Is it time to remove your rings?

Rachael Scharrer, divorce and relationships expert and coach, reflects on the challenge that everyone faces: when is the right time to remove your rings after the relationsihp ends and offers some valuable insight.

I thought my wedding ring and engagement rings were beautiful with a thought-filled setting. I gave it back to my ex-husband on two occasions. One time was during our engagement when I realised that he had been lying to me about his age. While I rationalised this as a trivial lie, it was a precursor to our tumultuous and ‘colourful’ future.

For many people, the sanctity of an engagement ring and wedding band is so important that they only took off their rings when pregnant or for surgery. I have heard of disagreements between couples for one spouse taking their ring off for sport and keeping it off to enjoy some drinks afterwards. Yet, this often-harmless action doesn’t cause any tension in some relationships.

Everyone will have an opinion about wedding ring etiquette – during a relationship and after the relationship has run its course.

To many people, the wedding and engagement rings represent the life (and children) that they created together. For others, they appreciate the rings as a beautiful piece of jewellery. For many, it represents the sanctity and unity of marriage – a lifelong, binding commitment made to one another.

Upon break-up or separation, deciding when the appropriate time to remove the rings can be a difficult decision to make. Simply put, when your marriage or union is over, when is the right time to take your ring off?

One of the following may be able to assist you in deciding

  1. Your spouse has moved onto another relationship
  2. You have moved on to a new relationship
  3. You have realised that there is no way of reconciling the relationship and that it has run its course

When you finally do remove the ring, the muscle underneath it has whittled away and leaves a temporary indentation. Don’t stress – It will go back to normal. It will also feel odd for a while, that is until you adjust to life without a ring on your wedded finger.

If you love your engagement ring and/or wedding ring, can appreciate it for the beautiful piece of jewellery that it is and can compartmentalise the original sentiment and emotions attached to it, you could consider:

  1. Selling it
  2. Re-setting it into a necklace for you or smaller pieces of jewellery for the children
  3. Wearing it on the opposite hand in appreciation for a lovely piece of jewellery

No matter what time you decide to take your ring off and what you choose to do with it, the decision is entirely yours. You don’t have to rush and you can always have it live in a drawer for a while until you are certain about what you want to do.

Many people comment that taking off their wedding band and the associations that the rings have to the union is an incredibly liberating action. This action of removing and releasing yourself from the ‘shackles’ becomes cathartic. It is a symbolic and energetic gesture to farewell the marriage that was and welcome the future that will be.


This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd