Wedding wings

I read a piece on the BBC website about what divorced people do with their wedding rings once they separate and divorce. The link is here and it’s an interesting read, mainly because it gives an insight into how other people deal with divorce, separation and all that goes with it. Something I’m still struggling with a bit myself.

I’m a bit of a collector of random things that have significance, little things that remind me of good times. Bus and train tickets, restaurant bills, airline tickets. Those sort of things. Stuff. I have a shoe box. At least I did.

When clearing my stuff out of my old house I got rid of my shoebox. I think I thought it was a way of moving on. Plus, to be honest, it was just a lot of randomness which had meaning to me but to no-one else. Well, maybe one other person. But they mean nothing to that person any more. It’s not like we could sit down and look over these things over a glass of wine and remember the good times. That’s not how we roll nowadays.

Stuff. And ss John Lennon did sing  ‘when you’re dead, you don’t take nothing with you but your soul’

But a wedding ring? Some people are buried with theirs on.

When mine was put on my finger? A small band of precious metal. With the emphasis on the precious.

It felt amazing. And not because it was an amazing day surrounded by friends and fun. It’s because it meant something. Some THING. Something real. Something lasting. Something fucking important.

This wedding ring. Could I get rid of it? Chuck it into the sea or down a drain like others have done? That sounds like a pretty brutal act to me. Plus, a bit of a waste of money.

When I wore my wedding ring, in times of stress or confusion, I used to turn it round on my finger. My thumb would reach into my palm and up to the bottom of my ring finger, and I’d turn it around in an anticlockwise direction. It had a Celtic design on it and I’d look at all the little sections. The bit that had a little bit of plaster filler from a DIY moment, which I couldn’t remove, would turn 360 degrees. This was comforting. I felt it was a kind of link. When all was shit I had this connection to someone and it made me feel better. More able.

But no more. I have nothing else to play with in times of stress, and in public I can’t play with THAT can I? Not after the last time.

I’ve often wondered what I should do with my wedding ring now it’s not on my finger but, as my ex-wife bought them it should really be down to her to decide. It was expensive so throwing it into the sea isn’t really an option. She’d divorce me if I did that.

Is it something that we should show the kids at some point? ‘Look, here’s a symbol of something. A thing that didn’t work’.

Yeah, I’m having a blue day today, as if you didn’t know.

Or should we leave it. After all, some day they’ll find it. A thing for them to look back on when we’re both dead. I wonder what will happen. ‘Wow. This is Dad’s wedding ring. Wonder if it fits me? Wow. Didn’t he have chubby fingers?’

Or will there be silence, a moment recognised by both of them, followed by a sigh.

My ex-wife has it now. Sitting on a bookshelf. Not sure what’ll happen to it. It’s up to her.

I miss it. It was the only thing I always wore. I never took it off. Apart from when I had emergency arsehole surgery. It never came off. I miss it because of what it meant once, because it was always there and because I loved it.

But. It’s only a thing isn’t it? Albeit a thing that meant something immense and magical for a while. A symbol of having and holding, but now of once having and of letting slip through your fingers.

But essentially a symbol of love.

I hope my children look at it one day, when we’re well buried and food for worms, and think something positive. Think of something good. Think of what love was there.

Like I do. Sometimes. Without any receipts, bus tickets or jewellery to remind me of the good times.

It’s all up here. *Points to here*

Have you heard any interesting stories about what people have done with theirs after a separation or divorce? Do they sit in a drawer gathering drawer dust? Do people still wear them? Do people bother buying them for each other any more?

Oh. and thanks for reading.

28 responses to “Wedding wings

  1. I struggled with what to do with mine too as I loved to play with it when thinking and it meant so much.

    So I still wear mine every day, but on my right hand.I still try and put it on my wedding finger most mornings. Habit, I guess. Or just a deep down desire to still be married.

    I stole his ring. Both of them really as he never liked the one he chose to be married with. I denied taking it but seeing as he broke the marriage and abandoned it whilst he went off to play with his pregnant girlfriend, I figured he’d no right to it anyway. It represented too much to be left lying in a drawer. He wears another one now, but I’m never going to stop wearing mine.

    It has a celtic design on it too.

