What Does It Mean When She Takes Her Wedding Ring Off?

Not sure I’ve covered this one before because it’s such a red flag, but you never know, so I’ll throw it out there anyway. All this applies to men taking their ring off too.
It’s not always clear precisely what it means when she takes the wedding ring off, but it always means “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”.
She might be gearing up to cheat on you. She may already be cheating on you. She may hate your guts and fantasize about poisioning you slowly over six months. She may be mentally checking out of the marriage and thinking about divorce. She may be taking off the wedding ring to compartmentalize doing something very nasty to you. She may be taking the ring off to try and freak you out. She might have taken the ring off because she knows the divorce papers she ordered to be served to you are arriving in three days. To be honest it’s not even the reasons she takes her ring off that we can think of that should scare you, it’s the reasons we can’t.
The wedding ring is extremely symbolic of the committment to your marriage. Thus when it comes off, it’s extremely symbolic of the lack of committment to your marriage. So as long as the ring is off her finger, it’s “Red Alert. Shields Up.”  Then you find out through whatever legal means are at your disposal what exactly is going on with her. There will always be something funky going on. Always. As in always.
Should the ring come off her finger, it’s often a passive-aggressive version of saying “I want a divorce”. You wouldn’t let that one slide by without a serious apology if it was said in anger, and should the ring slip off her finger and then mysteriously slip back on again, you should also expect an explanation and an apology. Otherwise, just assume that the increased passivity of putting the ring back on is matched by an increased rage against you beneath the surface.
So always get to the bottom of it. Always. As in always.
That being said, there are some quite legitmate reasons not to wear a wedding ring. It is against regulations to wear them in several professions/jobs. Some people become allergic to the metal and can’t wear them without getting a nasty rash on their finger. In these cases you can’t wear the ring because of these legitimate reasons. That’s the key phrase though – legitimate reasons. You have to be able to point to a legitimate reason where you both understand that for either some or all of the time, rings can’t be worn.
If for whatever reason you lose a ring, have an excellent cover story announce it without sounding frightened and with a tone of anger-at-self. When they ask you where you lost it, yell “If I knew where I lost it, I wouldn’t have lost it now would I!”   Spend hours looking for the ring. Hours. As in hours. If you can’t find it, put buying a new one high on the priority list. If you’re a wife that lost them down the kitchen sink, it’s ideal if your husband finds you on your hands and knees… pulling apart the U-joint trap thingy under the sink trying to find them.
So anyway, be advised. The rings are teh serious.
And guys…. stop taking them off and spinning them on the table. There are no prizes to win and only punishments if you lose. It’s like Russian Roulette Lite. 


  1. Lady Grace says:

    I am not wearing my wedding ring because I lost a bunch of weight (which my husband is very cool with) and now my ring is so loose I am afraid of losing it down the drain every time I wash my hands so it stays safely in my jewelry box until I (we) have the "extra" $80 – 120 necessary to have it resized. Blame it on my hamster if you want, but I feel like my reason is legitimate :)

  2. Yep, I know what you mean, Lady Grace. I take all my jewelry off, ring, watch, even my bra when I walk in the door. I put it all back on when I go to leave. I sometimes forget to put the ring on. I'm almost always with a kid or two, so not having a ring on isn't a message to anyone. :)

  3. I lost my wedding ring in another state. And trust me, I felt (feel, still!) horrible about it, because it was his nana's ring before she passed away. Simple gold band, just what I wanted. We've never had a ring for him, but we literally spent only the $70 it took to get a marriage license and pay the judge for our wedding (the celebration took place much later, when we could afford a little something).

    As poor college students, we don't feel we can afford new rings, but I guess we could look at something used. It just isn't all that important to us, overall, and we figure that if a ring is the only sign of commitment, we're in bigger trouble anyway.

    Is this my hamster?

  4. I don't think it's a hamster in this case; just economic sense. We didn't get wedding bands until six years after our marriage; simply couldn't afford them at the time.

