene,

We agree that you shouldn't let anyone pressure you into taking any step that doesn't feel right for you. You are the best judge when and if to take off your ring.

Keep in mind that your loss is very recent and there's no hurry to make this important decision. Your feelings are shared by many.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I recently lost my wife. She was a beautiful person and I am deeply saddened by her passing. I cherish our many memories and will miss her terribly. I appreciate and am going to try Deb e's approach by keeping my ring on the bedside table attached my favorite picture of us.

Laurie and Ruth said...

We agree that's a great suggestion.

Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband on October 30, 2011 to Cancer. He was only 43 years old. We have two children both boys. Our 17th wedding anni. is in a couple of days (Dec. 29th). This is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. I look at my rings every day on my finger and cry or get sad. I feel guilty when I think about taking them off.

Laurie and Ruth said...

With such a recent loss and your anniversary and the holidays here, please give yourself time before taking this very personal step. There's no hurry. Trust yourself to know what's best for you.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband in January of this year to suicide. I want to take my ring off, but I don't want to hurt his families feelings, and I don't want people to think I didn't love him. I am trying to decide when is the right time and should I be worried what others think?

Laurie and Ruth said...

Suicide is one of the most difficult types of loss to mourn. It's common to feel a complicated mix of guilt and anger about how and why the death occured.

While there's no right or wrong about when to remove your wedding ring, the death is still very recent. You might consider wearing the ring when you're around his family but take it off in private. See how this feels to you.

Whatever you decide, give yourself lots of time to sort through your reactions to this painful situation. And consider talking things over with someone you can trust to offer nonjudgemental support.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband just last month on May 8th to cancer- and he was just 40years old. The cancer took him quickly as he was diagnosed in January and died in May. I miss him so much and yes to the other widow that lost her husband at 43yrs of age to cancer also- the loss is extremely painful. Right now I am trying to be strong for our 4kids- all boys and under the age of 3.

Laurie and Ruth said...

With such a relatively sudden loss, it's important to take some time for your own needs.

Let family and friends help out with some of the chores and errands.

Let us know if we can help with any resources.

Take care and keep us posted................

Shar said...

My fiancé died in a car accident two weeks ago. He was working overseas, asked me to marry him before he left and proposed without a ring.
I love him so much, so without even thinking about it of course my answer was “Yes”.
He bought me an engagement ring 3 days before was due to fly home.

On his way to the airport he had a car accident and passed away.
I am still in a state of shock and miss him so much I am finding it unbearable to function.

His brother and mother found the ring in his luggage and gave it to me.
I want to keep the ring close to my heart as he was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Is it inappropriate to wear this ring on my right hand?

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Shar,

There's no right or wrong here.

We suggest you honor your love and committment to this special man in any way that feels right for you.

Take care and please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

On August 22nd of 2012 my wife and I celebrated are 10 yr anniversary and on September 1st she past in her sleep and I still don't know what happend. It feels wrong to take my ring off. I don't know when it will be OK to take it off for good.

Laurie and Ruth said...

You're still in shock over such a sudden and recent loss.

Please give yourself permission to take as long as you need before making ANY important decisions.

Trust yourself to know when it's time to gradually take this or any other step. As we suggest in our post, there are several options you might try, but only when YOU feel it's right.

Take care.

Shar said...

I wrote to you a few months ago about the loss of my love in a car accident overseas. I just want to say that positive thinking and constant prayer is sustaining me today.

I found an email that my fiance sent me the day he died. I call it my "Divine Intervension Email."
He stated that in every thing I do I must learn to love, always forgive and always make the very best of each day.

As I continue to make the best of my days I pray that everyone that has lost his/her loved one will take life one day at a time, remain strong, and keep having a positive attitude. I am hanging in there as I am grateful to have met him.

Shar

Laurie and Ruth said...

Shar- It's wonderful to hear back from you and to learn how you've been coping.

Thanks for sharing those beautiful messages from both you and your fiance.

Our warmest best wishes!

Anonymous said...

My husband died suddenly almost 2 years ago and I've been wearing my fused wedding and engagement rings since then. I'm 60 years old. My husband was amazing ... a gift from God and I don't believe I'll ever entirely stop grieving his loss ... whether I continue to wear the rings or not. Even so, I'm about to commit to exploring a new relationship with someone special now who lost his wife to cancer about a year ago. I'm willing to take my rings off now because I believe it's the right thing to do for him. My husband knew him and would certainly approve. In fact, my husband expressed his belief that it would be fine for me to remarry if he passed away first ... "as long as there was a reasonable amount of time set aside for grief." Having experienced this process I'd have to state that I don't believe grief ever entirely goes away, but it's important to not let it control your life. I certainly do have mixed feelings and it's not easy to take them off but I believe it's the next step ... it's time to move forward. I will always love my husband and he will always be a significant part of me whether I wear the symbols of our marriage, or not.

Ruth and Laurie said...

You've expressed the many issues involved in taking this step in a very thougtful and insightful manner.

Thank you for your comment!

mark said...

My wife passed away from cancer 2 weeks ago.I have 10 year old. Twins a boy and a girl. She was the love of my life and every minute of the day I think of her. I have her rings in her jewelry box I believe I will take my ring off and place it with her wedding and engagement.

The kids and I cry and hold each other and I reassure them it will never stop hurting completely but slowly the sadness will give way and we will place it in a separate place. When I look at the ring on my finger it does not remind me of how much I love her but rather breaks my heart on how much we as a family and me as her love have lost. For me the best thing to do is to keep the memories of happy times alive in my memory andput the sadness in a place that I can take out of the jewelry box. I miss her so much.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Mark,

Thanks for sharing the way you're coping with the situation.

You mention your wife died of cancer. Even when a death is expected, the reality can feel overwhelming at times.

It's good to hear that your children can feel free to express their loss with you. You might find it helpful to check out our posts about children's reactions.

At some point, you and your children might also find it helpful to join online support groups especially for grieving kids. Griefnet.org has several online support groups for younger widowed as well as a site (kidsaid.com)for children.

In any case, it's important to listen to your own sense of timing about what feels right for you.

Take care and let us know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

My husband died from a workplace accident in October 2013. I would like to give his wedding ring to my son. I have a wedding ring, engagement ring and an anniversary ring. I have been toying with the idea of having them made into one new ring and wearing it on my right hand. I can't seem to take them off yet.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Since your loss is still very recent, it's wise to take your time before making an important decision about your rings or anything else that has strong emotional connections.

Combining your rings is a creative way of transforming these cherished symbols of your relationship with your husband.

Please let us know how it works out.