Read on to see why some women are taking off their bands.
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:
"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.
|"I would be pissed if my husband took his off, so I don't feel okay about doing the same." -Julie, married 10 years.|
|"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.|
|"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.|