    We both eventually quit wearing them anyway; I just don't find rings comfortable to wear and spouse can't wear them at work as they're a potential safety hazard.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Adding a male comment to the above female comments…

    My ring is a simple gold band. I don't wear it at home, and since I work at home that means I rarely wear it. The ring sits on my dresser next to my wallet and keys, and I put it on when I leave the house, although there are exceptions, such as when going out for sports or to a water facility such as a hot springs, because I don't want to lose or damage it or get it caught on something and risk damage to my finger.

    My wife has worked part-time in the past, but is currently a full-time housewife. Unless one of us leaves to do something, we are literally together 24 hours a day. She also does not wear her ring at home because it has a high stone setting that interferes with housework and catches on things. We have never gotten an everyday simple band ring for her because it would not be the 'real' ring and IMO there is no need. When we go out somewhere special, she puts it on (like me), although again there are times that one or both forget. No biggie, although I will tease her about it. When she goes out for shopping or errands or with friends, sometimes she wears her wedding ring, sometimes she wears a different fashion ring (usually one I have given her, and still on her ring finger), and sometimes no ring. It doesn't bother or worry me because I know her, I know her friends, and she and they know me.

    I would rank my SMV higher than hers, and while I admit to some mistakes over the years, I maintain a fairly strong alpha hand. I am definitely 'into her,' but not so much that she could act with impunity and expect me to roll over. And she is aware of that. There are clear lines that cannot be crossed – things that would make me walk with no second chances. Same with her towards me.

    We just celebrated our 20th anniversary and are going strong.

  6. I don't think Arual is indulging her hamster, I think she's just taking the post too literally. The idea applies to the ring if it has that symbolic value for the couple – for most couples, that would be the ring. Maybe for Arual it would something else, like a photo in her wallet or something.

    The point being that symbolic acts may very well have meaning behind them. Rings are just the most common and easy to understand. SO if a girl were to, say, leave behind the wallet with her wedding photo and take something cuter out, that might be worth looking into, if the photo was the couple's thing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I haven't been able to wear my wedding set in months. I can get them on, but nearly need jaws of life to get em off. As my wedding band has the date and initials engraved I refuse to get it re-sized. at the moment I have been wearing my late mother's diamond. I also wear hubby's original band as it got too small for him at one point.

    He has RA, so he hasn't been wearing rings.

    I like sparklies, so I generally always have something on :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    My fingers swell up in the heat, and I'm alergic to pretty much every substance known to man (yes, that includes sunlight) so we didn't even bother buying me a ring.

    The problem comes with the fact that (1) people have called my husband cheap to his face (grrr…) and (2) it can be hard to play the "I'm married, stop hitting on me" card when you don't wear a ring. It normally works immediately for decent men, and I have no interest in explaining why I don't wear a ring.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My ex-husband wore his ring all of six months, and then he started working in a machine shop where they were not allowed to wear to them for safety reasons. I began wearing it on my thumb. I wore both our rings until the day he walked out of the house and left us. The next day I took both rings and my engagement ring and pawned them.

  10. Legatus says:

    My wife (soon to be ex) was shocked that her taking her ring off didn't ring any bells this time. We had talked about it years ago, and she couldn't wear it as a nurse, it ripped through the gloves. I challenged her on it since co-workers wore theirs. I eventually found out that she had cheated, and the other times she was going out with her cheating friends getting ready to divorce. I got so used to it not being on that it didn't ring any bells that it had been on then back off. You are absolutely correct the ring needs to be on. It is both symbolic of the relationship to everyone around you, and it is a reminder to yourself.

  11. Anna Beers says:

    My rings are off right now because my husband's actions devalued them. He had an emotional affair that was starting to get physical. I had no clue, and even befriended the other woman. I don't plan to leave him, but I also do not feel ready to wear the rings he gave me any time soon. I'm wearing a ring of my own as a placeholder on my left hand. Maybe after we've completed some marriage counseling, I'll be ready to put them back on.

