Do Widows Wear Wedding Rings?

Do widows wear wedding rings? After the death of your spouse when do you clean out his stuff from the house, and when do you take off your wedding ring?

My left ring finger looks so bare as I think about what to write on my blog today.  I have put on a few pounds since my wedding day and my ring was literally stuck on my finger.  It was a beautiful ring that my grandmother had worn her whole life and she left to me in her handwritten scrawl on the side of her neatly typed Last Will and Testament.

When Mike and I decided to get married, after living together in California for a year, I went home to New York, took the ring out of the safety deposit box and declared ourselves engaged. We had of course discussed this before I went home to visit. During the week in New York we quickly booked a venue, ordered a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses, selected flowers and invitations, and introduced our parents at a dinner. We were excited to get married in a church ceremony with our families and friends.

Living in San Diego, I had brought my grandmother’s delicate and large diamond ring to a local jeweler.  It was uncanny how he admired the ring and said it was designed in New York City around 1920 based on the design of the diamond called the  “Old Mine Cut”.  This popular cut is different from today’s diamonds in that instead of being laser cut, it was hand produced.  Every single diamond is unique.

After appraising the ring, we had the jeweler design a ring to match as a wedding band. This was in the late 1980’s when everyone was changing old rings into new designs. I admired those flashy gold rings with the diamonds mounted high above the surface; easy to use as a weapon in a dark, mall parking garage. Resisting the urge and with a lack of additional funds, I kept the ring as is.  I am so glad that I did not change the setting because it is so beautiful the way it is.

But, as with many of the things from my marriage, I have acknowledged that some things are no longer true.  Like on Facebook it says I am married.  I feel like I am married, but I guess I should really change that to widowed.  That just seems too real. I’m not ready to let the world know I am a widow.

Most of Mike’s clothes are now gone from his closet, although I still have a few items that I think my sons may want or I just keep them around because they remind me of him and maybe a special time.  I have expanded my summer wardrobe into his closet.  Recently I was going through some piles of papers and came across his expired license and photo I.D. card from a hotel we worked in together in California.  I didn’t get rid of them, yet.  Not sure why – I just didn’t want to. To read about more about my attempts at clearing out the house click here: Finding Joy in the act of getting rid of clutter.

Some widows are ready when their husband passes, and clean out the houses right away.  That is not the way I dealt with it.  Since his death was unexpected, I was in the denial zone for a while, I left everything as is.  In fact, I often thought and dreamed that this was all a big mistake and he would be back. He died in August and left his flip-flops outside the side door.  I left them outside all winter.

Slowly, I have made progress in moving on or moving forward and parting with some things that I really don’t need.  His toiletries and medicines took a while, but I realized that I didn’t want or need them. One morning, when I was tired of the clutter, I cleared out the bathroom shelves.  He didn’t collect much stuff, but I did get rid of some of his books and papers.  I still have his framed diplomas.  I guess as long as I am living in this house, I don’t have to make decisions about all that stuff yet.

Back to the ring.  It is so pretty.  I had to literally cut it off my finger.  It was broken in 2 parts. The original ring was very thin, and the wedding band torn. The two soldered rings were so tight I could no longer remove the set. My finger was beginning to turn blue. Once again, I considered changing the setting and making it a “cocktail” ring. But, since it is about 100 years old and a family heirloom, I will have it resized and wear my grandmother’s diamond ring on my right hand. It will always remind me that I was married to Mike.

But the wedding band that we had made is special to me. It represents our marriage. Maybe I will use my wedding band and his wedding band and design a piece of jewelry to keep him close to my heart as well. Turning the pieces into a heart or a cross would be lovely.

I asked a jeweler if he could turn the rings into a new piece. He offered to melt them down and purchase the gold, but that just didn’t seem right. I have seem some women design a necklace using the two rings. The design is generally still circular.