  2. I was once married. I loved my wedding and engagement rings. They were beautiful. They weren’t overly expensive but they were made for me with my input. Possibly why I liked them so much. Even my new partner thought they were beautiful. But I had no children with my ex. There was nobody to pass them on to. I needed a new passport. One with my maiden name reinstated on it so I sold my rings. I got about a quarter of what was paid for them but I went on an amazing holiday with my new man thanks to the cash for the passport. Maybe if I had had children with my ex I would have kept them as they would be part of their life story and mine. Even now 6 years since it ended I miss wearing my rings. Who knows maybe one day I will wear some again but I am happy as I am with my OH. We have a gorgeous little boy and that makes me feel secure and loved. I just need to bring my self to sell the wedding dress now…..but it’s soooooo pretty haha.

  3. I struggled to get rid of an engagement ring and in the end just took £20 for it in one of those cash convertor shops – but that was to prove I was over the ex.

    This post made me cry – I wish I could take away all your pain and fix it all back together. To make it the fairytale we hear as kids. But you also make me laugh – and you know it will get better and maybe one day yyou you will have an new piece of jewellery to play with.

    I thing you should write this all into a book though.

  4. I found the whole “what to do with the ring” thing to be a bit of a dilemma after my first marriage ended. I kept it, for years. Then when I felt able, I hammered it into a small lump of Gold and threw it away. Nice way to signal the end. The ring I wear now is very plain, and somehow more solid – like the relationship it seals. But I totally understand the dilemma, and the blues… I think you’re handling things remarkably well if you don’t mind me saying so

    • Thanks my friend. Some days are good. Others are just painful.
      Did you feel a bit like Thor when you hammered yours? I’d wear a cloak if I did that. Perhaps I should? 😉
      Thanks for reading.

    • I’m not sure I could sell mine. I thought I could throw it away for about 4 minutes. But it is a thing of value. Monetary and emotional. For me at least.
      Thanks for commenting and thanks for reading. 🙂

  5. I’m gonna ask my Dad. I’m pretty sure my Mom kept hers after the divorce. It is a part of you and shouldn’t be discarded. Two children were produced from that love. Please ask your ex-wife to be gentle with it and that love.

    • Thanks. My ex-wife is a sensitive and caring woman, always has been and always will be. But I’m sure it represents something for her too. As such I can’t just discard it.
      Plus, if I remember rightly back to when she bought it, if it was sold it could buy a speedboat.
      Mind you, I’ve always wanted a speedboat.

  6. Speaking as a child of divorced parents, keep the ring. My mum gave me the eternity ring my dad gave her after she had me. I treasure it, it symbolises a time when I was born out of their love for each other. It’s really special to me and I wore it on my wedding day as my ‘something old’
    great, honest post x

    • A beautiful idea. Something old. Can be worn on a necklace or in a pocket. For either of my children should they chose to marry.
      Thank you. In many years to come I’m sure I’ll remember this.

  7. 11 years on, I still have my engagement ring, my wedding ring and the eternity ring my (ex) husband got me when I had our first son. The three of them are in a little bag, together, and to this day, I do not know what to with them. I thought for a while that I could keep them for the boys, when they get engaged, or married, or something. But with time, I have come to think that they may be cursed; as in: surely if our marriage failed, it would be a bad omen to pass them on?
    Still, I can’t throw them away. I could sell them. I suppose. Secretly, I wish I had a ring on my “marriage” finger. Something reassuring that I could turn and twist in times of stress (instead of attacking my thumbs, which are both pretty raw at the moment!!), something comforting, something to remind me I am not alone. Not that I am alone, obviously. But he hasn’t put a ring on my finger.
    So, I can’t help you in your soul searching of “what do we do with the wedding rings”. I would suspect your ex wife will keep it. It’s a woman thing. I have no idea what Ex Hubby has done with his-I’ll ask him tomorrow when we all go out for First Born’s 17th Birthday! He doesn’t care about stuff like that. It’s probably in a drawer somewhere. Or First Girlfriend After Me (the Witch) may have made him chuck it away.
    So I still have mine…Why????
    You’ll be okay you know, and you’re not alone and you’re a fab guy. And it’s okay to ask yourself questions like that 🙂

  8. Only thing DH had to do for our wedding was get the rings… Mine is from M&S… No kidding.
    If I were in your situation, I’d put it in a safe place, though I may launch it if I am ever in the same situation

    Sending hugs you awesome man x

  9. I sold mine without a second thought. Once the love was gone it was just a lump of metal to me. My parents divorced when I was 6 and their rings would mean the same to me although I have no idea what they did with them. I’m not saying you should take my approach but maybe you can over think this. Go with your instinct and don’t regret the decision. I’m sure you will do the right thing.

