Why Don’t Some People Wear Wedding Rings?

March 3rd, 2018

Marriage, NEW!, Red Flag 101, Red Flags


I pumped my arms and looked straight ahead.

Craig, our instructor, stopped at my treadmill. “Don’t look down,” he said. “You’ll lean forward and make the climb harder.”

I straightened my shoulders and focused on the CNN pundit on the TV suspended from the ceiling in front of me.

“Have you seen him?” Caryn asked between labored breaths.

“Tuesday.” We were on level fifteen on the treadmill. One word was all I could muster.

“Okay,” Craig barked. “Let’s bring it down to level three for a cool down.”

I stabbed the arrow on my console, lowering my incline. “Still no ring.”

“He’s single,” Liz said, huffing. Her face was beet red. “Seventy-five percent of the parents at that school are divorced.”

“You’re not,” I reminder her. I took a long gulp of my green juice. “Plus, you were a ring.”

“I never wear my engagement ring,” Caryn said. “Do you know how many times I’ve scratched my kids while changing them?”

I sniffed. “A diamond is different. There’s a setting with prongs. A wedding band is flat. Unless he runs on his hands, there’s no reason to take it off for a running class.”

“I told you I was pretty sure he was divorced,” Liz said.

“Pretty sure isn’t definite.”

“Just ask him!” my instructor said. “Just say, ‘Hey, bruh, are you married?’ ”

I chuckled at the realization I’d turned this high intensity interval class into a coffee klatch. Not only had I divulged my crush to two women, regulars in this class, but my rougueish cycling/elevate instructor was now also in-the-know.

“Why can’t he just wear a ring??” I asked no one in particular. We were now all slowed to a brisk walk. In the year since I’d known him, I never saw a wedding band on the left hand of my crush. “It would make things so much easier.”

My plan had been to ask him straight out one day after cycling class. Right after I froze him out for a week or so, he’d stopped sitting next to me. When he inserted himself into a conversation I was having with the instructor, I threw him a bone. As I passed him on his bike, I gave his back a light scratch and said good-bye to him.  It’s been a couple of weeks and he still hasn’t come back to the nook, so to soeak. Without the proximity, it’s hard to make conversation, but I’m going to find a way.

Up went Caryn’s index finger. “He never mentions his wife,” she said. She held up a second finger. “And he doesn’t wear a ring. Hello?”

Liz gave us a side-eye. “If my husband didn’t wear his ring, I’d be pissed.”

I shrugged. “Some people don’t.”

“For a reason,” Caryn shot back.

“Maybe he’s not married?” Our three heads turned in unison to look at Craig “Just sayin’. If he doesn’t mention his wife…”

“Thanks, Blanche.” I stuck out my tongue at him and winked.”Next week we should go out for Cosmos and talk about boys.”

The fact that my crush’s marital status is such a mystery is – in and of itself – telling. Aside from one pregnant-with- awkwardness mention of his wife a year ago, he’s never spoken of her. Not when I’ve asked about his weekends. Not when I’ve inquired about his holiday. Not even in passing. They’re called significant others for a reason; their role in a person’s life is significant. Most people weave mentions of their partner into to general conversation.

I was talking with my husband the other day…

He lives in the apartment below my wife and I

Of course, these people aren’t to be confused with the folks who – bless their hearts – invent reasons to shoehorn mentions of their relationship into conversation. Those people are trying to prove something or act superior. And it’s not just women who do this. Men – insecure men, attention seeking men – do it, too.  We get it, doofus. You’re getting regular access to pussy. Congrats. Sorry you never got laid in high school, btw.

It could be a generational thing, but I don’t trust people who don’t wear wedding bands. Engagement rings hold less significance to me, plus they’re more clunky. A simple silver band shouldn’t get in the way of day-to-day activities. Maybe if you’re weilding a jackhammer or other tools, I could see removing it. There are some occupations or activities for which wearing jewelry of any kind is cumbersome, dangerous even. But for a few minutes of weight training? Nah. Sorry bruh. 

The only thing I’m confident asserting is that something is up with his marriage: a separation, beit emotional, physical, or both. Once I get him in a situation to make discreet conversation, I’m going to subtly but not too subtly ask. It’s time to put it out there. Either he bites or he doesn’t. I know the attraction is mutual, that’s not the issue. I can see it in how he looks at me. I feel it.

I just have to get that last piece of the puzzle and then it’s on.



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41 Responses to “Why Don’t Some People Wear Wedding Rings?”

  1. Dark Sarcasm Says:

    That freeze out strategy seems to have worked out well.


    • ATWYSingle Says:

      Nah, it didn’t do any damage. Like I said, he inserted himself into a conversation I was having with the instructor to get my attention. It could be that he just has booked his bike late.


