Monday, September 25, 2006

Why don't married men wear wedding rings?

We've all known of a married man who didn't/doesn't wear his wedding ring, but the question is why? Single women everywhere have long experienced this phenomenon: the unnoticeably married man. They're in bars, clubs, or just out an about just like any regular single guy. The difference is that they took a vow to forever be married and with that vow came a ring...which, has somehow escaped his now bare finger.

In this article by Amy Sohn (who wrote the book "Kiss & Tell" about Sex and the City) explores the various excuses heard by women everywhere. But, are excuses satisfactory answers as to why these men choose not to wear the symbol of commitment given to them on their wedding day? If they didn't plan on wearing them, why go through the expense of buying rings and having a wedding?

The point is that married men don't need to be galavanting around as if they're single. Period. If a man is truly committed to his marriage, then a single gal should be able to tell he's committed upon first talking to him. Am I right?

Check out Miss Manner's shoot-down of a 22-something who complains about men not wearing wedding bands. Maybe with age does come wisdom.

Also, check out one blogger's version of the history of wedding bands and how uncommon it was for men to wear them just 50 years ago or so.

To Wear or Not To Wear A Wedding Ring...THAT is the question!

*Thanks to WWRT reader Mr. Pacman for suggesting this topic.


Lori said...

I guess the same thing can be said for women who don't wear their wedding ring...

Melissa said...

I'm traditional - wear that wedding ring I say! I think that couples should be proud to display the fact that they are married.

It's a pretty simple tradition that carries a lot of implications. In our society it's an easy way of saying "back off I'm married" without ever having to utter a word. :)

Lori said...

this brings up a good point...but what about the woman's engagement ring?! why should women have to wear a wedding/engagement ring 1 year before they're married?! Because technically, you're not married until your wedding day, however you are visably taken during yoru engagement period.

There's nothing wrong with's just a big inequity and there's no visual presence for the guy's commitment during the engagement period. When will THAT change?!

It's not about "well, the girl is taken, but the guy can fool around"'s just about if we're making a verbal and visual commitment, we should both do it in the same manner.

Maybe that's the hidden feminist in me...maybe it's unrealistic...maybe most women don't care. Who knows?!

Melissa said...

I remember I once mentioned the point about a man not having to wear an engagement ring and how it wasn't fair to an engaged young lady. She said to me point blank - you shouldn't want to be with a man that needs to have an engagement ring to keep him in check.


But of course I've never thought about the converse of the argument - the fact that women have to wear that ring a good year before they're actually married. It doesn't seem fair, but of course women are the more emotional ones, who typically want to show their friends and family they are taken. It's more an honor for them to be asked - so they wear the engagement ring with pride.

Lawrence said...

Yup, it's me a guy ringiing in. Hope you ladies don't mind. As a married guy (9 years this Friday) i've only taken it off a few times because of a physical job I had and it irritated my finger while on that job. Quite frankly I feel naked without it.

I have a hunch it might be an ego thing. If he's out with the boys at a bar or club (and his intentions are honorable) he just wants to see how many ladies will come up and talk to him. If his intentions are dishonorable, that's a different story that you ladies i'm sure are aware of.

Tiff said...

As far as I can remember, all of the married men that I know or have encountered that don't wear their wedding ring have had dishonorable intentions, including any relatives and friends. And I mean going out of the house without it, not taking it off for a specific purpose.

I'm curious as to how many women would say yes to a proposal without a ring. Seems that the act of a man purchasing the ring is as meaningful as the act of a woman wearing it. We could always choose not to put it on until the wedding day, but then folks like me will ask - Hm, are you really engaged? Where's the ring? (LOL! And I do know people who said they were engaged and there wasn't a ring to show for it, because they really weren't.)

Tiff said...

[clicked enter too soon]

But I also know people that were engaged without rings (at the time of a proposal), and truly did get married. So, in my opinion, it's really about the verbal/spiritual/mental/emotional/physical commitment that you make to each other, and not about jewelry. Although, the jewelry is nice and wearing it is even nicer! :-)

Mr. Pacman said...

I guess this just bugs me overall. If you want to be married deal with the ring. If you don't don't get married. It's definitely a symbol of your promise. Sure it's an external thing and has nothing to do with where your heart is, so actually it should be easier right.

And yes, I've seen it go both ways where women I've "talked to" when out ended up being married and didn't wear a ring "just because".

Not saying it adds to your marriage but it's at least a symbol of your current status.


Mike said...

Just found this blog, so this probably won't get any replies, but what I wonder is, do women (single presumably) really check out whether or not a guy is wearing a ring before talking to a guy?

Here's why I ask. I've been married more than 10 years and the only time I really take off the ring is at the gym. Just doesn't make sense to wear it there. And it seems an inordinate amount of women come up to "chat" there...inordinate percentage wise as compared with other places I've been, even bars or clubs when my wife wasn't there. Are they looking for the ring?

