When your Husband Doesn't Wear the Wedding Ring

Symbols have a significant role in how we make sense of the world and our place in it. One such symbol in human relationships is the wedding ring which stands for marital love and commitment. So while wearing a ring does not automatically guarantee marital fidelity, absence of it may denote various things ranging from lack of love to actively cheating on a spouse. Thus if you find your husband not wearing your wedding ring, here are a few things his action can imply.

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Wishes to be seen as single

In a society where it is the norm to have a wedding band when you are married, the most common reason for a husband not wearing one is to be seen as a single and ready for flirtatious action. Lack of a wedding ring will automatically be assumed by other women that he is available and she in turn will not mind chatting him up or even flirting with him. In certain cases a husband’s refusal to wear a ring may even be a sign of his having an affair. However this in itself cannot be seen as proof of cheating but must be considered in context of other signs like lack of affection and communication in marriage, avoiding the wife’s company, unexplained bills or credit card receipts from restaurants, motels and gift ships as well as inexplicable absences from work and home.

Even if your husband may not be actively cheating on you, it is likely that not wearing a ring is his way of expressing that for some reason he is miffed at you. Or probably he’s holding onto some spite from a few years ago and knows it irritates you that he won’t wear his ring.

However sometimes a man may choose to leave home without a wedding band for reasons other marital unhappiness or a tendency to flirt with other women. If your husband goes out ring-less it could also be because he does not wish to be pre-judged by people. One of the reasons put forward by adherents of this practice is that they are unwilling to be publicly defined by their marital state. One of them goes on to explain saying that actions of married men are often interpreted according to stereotypes; if men with obvious signs of being married act removed, they are castigated while if they act friendly, no matter how innocently, it is assumed that they are looking for some cheap fun. For this reason some men do not wish to advertise their marital status; according to them they wish to be seen as people before they are seen as married.

Curiously though this stance presumes that one cannot be considered both as a unique person as well as a married partner.

Cultural differences

Another valid reason for your husband not wearing a wedding ring could be that it is simply not the practice in his culture or community. Men wearing a wedding ring so as to signify their marital status is originally a Christian practice which has now spread to many parts of the world open to Western and American influence. However in much of south Asia and Middle East, men not only don’t wear a wedding ring,  but don’t carry any sign of their marital status. This could be due to the fact that many of these societies still have strong connections to patriarchal roots where men were not obliged to remain faithful to their wives and indeed often could have multiple partners, married or otherwise. While most of these societies are now monogamous by law, overt signs of marital fidelity on the part of men are still far from common.

Practical reasons

Sometimes though there could be a more practical side to your husband’s reluctance to wear a wedding ring. Probably he finds it uncomfortable, or it has become too tight due to a recent weight gain or the nature of his work prevents him from wearing it all the while –  especially if it involves contact with harsh chemicals or physical stress as in heavy construction or a factory job.

Finally your husband not wearing a wedding ring could be merely because he thinks men wearing jewelry is silly. This is especially likely if he comes from a traditional middle- or upper-middle-class which is rather conservative in tastes. A case in point is the British Prime Minister David Cameron who recently quite famously declared that he “I’ve never worn a watch or a wedding ring!”1 . The PM’s stance is typical of the English upper-middle classes to which he belongs and which is rather conservative when it comes to dress so men not wearing a wedding ring is part of this attitude.

No matter why your husband refuses to wear a wedding ring, consider the fact that the real source of your distress probably lies elsewhere - not so much that your husband is going about ring-less but that you have no idea why — neither why he does it nor why its importance to you isn’t persuasive. Perhaps the question you should be asking yourself is not whether his reluctance to wear a ring means a possible intimacy with someone else but instead whether it indicates to the lack of intimacy between you two. If so, it may be time to stop wringing your hands and take a more concrete step. Speak to your husband and invite him to share his thoughts and feelings with you – not only to know the reason why he does not wear a wedding ring but to express any feelings of disconnect he may be feeling in your marriage. Above all make it clear to him that you are not looking for any signs of an affair; instead you are looking for him – seeking out his love and company.


The Telegraph - David Cameron doesn't wear a wedding ring. Why should he?