Do widows wear wedding rings? Yes they do.  Some will never take them off.  Some will move them to the right hand.  Some will even wear their husband’s band on a thumb or middle finger or on a chain. It is definitely a personal decision and not one any one else should make for you.  When or if you are ready, you will take it off.  Maybe you’ll sometimes put it back on again.

I have seen many examples of beautiful new pieces of jewelry that widows have made.  A necklace with both rings on a chain.  Or both rings melted down into a heart shape with a diamond.  Maybe turn them into a widow ring, which doesn’t sound that great, but basically it is your design and may include parts of both your rings.

It took me almost 3 years to move my ring to the other hand.  I may never have moved it off my left hand, but the fact that it was too small and broken helped me make the decision.

I also made the decision to move my ring to the other side because I am ready to meet someone else and be part of a committed relationship. I started dating after three years, and I did not remove my ring. Some men might be offended or put off by this. I left it on because it is pretty and it represents who I am. Telling a date that I had been married and that my husband died was sure to come up in conversation. It’s different from wearing a wedding ring and currently still being married.

 I loved being married.  Our relationship of course had its ups and downs but overall we had trust and love and continued to enjoy each other.  The shock of him being gone is going away and I am learning to live in the life I have right now.  If the life I have brings me a new love, then I will honor that.


do widows wear wedding rings?
do widows wear wedding rings


Author: runawaywidow

At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

70 thoughts on “Do Widows Wear Wedding Rings?”

  1. I so feel your dilemma! I have 2 wedding bands. Married the same man 3 times! I may never remove them.

  2. We do things, say things, plan things when we are ready, and when we are ready we will know it, all who love us will want us to live, to love , to be happy.

    1. So true. Things that you thought would never be something you want in the first 6 months, changes after 2 years and some things don’t. Great to have support from loved ones.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts. I had to take my wedding ring off almost 4 months after my husband died suddenly bc it was making me so sad to see it. Plus the reality was, I was no longer married. I bought another ring in its place as a commitment between me and God bc I’m not ready to announce I’m single to strangers. One day at a time… one experience at a time.

    1. Christine, heartfelt when reading comments from the friend widows and I came across yours about the wedding ring. I learnt something new….I was a widow when 44. It is not that easy but with God I have come that long way under his caring and loving hands. I have his favour!!….Nothing is impossible with our good Lord!

    2. My husband died on Thanksgiving day 2018. I took my ring off this month for the same reasons. My daughter was upset with me but it was hard to work forward when I could see and touch my ring all day knowing he was never coming back and I was no longer married. I am thinking of having the rings melted down together and creating a new ring, still part of of us but different.

      1. It is sad to see the ring and be reminded of your love and commitment for all those years. You want to still love your husband and honor your relationship, but it doesn’t feel right, after a while. But when you are ready, doing something new or different with the rings can be comforting.

    3. I don’t intend to remove my wedding rings. And since he has a lot bigger finger than mine, I am ordering a necklace to wear his ring. Before he went to hospital, we have already discussed moving and selling the house. So I guess packing for me is easier. I am packing all of his stuffs as if he is still physically here with me and moving with me. It’s been 3 weeks. I’m 40 now but I’ve decided to just live solo and wait til I am reunited with him again when my time comes. I am remaining married to him, and he is my spirit husband protecting me.

      1. Your necklace idea sounds lovely. Good luck with your new home Thank you for commenting.

      2. I have only been widowed 1 month, I still wear my wedding rings and always will. We were married 41 years. I will always be married to him, the love and marriage we shared can’t be flushed down the toilet. He had cancer before we knew it he was gone, and I know one day I will be with him in heaven, my faith and family and church family are strong

      3. I’m so sorry for your loss. 41 years is wonderful and your rings are right where they should be.

  4. All I can say is there is not one appropriate way to grieve. However you do it is EXACTLY right for you💕💕

  5. I wouldn’t change my f/b profile just yet – maybe find a way to make it secret, so you don’t have to reveal anything to anyone.

    as to the ring, it’s your decision – I have my old wedding ring, somewhere – but I never wear it – (I’m not a widow, though – separated quite a few decades) I haven’t worn any rings for years…just not my style.