  12. We aren't ring people. My husbands job would cause him to lose a finger with a ring. I wear a copy of his dog tags quite religiously. If I forget to put them(VERY RARELY) on he always asks if everything is Ok. I have a pretty copper ring we found together that I always wear, but the tags mean more to us.

  13. Or she might have atopic dermatitis making the wearing of a ring extremely uncomfortable…

  14. I take my ring off at work. I am in the health field, and with washing my hands every 5 minutes, I find that I get a bit of dermatitis under the ring, if left on. So, the ring comes off once I start working and goes back on as soon as I am done. My wife actually commented on the dermatitis before I stopped wearing the ring during work, so she understands.

  15. Anonymous says:


    wouldnt like this if I was her husband. My normal rule with relationships is that "if she wants to act single then I will make her single."

  16. Stephenie Rowling says:

    You know this is something that is more important that I though for him.
    My husband made our rings (he is so cute) but he made mine too big, he always meant to fix it but he never came around to it, so 3 years passed and I was like already used to wearing his ring with my wedding ring so it will stay in place and assumed he didn't care about the rings.
    Recently I got a job handling food and I told him that part of the regulations was that my ring should be fitting and small, so they won't rip off the gloves, and given the circunstances I won't be able to use it…two hours later my ring was fixed and in finger. So I think there was a subconcious part of him that didn't wanted me out and about without the ring. He also knows that I hate being hitted on and that showing my ring is part of my protection so there is that too.
    But I agree with you the few times I had forgotten my ring I feel totally naked, it has a weight in my mind that does symbolize my husband and our vows. So my guess that if I ever felt like not using it it will mean something is really wrong. My husband also always wear his ring, no matter what. :)

  17. I wear my ring on my scrub pants tie- I tell my wife its so the nurses have to go through the ring to get to the good parts!

  18. Anonymous says:

    My husbands first wife didn't wear her ring and cheated on him. I know that some people say a ring is just a ring but I know it MEANS something to him. The ring he placed on my hand has never left since he put it there. Even through knee surgery (much begging to that doc). It means something to him so I show that it means something to me. Mutual respect and love.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, I have two ex husbands. Each of them stopped wearing their ring within weeks or a couple of months of cheating, although each of them had an "excuse" for not wearing their rings at the time. For the first time since my 2nd divorce 7 years ago, I am involved in a relationship, and it has gotten serious. I began wearing a necklace which consists of a simple gold band on a very thin chain. I explained to my man that the gold (symbol of preciousness) circle (the symbol of endlessness) is worn over my heart as a placeholder until such time as we decide if and when to make our relationship legal. In the meantime, it is a symbol of my commitment to him and to us.

  20. Panther says:

    During or after an emotional affair online my wife stopped wearing her rings. My analyst and I decided she was "trying out" being divorced. I, of course, was the idiot who didn't even notice! She told me all this after our (ongoing but successful) reconciliation. She didn't disagree with our conclusion.

    So it definitely means something

  21. Looking Glass says:

    It's a general sign of attachment to another, but there are reasons some can't wear them.

    What to watch out for is a *change* in the standard pattern of use. That implies a *whole* lot. It implies it enough that you can still use it as a metaphor in movies (see Apollo 13) and people will still get it.

    And, as a single guy that's learn a bit from the PUA community (and since I have some standards), I find myself checking rings in a very subtle fashion. It's such an easy way to figure out is someone is attached or not. So if you want to limit approaches, having a sign you're attached is a good thing.

  22. Anonymous says:

    24/7/365 for both, 10yrs

    ….and in the darkness bind them.

  23. Jason P says:

    My STBX is still wearing her ring, even when she sees the man she had an EA with. She has pledged to do so until our divorce is final. Weird, but that's her prerogative. I wear mine at home (we still live in the same house for financial reasons), but when I go out it's off.