  2. Yvonne Says:

    If he mentioned his wife a year ago, doesn’t that mean that he has a wife? Maybe he doesn’t talk about her because he enjoys having a little taboo flirtation at the gym, but doesn’t plan to act on it.

    As far as not wearing a ring, that does bug me too. I have a happily-married female friend who never wears a ring. I’ve asked her about it, and she said she lost it and just never got it replaced. She’s very attractive and men occasionally hit on her. Maybe it’s just due to laziness that she hasn’t replaced her ring, but I can’t help but feel that she enjoys a little extra attention from men.


  3. Parenting Says:

    There are guys in my family who never wore their ring. One was a flirt and a cheat. The other I think just doesnt like jewelry. Not wearing the ring isnt always a functional thing. But you wont know til you ask.


  4. Selena Says:

    Some people find rings interfere/could get damaged with the type of work or hobbies they have. Someone who routinely doesn’t wear a wedding ring, may not think to put it on when they go to the gym. Other reasons: it no longer fits and they don’t want to buy a new one; they developed a skin irritation to wearing metals.

    After a year of interacting with this man several times a week, you don’t have anything to lose by asking him if he is married. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t, but has a girlfriend. Maybe he will take your asking as a sign of interest from you and feel encouraged to try to get to know you better. Maybe nothing will come of it, but at least you have an answer to the question that has bugged you for so long.


  5. Coffeestop Says:

    People who are married and do not wear wedding rings do not want other people to know they are married. They want to keep their options open even if it is for the ego stroke of a not sex connection. You are stuck at the bottom of the well claiming you can climb out without help. Like if this guy was available and interested he would have let you know by now.


    • ATWYSingle Says:

      People who are married and do not wear wedding rings do not want other people to know they are married.

      That’s patently false and a perfect example of why I skim these comments. The fact that he doesn’t wear a ring in and of itself means nothing. Plenty of people remove rings to work out, to yard work or chores around the house, etc. That he doesn’t wear a ring and never talks about his wife is the red flag. If he can find ways to mention his kids, he can find ways to mention his wife if they’re still together.

      One mention of a wife in a year is nothing. If he’s separated, he’s still going to refer to his wife as his wife. Remember, after he said he had to get his kids ready for school, I asked, “Is it just you?” He answered rather sheepishly, “And my wife.” That’s it.

      If some rando at the gym walked up to you and asked you if you were married or inquired about your spouse and you were separated, what would your answer be? Seriously, think about that. Who the fuck is launching into an explanation of the state of their marriage with someone they don’t know very well? In all likelihood – even if they’re separated – he’s going to say he’s married.

      When I ask, I have to make it clear I’m asking for myself because I’m interested. If he’s interested, he’ll let me know he’s available or at least will be eventually. That’s why finding the right time to ask this is so difficult. And – NO – the fact he hasn’t made a move means nothing given the situation.


    • Hailey Says:

      My brother and his wife don’t wear their rings and never have. They’ve been married 25 years and are totally devoted to each other. So, that reasoning holds no substance. There are plenty of people wear rings and and will still hit on, flirt with, or sleep with other people. Whether they wear the ring or not is irrelevant. If they’re going to cheat, they’re going to cheat.


  6. Em Says:

    Just have someone ask him. Let them bring it up in convo or you could. This can’t go on.


  7. Dark Sarcasm Says:

    This has been going on for a year?


  8. ATWYSingle Says:

    I met him in April or May last year. Once he said he had a wife, I dropped it, then around October he started sitting next to me in cycling class every week and made some odd comments that made it sound like he had his kids for the weekend/over a holiday. That’s why I’m confused.


    • Yvonne Says:

      Divorces can take a year or two, especially if kids/property/money are involved. Even if he’s separated, he’d be going through a divorce or still in negotiations, might even reconcile with his wife, or be putting his focus on himself and his kids (especially if they are younger), rather than dating.


      • ATWYSingle Says:

        I’m well aware of how long a divorce can take. I went through a three year probate case, remember? I know first-hand how involved a case involving family and property/money can get.

        As I said, it’s totally possible he referred to her as his wife and not ex-wife because they weren’t divorced yet. They could have been separated back then, which is what it sounded like when he spoke of his kids and having to get them ready for school. That was a year ago. It’s not like he’s going to broadcast the news of his separation in the middle of a class.

        You’re listing off the things I used as reasons he might not be asking me out. Nobody analyzes more angles of situations than I do. If I hadn’t been so cautious, I’d have asked him by now.


    • Nicki Says:

      Could you casually say you did something over the weekend and then chime in with “have you and your wife ever tried it?” A lot more smoothly than what I just said, of course. Then you’d know by his reply.


