Post # 1
Mother-In-Law has been widowed for quite some time now. Five years or so after FIL’s death, she met her SO, also a widow, who wore his late wife’s wedding ring on his left hand. She thought it was odd at first, but she figured that he would take it off if they got serious. Well, it’s been two years now, they’re in a serious relationship, he met DH and I in late 2015 and our extended family for the July 4th holiday… all while still wearing the late wife’s ring! He was even playing with it at the dinner table, drawing attention to it.
My bitchy aunt who no one likes took Mother-In-Law into the kitchen and apparently accused Mother-In-Law of having an affair with a married man. Other relatives asked her why he still wears his ring. Our family is like that, they’re really loud and opinionated, and Mother-In-Law stands out as being sensitive and softspoken. I did not overhear any of this as I was being fawned over for being pregnant, being asked questions about the baby shower, etc. or I’d have told those mean aunties to mind their own damn business.
It seems Mother-In-Law really took these interactions to heart, poor thing. She called me today in tears, saying she’s beginning to question whether or not he has moved on and is in love with and committed to her, and she asked me how to ask him why he still wears it and if he would please take it off.
I feel like this is a difficult, potentially taboo topic, since everybody mourns differently, so I told her that I needed some time to mull this over before getting back to her. She wants to bring this up with him sometime next week. Bees, you are so very wise, so do you have any advice for me to pass onto her?
Post # 2
this is such a hard situation. does he wear his ring or his wife’s ring? I think if he wore the ring on his right hand as a sign of rememberance that would be OK for me. If it’s not ok for your mil she is just going to have to tell him it makes her feel a little incomfortable. It’s hard as she passed, he didn’t decide to not be in love with her anymore, you know. I don’t think anyone knows how they will react to this until it happens. Your aunt was very rude though!
Post # 3
He wears his wedding band on his left hand.
Thanks for the advice! My first thought was to maybe suggest he wear it on the right hand or around his neck, so it won’t be on that finger but will still honor her memory. I’ll ask Mother-In-Law tomorrow (we’re going out to lunch!) how she’d feel about that.
And yes, this aunt is the worst. I told Mother-In-Law not to take anything she says seriously.
Post # 4
I think that’s a good compromise. I hope it turns out for her. Must be hard.
Post # 5
Many years ago I dated a man who was a widower. He wore his wedding band and I thought it was a lovely gesture of remembrance.
Personally I’d let him wear the ring(s) as long as he wants to. I’m sorry your aunt caused your Mother-In-Law to question his feelings. He sounds like a fine and devoted man.
Post # 6
Hmm. That’s tough. Maybe instead of approaching him about the ring instead she should ask him about their relationship and where he sees it going. Does he want to remarry? I’d start there and then work the ring issue in under that.
Post # 7
I have habits that I don’t even notice sometimes. Maybe wearing the ring is the same for him. It might not have as much meaning as your aunties are suggesting.
That being said, after two years, your Mother-In-Law has every right to ask him about why he is wearing it. And she also has the right to say that it’s making her uncomfortable if it is.
Personally, I think all of these sentimental feelings with rings give way too much power and meaning to inanimate objects.
Post # 8
Such a tough one. I think that Mother-In-Law has every right to ask a gentle question and voice her feelings. He also has every right to continue to wear that ring, and will have to decide if it is more important to honor his late wife’s memory in that particular way, or to not make your Mother-In-Law uncomfortable.
I might try something like this: “BF, when we were at our family gathering a few people asked my why you still wear your wedding band since we’ve been together for so long. While it’s not any of their business, and I told them so, I realized I didn’t have an answer to that and it made me feel a little uncomfortable. I always want you to honor X’s memory, just as I honor Y’s, but I was wondering if we could talk about how you honor her now that we’re two years into our relationship.”
Post # 9
Rings become comfort items. I would keep the conversation on how he deals with his grief and is he happy now.
Fwiw, my dad can’t get his ring off his hand anymore so it might just be a practicality thing.
And tell your Mother-In-Law to ignore nasty aunts. That is so cruel to corner someone and make unfound judgement
Post # 10
I think it would be fair of her to bring it up and possibly come up with a compromise. I think it would be fair to say that she understands that he is mourning and honoring his wife’s memory, but that she has been getting side eye because people think she is with a married man.
Post # 11
Yes I think the advice here is to ignore the nasty Aunty unless she has other concerns. Being with a widow is going to bring its own baggage, you know, that’s just going to come with the territory. He will likely never “get over” his wife and always hold a special place in his heart for her. But your Mother-In-Law is the one who’s here. If they love each other here and now that’s all that matters.
Post # 12
- Wedding: January 2022 - City, State
I’m widowed and still wear the wedding ring that I received from my late husband. My fiance is very cool with it and even told me that if I wanted to continue to wear it after we get married I can use it as my wedding ring or as part of a stack withthe wedding ring he will give me. My wedding ring is a Jabel rose and green gold thin band that loooks like a band of long stemmed roses, and my engagement ring is a custom David Klass that was modeled after the Luttle Mermaid enegaement ring that Disney only sells in Japan….they look great together and many people think I have a Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast theme going…lol. I may wear it as a spacer because my wedding ring from Fiance is a bent fork…no joke, I had David make me a fork ring to match my engagement ring…you know, the dinglehopper…
I told everyone I dated after my late husband died that I was going to continue to wear my ring, and, if they didn’t like it then they knew where the door was..never had anyone complain. However, if it really bothers your mom that much she needs to talk to her SO aboujt it and try to come to a compromise, like other posters said either switch the ring to his right hand or wear it on a chain. However, if he refuses it doesn’t mean that he loves your mom any less.
Post # 13
Thanks for all of your insights, everyone! You’ve given me great ideas re: how to help her.