Dear Married Guys: Put Your Ring Back On

I was under the impression that married men wore rings. Does that make me old fashioned? Short story: I was all about it when an attractive guy with a no wedding band of any kind started to chat me up at an art show last month. He complimented my blue eyes – classic – and tried his best to convince me that lawyers were decent human beings by telling me about how he reads books to second graders at an underprivileged school in town. Swoon worthy, right?

He was attractive, found me “disarmingly charming” and had an extensive collection of Bob Dylan records. I was amazed that I had found such a catch and was all but putting my number in his phone when a gorgeous blonde in a wrap dress walked up to us. She draped her arm around his shoulders and all but put threw the massive rock on her left hand in my face.  The glimmer of hope that maybe she was his sister and they were what, super close? quickly slipped away when she kissed him long enough to make it clear she was in fact his wife.

I was perplexed. Offended almost, that this guy who I had just spent the better part of the night getting to know was married, and his wife was looking at me like I was a stripper who showed up at the wrong bachelor party. I willed myself to just bow out gracefully but I don’t know, something not good came over me and I blurted out, “Wow, so you’re married. Good to know.”

The married man held his naked left hand up with a ridiculous smirk on his face and said, “You know, I’m not really into jewelry. Sorry you got the wrong impression.”

Not really into jewelry? Wrong impression? How was I to get the right impression? I was outraged. He had just carried on I then did what any woman would do and I texted and called my best girlfriends, filling them in on this menace to society. That’s when I became even more outraged. My friends had similar stories; some had stories that were far worse! They had heard every reason for not wearing a ring you could ever imagine:

I took it off for work and forgot.

My wife said I didn’t have to.

It’s so bulky.

Wearing jewelry makes me feel like a girl.

It messes with my golf swing.

Married men, a wedding band is not jewelry. It’s a wedding band. A symbol. You wear it to show your commitment to your wife, all the unconditional love that’s (hopefully) there and the future you look forward to sharing together. Why not wear it for that very purpose? You said the vows in front of God and everybody – choose your choice.

If nothing else, wear the ole’ band to tell single gals like me that you aren’t available because believe me, we notice the existence of a ring within the first 5-7 seconds. It’s one thing to chat it up innocently at a party, but to carry on for hours while saying things like “You’re gorgeous” while leaning in like you want to get to know me on a Biblical level is too much. Sure, there are exceptions on both sides of the story – guys who go bandless to appear single and girls who rather go after a married man – but lest we get a bad rep, most of the bachelorettes I know rather not spark interest in a married man. They find the guys who choose not to wear one for a number of erroneous reasons frustrating – false advertising, if you will.

So to bring this all full circle, I saw attractive married man from the art show in line for coffee a couple Thursdays ago. He was with his wife, laughing about something on her phone and guess what? He was wearing his wedding band.

  • Chelsea Lacey Piersanti

    My husband uses the excuse of “It’s too bulky and I’m just not used to wearing any jewelry.” I read this piece out loud to him, and he agreed to start wearing his ring. Thanks for your help! Ha

    • Katie Powell

      First of all this picture of you guys is adorable – what a gorgeous couple! Second of all, a lot of my married guy friends are anti-jewelry but they wear their rings because it reminds them of their wives. There’s just something so sweet and sentimental there – I know it’s not for everybody and not every guy will wear a ring but still, I like the tradition. Thanks for reading!

  • Melissa Wiebe

    Actually up until World War II, it wasn’t common for men to wear wedding rings. As the BBC said, “World War II is considered to have heralded a seismic shift, as many Western men fighting overseas chose to wear wedding rings as a comforting reminder of their wives and families back home.” And many men still wear them, but there are some who don’t and just don’t like jewelry.

    • Katie Powell

      You’re exactly right, and I know the Brits still don’t fall into the wedding band category. I just appreciate the tradition, the romantic aspect of knowing a husband is wearing a wedding band as a reminder of his marriage. I know it’s not for everybody, but I hope my husband one day will wear one!

      • Melissa Wiebe

        if my future husband chooses not to wear his wedding ring, that would be fine with me; it would be his choice and not mine whether he wore it or not. While my dad does wear one most of the time, there are times he doesn’t wear it and it doesn’t lessen my dad’s commitment to my mom.