    1. It’s amazing how many people feel strongly about wearing them after their husband dies. I think I will probably resize it and wear it on my right hand because it is so pretty and a family heirloom. thanks for your comment!

  6. I understand your dilemma. When my son died I got rid of most of his stuff after about 6 months. So many memories. But I choose to hold on to some of the photos that will be with me forever. Thanks for this.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I also saved many photos. I used to look at them every day but after a while I live more in the present, just keep a couple around the house.

  7. This must be such a hard decision to make! My heart aches for what you have gone through and are still going through.

    1. Thank you so much. For me it has been a tough thing to do, take it off. I think I’ll have it resized and wear on my right hand. Thanks for your comment.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine losing my fiancé (who’s name is Mike) and your blog has opened my eyes. Hopefully this means I can be empathetic with my friend who recently lost her husband. What’s something that someone did for you that really helped you? We are not best friends but I’d like to help her through this time.

    Also, I say you don’t have to change your Facebook status. If you’re married in your heart xx

    1. Thank you for reading. So many people did nice things for me after my husband died. People brought over food, or sent cards with gift cards to restaurants in them with a note. That was really nice. I did not like to talk on the phone, so people who just stopped by were much easier for me to deal with than making plans. Just show up is the best advice. Best wishes on your wedding!

  9. My husband passed 4 months ago do to cancer. He is the love of my life. I still wear my ring, I still have my Facebook status as married. I still have his Facebook activated. I don’t think I’m in denial. I just haven’t felt the need to make those changes.

    1. I agree. I have not wanted to change those things either. After 30 months it is something I think about and I had to take the ring off. Planning to get it resized though. Thanks for reading

    2. my husband died 6 months ago from Cancer.. He is still my husband and we had agreed long ago that we would love each other forever. I still wear my rings and cannot imagine not wearing them. Many friends who are widowed that are around my age, have taken off their rings, but I choose to keep mine on my left ring finger where My loving husband and best friend put them 40 1/2 years ago. I am not in denial either, but just will never stop loving Tim.

    1. That’s nice that he wears both and you are OK with that. I may want to resize mine and just wear it on the other hand since it’s also a family heirloom. Thanks for reading and your comment!

  10. I’ve just read your lovely post on a day when I’ve been thinking about my husband, who I lost 4 years ago, and wondering when would be the right time to stop wearing my wedding ring. The trouble is, as soon as I have that thought I almost panic – it’s such a big step (I don’t really know why) and I just can’t do it so, after reading this, I swapped my wedding and engagement ring to my right hand. I don’t know if they’ll stay there – I feel so unbalanced, for want of a better word, but, thanks to you and your post, I’ve tried. Thank you x

    1. Wow. Thanks for sharing. I had mine resized and wear it on my right hand now too. It takes a while but now I’m used to it. Sending you a hug.

  11. I relate so much. My husband passed away in January and I’m only 47. This wasn’t suppose to be this way. I still have a married status on Facebook and still feel married, too. I refer to him as “my husband” when telling stories, as if he is still alive. Three weeks before he passed away I told him how sorry I was that I felt like I had taken him for granted and that he would always be there. He told me it was ok and he wasn’t going anywhere. But he did. I just recently took my wedding ring off and only because I was missing two prongs and I was afraid of losing my diamond. I keep trying to feel it on my finger and it feels so naked and strange. My husband was a jeweler and I kept telling him I needed new prongs and re-tipping and he wasn’t able to get to it because he was battling cancer. I feel like I can’t have anyone repair it or change it because he designed it and always took care of it for me. I’m still in that denial phase and hate to change or get rid of anything. It helps to know I’m not alone. Read your post about holidays and 4th of July today. I relate to that, too. Miss him so much.

