By Dr. Jane Greer

Actor Brian Austin Green was spotted making a trip to the grocery store, smiling and still wearing his wedding ring despite his split from Megan Fox. He appeared to be in good spirits. After five years of marriage, the couple decided to part ways about six months ago. Yet the fact that he is still wearing his ring brought a lot of media attention. There is so much to think about when you are separating and considering divorce that sometimes that tiny detail about when to take the ring off either falls to the bottom of the list or becomes too overwhelming to face.

Deciding when to slip it off is a personal choice, with no right or wrong answer. Here’s some relationship advice.

The wedding band itself can hold a lot of meaning not only to the people in the marriage, but also to everyone around them who sees if they are or are not wearing theirs. It is a marker to the world that says they are in a committed relationship, or possibly, if they have broken up but continue to wear it, that they are still dealing with aspects of their relationship and are not completely ready to let go.

When people keep wearing their ring post-split, it might be that they are not ready to transition their identity from being married and part of a “we” to being single and just a “me.” That shift can be challenging and daunting, and the ring itself can continue to give them a sense of security so they don’t have to be out there on their own in the world just yet. Or, it may be a simple signal that they are not ready to start dating and want to give a very clear message that they are unavailable. Or, when there are children involved as there are with Brian and Megan, continuing to wear a ring might be a subtle sign that the parents are still connected so the kids can have the ongoing sense of family.

When is the right time?

All of this leads to the big question: is there a right time to take it off? That answer is different for everyone, and will vary greatly from person to person. It doesn’t matter when you do it, but what does matter is knowing and understanding what it means to you when you finally decide to stop wearing it. For most people, when they take their ring off it is a statement that they have taken a definitive step into their new single life. It can be a long road to get over a break-up or a divorce. It takes time for both partners to heal and recover, but first they have to accept it is over and begin to move forward. Removing your ring is part of the process of letting go. Only time will tell when Brian will be ready to do that.

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