  • Angela Rodriguez

    Preach it girlfriend.

    • Katie Powell

      Thanks for reading, Angela!

  • Amanda Alguire Vredenburgh

    My husband wears a wedding band and so does my father, but my grandpa did not. When he was in his thirties (so married a good decade) he was doing some sort of work and the ring got caught on something and he almost lost his finger because of it. He never wore it again. In fact, I think his ring is the band my dad has worn since my parents were married.

    • Kelsey Tupper

      Go girl.

  • Kelsey Van Wyk

    In the UK, many men do not wear a wedding band. It was tradition that just the woman wore a ring, though it is changing. Neither Prince Phillip nor Prince William wear rings.
    I don’t even look for a ring when I am out. I would rather get to know someone in a friend sphere before viewing them in a romantic light. Males and females can be friends. If we want males to treat us like people and not look at us only with lust, we need to reciprocate.

    • Jess Bone

      Considering I too live in the UK, I was unaware it was tradition for men not to wear one? Maybe I’m part of the changing trend cause every married chap I know has a wedding band, including my granddads.

      • Emily Lupton

        I live in the UK too and I thought that the majority of men wear their wedding bands all the time. My dad wears his everyday and only takes it off to do the washing up.

    • Katie Powell

      Oh I get that, and I still have respect for men who choose not to wear bands. It’s very much personal preference. I’m a hopeless romantic, so I like the idea of a man wearing a wedding band to remind him of the love he shares with his wife.

  • Rosemary Snyder

    If you don’t want to wear a ring, you could always get one tattooed on, right fellas?
    ; )

    • Katie Powell


    • Aryanna Bax Liddell

      I have friends who got each other’s named tattooed on their left ring finger. It’s really nice. :)

  • Samantha Nichöle Heckert

    I think that wearing a wedding band is awesome, and my husband does too. He never takes his off. In fact, there have been days where I will take it off to shower and forget to put it back on, but I don’t think that has ever happened to him. One week after we were married he lost his ring in the pool, and I think that scarred him, ha ha!

    I think that when both parties in a marriage wear their wedding band, it shows equality. Why should the woman be the only one to have a public display of her marital status?

    • Jaime Hammer

      Right?! A man thinking that he doesn’t need to wear his ring (for whatever reason) is like thinking that he can still flirt with other women; when he isn’t wearing the ring he isn’t bound to his wife. But women are always expected to wear their ring, always expected to display their devotion to their husband.

      For equality, either men and women need to do away with the ring as a symbol altogether, or we all need to start respecting it and everything it stands for.

      • Katie Powell

        Right! Women are expected to wear their engagement ring and then wedding band – if we really want equality AND love from our significant other, shouldn’t he be expected to wear his ring, too?

  • Heather Rouillard

    Beautifully written post, Katie. I think some of the comments on this post are missing the big picture – it’s not about the history of men wearing/not wearing rings.. Bottom line of your article is that men feel they can get away with this flirting behavior, even if they are married. It’s disgraceful and offensive. I too have this happen all the time, and can relate to “and his wife was looking at me like I was a stripper who showed up at the wrong bachelor party.” Urgh. Like we did something wrong for being receptive to his flirting. Thank you!

    • Katie Powell

      Heather! Thank you so much for reading and actually getting what I’m trying to say here! A ring is just a ring, I get that, and of course it’s about the man and his intentions…but it’s also not fair to blame the girl for flirting back when the guy is giving the “I’m single, I like you” vibe.

  • Gwynne Montgomery

    It sounds like he was trying to chat you up, but got busted by his wife. The ring is the “I’m taken,” signal, and if he was really a stand-up guy, he’d have mentioned his wife at least once in that conversation with you, and not been telling you how gorgeous you were.

    • Kendall Brunson

      Agreed! Sounds like a cheater! My husband doesn’t always wear his, and I don’t always wear mine (for various reasons, including work). We don’t really care. We never act inappropriately with strangers (like saying how good looking they are), and we trust each other. Besides, my parents have been married for FOREVER, and my mom hasn’t worn her wedding band for the past 15 because of weight fluctuations. And the same is true for a male friend who’s been married for 12+.