      • Parenting Says:

        Hmmm, the answer could be “yes” and he could still be divorced.

        Im in favor of doing a mid-chat, “You’re wife is certainly lucky to have you.” If he is divorced or close to getting divorced i suspect he will be theilled to get the chance to vent or lament.


        • ATWYSingle Says:

          If he even hinted at bashing his wife, I’d be over him in a second. I’m a semi-stranger and she’s the mother of his children. I am not going to position myself as some sounding baored or shoulder to lean on. I have enough men crawling out of the woodwork to tell me their fucking sob stories and complain about their failed marriages/relationships.

          I’m just going to put it right out there. I tend to cling to the fantasy because it’s safe and I don’t want to be safe any more. Even if he’s married and not interested, I have to stop hiding and risk the disappointment.


          • Speed Says:

            Thanks for your heartfelt honesty. I hope you indeed ask him out. Regardless of the outcome, your “Internet family” here will support you.


          • Parenting Says:

            Good point. No reason to position yourself as the theraputic transitional girlfriend.

            Go get ‘em!


  9. Selena Says:

    Since you’ve made some friends at the gym why not suggest grabbing a drink with Liz and Caryn after a workout one day?

    You could drop that into conversation with your crush and say, “you’re welcome to join us if you’d like”.

    Low key. Not a date. Just people who know each other from the gym, getting to know each other outside of the gym. Casual. Fun. Easy.

    And a context where asking relationship status would seem more natural.


    • ATWYSingle Says:

      Liz and Caryn have small children/tweens and he has work/his kids. When school is out for holidays or vacation, he stays home from the gym.


      • Selena Says:

        Well, these parents get sitters while they are at the gym yes? Would it be impossible for them to get a sitter for an extra 60-90 minutes? For a good cause? :-)

        Moxie, you’ve written what you know of this man could fit on a post-it. After a year, it seems the only way you will get to know him is OUTSIDE of the gym. Your new friends may be willing to help if you are willing to talk to them about it.

        He may not attempt to get to know you outside the gym – but that is an answer as well.


        • Parenting Says:

          Babysitting services at gyms dont work like that. You schedule a specific time slot in advance, you are not allowed to leave the premises and you can only schedule like a 1-2 hour block of time.


          • fuzzilla Says:

            Babysitting services at gyms, no, but a sitter you hired yourself, maybe. OMG, all this speculating would drive me crazy, though – who cares about the babysitting schedules of other people’s kids? Just ask him out and he says yes or no and boom, you’re done.

            I suppose I’ve had fun fantasizing about unavailable people before, but if I didn’t intend to do anything about it I’d keep it to myself and not ask other people’s opinions. Or maybe I’d confide in one trusted friend to help shore up my courage. I dunno, just me. Putting myself out there makes me very anxious and isn’t something I enjoy. It’s one of the reasons I’d message guys first when I did online dating – like, hey, is something gonna come of this, or not? (Results were fair to middling, but I did find a relationship eventually, which is still going strong).


            • Bluegrass Says:

              So would you say the woman messaging first is a good practice for most people, or who would it be best for? Just curious.


              • fuzzilla Says:

                Moxie has made the point before that you meet a lot of guys who are just kind of on autopilot and happy to accept the sex when you message first. I actually agree and I eventually cut way back on it. I’m all for being assertive, but I was tired of meeting dead weight. In my current relationship he messaged me first although I was the first to suggest meeting up for a drink. I think he said he first noticed me because I was a visitor on his profile, which wasn’t an intentional strategy, but got me noticed, anyway (so maybe turn off the incognito thing from time to time).

                My point was mostly that all this “will they, won’t they” endless wondering would get painful for me pretty quick. I tend to live way too much in my head as it is.


              • fuzzilla Says:

                I guess to put it another way – if being proactive gets you a “no,” then at least you know not to waste any more time on that person and you can move on with your life.


            • Parenting Says:

              Why would a casual gym friend arrange for a babysitter and shell out $50 so she can go play proxy to Moxies love life? Children are a romcom logistical nightmare. Lolol. Agreed that asking him is the right move.


  10. Laura Says:

    It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. He could be attracted to you and also be married. Drop a flirty line like “Are you still married? Asking for a friend and that friend is me.” If he’s unhappily married (and it sounds like he is) that might be exactly what he needs to hear to begin considering a divorce. Let him know you’re interested and then wait. You don’t want to be the reason he leaves his wife but you do want it out there if he does.


    • Thefan Says:

      Drop a flirty line like “Are you still married? Asking for a friend and that friend is me.”

      – – I love this line so much! Flirty and funny! A perfect casual interest flirty fun combo. And if the guy says – why do you want to know? There’s your answer. He is married. A single man will be flattered and will immediately admit they are single, no question about it.