  24. My wedding ring never comes off my finger. My husband's ring never coems off, either.

  25. For some reason this post resonated with me when I read it a couple weeks ago. I don't know if that has anything to do with what happened but basically while at the beach the other day my wife and I were goofing around wrestling in the ocean and the waves. She had fallen down and was getting tossed around so I quickly grabbed her hand. Well, her hand slipped and took my ring with it and was lost for good.

    Spent the next two hours combing the beach hoping against logic that it would wash up but..I mean, why would it?

    What are the next steps a happily married couple should take? Just go buy a new one and call it fixed? I know it's just "stuff" but we're both really bummed that we lost my ring and it almost feels like getting a new one would be a limp gesture.

  26. Athol Kay says:
  27. That was great! Thanks!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Buy or borrow a cheap metal detector. Check which angle the waves were hitting the beach, it pushes the sand and ring along the beach in that direction. It is called long shore drift. Your ring will almost certainly be on that side of the beach. The ring will also be dragged gradually out to sea, so you need to detect in the more "out to sea" part of the sand when the tide is out, if you have a large tidal range. Very good chance of finding your ring if lost within a few weeks.

  29. viagra online says:

    When takes here ring off it's over man. I said it based in my own experiences.

  30. Heartbroken says:

    My wife has stopped wearing her wedding ring for no obvious reason….my heart is broken.

    Email me the background / story please.

  31. My wife has stopped wearing her wedding ring and it has crushed me. Her reasoning is because it is too big and her engagement ring is the only thing that will keep it on. However she doesn’t want to wear her engagement ring because she feels our engagement wasn’t “perfect” how she wanted it to be. Honestly I don’t know what to do. This truly broke my heart. I have now stopped wearing my ring because seeing it just makes me think about her not wearing hers.

  32. when we got married at the time,date, and what I was allowed to wear,within a week of a serious accident and my mom in hospital, even before the marriage, had to bring my wedding rings back as he couldn’t afford them and he didn’t like the style(they weren’t plain or just a band); however, he got the band he wanted and now he doesn’t care if I get a wedding band; in fairness I had a another set(it was very nice, but just okay to me), it was stolen..but he doesn’t care if I have a wedding ring or not.

  33. ANTHONY WEBB says:

    My fiance and I got into an argument. She told me the next day that she didn’t wear her engagement ring at work all day. I was deeply hurt by that. Can anyone offer an opinion?

  34. Penelope says:

    My husband took off his ring. This is the second time in our marriage he did it, and I know it’s because he’s checking out.

    The problem is we have two small kids and I’m not sure if I should wait for him to file (because the finances- we just bought a house and our social lives (our friends and families), etc are all going to be a mess) or wait- it’s tough because he snips in the meantime (after he stopped wearing it this last time and hid it so I wouldn’t see that he leaves it at home, he gave me a hard time for no longer making him lunch and dinner- but I think it’s pretty nervy to expect the woman you are disrespecting to still cook for you) and our kids see us fight, sometimes he loses his temper at them, and lately I’ve been avoiding being home when he’s home and it’s hard to keep myself out of the house and busy with two small kids that wear me out.

    This all sucks, divorce is hard and mine hasn’t even started yet.

  35. I always wore my wedding ring most of the time,leaving it off ocassionally for cleanin.My husband wanted me to leave it off telling me it was sexy,kinda like I was the single hot women. I would always put it back on after a few days.One day he took me down to a jewelry store and had me fitted for a beautiful signet ring with my initials that I wear on my left pinky finger.He really likes it and I love it.

  36. My wife does not wear her wedding ring because she is evil.

  37. My wife’s evolution went something like this:

    1) Two years ago, her need for privacy escalated. Originally, we shared a single den together, but then she insisted that I move down to the basement (now I realize it was the furthest most point from her), because she felt that I needed more space to spread out, and so did she. I also noticed that she began locking her mobile phone and protected her laptop password like Fort Knox. If I entered the living room, she would always be facing the doorway, so that I couldn’t see what she was doing on either her phone or laptop. If I sat down to watch television, she would position herself so that I couldn’t see the screen on any one of her devices.