      I think the thing is, married people need to ACT like they’re married – NOT SINGLE! And this guy was totally creating a “single” vibe.

      • Lissy Forsaith

        Agreed!! Personally I like the wedding ring but as long as people are acting married, then you are right, it shouldn’t matter. Boyfriends don’t have to wear a ring and yet you can still be faithfull

      • Katie Powell

        Exactly! A ring is just a ring but if you’re coming off very strong in the “I’m single – let’s get together!” vibe then how am I to react when your wife walks up? Shady behavior. Thank you for reading!

  • Lissy Forsaith

    I completely agree! I’m a 20-something single gal and, when chatting to a guy that I think I might like, the first thing I do is check the ring finger. If there is a ring, I make sure that I am not flirting in any way and it is just casual chat. If there is no ring I see it as an invitation to flirt if I wish.
    No wife would want other women flirting with their husband so don’t put us single ladies in a position where we have done something wrong without even knowing it. I respect the sanctity of marriage and would be really uncomfortable to find out I’d been flirting with a married man.

    • Katie Powell

      Exactly! Most of us single gals have no interest AT ALL in engaging in any type of flirtatious behavior with a taken man – whether he’s in a serious relationship or married! I get the ring isn’t the end all be all but come on, it’s a big indicator you’re taken! Thanks for reading!

  • Nikolina Serdar-Kissel

    I got married last weekend and I’m curious about how long my husband will be able to wear his ring. He has so many allergies that jewelry usually causes red, itchy skin, especially if it’s hot outside. I hope the wedding ring does not cause this reaction but if it does, I obviously will not make him wear it. Then, again, I know I can absolutely trust him to not flirt with other women when I’m not around, so I wouldn’t worry even if he couldn’t wear his wedding band any more.

    • Erica Bauwens

      Nikolina- First of all- Congratulations!! Second of all, I’m the same way- if it starts to bother his skin I would suggest trying platinum or sterling steel. Gold and silver can contain nickel which is the worst for someone with a skin allergy. I can’t afford platinum jewelry at the moment, but I have a ring made of surgical grade stainless steel and it looks great, never scratches and never gives me problems.

      • Nikolina Serdar-Kissel

        Thank you. :) We went for palladium with the wedding rings, it’s lighter than platinum and hence not quite as expensive and it doesn’t contain nickel. I hope it works this time but as I said above, when neurodermatitis hits, he’ll probably have to take it off.

    • Cat Graff

      You could always look into different metals. One of my brothers has a tungsten ring for example.

      • Nikolina Serdar-Kissel

        He already tried several different metals but it doesn’t make that much difference with neurodermatitis. Once his skin is irritated he can’t bear anything on it, even the lightest clothes get itchy.

  • Jessica Rozar

    If the husband is forgetful or a ring is too uncomfortable, they should tattoo a ring on their finger. That’s manly AND I’d be willing to be they won’t forget it.

  • Paola Dayanan

    My husband of three months has never even worn a watch, let alone any other jewlery, but he sleeps/showers and does everything with his ring on. It makes me happy that I didn’t have to ask him to wear it. It’s something we got blessed during our ceremony, so it’s a sacred thing for us both.

    Now if only I could stop him from having “ring spinning” contests with his other married friends…sigh…

  • Stephanie Caldwell

    The only time I don’t wear my ring is making pasta, running long races (b/c my hands get fat), gardening, sailing (b/c it could take your finger off), when I get it re-plated (white gold), and when my eczema acts up in the winter.

    Other than that it is ALWAYS on. You hit it on the head – it’s a symbol!

    My husband wouldn’t be caught dead without his. He’s really friendly and polite, if it weren’t for his ring he would probably find himself in awkward situations that would no doubt end with him on the couch for a week, lol.

  • Cat Graff

    I know guys who do and guys who don’t. Not going to lie, I love that the hubby wants to wear his. And I’m glad to hear there is still respect for that symbol even if it’s not for everybody. To each his own I suppose. What really matters is trust and respect in any relationship aside from what you wear on your finger.

