If the marriage doesn't work out, does that mean a perfectly good ring has to wind up in the Chicago River? Sometimes yes.
ELIZABETH: I didn't even wait till the divorce was final. I left my lawyer's office and was walking to the train station, crossing the bridge over the Chicago River. When I was in his office, I was angry. I looked at the water. It was calm, and I realized I was now calm.
At that point, I knew marriage was over and I could never go back. I took off my rings and threw them in the river. I felt a great relief. I knew my life was going start over again, and I knew I was going to be fine.
JILLIAN: My wedding ring has resided in my jewelry box since my divorce 20 years ago. It always causes a flutter of regret when I look at it.
When my mother died several years ago, I took her simple rose gold band for my own. It gave me comfort to have something that belonged to her, something that she'd worn for 59 years, on my hand. It had little to no intrinsic value, but the sentimental value was immeasurable.
A few years ago, I was in Florida for my brother's untimely funeral. While waiting for my return flight, I went to a kiosk to buy a bottle of water. The Florida heat had caused my fingers to swell, so Mom's ring was in my purse, which fell to the floor, sending the contents flying.
My mind was scattered from the sadness of the journey. I thought I'd retrieved everything, but upon returning home I realized Mom's ring wasn't there. I tore the purse apart numerous times, hoping by some magical fluke it would be there.
Mom's ring meant more to me than my own. It represented the "till death do us part" kind of marriage I've always wanted.
ANNA: The ring from my first marriage was a small gold band with a smaller diamond. When my current husband gave me a bigger diamond with a gold band, I took both rings to the jeweler. The first band was melted down and attached to the new band, and the older diamond went toward smaller diamonds that decorated my new wedding band.
SHARON: I had a wide gold wedding band with my initials carved into it in platinum that I really liked, so I continued to wear it after I got divorced, but on my right hand. One glorious day, I was in the Bahamas snorkeling and I dropped it. It sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Oh well.
I also had an engagement ring with a good-size diamond. I had a jeweler make it into a pendant — what used to be called a "divorcee drop." I never felt good wearing it. I wound up giving it to my daughter, and now it sits in her jewelry box.
JANICE: After I got divorced, I gave my wedding band to my youngest brother. It was a plain little band that looked like linked chain, and he wore it on his little finger. I didn't realize until I got the pictures back from my second wedding that he was wearing it that day.
He lost it before the price of gold went so high, or I'd have taken it back and hocked it.
What did you do with your wedding rings? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."