  10. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post. It was strange reading this because I really can’t remember what I did with my wedding ring. I have a feeling I sold it, but I’m really not sure. I’d also forgotten that feeling of security of wearing it that you talked about, a sense of belonging – it was all so long ago. We didn’t have any children so it wasn’t like there was anyone to pass it on to. I know exactly where my engagement ring is though, it was my mum’s engagement ring and she gave it to me because me and my then fiance couldn’t really afford anything nice. I’d always loved it growing up, and so I couldn’t ever get rid of it now. I’d like to think that if I ever get married again I could have it as my engagement ring again – it feels like it deserves a better chance at it than last time. I hope the right thing for you and the kids happens with your wedding ring – even if it is just a thing, sometimes things can be important 🙂

  11. I’m sorry you had to have arsehole surgery.

    Oh, and I sold mine to a jewellers who removed the diamond from the engagement ring. I gave the diamond to a charity working to stop conflict diamonds entering the market place. Some good came from them rings 😉

  12. I kept mine – a wedding ring, an engagement ring, and a maternity ring (2 diamonds, 3 rubies – two parents, three kids). Each of the children will have one of them, when they get married.

    I got engaged again. He was a shit. I’m tempted to take the hammer option with that one.

    I too missed having a ring, though, so a friend of mine made me one. – it’s just a big random coil of silver that twists up my finger. I wear it all the time. I play with it when I’m stressed. I love it. We call it my “fuck off and mind your own business” ring.

    ((((hugs)))). It gets easier.

  13. My parents divorced and Mum’s wedding ring reminds of a time when they must have been happy. Mum wasn’t happy for a lot of her life but it gave me hope that even sad people had happy times.
    I think you should keep it, but most importantly you should do what feels right for you. It will mean a lot to your children one day, because it was yours 🙂

  14. My mum left hers on until the day my dad got remarried. She then packed them away with the intention of giving them to me when I was an adult. I wasn’t sure I wanted them, when the time came. It would be a nice reminder of my beginnings, which were happy regardless of the ending…. but also a reminder of the hurt and pain my mum suffered when I was too young to realise. So I declined. Last I heard she was selling them but I’m not sure if she ever did xxx

  15. When I was separated, I wore my wife’s ring around my neck to remind me of what I had and what I wanted to have again. I only took mine off during a fit of anger and sadness. We didn’t divorce. It is so symbolic that I can’t imagine what I would do with it. Such a symbol of happiness turned to failure can’t really be given to the kids can it? It is a cautionary tale at best. A warning symbol. You can’t really pass it on to the next spouse, right? What so widows and widowers do? I guess they are buried in them as you said. Would it be better to have her ring or yours?

    I’m sure I didn’t answer anything, but cheer up its got to be better than the surgery…


  16. My wedding ring is the most precious thing I posses. I do play with it and never take it off, it is part of me. I couldn’t tell you what I’d do with it if it all went wrong, to be honest I couldn’t tell you who I’d be or if I could even survive it.

    I can tell you I keep things, horde them, store them, because I know that memories fade, pain subsides (perhaps never leaves but it does subside) and I want to be able to look back and have things that help me recall the important moments in my life. So I know I’d keep it.

    What you write here is brave, thoughtful, deeply moving in many cases and incredibly well constructed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, keep them coming and its natural to feel down, off balance and conflicted. Its a huge event. We’ll still try and support you from a distance.

    Keep the faith.

  17. Yo, I too was engaged before my now husband. I had an epic ring. Still got it, not the faintest clue what to do with it.
    Answers on a postcard?

  18. I wish I knew what to respond to you though Spencer. I knew how to respond to Mrs Do Lots, could relate. I can’t relate to your story, only your blues. Sorry. x

  19. I still have mine. Because I didn’t know what else to do with them. Yes, them, ol’ once divorced, once nearly divorced lady me. They lurk about in loft boxes. I might sell them. Or like you say, the children of the marriages may want them. They are hardly going to use them at their weddings tho. They feel like a symbol of failure now so I dont think of them often.

    • I know the feeling that is ‘symbol of failure’ but they can also mean something else.
      When I find out what that is I’ll let you know.
      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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