The passing of your significant other is one of the most painful experiences you might endure in this lifetime, and maybe you’re wondering: is it OK to wear wedding ring after spouse is killed?
Apart from handling all the formalities regarding the wake, the funeral, and the legal matters, surviving spouses need to learn to adjust to a new harsh reality, and this involves grieving and dealing with small details like wedding bands.
So, what are you supposed to do with your wedding band after your better half died? For how long are you allowed or recommended to wear it? Will people start asking questions about the topic after a while? There are a million questions that might go through your mind right now, and here is how to address them properly.
Why do spouses still wear their wedding bands?
There are dozens of reasons why people who are recently widowed continue wearing their wedding bands, and there is no silly one. Each person grieves in his or her own way, and this is why you can never tell exactly when or if you will ever feel ready to leave your former marital status in the past and continue with your life.
Most widowers and widows prefer to still wear their rings because they cannot yet process the loss of their partner. A wedding band is a commitment for life that many people are not ready to let go just yet.
Unfortunately, there are many more reasons why women prefer holding on to their wedding rings even for a few years after their significant others passed away, and this has to do with the society we’re currently living in and the way women are being judged based on their marital status.
When it comes to fixing things around the house, many women don’t have too much confidence in letting in strangers, even when they come from reputed companies and not from a shady ad in the newspaper. In this case, wearing a wedding band gives them a sign of security and alerts the other person that certain boundaries should not be crossed.
Other women are afraid of being judged by society if they appear as single moms with many children, so holding on to their wedding band makes them, again, feel more in control and less gossiped by other people.
Not being ready to date again or meet new people is another reason why many people, both men, women, choose to continue wearing their wedding rings, even after years after their significant others passed away. In a way, they still feel married and connected to the deceased, and any form of going on with their personal lives would feel like cheating or betrayal.
Believe it or not, there doesn’t have to be a logical explanation of why some people are not keen on letting go of their former lives. Keep in mind that many of your future decisions regarding your new status as a widow or widower will be determined by a series of factors, including your age, for how long you have been married, how long since your spouse passed away, your social habits, and personality.
When is it OK to start dating again?
Although your new marital status comes with a lot of rules and etiquette, you don’t have to do anything from what the society thinks you should do. You are your own person and are allowed to grieve in your own way.
That being said, nobody can tell for sure when to start dating again or look for a new person in your life. All grief counselors recommend a period of mourning, but it is up to you to decide for how long it is going to last.
Some people are ready to start dating again after 1-2 years, while others might want to take more time to adjust to the new challenges of living alone. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make and will also depend on how happy your marriage was.
Some people might start dating again out of pure social pressure or at the suggestion of their friends and family. However, you need to ask yourself if you are really in the spot of meeting a potential new love interest.
In this case, many people will look for companionship first. Short-term relationships, rebounds, and friendships are most common in the first three years after a spouse’s passing rather than a long-term relationship that can potentially turn into a new marriage. For some people, it will be hard going out with someone new without constantly comparing them to their former partner.
Should you bring up your late spouse when you’re dating?
The answer to this question also depends on a series of factors, including how open you usually are about your life, for how long you have been dating this new person, and how much this new person should know about your former life.
If you feel there is a special connection with this new person, you can try to discuss your late spouse with them after a couple of months or whenever you feel comfortable with. However, you shouldn’t spend the entire evening discussing your late marriage, even if you think it was the best part of your life.
Keep in mind that the other person might feel uncomfortable or might not feel good enough to bring something “new” to the table to impress you. Besides, your date is not your therapist or merely a shoulder to cry on, so, if you still haven’t gotten over the death of your beloved, dating someone else might not be the best choice for the moment.
If you’re familiar with the saying “out of sight, out of mind”, you can try putting it into practice with your new date. In other words, whenever you’re out with that new person, try being present and enjoying every moment of it.
Engage in a meaningful conversation, try to have fun, and forget about everything else. In this case, wearing your wedding band might not be a good idea either. And, if you cannot seem to let it go yet, you can at least cover it with a bandaid.
Should you continue wearing your wedding band?
Again, this is entirely up to you. While some people are comfortable enough to renounce their previous ring a few weeks or months after the funerals, others might take years to cope with their loss and finally have the strength of letting the past stay in the past.
If you are on the other side of the bridge and you’re dating a recent widow or widower, don’t rush things either. Don’t expect the other person to remove their wedding ring shortly after you started dating or even if things between you seem serious after a while. Since every person grieves in his or her way, any attempt to discuss the matter might have a negative and painful outcome.
If you cannot find the strength to give up your wedding band, you can still put it on a chain and wear it around the neck. This would show as a first step to reclaim your life back while still holding on to the memories of the ring.
So, what do you do with your former wedding ring? It is entirely up to you. If it is a piece of family jewelry, you can store it in a safebox and wait for the right moment to pass it along to your son, daughter, or any close relative who is going to marry soon. And, if you don’t want to have anything to do with that memory, you can go ahead and sell it or have a close friend keep it for you until you’re sure this is the right thing to do.
At the end of the day, it was your marriage, and you are the only one who can tell when it’s time to let go or for how long you are still going to wear your wedding jewelry. As we previously mentioned, some hold on to the memories for the rest of their lives, while others will learn to cope with their loss in time and even look for a new love interest in a couple of years.
Should people call you Mrs. or Ms.?
If you’re a recent widow, some people might have a hard time addressing you properly, so if you have any preferences, let them know.
Traditionally, widows are still called Mrs. since they were once married, but it is up to you to figure out what your new title is going to be. If you don’t want to limit your romantic choices in the future, you can ask people to call you a Ms. again.
All in all, the etiquette of widows and widowers doesn’t apply to everybody. Each person is entitled to mourn in his or her way, and only they can know exactly what to do with the rest of their lives. Some will choose to remarry within a few months, while others may wait years, if not decades until they’re ready to commit again.
Some will choose to take off their wedding bands as soon as the funeral is over, while others might be in a fully committed relationship with someone else and still not find the strength to let go of their former rings.
In these situations, nobody is wrong or right. Nobody has the right to tell you how to “properly” mourn and when it is suitable for you to find a new love interest.