    1. Thanks for reading. It sounds like your ring is really special. I hope you can get it fixed and continue to wear it as long as you like! Hugs.

  12. I took my ring off a few weeks later but I’m not a ring person – it was a very narrow band. I still have my husband’s ring. My son is getting married and may use it as his ring. I haven’t heard for sure if he will but I love that idea.

    I just changed my Facebook status from friends to private but I couldn’t change it from married to widowed. That was a good option for me.

    1. That is a nice idea to have your son use it. I may do that but I have 2 sons. Tricky. I just never stated married so I didn’t state widowed either.

  13. Loved reading this. Neither my husband or I wore our wedding bands in recent years (size and work issues). He passed away in September, expectedly (as if you can ever expect it), from cancer. Only 55. In November I took both bands to a jeweler. Had his sliced in half and put on both sides of mine. He will be wrapped around me forever. Now I have a beautiful wide band that I wear on my left hand for now, but will look great on my right hand when I’m ready.

  14. Thanks for sharing. After 21 years I still wear my rings most days. I wore them for 41 years until that dreadful day and my finger looks bare without them.
    And thanks for subscribing to my blog. BTW I absolutely hate the word ’widow’.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I did hate the word too, but the more I used it, the more it didn’t really upset me anymore.

  15. I still wear my wedding and engagement rings from time to time. Why not? They are beautiful! I especially like to wear them when I am out in the evenings (which is infrequent – I’m pretty much a homebody). I think of them as protection from unwanted advances. Of course, I realize that only the decent men will take heed of the rings on my finger but it’s my dream world, and I like living in it, so there! 😉

  16. My husband died a little over a month ago. He had recently updated my engagement ring by placing the main diamond in a band of smaller surrounding diamonds. I had waited years for this perfect ring. I still can’t imagine taking it off. I will eventually move it to my right hand and someday give it to my daughter when she gets engaged. I have his ring around my neck. I hold it so often throughout the day.

    1. Courtney I am so sorry for your recent loss. Your ring sounds beautiful and I agree you should wear it. Mine is on my right hand everyday and I’m happy it is still there. I still haven’t figured out what to do with his ring. I want to design a necklace, but I can see how wearing the ring on a necklace can bring such comfort too.

  17. I am a relatively new widow but I have chosen not to wear my rings. When I got engaged and married they made me feel like a queen, but now without my husband they just brought me more pain. I seem to be in the minority here.

    1. I totally understand. If it brings pain it is not a good idea to keep
      It with you. So sorry for your loss.

  18. My fiancé just passed away on the way to our wedding, I spent days where he died on his motorcycle, on a dangerous highway, looking desperately for our wedding bands. When I got back to our apartment I was unpacking his bag with my best friend/maid of honor and at the very bottom of the bag I found a little black box, expecting to see one of our wedding bands, I opened it to find two diamond encrusted bands surrounding my engagement ring… only this one has a HUGE diamond on it and I’m already wearing my engagement ring! Turns out he had one last surprise for me at the altar, he wanted to make me cry in front of everyone LOL. I was still very sad because I never recovered his band but now a month later I just got a call from his mom, my new mom, telling me the funeral home gave her a leather vest that he was wearing, and inside a pocket was a broken black box, with a ring in it.

    Now what to do with all these pieces of him? And I do feel like everything is a little tiny piece of him. To get rid of things is so hard, I feel like I’m throwing him out and erasing him from my life. His smell is leaving our apartment, I can hardly remember his voice anymore.

    Part of me wants to give his daughter my first engagement ring, the one he gave me the day he told me he had finally decided he could get married again, because he wanted to marry me, and we put so much work into our relationship, that ring to me symbolizes all the things we went through to get where we were. So i wear that ring, with another ring he gave me with my birthstone on it. Looking and feeling cluttered

    Then there’s his wedding band, I can’t wait to have it, to hold it, it was the last thing on his list to pick up the day he died, riding to his bride. Part of me wants to wear it with my wedding rings and big engagement ring but again soooo cluttered, hardly any room left on that knuckle. Or do I give it to his son?