I almost feel like I should wear it at the gym, just to serve notice that "hey, I'm married. talk to me if you like, but at least you know in advance." It saves the uncomfortableness of having to spell that out in the conversation

Anonymous said...

I've heard of men wearing rings on their 'wedding finger' even though they aren't married.

The people that have told me this explained further that it is common for young men to wear a ring on the wedding finger so that they don't get harassed by women.

I don't know if I can believe this. It seems to me that men would love to get more women, not less...unless the wedding band makes them more attractive because they are 'unattainable'...thus feeding the human desire to get what we don't have.

Or maybe its the 'new game' to be played out there amidst young singles.

I'm confused about all of this. As a woman I do not understand much about men.

Multiply that confusion by all the different ethnic backgrounds inhabiting North America, and then maybe you see what I'm getting at.

Different people from different cultures mean different things by their actions.

But as a woman I (and some of my gal pals) have occasionally worn a ring on the wedding finger to keep men away.

I've figured, however, that wearing a fake wedding ring wouldn't do much to keep the 'real creepy jerks' I gave up on wearing the ring after awhile.

Personally, I prefer not to wear any kind of jewellery because it attracts too much attention to me.

Living in a metropolitan city has taught me that being conservative (ie not flashy) in manner and style is an easy way to avoid being harassed or mugged.

I'm not shy, but I don't like to be a target either.

And rings kinda hurt my fingers-makes my fingers feel a bit inert even if the ring doesn't cut off circulation ...and my finger feels heavier and burdened.

Well I'm sure there is no one single answer suitable for all men...but I'd love to know if single men actually wear rings 'on purpose' on their wedding fingers to avoid being approached by women.

-woman living in a big city

Anonymous said...

I agree that they should because it seems like, every guy that I'm attracted to is married (obviously his WIFE sees the same qualities I do, that's why she snatched him first). I met a guy that wears no ring, and is always "eyeing" me. I'm like, "Ok, this might be a winner". Come to find out, he's married. If a couple decides to not wear rings (which is fine, if they decide that), the man needs to "act married", meaning, he has to know that a single woman that is looking (like myself) is going to notice he's not wearing a ring and if he is subtly flirting, its inappropriate and misleading. Not to mention very frustrating. I meet men all the time, but when I take a genuine interest in a guy, he's married. Its like I have this chemical in me that subconsciously draws me to them, when I would never cross the line with a married man. Its very disheartening.

Anonymous said...

I am a 26yo male with no interest in meeting anyone. The idea everyone is out to meet someone if they are single is false and there are many others my age/any age who do not want relationships...or simply, be bothered. I often wear a "fake" band on my left hand or a decorative band on my right, depending on the occasion or my mood.
Many women don't seem to notice the rings (or care) and I think a grimace when approached does far better!
In the summer, I wear gloves to bike. In the winter its winter gloves. A ring does no good then.
Over 50% of marriages end in divorce, so why does wearing a ring matter? Its just a tradition, which like marriage, is hopefully phasing out.

Jared said...

I agree with the fella above me. 19 year old male, and I'm actually intimidated by how much a ring means to a woman. Men's Health Magazine says that 37% of women think proposing without a ring present is the biggest mistake a guy can make. How cold is that? "Oh its nice you want to be married, but where's the rock?"
And you can't blame a guy for wanting to take it off, I could imagine that it would feel pretty oppressive sometimes, and it would just feel nice to take it off and think of number one. Its like a tiny string you tie on your finger to remind you of something. it reminds you that for the rest of your life you are supposed to go home to the same person, share a bed, and half of everything you own isnt your own. It reminds you of kids, and responsibility, and stress, and lots of other negative things. I suppose you all want your guy to pine for you when he's away, and stare at his ring with a sigh as he pictures your *insert feature he used to woo you here*. Unfortunately guys don't work like this, and relish our alone time as a retreat or escape. Ask your guy this, and watch for the one second guilty look and you'll know I'm serious. To men, you seem far too over-passionate about things.

kellee said...

to respond to Mike, I know of several women who, when noticing a man whom they will like to risk getting to know better; first look for a ring. My take is if you wear your wedding band and a woman seeing this still approaches you with to tackle you/ ask you out then she's already made up her mind that she intends on having an affair or some type of relationship with you if only you allow it.

I know before became involved with my fiance and while i was still scouting the first thing i looked for to ensure was absent was a wedding band.

Anonymous said...

It should be a priveledge to the spouse to wear his or her wedding ring. Its simply a wayto let your spose know your with him her through good times and bad times. It symbolizes the love and commitment they made to each other when they got married. I have very little respect for married men/women that dont wear theier rings.

Anonymous said...

