Band of Gold: or Taking off the Rings for the Last Time


I posted this on Instagram a little while ago, curious about how people felt when they knowingly took their rings off for the last time, forcing themselves to look at their divorce head on. The response was overwhelming.

My Experience
I wore two rings. One was the wedding ring and the other was a Claddagh ring she bought me as a sort of engagement ring. I used to remove them for work, from time to time, for safety reasons, so the act wasn’t foreign to me. They would go in the little pocket of my work pants, where they would wait for me to put back on, when finished.

I remember the last time I took them off for good, like it was yesterday. It was a few days after I told my mom about the divorce. I was sitting on the couch in my old house getting ready to leave for the last time. She took hers off a week or so before during a fight and threw them into my home office.

I looked down at her rings on the table as I spun mine around my finger. I knew in that moment, that once they came off, they would never go back on again. In that moment, I knew that my divorce was real. That she was really gone.

They slid off easily and I placed them next to hers on the coffee table. I felt like a failure, like I was giving up. Like I had failed as a husband and as a man. It really fucked me up. I looked back and forth between the rings and my finger. The tan line made it obvious. I cried.

Those rings in front of me represented the memories we shared. The first time we met, our first kiss, the proposal, the wedding, and everything in between. I didn’t see the fighting, the abuse, or the cheating. I didn’t feel relief, I felt alone.

What did you say?
Like I said, the response to this question was overwhelming.

Some had feelings similar to mine.

“As things were getting bad at the end, during one of our fights, the X told me my ring was trash and I needed to take it off. So I did. I had a tan line for awhile. It felt said. It was a  beautiful ring. I still have it sitting on my vanity. I can’t bring myself to do anything with it yet.”
“It felt like a part of my soul died… That a part of me just fucking died and can’t be replaced or taken back or repaired or healed… just empty.”
“After 10 years of being together, 2 kids later, and 8 years of marriage, I felt like I FAILED!! I felt like if I had only done more that maybe he would not have found someone else… was I working too much? Did I put too much effort into my kids and forget about him? I was working on my own business trying to do my part as a woman and wife to make things better in the long run for my family. I tried to make up for 5 years of sitting at home while he was in the army. WTF did I do wrong? 6m after splitting up is when I took off my ring. Placed it back in the box at the bottom of my jewelry box. I had to realize I WAS enough. There was nothing more that I could do. He wasn’t coming back.”

But some felt completely different.

“I took mine off and I wasn’t sad at all. He checked out a long time ago, so there was no need for me to pretend anymore. Sucks that it’s come to this, but it is what it is!.”
“I felt exposed and vulnerable. Like men were going to start looking at me differently and I wasn’t ready for that. But once I knew divorce was right for me, it was a freeing symbol!”
“It was liberating to take off my ring and leave an abusive marriage. I took my ring back to the jeweler that made it, traded it for cash, and bought myself a designer handbag.”

I think it is interesting to see the different viewpoints on such a big thing. Some people felt like I did, horrible. While others, felt free. How did you feel? I still have all of the rings and I have no idea what to do with them. What are your thoughts on that?


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