    There’s a ring he always wore, a symbol of his sobriety and discipline. It’s a heavy gold ring with a large black onyx face, a triangle going through it, the AA logo. He designed it and had it made himself, he wore it everyday, yet another item that just seems to encapsulate who he was, of course we all want that, which is why I’m contemplating giving them my rings.

    This is a lot I know, don’t know what I’m doing, don’t know who I am, I’m sure you’ve been here. It’s still very fresh and I think I’m still in shock.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    1. Oh Kat, I am so sorry for the loss of your fiancé on your wedding day. I can totally understand why the rings are so important to you and what a sweet surprise that you were able to find them. I’ve seen some beautiful necklaces made from rings or even rings simply worn on a chain. Give it some time and don’t make any decisions yet. You need to focus on healing and grieving now. Take your time. One day at a time.

  19. Your words broke my heart especially with the bit about how you had to cut the wedding band to get it off your finger. It must have been and still must be so difficult to go through all of that. You are very brave for writing and sharing your story with the world.

    I cannot tell you that things will get better because I don’t know that. But I hope that when the time comes, you will be able to meet him once again and tell him all the stories about you and your boys. God bless you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I do tell him about me and the boys on my morning walks. Thanks for reading. ❤️

  20. I lost my husband a month ago. I am 40 years old with 2 kids. He died of a heart attack in the front yard at age 41. I’m lost without him. How does anyone move on from this? Who will want a 40 year old with 2 kids? These are my crazy thoughts.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. 40 is so young – take time for yourself. No thoughts are crazy. Being a widow is. Baby steps and one day at a time. 💕

  21. Thank you for this. So glad I came across it. I’ve been a widow for 3 months. I’m 54 and he died suddenly. Not sure if I will ever be able to move his things. Still having a difficult time believing it. Good luck. 🙏🏻 Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. It is difficult to change things – but you will know when it is time. Be gentle with yourself. Thanks for reading.

  22. Every time my husband went into the hospital whether if was for hernia repair, cyst removal that went septic, triple bypass, the first thing he wanted upon waking up was to have his wedding band back on his finger. Even if he was groggy and couldn’t tell you anything about the the day following surgery, he always remembered he wanted his ring. Just a plain gold band, but it meant so much to him. It was warped from nearly 32 years of being on his finger. The last time he went into the hospital, we found out he had terminal lung cancer and he lived only two weeks after that. I was holding his hand went he left this world. I took that ring that was so valuable to him because of the bond we had together, and had it turned into a beautiful ring to wear on my right hand. I can not imagine ever not wearing it. I grew out of my wedding rings years ago but my left hand still have my anniversary ring and my “today, yesterday, always” diamond ring.

    1. I love the idea of an anniversary ring. Never had one but I’m sure it’s beautiful. Thanks for your comment.

  23. My husband died recently. I cannot and will not take my rings off. I am still married to him in my heart. I’m in my 50’s and am too old to meet anyone else. I have his ring on a chain around my neck.

    1. I’m so sorry for your recent loss. I felt the same way for a long time. Take as much time as you need to grieve and maybe it never will come off. I don’t think you’re too old!! My mom remarried at 70, and I did at 55 after becoming widows. Anything is possible.

  24. It was so good to read your post,it helped me to understand this new “status” of widowhood a bit better… My husband passed away three years ago, I miss everything about him everyday, the way he’d look at me when he walked through the door😭all the little things about him, the way he used to hold my hand…oh my goodness. I read somewhere that grief should not be measured as sone days are fine, others a bit stormy! So it’s going to take a while for me to finally take off my ring and put it away🥀

    1. Yes – take as long as you need. I know how you feel about missing that look. Thanks for reading and keep taking baby steps.

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