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What Does it Mean to Ditch Your Wedding Ring?

Experts say wedding rings might be losing their symbolic value.

By Kristin Wong Apr 3, 2012 6:20PM

Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images While most of the women I know wouldn’t stand for it, there’s been a lot of buzz around husbands opting not to wear their wedding bands. According to some experts, people just don’t value the symbolism in a ring like they used to.

“I know I’m married, everybody else knows I’m married. I just don’t have no desire to wear it, at all.”

Richard Rhodes has been happily married for 15 years and says he hasn’t worn his ring since he tied the knot.

“I took it off right after the reception and I ain’t seen it since,” said Rhodes.

But the wedding ring is not just a symbol of love for married couples; it’s also an “off-limits” sign for singles.

Psychiatrist Gary Malone says that when a man decides not to wear his ring, it’s usually because he wants to “present himself as not married.”

We didn’t need a psychiatrist to tell us that, but it helps.

“He gets all the payoff of presenting himself as single, while he actually gets the other payoff of having a wife at home,” Malone says.

And yes, Rhodes is getting hit on when he presents himself as single:

“The attention is good, but usually the attention fades down as soon as you give them the statement, I’m married, I have two kids and I ain’t never leaving my wife, usually the attention goes away after that,” said Rhodes.

I think they key word here is “usually.”

Malone argues that, while some couples do choose to go ring-less, they’re usually sacrificing something in that agreement.

“It means there’s some trade off in your dynamic that makes it okay to do that,” Malone says.  He adds that social customs are around for a reason.

Meanwhile, if wedding rings have lost their significance, maybe people will take divorce rings seriously?

Gisele Ganne, a French jewelry designer, has created a line of divorce rings to represent the fact that nearly half of marriages end in divorce. The rings are decorated with anti-marriage symbols, like gold bird skulls. Women apparently wear them on their wedding ring fingers to emphatically declare, “I don’t!”

Jul 2, 2012 10:55PM

My husband spent many of the last 10 of 12 years we have been married not wearing his wedding ring for one reason or another and i just recently found out that its because of the those 12 years 10 were spent sleeping with other women!!!!


I never took my rings off in those 10 years till i found out about his side activities and i havent worn them since...they are tarnished and no longer mean what they use to!

Apr 12, 2012 3:58PM
“I know I’m married, everybody else knows I’m married. I just don’t have no desire to wear it, at all.”

so...you do have desire to wear it?
Apr 12, 2012 3:40PM
I love my wedding ring as it was the one my mom gave to my dad.  Since I was the 1st married of 4 sons, it was an honor that my mom gave it to me, as my father was killed while a pilot in Vietnam.  We had the ring resized and my wife to be had a new inscription on the inside made.  It was now 'my' ring.  This was 22 years ago this May.  About 6 months ago, it was really starting to hurt.  It had always been a little on the small side and an easy resizing would have probably helped...but then I liked it being a little tight because I definitely didn't ever want to lose it!  It took some cold water and liquid soap and I was able to get it off my finger and the relief was IMMEDIATE!  Now, six months later, the 'groove' is beginning to heal. 

It now sits in my wife's jewelry box.  We live in the country and we don't go bar-hopping.  We are known in our circles and there's no messin' around.  I'm happy to not be wearing the ring and my wife is totally ok with it.  In fact, hers is very tight too, but it will probably need to be cut.  We're thinking of taking her to have that done, and have her ring rejoined around my ring and leave them both in the box!  We don't view this concept as a 'threat' to our bond.  But for younger couples, I agree.  Especially with some of the guys I knew back when.  They were man-whores and that ring was definitely a hamper to their desires.  I had no respect for them either--or the women.  You can read people pretty good on that kind of stuff.  But for us--totally different.

Apr 12, 2012 2:01PM
The ring is an outward expression of an inward conviction.  Plain and simple.  Some of us need that, honoring the inward convection, some us don't.  The ring does not change you.  Our mates married the man/woman; not the ring.  Kudo's either way,
Apr 12, 2012 1:47PM

If you are making a choice not to wear it then there are reasons for that, taking it off for work or safety concearns does not apply to this. There are many industries wear this is a common practice. I work in such an industry but I still choose to put my ring back on when I am not at work or going to be in the office. The ring is a huge symbol, it is not only worn to say that I'm taken but to keep would be adultresses from making a first move, (although this does not always happen) it does prevent some from even attempting. there is not just one reason for the wearing of the ring, there are many that all tie together. I do agree that it can be adventagous to your career to present yourself as single in some situations but those situations should be handled with extreme care.

Apr 12, 2012 12:07PM
Sorry, I disagree with your Psychiatrist.  My husband and I have been married for over 26 years.  He hasn't worn his wedding ring since we got married.  He doesn't wear any type of jewelry at all.  He is more committed to our relationship than I am and I wear my wedding ring all the time. 
Apr 12, 2012 9:15AM
I've been married, divorced, married, then widowed. I ALWAYS had my wedding band with me. There were times when I couldn't wear my wedding band on my finger due to safety issues or injury, (had to have it cut off twice in ER). My solution? Hung it on a neck-chain, that way it was always with me AND visible, (I don't do ties or turtlenecks).
Apr 12, 2012 8:45AM
About the wedding ring,I think it depends. Nobody will force us to wear it eventhough we are married. It is not the most important for our marriage. If we love with each other,we don't need to wear it forever after the wedding ceremony. But if we always fight  everyday and don't preserve the sanctity of our marriage,eventhough we wear our rings every moment,that means nothing.
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