I.m married but I will tell my boy never to marry. I really hope this old fashioned custom does not make it into the future. Lets face it marriage and the ring just dont have the symbolic power they may once have had. In fact it carries a rather negative connotation, that you have given up your freedom, that you are a slave to another person. Love and sex are mostly a feeling, the idea that commitment is the true test of love is bullshit because it isnt supported by any positive feelings. I have met other women who make me feel just as or more excited than I ever felt when I first met my wife. Just because you wear a ring does not stop these feelings. If someone in a relationship wants to be dishonest a removable item like a ring is not going to stand in the way. The real connotation conveyed by a ring is that you are not capable of having a relationship, that you are emotionally unavailable, that you may have children, that you are a conservative old fuddy duddy supporting a nostalgic view of relationships-none of which is the birthright of a living and breathing human. Women need to give up on the power struggle in their heterosexual relations which will always lead to divorce. Men like the little things that empowered women seem to take for granted-let him drive you in your car, let him push your cart at the grocery store, let him open the door for you, let him pay for dinner, let him handle the reservations, let him handle bying the tickets, checking the bag, etc. These little seemingly unimportant things are the vestiges of masculinity that makes men feel like sticking with their women- if you think that the ring is why your man stays with you its bullshit, he only married you to affirm his masculinity. I think divorce is just as much a god given right as marriage is- what a man has giveth so let him taketh away. Lets face it people arent meant to stay together for their whole lives-that sounds just oppressive. My wife and I stick with eachother because we want to, when the relationship is more negative than positive, more limiting than freeing (often the case when kids arrive) then it isnt working and if one or the other wants out then so be it- expecting someone to stay because of some abstract moral code or historical precendent is bullshit and demeaning to the human spirit.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to break it to you but there has not been a long tradition of men wearing wedding rings.

And more importantly GET OVER YOURSELF. Just because I don't like the feel of a ring on my finger does not mean that I don't love you.

Really, every time I look down at my finger or feel the ring do you want me to think of how stupid it is that I have to wear something that I don't like.

When a girl doesn't want something "traditional" at her wedding it is ok, but when the guy doesn't want it she flips the heck out.

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Anonymous said...

A number of men don't wear their wedding rings in construction work or any physical labour, i don't even wear mine when i fix my bike or go to site to see how a building is progressing as you instincitively remove your hand when its about to get crushed, litterally stripping the muscle from your finger as they ring gets compressed. In 40 years of being an architect i've never met a female contractor,its about keeping fingers a lot of the time.

Kenta said...

It looks awesome. My Wedding Band was also very polished enough.

Anonymous said...

Some men will not wear a ring because they just dont like to wear jewellery - simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what a single gal has already posted.

As a single woman myself, I am tired of getting my hopes up over a seemingly single man, only to find out later that he was married and have my hopes dashed. The point is: he did not display his status, and I would not have been drawn to him had he made himself clear with a ring.

I worked in an office full of women and the first place we all looked was a man's left hand for that wedding band, especially if he was good-looking.

Come on, men. Stop making excuses--you don't like jewellery, you would never cheat on her, you don't care for tradition, you find it cumbersome, your wife doesn't care whether you wear it or not . . . Unless it's because of work and safety, you need to wear your ring!

If you don't wear your ring and you're an attractive man, you and your wife are asking for trouble! Single women flock to good-looking, ring-free, "single" men. And if a single woman does discover that you're married after all, other thoughts that go through a hopeful single woman's mind are "What? He's married and not wearing his ring? I wonder how serious he could be about his wife! Maybe they're separated . . ."

It's common sense: ring means married and off-limits. No ring means not married and still on the market. Please stop misleading single women.

Wear your frickin' ring!

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Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's simply because guys can find a ring that is their style. I recommend things like tungsten rings for guys. It looks much more masculine and they are more likely to wear it because it fits their style.

Sarah said...

My heart was just crushed because I found out that the guy I've been pining over for the past 3 months is married. He never once mentioned he was married and he didn't wear a ring. All signs that he was single. I knew that he had a dog, I knew where he lived and I even knew what bar he hanged out at after work, yet I didn't know he was married until I got up the courage to ask him out. He told me he was married and showed me a picture of them together. He also has a son. WTF! If you are married, please wear your ring so you don't break a single woman's heart. I understand if it's a safety issue but if it's not, there is no reason for you to not wear it in public. I feel like I was mislead by this guy. :(

Anonymous said...

This is plain bull. I am a happily married man who does not wear a ring. I dont like it on my finger plain and simple. It does not make me single, or trying to attract single ladies. And if I ever feel that maybe one is more interested in me than normal, I just say the simple words "my wife" early on -- problem solved. If you dont like what I or other people wear, maybe you should take a lesson in "minding your own business"

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When I Met my husband and started looking a each other with interest in dating. I wrote him a note asking. Are you single? Do you have a relationship at ths moment? Please write back. He put it in ink he was available but still he could have lied to me its very risky. At the same time married men with ring on were more flirty. I guess a singe gal has to look at many other details and take it slowly. When it comes to a New relationship you have to be like CIA and know who you are really about to date. Men lie until they can no more.

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt wear a wedding ring, but i wont wear a watch, necklace, pearcings, even sunglasses. I will wear a touque though.