    2) A year and a half ago she took her wedding ring off. She’s an artist, so she claimed that some of the projects she worked on involved materials that would get stuck underneath of it and infect her finger, although there was never any previous complaints of infection or discomfort.

    3) About a month after the ring came off, she stopped going out with me. We used to go on dates, grocery shopping, church, etc… But, those joint activities slowly became individual activities. We have a child, so sometimes she would take her. If she was going to church, she would take my child and encourage me to sleep in and catch up with them later during the ceremony. She claimed it was because I was working so hard and seemed very tired. Occassionally, I would just sleep and not attend, never thinking there was any sort of motive behind it…stupid me. :)

    4) Approximately one year ago, I began to notice that pictures, and anything that symbolized our relationship really, slowly came down off the walls or off the shelves. These things were replaced with her art work, generic items she would buy at the store, or sometimes nothing at all. Pictures of me with our child remained around the house, but there were absolutely no pictures of her or us as a family, whatsoever.

    5) During the time that family collectibles began disappearing from the walls and shelves, she began isolating herself from our mutual friends and began hanging out with a new set of friends, many of them who were single and much younger than herself. She is in her 40’s, and her new friends are in their 20’s and 30’s. Some are married, but again, most of them are single. I didn’t know any of them, and she kept it that way. She would make excuses to stay overnight at their homes, trying to stay away from our home as much as possible. I began logging times she would stay away from the house in a month, and eventually it worked out to about three-quarters of her time away and one-quarter of her time at home.

    5) Six months ago, began doing things she didn’t used to do before, like go out drinking with the girls every weekend, have sleepovers with them (very odd for a 40+ year-old woman), and even invite them to sleepover at our home on the oft chance she was present. She began abandoning my mid-teenage child, so I had to pick up all the slack. She stopped grocery shopping and making family meals, so in addition to working full-time (she works part-time), I became both mom and dad to my child.

    6) Four months ago, I texted her a Website link that flushed out symbols of being unfaithful, as she was exhibiting about 90% of the signs. I didn’t get a text back, but when she returned home she found my mobile phone and threw it against a wall, breaking it into tiny pieces. She had been out drinking. She said that she was absolutely insulted that I would think this, and that there was nothing to my theory. She also said that she has a group of firends that she really likes, like never before, and that she enjoys their company. I accused her of being a potential lesbian (I probably shouldn’t have done this, but it was after she destroyed my phone, and I was really upset).

    7) After that incident, I apologized to her about the lesbian name calling. She also apologized, and she explained her behavior was only because she really liked her new friends and enjoyed their company. I shrugged it off and began putting our family portraits and trinkets back up in the house. She came home, took, them down, and hid everything from me.

    8) Three months ago, she said that she was filing for a divorce. She had enough of me and wanted me out. She said that she wanted to embark on a new life and start completley over. I realized that all of my fears were actually true. We argued for hours about this, and she ended up spitting on me and slapping me in the face after I said something really rude. My reaction was to push her, and she backed into the jam of the wall. She called the police, and when they arrived she told them her side of the story. I tried to tell them mine, but she had a red mark on her back and I had nothing, so they arrested me. I ended up in county lockup overnight in a 10’x10′ cell with an illegal immigrant and two drug users. One was coming off heroin, so he was up all night scratching, making noises, vommiting, and using the bathroom in our cell. It was awful.

    On top of all this, I came down with a raging case of scabes, I suspect it was from the jail cell, as it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a month, and the mattress and blanket they issued me was from the floor of another cell room that I was initially in before relocating me to the one containing the three other guys.

    Now, I’m fighting State criminal charges for this incident, and I’m also in the middle of a divorce. In any case, I can tell you that it all started with my wife’s unusual need for privacy, which was right around the time her wedding ring came off her finger.