  11. Jeff Says:

    As an electronic technician I’m not permitted to wear jewelry.
    So I don’t wear my wedding band, yet I’ve never cheated.


  12. Bethany Says:

    I don’t wear my ring to the gym. I don’t think my husband does either. But other than that, yeah, we always wear our bands. I would be suspicious if he stopped.


  13. EANx Says:

    I was married for 15 years, some happy, most not. Neither of us wore bands, it had nothing to do with the state of our marriage, we just didn’t at any point. I think the lack of reference about a SO is more telling than a band *IF* the other person is in the mode of talking about an SO.


  14. Max Says:

    Shoot your shot and ask him if he’s married. If he’s a good guy he’ll be flattered and admire your boldness. Guys know what it’s like to work up that kind of courage. If he acts weird forget about him. If he doesn’t want women flirting with him he should wear his wedding ring.


  15. Sheba Says:

    Reasons I don’t wear my rings:

    -I’m at the gym or about to go. I really hate having rings on sweaty hands.
    -I’m not working today and I’m doing a lot of nappy changes and housework.
    -My toddler is having a phase of trying to take them off and eat them.

    Reason my husband doesn’t wear his:

    -He lost it in a floorboard crack about two years ago, silly sod.

    I have never liked wearing rings. I find them uncomfortable and I have small hands so they slip around a lot. When I first got engaged I wore my ring on a chain around my neck, and added my wedding ring later. But I really like necklaces and it was limiting, I wanted to wear other ones.

    I hope people feel they can trust me.


  16. Gym goer Says:

    I always take off my wedding ring when I go to the gym. I don’t want to scratch it when I am lifting free weights. Metal on metal makes some nasty scratches.


  17. ATWYSingle Says:

    My biggest fear isn’t that he’ll say he’s married, but that he’ll respond to the question in a way that is unkind.

    ME: “So, what’s the story, are you still married?”
    HIM: Stares at me, stone-faced. “Yes.”
    ME: *gulp*

    I don’t want to create that kind of awkward moment.


    • Sheba Says:

      I think you could turn that into a light, flirtatious and harmless moment if you handle it right. I wouldn’t ask the question point blank, but if conversation turned to it, you could ask it lightly (‘so you’re still married, right?’) and if he says yes, give a sad, comical little smile, say, ‘Ah well’ and move on.

      Done right, I think it would make you come across really well…fun and flirty, but moral enough to back right off if he says he’s married.

      I say this because I’ve had men do it to me on occasion (as I said, I often don’t wear my rings and never in the gym) and as long as they deliver it right and do withdraw once they realise I’m married, it’s never left me feeling uncomfortable. And they seemed to take it in good spirits.


      • Parenting Says:

        I agree. Anyway, if he is a decent guy, he will try not to make it awkward for you.


      • fuzzilla Says:

        I agree with this, too. I do love, “Asking for a friend and that friend is me” but that’s also a very Your Mileage May Vary kinda thing that has to fit your personality and comfort level. Me, I would probably approach with general conversation and look for a natural segue into more personal things rather than just, “So! Ya married or what?”


  18. Bree Says:

    His marital status being an unsolved mystery is kind of irrelevant. There’s only three likely possibilities after almost a year: 1. He’s not married and doesn’t want to date you, or else he would’ve asked you out by now. 2. He is married or has an SO, happily or not, and doesn’t want to date you. 3. He is married or has an SO, happily or not, and wants to date you. If that’s the case, his behavior of placing himself into your path but never asking you out makes sense. He’s hoping you’ll make the move on him, as it would lessen his culpability when he cheats on his SO with you.

    I don’t imagine you’d be happy with any of those outcomes, so keeping the mystery going keeps you from being disappointed. You admit you “want to cling to the fantasy because it’s safe”.

    The fantasy being the fourth, and unlikeliest, possibility: He’s totally single and wants to date you. Unless he’s painfully shy or socially clueless, he would’ve asked you out by now or at least confronted you about this freeze out.

    You know the answer is most likely one of the above three possibilities. You’re freeze out was a wise move and self-preserving. But now you’ve reached a boring stalemate and “don’t want to be safe anymore.” So you believe finding out his marital status will bring a resolution. All it will do however, is confirm what you already know: you and him are not dating, and probably never will.

    That said, I think it would help you to find out his status anyway. At the very least you’d be able to vindicate your freeze out, which would be a huge emotional gain. You will realize how well you’ve protected and looked out for yourself here and it should result in some positive felings to soothe the inevitable disappointment.

    I agree you shouldn’t ask him directly. But find out asap. In fact, you probably could have by now.


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