Remnants of My Failed Marriage

I’ve been divorced for a month. After waiting so long for all the paperwork and red tape, it all was over amazingly quickly.

Now I need to figure out what to do with the things that remain.

My name: I am changing my last name back to my maiden original name. But I’m going on a trip this month and don’t want to change my passport or driver’s license, so that’s on hold for a bit.

My e-mail address: I changed my e-mail address when I got married to one with my married last name. I still have access to my old one with my original name, of course, but everyone uses the newer address. I suppose it’s nothing harder than setting up forwarding and just starting to respond from the new (old) e-mail address, but I’m sort of comfortable where I am.

My wedding dress: It’s in a plastic bag in storage. I never even got it cleaned and steamed and put into one of those fancy storage boxes. I did wear it a second time, for a Halloween skit at work, but it’s been in a bag ever since. I would love to donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer, but I need to have it cleaned first and I’d have to actually go to the Post Office, and I haven’t been motivated to take the steps. But I know I should do it.

The wedding albums: So many beautiful pictures, so many memories. I actually had a blast at my wedding. Let’s not talk about how my groom got trashed that night–and the night before–and was totally hung over. The wedding itself was so much fun. But I don’t really see myself sitting down and looking through the photos any time soon. I guess I will hold on to them so Smiley can look at them when he gets curious (if he ever gets curious), but I probably should go through them and put them in archive-quality boxes. I do have a DVD of the images, so I guess I don’t need to keep the prints, but it is so hard for me to throw away photographs.

My ring: This one is really tricky. My ex proposed to me with my mother’s engagement ring. Which was custom designed for my mom by my dad. It has amazing sentimental value because of my parents’ marriage. But now it also has a bit of a tarnished value because of my own marriage. Any suggestions for this one? It really looks like an engagement ring, so I’m not sure about wearing it on my right hand. And I don’t want to re-set the stones because they were custom set for my mom. Hmm.

I also have other pieces of jewelry from the ex that I haven’t worn in ages. They are pretty pieces, but they just remind me of the ex. I had a stone from a previous boyfriend set into a ring, but I don’t need that much new stuff.

I would like to hold a cleansing ritual, of a sort, where I burn a wedding photo and a few other mementos, for closure. I think that would help me feel that it’s all pretty final.

What did you do with your engagement ring or other jewelry from your ex?


17 responses to “Remnants of My Failed Marriage

  1. Great post. Congratulations on the divorce. I would keep the engagement ring and get rid of everything else.

  2. Sometimes it’s good to just get rid of the things you know you’ll never look at again, or the same way. I think I have my wedding pics somewhere, but tucked away. Haven’t looked at them in years now. As for my engagement ring…my ex still has it. He was supposed to give it back to me, but we sort of lost touch about it and honestly, I don’t need it. We were then going to return it to the store we got it from and buy nice watches with the $ from it. But that fell by the wayside.Now, it’s so long since, I couldn’t care less. As for yours? I would keep it in memory of your mom, not as something to wear. But I wouldn’t want to get rid of it either, for those reasons!

  3. I’ve been trying to decide what to do with my ring, too! It doesn’t have any sentimental value attached to it, and I don’t feel like resetting it as I’m not really a “jewelry girl” to begin with. I was thinking about selling it, but not sure how to get the most from it. Thought I could use the money to pay off some bills or take my daughter on another Disney Cruise or something. :) I like the idea of a new watch… Decisions, decisions.
    Congrats on the divorce and here’s to the start of a new amazing chapter for you!

  4. My wedding band got sold since I needed the money. The engagement ring I’m keeping to pass on to my daughter when she gets old enough.

  5. Yes on the cleansing ritual! Hang onto the ring; maybe Smiley will use it to propose to someone in a couple of decades. Just include the ring in the cleansing ritual. Burn a smudge stick and let the smoke waft over the ring; problem solved. (My ring is currently sitting in my safe deposit box. I should probably get around to selling it at some point.)

    If you want me to send you the picture of your ex flipping me off at your wedding reception, you just let me know!

  6. Hey, wrote a post about this “Wedding Leftovers”
    But here’s what I did: Rings? – sold, Wedding Photos? in a box in storage, I’ll keep most of them for my kids, but I may get rid of the ones I never liked. Dress? — in a box in storage at my parent’s house. Veil? — donated, Shoes?, thrown out. I just found my wedding earrings (costume) will throw out today. My name? — during the divorce process I took his name back (had been using my birth name for most of the marriage — ass backward, I know, I had my reasons). I still use my name on for performances, etc., I use just my first name for a lot of other things — like Madonna and Cher and Adele. Ha! Your ring is an heirloom so that’s a tough one. Might want to just put it away for future generations. Or consider getting it appraised and decide if the money would be put to good use. I will likely donate my dress but my girls want to see it and try it on first — I can’t handle that now so it sits at my parents’ house. The cleansing ceremony is a good one, I plan to get out old photos and “retire” (meaning burn) the ones that need to go. The ones that I have to keep I can alter (crop) and keep the originals in storage. Should digitize them to save space. I gave away much of the wedding glassware, moving to a smaller place I simply didn’t have the room. What I need to do now is go through my keepsakes that show good times or accomplishments that are not related to my marriage and display them. I was married for too long to cut out the entire portion of my life, but I kinda did that. But the wedding stuff? Oh, that can go. Great post.