  38. I forgot to add this…we were married for 24 years, and she told me that she wanted a divorce on the day of our anniversary…after I had made plans and bought gifts. Trust me, there’s nothing like being handcuffed in front of your neighbors and spending the day of your anniversary in the ol’ klinker after being told that your spouse wants a divorce! I’ll always think of it as her final anniversary gift to me.

  39. Jesse Jaymez says:

    To Will: Your post broke my heart into. I can relate on so many levels. It hurts and it seems unfair. … peace and blessings.

  40. I have always worn mine. We’ve been married for 11 years. Over the last 3 months she started taking it off and avoiding me. communication has been shut down for about the same amount of time. Now what led up to this, about 10 years ago I began to gamble. I’d say she give me 10 chances for me to get help over the first 7.5 years. I managed to give it up for the past 2.5 years. I then got addicted to slotomania on Facebook about 1.5 years ago. She told me I had a problem a few times and I lashed out at her. Telling her it was no different than her going out shopping. She give up last spring on us, giving me the cold shoulder. We were avoiding each other the last 2 months until after many sleepless nights until about 3 weeks ago I had a problem. It never left me, the addiction, I replaced it with the same thing. I thought she was the one with the problem. I went to counselling right away and continue to. Anyways she asked for a separation for a few months and she said she wants to see what she wants to do. She travels a lot for work and is gone this week. When she isn’t wearing her ring it is in her jewellery box, always. She left this past Sunday morning and her ring was gone. I was feeling good because she was wearing it. When my son was looking through her jewellery box last night, I told him to get out of it. I was putting her stuff back when I noticed the ring was hidden under some other jewellery. Got on FB last night and noticed that she no longer comes up as being married to me. I was and still am so PO’ed. My married status used to say married to her and that’s gone also. I know she is pretty upset but not sure how to deal with this situation. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

  41. I noticed in the past several months my wife would frequently remove her ring and carelessly place it in places where it could get lost such as on the back of the toilet or the sink or the bedside table. One time our daughter nabbed it but luckily she found it however the behavior continued. There would also be several days where she just wouldn’t wear it. She’s a nurse and her mom, who is also a nurse, lost her ring when taking off gloves once and didn’t notice it came off. So my wife uses that as an excuse to not wear the ring. Well last week she notices her ring isn’t on her finger after we were at her moms. She didn’t seem that worried and her mom didn’t find it. She hasn’t even tried to look for it since then. She doesn’t even seem to care. I had that ring custom made for her and it was the first thing I bought when I graduated college. Her response was honestly oh well if it’s gone.

  42. FRANK KENT says:

    A FEW YEARS AGO MY WIFE TOOK OFF HER WEDDING BAND AND REPLACED IT WITH A RING GUARD (I think that is what it is called. It’s a split ring that one puts the engagement ring in to compliment it.) When I asked about it, she tells me it’s the same as a wedding band, means the same thing. BUT, she added her wedding band first and then the other one.
    Does the diamond in a ring guard have the same meaning?

  43. We got married 6 years ago, I wore my ring everyday even working in a warehouse. My wife put such a high value on it I made sure it was always on. In the shower, at work, every moment. She started having an emotional affair and things circled the drain when I found out. Things are still in a mending phase but she no longer wears her rings at all, suddenly they irritate her fingers. Suddenly the all important marriage is, just a piece of paper and rings are just pieces of metal. I reluctantly took off my ring as well as a sign of the beginning of the end. I want our marriage to work, but seems like I’m the only one, just a matter of time once the rings came off.

  44. Littlefrog says:

    I took my wedding ring off the day that I realized my husband was more attached emotional to a female friend than to his family. I had a gut feeling but needed proof and after I had what I needed and confronted him, he refused to show me his phone or even talk about it. I told him we had to talk this out or I was ready to file for divorce. Each day that he avoids this is each day my wedding ring is collecting dust and I’m growing stronger.

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