  • Pamela S. Wall

    While I don’t disagree that married men should have respect for their wives enough to wear the symbol of their commitment, I think there’s a much bigger issue here: married men should ACT married. I have male friends that I knew were taken because they simply acted taken: friendly and all, but a little standoffish and extra respectful. Then there are the guys that I only knew were off the market because they told me. Guys that are flirty and sometimes borderline suggestive, but finally drop the “girlfriend” or “wife” bomb if I start to mirror their behavior. Even after seeing the ring on one guy’s hand, I was still convinced he was single because no decent married man would behave the way he does. But there’s the rub: he’s not a decent man. He’s rather slimy, quite frankly. The ring isn’t the point; the point is some married men simply don’t seem to realize that being married means they have to stop acting single.

    • Meredith Bay

      So agree!

    • Katie Powell

      RIGHT ON! I agree with everything you just said I mean hello, you got married for a reason. Stop acting like you’re single! Thank you for reading!

  • Luz Alvarez

    I don’t care if someone wears their wedding band, but the guy in the story definitely sounds like he was flirting. To what end, I don’t know, but I find it douchey to say, “sorry you got the wrong impression,” when he was totally putting off that vibe. Dick.

  • Meredith Bay

    I’m getting married in a month and my soon-to-be-husband (who doesn’t wear any other ‘jewelry’ except a super manly watch) can’t wait to wear his ring every day. In fact, he was kind of miffed that only I got to wear an engagement ring! This might be ridiculous and certainly controversial but in my (super un-scientific) studies on this matter, the dudes I know who were fundamentally opposed to wearing a wedding ring (not the ones who just kinda don’t like it, take it off to work out, etc.) aren’t the best husbands. I’m only drawing from a 3-4 person sample but still… not great. I feel like, if you’re committed enough to your partner to get married, just wear the damn ring. Get a super thin, super simple one if you need to, but wear it, dammit. Thanks for listening! ~xoMB

    • Katie Powell

      THANK YOU for sharing this, Meredith and CONRGATS on your impending nuptials!

  • Steph Davies

    Woah, this is CRAZY!!! I’m so lucky to have a hot, musician husband who not only wears his ring religiously (I don’t think he’s taken it off once since we got married 6 years ago) but often mentions me at his shows “This one’s about my lovely wife” or tells some anecdote about our new baby on the way…I’ve actually met women who’ve said to me “Oh, that’s your husband? I hate you! He’s so hot and I was at a show drooling over him but then he mentioned his wife and I thought ‘that bitch!'” It can make for some hilarious and awkward conversation but one thing I never have to do is worry about who he’s coming home to. Guys like the one you encountered don’t deserve to have a wedding ring to wear!

    • Katie Powell

      THANK YOU for sharing this and congratulations on finding what sounds like a great guys!

  • Shannon Speer Bingham

    I’m married and my husband and I are devoted to one another. Why do we need a ring to symbolize to YOU that we’re taken? It’s not like the ring reminds me of my eternal commitment to him, or his to me. Some women/men chase after married folks for the “ease” of what an affair (relationship) has to offer ($, secret hot sex, etc.). In that case, the ring works against what you’re saying. Relax, a man paid you a compliment. You don’t need to throw yourself at any man that gives you a compliment (I hear serial killers frequently compliment their victims). We wear our rings most of the time, but when I wear it and play tennis I get disgusting blisters – so I take it off and sometimes (God forbid) I forget to put it back on. My hubby takes it off when showering/doing the dishes and forgets to put it back on. Things like this happen. Obviously, this man and his wife are confident enough in their marriage to not let something as menial as a piece of metal signify their devotion. Is the marriage over the moment the ring’s off? Did this man ask you out to drinks? Quit jumping ahead of the game, girl. Take your time finding Mr.Right!

    • Katerina Pat

      I guess that he would ask her out for drinks or something else if his wife didn’t cut him off. How would you find it if your man was sitting next to a woman paying her “innocent compliments” like “disarmingly charming” while you are away? I don’t know about you, I wouldn’t find it very exciting…But then again, that’s my opinion.

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