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Are You Married to Your Wedding Ring?

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Read on to see why some women are taking off their bands.

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Sometimes when Cara K. is out with her girlfriends, she slips off her wedding ring.

But it's not that she wants to stray--in fact the 33-year-old New York City-based publicist has been happily hitched to her guy for nine years. So what gives?

There are all sorts of reasons a woman might remove her wedding band. In the summer or during pregnancy, fingers swell due to water retention, and not wearing restrictive jewelry relieves discomfort. And there are job-related reasons not to wear one: If you work with your hands, you may remove your valuable jewels so you don't tarnish them. And as nutty as it sounds, wearing a wedding ring may even affect your long-term career: Cornell researchers say employers are less likely to hire moms for fear their status as a parent will affect their ability to make sound managerial decisions (oddly enough, dads don't suffer the same discrimination).

But why play single for a night out with the girls? "It's an escape," Cara says. "It's fun to play a role every now and then. I'll be married my whole life, so sometimes it's fun to temporarily revert back to my crazy single self."

And she's not alone: Many women take it off to avoid social stigma. Says Lauren, married for six years and mother of two, "Sometimes people see my ring and subtly exclude me from fun conversation," she says. "It's almost like they don't want to talk to the boring married girl. Every stereotype about marriage is emphasized when you're socializing."

"Sometimes I take off my ring so I can feel like my old self," says Maggie, 30, married for three years. "I want to be seen as the person I was before I got hitched."

But can't you just be both?

"Removing my ring is never premeditated," Cara says. "If I've had a few drinks and am getting silly with my girls, I might impulsively take it off to see if guys still think I'm hot."

But is it leading a man on to pretend you're single? Surely you'll avoid unnecessary confusion and hurt feelings by being upfront. Lauren says no. "Just because you talk to a guy doesn't mean you owe him anything at the end of the night. If he asked if I were married, I'd say yes. But I don't have to put it out there."

And what about guys? While men certainly regard their rings as symbols of commitment to their partners, they don't swoon over jewelry in the same way women do. Is going ring-less for the night fair play, or does it mean something different if a man goes out with a naked ring-finger?

"I've been wearing my wedding ring for so long that sometimes I forget it's there," says Matthew, who has been married for nine years. "However, I wouldn't take it off. Frankly, I don't see the point unless you're planning to have an affair."

"I wouldn't mind if my husband took off his ring for a night out with the guys," Cara says. "We're faithful to each other, but he's allowed to flirt. I wouldn't want to deny him that."

Here, insight from moms on letting their ring finger fly solo:

jackie.jpg

"A night out talking to guys can be an exhilarating ego boost, but I wouldn't do it. I'm very proud to be married to my guy. Plus, what starts as an innocent gesture has the potential to spiral out of control." -Jackie, married six years.

jill.jpg "I would be pissed if my husband took his off, so I don't feel okay about doing the same." -Julie, married 10 years.
julie.jpg "I've never removed my ring, but I may consider it if I ever need a reminder that I could still get a guy if I wanted to. Check back with me in five years!" -Annie, married 2.5 years.
kevin.jpg "I usually don't take off my ring unless I'm working or sleeping. But I have noticed a difference in how women respond to me before they see my ring. First they're interested, but after they spot the ring, I suddenly become less interesting!" -Kevin, married 5 years.


next: Better Apart Than Together
13 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gilly August 18, 2008, 9:28 AM

Personally, I would not want my husband to do this, it would feel like a little betrayal no matter how innocent. So… I wouldn’t do it either.

Amy August 18, 2008, 10:42 AM

I do understand the social exclusion phenomenon. Before someone sees the ring — fun and interesting conversation. After they see it — suddenly there is no point in talking to me anymore! I hate that!! Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I don’t have something interesting to say or that I’m still my own person…

Anonymous August 18, 2008, 11:26 AM

I take mine off all the time. I am not just a WIFE or a MOM, I’m a person. I agree with the previous commenter Amy. It’s like you’re invisible once you have it on.

Anonymous August 18, 2008, 11:27 AM

No ring = free drinks. I’m in.

Anonymous August 18, 2008, 12:58 PM

First of all, I wouldn’t take my ring off and go drinking with my girlfriends. That is opening the door for things to potentially happen. I feel that people put themselves in situations then when something happens they say “I didn’t mean for it to happen it just did”.
Married people should keep their rings on and stay home, or better yet go out with your spouse. There is no reason why you should be hanging out with a bunch of single people who don’t have the same obligations that you do ~ unless you want to be single again.

birdsfly August 18, 2008, 2:09 PM

Sooo… because I’m the first person in my group of friends to get married I’m not allowed to spend time with them anymore? I think I missed the part in the marriage contract that said I can’t hang out with anyone unless my husband is attending and the other parties are married. Give me a break. Anon can “keep their rings on and stay home,” my ring and I will be out clubbing with the girls.

vixxster August 19, 2008, 11:47 AM

Due to our wedding bands not fitting any more, we have not worn our bands in over 14 years (married 29 years). Neither of us go clubbing, but we do go everywhere, esp. me, separately, without incident since we both know we are married and committed. You don’t need a band to ensure you are. I moved to the midwest from the south 14 years ago and wearing the band is more an issue here than there. Women still want to feel attractive to the other sex, but that doesn’t mean we are looking for anything more. And yes, I’m still attractive at 52, and yes, I still get those looks! August 2 to be exact!




Anonymous August 19, 2008, 12:44 PM

I get flirted with plenty with my ring on. What’s wrong with going out to the bar or club, and still keeping your ring on? I go out and have fun, and my ring is on. And, there are plenty of opportunities for things to get “out of control”, whether or not you have a ring on. That is where you have to rely on your own self control and morals.

Anonymous August 19, 2008, 2:00 PM

“Birdsfly” You will be divorced within 5 years…………Enjoy your clubbing!

birdsfly August 19, 2008, 7:32 PM

Well I’ve been married 4 1/2 years so I better get right on that divorce if I want to make the deadline! Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I have to share every waking moment with my hubby. It doesn’t mean we have to be clones with all of the same interests. If I have a girls night out, which is only when my sister or out of town gfs are in town, he has a boys night with our son. And yes he does usually go out with me because we have most of the same friends that are still SINGLE. We actually don’t spend time with any married couples that aren’t relatives at this point. My point was just because I’m married doesn’t mean I’m surgically attached to my husband and going out for a drink with the girls does not mean I’m trolling for guys. It means I’m away from him for *shock* 3 hours every, what, 6 months? And like I said the ring goes with me.

birdsfly August 19, 2008, 8:08 PM

Correction: we do hang out with married couples from my sorority almni group when they have couples events, otherwise I go out once a month September to June with them as girls for drinks or dinner, or skee ball at Dave and Busters. Wow I’m a horrible person! Lol.

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