Take Off His Ring

Q: I feel guilty about not wearing my wedding ring if I ever date again. What is appropriate? It's been one year since my wife passed suddenly. -- Nate, 52

Dr. Susan: If you ask around, you'll discover that many widows and widowers feel comfortable moving their wedding rings from their left hand to their right. Others wait until they're ready to begin a new life and then take off the ring and put it away. Is your concern that other people will find you insensitive if you remove your ring? You are old enough not to worry about what those around you say, as "people" will always find something to criticize regardless of what you do. Don't give that another thought.

Your guilt about removing the ring may be as symbolic as the ring itself. Perhaps you feel you didn't get a chance to say all the loving things you would have liked to say, and by taking off the ring, you're somehow finalizing your relationship with your wife. It doesn't necessarily mean any such thing, of course, because you will keep thoughts of her alive for a very long while yet, whether you wear the ring or not. The most practical thing to do if you're considering dating is to move the ring to the other hand, or take it off, to indicate to women you encounter that you may be available.

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