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Miss Manners: For divorced widow, any ring OK

Mon., Sept. 2, 2013

DEAR MISS MANNERS: After our divorce, my ex and I stayed very close friends – honestly, best friends. He passed away in December. Even though I was his ex-wife, the family still looked to me to arrange everything.

I’d lost my engagement ring a few years after our divorce. Well, two weeks ago, I was cleaning out an old purse and found my engagement ring. It means so much more to me now. I had it cleaned and planned on wearing it. I also decided to have an inscription put on my wedding band with his name and his dates of birth and death. I want to wear the rings. He gave them to me.

I’ve had a few different opinions from friends. Some say it’s sweet, but wear it on my right hand. One said don’t wear the band and wear the engagement ring on my right hand. Others have said that since we were divorced, even though we were still friends and loved each other, I lost the right to wear them after the divorce.

GENTLE READER: Ladies are conditioned to notice one another’s rings, as it would be churlish not to exclaim admiringly when a friend has a new sparkle on her finger (and in her eye). But it appears that many of them don’t know when to stop.

Usually it is widows who tell Miss Manners that their friends have announced opposition to their continuing to wear their marriage rings. Yours is an unusual case, but the idea is the same.

Such friends do not argue the obvious point that prospective suitors (whom they may not even want) could assume that the widows are still married. Rather, it is declared, as you were told, that they have “no right” to wear such rings.

What can be the motives of such so-called friends, Miss Manners cannot imagine. But they are wrong. As long as you have not stolen these rings, you have the right to wear them as you wish.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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