  7. i say keep the album and pictures – even though my parents divorced when i was 2, i kinda love looking at their wedding album :)
    as for the ring, maybe you could put it in/on a necklace?

  8. My name – I didn’t change my name for my first marriage. Didn’t intend to but didn’t have time to anyway. Isn’t that sad? Not that it was my fault, mind you. A friend of mine changed her last name to the same last name as her Mum, who chose a NEW last name when SHE got divorced.

    My email address – never changed for either marriage. Yay!

    Wedding dress- Still packed away somewhere. I will never wear it again (it’s red but looks like a wedding dress) but I can’t throw it away for sentimental reasons. See my Dad had a heart transplant eight days before my wedding and the hospital let him out on day release to walk me down the aisle.

    Wedding photos – can’t throw them out. No idea what happened to the wedding album. I think I gave it to my parents (see above re Dad’s transplant). Eventually I will go through and pull out the photos of my ex and just keep the pre-ceremony photos. I do look at the pre-ceremony photos. My Dad looked so great! I even used some of my photos from my first wedding in a recent blog.

    Rings – yes, more problematic. Can’t sell it (get $50 if I’m lucky, cost $1600). Won’t wear it. Just feel it’s disrespectful to my new husband. I did wear it a while when I was single just because I felt naked with no rings. The other jewellery I still wear sometimes. The memories have faded. But the rings just sit in a cupboard somewhere. Maybe hang on to yours since it has sentimental value. Your son might use it to propose.

  9. Its surprising how much the ring is a point of consternation in all kinds of divorce situations. In your case, save it. Your relationship not working out is no more a tarnish than your parent’s successful marriage is a magical spell. it simply is what it is. save it for your son. or use it again

  10. Well since Smiley is a boy, donate the dress, I kept my because it’s beautiful and I have a daughter. Same with my wedding album, just because we are divorced doesn’t mean there wasn’t love there at one time. I want my kids to see that we were happy once, and they were conceived out of love. I don’t go flipping through it or anything, but it is archived. My ring? Ha! My gambling ex husband pawned it off before we were even divorced without my knowledge. I would’ve kept that for my kids too. I would keep the ring for Smiley, it’s a part of your family, let him use it one day. As far as a cleansing ritual, guess I went to therapy for that, ha! But sometimes purging the things that you shared together is good.

  11. I sold my engagement ring about a year after my ex and I were separated. I was desperate for money and ended up selling a few of my things in order to help make ends meet…it was THAT bad for me. At the time it felt like the right decision; I needed rent money more than I needed a memento of my failed marriage. I still have the wedding band, however; we had them engraved inside so it can’t really be owned by anyone else. ;-)

    My advice is to just sit on things for a little while. Give it some time and see how it feels. And if it still feels right to get rid of these things, then go for it and don’t look back!

  12. I threw away the wedding photos. All of them. But I also know there are digital copies scattered about and I know family members have some too so if the kids get curious when they’re older, they can find them.

    My mom always stored the wedding dress so I don’t care what she does with it but I gave away the one I wore to the reception.

    The ring is… somewhere… I think. The plan was to save it until I could afford to melt it down and turn it into a charm for Daughter. Other “good” gifts I’ve set aside for Daughter or given away to friends.

    I hate being attached to things but I know I am. So having these things around affected me badly. The less in my house associated with him or the marriage the better. But that’s me.

  13. I never had my wedding dress cleaned either. It’s in a plastic bag in the back of my closet.

  14. I’m so thankful I never changed my last name – what a ton of work that would be to change it all back. I still have my dress and want to donate it to a charity so I need to get up off my ass and get it cleaned and find said charity. My ring – being that the holiday season is coming up with Valentine’s Day not to long after, I’m going to get my set all cleaned up and put it on Kijiji. I went to a diamond appraiser and that’s what they suggested – said I’d get more for it. As for your ring, it’s definitely a family keepsake. Do you think, though, that either of your parents would care if you re-set the diamonds in to a necklace or earrings?

  15. I think you should deal with everything when you feel ready. I gave my engagement ring to my ex, because I was the one who ended the marriage, and he wasn’t a bad guy. It just didn’t work out, so I decided not to keep the ring. Everything else, we split.

  16. Wow. Congrats on the divorce. I would say keep the photos, I know I don’t ever look at a cd or computer file of pics, but I do love flipping through old albums, and Smiley might too one day. The ring is a tricky one, I like what Dennis said about it. Maybe get it made into a necklace or something?

  17. I still have my engagement ring it’s in the box hidden away…not sure what I’ll do with it

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