Sharing Secrets and What To Do with the Ring

How you should handle deep, dark secrets and what to do with the wedding ring when you’re no longer wedded.

Q: I had an abortion a long time ago, while I was in college. I have had just one serious boyfriend since then, and it wasn't an issue. But we broke up after seven years together. Now that I finally feel ready to get back on the dating scene, I have no idea what to tell guys, and when (or if) I should disclose this information. I don't want to scare them off prematurely. I'm at peace with my decision, as it was the right course of action for me at the time. But I know what a divisive issue the Big A can be for people. Can you help? – Roe vs. Dates

A: This obviously isn’t fodder for conversation over appetizers on a first date. It’s highly personal information, and furthermore, you’re not putting your dates at any sort of risk by withholding it. I recommend waiting at least until you’re on some sort of semi-serious basis — probably leaning toward the serious instead of the semi part of the spectrum. I’d give it until you’ve been out on at least a double-digit number of times.

Still, if the issue comes up before that and feels like the right moment to share, just go for it already. How the guy responds will speak volumes about a lot of critical issues: his political views, his maturity, and how he’d react if he were the one on the impregnating end.

And, speaking of which, the point where you’re ready to hop in the sack with someone might just be the best time to work in this piece of info. At the very least, it will probably bring up an enlightening conversation about an issue that can have a major impact on fledgling relationships as much for its potential occurrence as the values and viewpoints behind it.

And how you say it is just as, if not, more important than when. This is a part of your past, probably not the brightest spot on the spectrum, but you’re obviously comfortable with your decision and I’m sure it made you a stronger person. So make sure you convey that self-assuredness through your words. Finally, if your decision is too scary/heavy/whatever for someone to handle, after you’ve built some level of trust and respect, well, then he’s obviously not the guy for you. 

Q: What do people do with their wedding rings after they split up? – Ring-a-Ding-Ding

A: If you Google “wedding rings” and “split,” you come up with about half a million hits, most of them for a specific design of ring called a “split shank.” Huh. Unless you’re planning for a ceremony in the clink, you’d think those fancypants designers could come up with a term a bit more romantic.

But I digress. I took an informal poll of friends who are no longer hitched, and here are a few ways they’ve handled their bling:

  •  ”I still have mine. It’s in my jewelry box. No sadness or angst or ‘holding on,’ just didn’t want to sell it or have it melted down. [My ex] and I are still very good friends and to me it would be disrespectful of the relationship we once enjoyed.” 
  • “I gave my ring back because it was [my ex's] grandfather’s. I never considered asking for her ring back … She earned it :-) ” 
  • “Donated mine to Cancer Society to hope the funds help do some good. She sold hers and bought a new X3. I sleep better though!” [Um, as in the swankerrific BMW X3 luxury SUV? If so, I think I know several single girlfriends who have some free time on their calendars.]
  • “It’s such a strong symbol of the happiest and worst times of my life that I can’t imagine what I would do with it that would honor everything it represents. I feel like someday I will find the perfect thing to sell it for, but until then, in the drawer it will sit.”

From a trend standpoint, many jewelers are reporting an uptick in business from women who want their ring designed into a new piece of jewelry. One in San Francisco even ‘fessed up that some industry insiders have come up with the term “f-you ring” for the bold bling that women are wearing on the middle finger of their right hand, designed from their old wedding band.

I would add a word or two about what to do with the engagement rings when the nuptials are called off, but you didn’t ask, and alas, I’m also outta space. So I’ll happily leave that Pandora’s (Jewelry) Box and its assorted legality and etiquette issues to Emily Post.


  1. What’s good is HIS ring might help find a cure for cancer – the other for an SUV that will fip over in a high speed turn!

    Comment by Genny — September 14, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  2. What’s good is HIS ring might help find a cure for cancer – the other for an SUV that will flip over in a high speed turn!

    Comment by Genny — September 14, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  3. That’s Awesome and says a ton about this guy if he did donate his ring to do some good. She, on the other hand -= sounds like the type that HAD TO HAVE something – like a new BMW – to get over loosing a great man who gave her everything I’ll bet and it wasn’t enough to make her happy! (and neither will that stupid car)

    Comment by Tracy — October 27, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

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