As a single woman gets older, her courting efforts become more purposeful. The moment she glimpses a favorable mate her next glance immediately drifts to his ring finger. Many women make a determination of a man’s eligibility based on whether or not a he dons a ring. If he has one, it’s likely she’ll choose to divert her attentions elsewhere.

Beyond its’ emotional and sentimental significance, a wedding ring is a form of branding that says, “I’m spoken for.”  What a person chooses to do with this information is an entirely different story but it should be revealed upfront. A person’s marital status should not come down to a guessing game.  It seems, the choice to go without a ring is most often practiced by men. Because life renders no absolutes I won’t suggest that this is not also practiced by women. Personally, I have met several married women who all wear their rings and quite a few men who don’t. When I asked men and/or their wives why the band isn’t worn, the most common replies I got were as follows:

  1. It doesn’t fit him anymore.
  2. It’s just a thing. I don’t need a ring for my wife to know I’m committed to her.
  3. He’s never really been into jewelry, so he finds it uncomfortable.
  4. I take it off to bathe/lotion/wash my hands. I always forget to put it on.
  5. I keep losing it, so I just stop wearing it.
  6. It gets in the way of my work.
aidan neal anti-cheating ring
Courtesy of DesignYouTrust

A man’s wedding ring is not really meant to signify his commitment to his partner. In fact, beyond the wedding date, it has little to do with his promises of love and partnership and more to do with a declaration to everyone else. The decision not to wear your ring is a decision not to immediately declare your status. As a result, men who choose not to are often judged as sleazy by other women. There is an immediate and unjustified assumption that the decision has a conscious backhanded reason. That said, the fact remains that more often than not, there is a dubious reason. It may not be for intentions of infidelity but many men have reported that their rings have secluded them from receiving mere attention or innocent conversations with those of the opposite sex. Men who dont wear their wedding rings have been coined Nakedfingers or NFs.  In an interview by New York Magazine’s Amy Sohn, she reported that men who choose to go without their bands may resent the label/stereotype a wedding ring brings. One in particular, shared that he missed the attention he would have otherwise received.  He continued, adding that when he wore his ring many assumptions were made about him before he could even engage in a polite conversation. If he engaged in flirtatious banter, which he had no intentions of acting on, he would readily be considered a douche.

Many men, especially those who go bandless, often claim that they receive more attention with their rings on.  Even if this is the case, it is not an excuse not to wear your ring. A man without a wedding band is just plain false advertising. In social settings, where single women are engaged with a seemingly eligible man and later told they are unavailable,  it can be downright infuriating. At this point, and arguably at any other, it’s just plain dishonest.

The Formula

Just wear your ring. If it doesn’t fit anymore get it re-sized. Can’t find the time, then ask your wife, mom, or friend to have it done for you. Practice your daily routines with your ring. Be mindful when you take it off and remind yourself to put it back on. In about two weeks the habit will begin to stick. Can’t get the hang of it, then practice doing things without taking it off. Never really been into jewelry, that’s okay. It’s not just jewelry, it’s a semblance of your respect for your marriage and the declaration to others that you’re not available.

Wedding rings in no way prevent or hinder cheating. That said, if one is not comfortable with the stereotypes and labels that come with a ring, decisions should be made not exchange rings from the get-go.  In a relationship, a good rule to follow is to earnestly avoid room for doubt. It makes for a far easier life than allowing speculations to muster into episodes of discontent, and seeking resolve thereafter. For example: candidly sharing passwords to your phone or email may ward off certain suspicions. Resisting the urge of prior habits, like having your cellphone attached to you at every turn diminishes room for your partners self-doubt.  Wearing your wedding ring at all times removes the possibility of unwarranted suspicion.

A fear of many embarking on marriage is that things will change. The truth is, a lot of things will, almost drastically and increasingly. Life becomes less and less about you, and opportunities to be selfish are (as they should be) few and far between. With the right attitudes and a focus on partnership, you’ll embrace many of these changes as positive. Trying to be your old self in a partnership instead of being willing to evolve will cause a rift. If you’re not ready to be labelled and stereotyped, perhaps you’re not quite ready to be married. Marriage doesn’t mean you get take a hiatus now and then. It’s an all day everyday kind of deal.

That considered, we’re all human and the moment a person gets married doesn’t mean they no longer want to feel wanted. What it does means however, is that your priority is to make someone else feel wanted and in turn to be wanted by them. Attention from others will decline but it won’t desist. Actively seeking it, is for the most part not a good look. The notion that more men as opposed to women are reported to go bandless is also worth exploring. Would NFs be as open to their wives going bandless? Are wives as impartial to their husband’s choice to go bandless as they appear to be? Does their relationship and the security/confidence it may provide really supersede any suspicion?

What are your thoughts?

Cover image courtesy of the Village Voice