The Divorce Ring

You learn the strangest things in the strangest places. Although I try to keep up with nonverbal communication, an article in a recent Dear Abby column taught me something I didn't know about--the Divorce Ring.
Apparently some women, after divorce, wear a "divorce ring" on their right hand. As I think about it, the ring seems to have lots of advantages and communicates a variety of useful messages: I'm divorced. I'm not ashamed of being divorced; there is no stigma. I want others to know I'm divorced. I'm available for a possible relationship. And it provides what some people have called "free information"--information that another person can use to start up a conversation. It serves the same purpose as wearing a "save the whales" button or carrying a textbook on campus--it gives another person an easy way to open up a conversation with you--I like your "save the whales" message; it would be nice if more people were concerned or I see your taking Interpersonal Communication--my favorite course :-)
At the same time, it makes a useful (and often overlooked) point about relationships and that is that not all relationships should last and, in some cases, it's a good thing when relationships break up. And there is no reason to not celebrate the breakup of a bad relationship; it seems on a par with celebrating the start of a good relationship. From what I gather, men do not wear divorce rings; they should.


maestra said...

The divorce ring was popular in Europe in the 1920s-

From the NY Times dated July 28, 1922-"In Paris they wear "rings of disunion," divorce rings-a broken Cupid's dart. This custom is especially to be commended as one in which men also may participate."

Another reference was made to the divorce ring in the January 1924 issue of Popular Mechanics. According to that article, "women in England had been having a notch cut into their wedding bands to indicate the end of a marriage. Those who parted from more than one husband had notches to indicate the number made in the edge of the gold band."

Yes, a divorce ring, like a wedding ring coffin, can bring closure to a bad relationship. Unlike the coffin, however, it enables one to communicate nonverbally, a variety of messages, as Prof DeVito has pointed out in his blog entry.

Anonymous said...

The problem with wearing the ring on the right hand ring finger means that you are married in many countries. So to over half a world that means the reverse of the intended message.