Shortcuts: “He Threw His Wedding Ring Across the Road”

WTFIt’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

My husband and I have been together for thirteen years and married for five. We have two children together. I’m 37 and he is 44. Due to strong disagreements and abuse within our relationship, we are getting a divorce. This past summer, he got into a fight and he threw his wedding ring across the road onto the shoulder. My kids and I went to my parents’ and stayed for about two months. When we came back, I saw the ring lying on the end table. I’m very curious as to why he would keep it. I’m grateful as I have always wanted to keep it for our daughter, but I don’t understand why he’d do something like that and treat me the way he does. Thank you so much for any insight. — Ring on the Shoulder

Possible reasons he retrieved the ring that have nothing (or next-to-nothing) to do about his feelings for you:

1. He, too, wanted to keep the ring for your daughter.

2. He wanted to keep it for himself in case he needed to pawn it for cash at some point.

3. He needed a wedding ring to guard against all the women who throw themselves at him.

4. He didn’t want a small animal on the road to mistake it for something delicious and then choke on it and die.

I would seriously caution against your seeing this retrieval of his ring as indication that your marriage is salvageable or that he wants you back. He may want you back, but with a history of abuse and a lack of communication between you, there’s no reason you should not be M’ing O A just as fast as your legs will carry you.

My husband is 78 years old and I’m 60. He had heart surgery three years ago and he hasn’t been the same since. For example, he will look at an item that’s out of his reach and he’ll ask me to fetch it for him. He is so much more capable but has pity parties to the degree it nauseates me. He is probably healthier than I am. Besides that, I am so bored I find myself wanting to sleep my life away. Any advice would be appreciated. — So Bored

It’s ironic that you’re nauseated by your husband’s pity parties since it sounds like you’re pretty good at throwing your own. Here’s an idea: Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself while you watch your husband feel sorry for himself, go out and make a life. Take up some new hobbies, meet up with friends, focus on getting healthier than – or at least as healthy as – your husband who’s 18 years older and too lazy to fetch his own glass of water. When he sees you having such a good time without him, there’s a good chance he’ll either be inspired to get out himself, or he’ll make more of an effort to keep you satisfied at home. Also, both of you should be in therapy to discuss the possibility of depression and how you might treat it.

I cheated on my boyfriend of three years about five different times (of which he only knows about three). I broke up with him because I felt it wasn’t right of me to be with him while my eyes and mind wondered. He was hurt and still believes I’m the most amazing girl in the world even though I cheated. I really love him, miss him, and want to be with him, but when I’m with him, the guilt is hard to bear and I feel trapped. I know my depression and low self-esteem have been part of the reason I cheated. Did I do the right thing breaking up? — Missing Him

Depression and low self-esteem don’t make people cheat. You cheated because something was missing in your relationship and/or there was a void in yourself and you didn’t have the tools or the motivation to address those issues. Yes, you did the right thing breaking up with your boyfriend. Now stay single and sit for a while in your single-ness. Be alone with yourself enough to know whether it’s yourself you’re afraid of being exclusive with, and if it is, get help, because you’re never going to find a happy relationship until you’re happy with yourself.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW1 The only thing that is relevant to your situation is that he is abusive and you had to leave him to live with your parents. He probably does have feelings for you and you do for him but that isn’t enough for him to not be abusive and never will be. Why did you go back to him? It makes no sense to go back to get a divorce. It is up to you to make sure your kids understand that adults in relationships don’t treat each other abusively.
    The only person who knows why he kept the ring is him. If I had to guess it is because it is worth some money, not that he intends or wants to stay married and certainly not that he is changing himself into a man who isn’t abusive.
    Why pick, even in your mind, which child gets dad’s ring? Why favor one over the other? Why set up this idea of favoritism among your children. I’m assuming the other child is a boy because you don’t say older daughter, younger daughter or one of my daughters. There seems to be only one daughter so the other child must be a boy. Why wouldn’t a boy want his dad’s ring? It is a masculine ring. Please let your kids grow up without this thing hanging over them of who is going to get what. Make them both feel wanted and loved and valued and special. I have a friend who is still angry that all through her childhood her dad would pick up something that he especially valued and say that some day he would give it to his oldest grandson. Every special item was going to go to the oldest grandson. Nothing to any other grandchild. She would ask him why not the second grandson or third grandson. The ironic thing is that he only has granddaughters and his daughters are very pleased by that. He has never had the chance to give everything to his oldest grandson. Please don’t make the same mistake. The anger kids feel at being unjustly treated can go into their adult life and can make your kids dislike each other permanently.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Hahahah I love that he only has granddaughters. I guess the karma caught up to him. 🙂

  2. Number 4 almost made me spit my coffee out. Littering is bad! But, impressive he was able to find it. Definitely doesn’t say anything about the relationship or mean that he is a changed man.

    1. Is it still littering if you litter something valuable? I mean, anyone who wants to soil my front lawn with a wheelbarrow full of filthy cash is welcome to go for it.

  3. findingtheearth says:

    My mother has had open bypass surgery, a pacemaker, and a defibrillator put in. It has taken a taken a toll on her mental health,also because of the drugs she has to take for her heart. I would not only speak to your doctor about depression but also his meds and see if any are interacting with each other. Also, find something to do. Rent a movie and talk to your husband. Plan small trips together. Build friendships. I am sure you and he have friends from before the surgery, reconnect with them.

  4. LW 3, you make me sick. Cheating once can potentially be forgivable, but 5 different times? Let this poor guy find someone better, who will realize his worth and NOT cheat on him even once. Sorry, sensitive topic for me as my boyfriend’s ex cheated on him multiple times as well.

  5. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    The important point about the man who threw the ring isn’t that he went and picked it up. The important point is that he threw it in a fit of rage. The man can’t control his anger. The fact that he went and retrieved the ring when he was no longer angry isn’t the important point.

  6. zombeyonce says:

    Hey Wendy, the title’s got a typo (“threw his road across the road”).

  7. Wow. I certainly hope that whenever LW2 gets old and sick (and she probably will), whoever is around to take care of her has a bit more compassion and a bit less self-absorbtion than she does. “My husband has health issues and is depressed and it nauseates me” may win it for the most grating post in a while.

    1. None of us , who is not caring for an elderly invalid, knows how difficult it is for the caretaker to do it.

      Have some compassion for the LW. She needs advice, not criticism. Her wellbeing is as important as her husband’s.

  8. Miss Anne Thrope says:

    Regarding LW2, Wendy, I hope you never have to watch your elderly loved ones go through something like this. I get the feeling that you don’t want to have a sugar-coating tone with your advice, but FFS, where on earth did you get your panties in such a twist? She never said anything about a glass of water.

    A 78 year old had heart issues. Despite him being “healthier” than the LW2, that by no means states he’s physicaly stronger, or capable of doingredients things that were easy for him in the past.

    And realistically, with an 18 year age gap, the LW2 has to prepare to either take on some of the caretaker duties herself. It’s not easy, and you don’t have to feel bad for struggling between your desire to continue to live your life and the feelings of responsibility to care for your husband.

    Wendy, there have to be literally MULTIPLE resources you could have referred LW2 to. Instead your tone was belittling, dismissive, and demeaning to both the LW and her husband.

    Aging spouses/parents are a huge issue in today’s society. To even include an issue like this in “shortcuts” makes me feel like you put very little thought outside of the letter into the actual issue that lies not just with the LW, but statistically with many of your readers. If you want the world to be a kinder, more supportive place, a very easy place for you to start is here.

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