Sunday, October 18, 2009

Your wedding ring...keep it or toss it?

I took my wedding ring off about two years, not long after I learned of my husband's affair. I don't plan on putting it back on, in spite of the fact that I remain married and we're working hard at rebuilding a relationship based on honesty, commitment and love.
But my ring? It was, to me, a symbol of commitment. And when that commitment was violated, the ring felt like a constant reminder. Instead of a silver circle of endless love, it resembled for me a noose around my neck. Taking it off was an act of reclaiming my power. Of indicating that while I was willing to create a new marriage, the old one, as far as I was concerned, was dead.
There is, like most reactions to a husband's infidelity, no right or wrong reactions (well, except perhaps anything listed in the Criminal Code or the Mental Health Disorders Sourcebook). For some women, their ring remains something that signifies an enduring commitment. For others, well...it's tarnished and broken, figuratively speaking, and it needs to go.
What do you think? Is yours a ring...or a noose?

39 comments:

  1. Here again: me too! I took off my wedding ring the minute I learned about the betrayal. It felt like a noose around my neck anyway and now I knew why. The good news: I bought myself another one to remind me to remain faithful to myself

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  2. I took mine off and it's sitting in my jewelry box. My husband noticed and I think it bothered him.....he asked why? I said I'm not putting this back on until I am married to a trustworthy husband.

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  3. I took mine off and it will stay off. I intend to sell it for the gold and buy myself something I desire. The husband has to first prove that he can care enough about himself to deal with his sex addiction, and that he cares enough about me to prove I'm worth his effort. He can save up his pennies and buy me a new, less tainted one and start acting like he truly cares rather than he mostly cares about acting out. Bitter? Just today. Tomorrow I'll cry some more, then the next I'll hold his hand while he cries.

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  4. Yeah, mine is off, too. Though I'm technically married, I don't feel like the marriage is legit, given that he lied to me before, during and after. (He's a sex addict, too.)
    And yes, I know that cycle – I cry, then feel better, he cries, then feels better – all to well. Eventually the crying stops and some laughter, once again, creeps into your days.

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  5. I miss my ring. I feel left out and sad when I am with all my friends and family that have their rings on.
    Our rings meant a lot to me and I will not wear another ring till- like Marni said- I am married to a trustworthy husband.
    I sure hope I can spot the difference this time...

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  6. Just discovered your blog...glad I did!

    I stopped wearing my ring, too. My husband eventually noticed and asked why. When I was honest with him, he got upset. (Like you've said...they really don't get it, do they?!) He bought me another ring which I have been wearing on my ring finger. It just feels better. I still have my wedding ring, but I can't bring myself to put it on. I may eventually sell it. But...I'm 1.5 years out and still feel like my decisions might be rash.

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  7. Hi Krist,

    I'm glad you found us. I still don't wear my wedding ring. It's perhaps a symbollic thing...but then again, aren't all wedding rings symbollic? But it's my way of saying that my "old" marriage is over and I won't wear a symbol of it.
    I still wear my engagement ring...which had belonged to my grandmother. It's a connection to strong women in the past. I don't need a ring. If there's anything I learned during my husband's infidelity, it's that ring doesn't really mean anything unless it's backed up by intention.
    Hope you'll keep contributing to the conversation.

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  8. I just found this site. I took my ring of a week ago when the full details of my WH's second affair came out. It is still bothering me that I don't have a ring on, but right now it is just too painful to look at it. It reminds me that WH hasn't worn a ring for years now. He said it was always because of work he was doing, but he took it off when with AP and then eventually lost it (?)

    I want to say that someday I can put it back on...

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    1. ET,
      I still don't wear my wedding ring. I do wear my engagement ring but mostly because it belonged to my grandmother, then mother so it has significance apart from my husband.
      As far as I'm concerned, my wedding ring is meaningless. In my case, my husband's sexual "acting out" began before our marriage so I simply can't believe that our marriage meant much to him though he professes otherwise.
      In any case, those vows have been relegated to the junk heap. And though I still feel "married", I don't need a ring to remind me.
      I sometimes think we'll get remarried some day privately...and at that point perhaps I'll accept that a ring can be imbued with importance.
      But I know for many many people, their ring has such meaning to them. I hope you are able to put it back on someday, assured that your marriage is strong from the challenge.
      Elle

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    2. Elle - I'm curious - 5 years later - where are you on this subject?

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    3. Hi Kimberly,
      Well...funny you should ask. I'm still in the same situation. Wearing my mother's wedding ring, which I put on one day when I missing her (she passed away six months after D-Day 1) and my engagement ring, which my husband gave me but that had been my grandmother's (husband and my mother, whose ring it was, worked something out. It's a ring I asked for and love).
      But...and here's the funny part...I can't get them off. I put on weight (after losing so much weight around D-Day) and I literally cannot get them off without going to a jeweller and having them cut off. I've tried ice cubes, olive oil, and anything else Google can suggest. Not happening.
      So I wear them and, honestly, don't think about them much. My husband and I are doing great -- really great -- and the rings (or lackof) have nothing to do with that. But that's my take on this. We each get to decide what feels right to us.

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    4. Elle - agreed. I threw mine at DH D-Day June 21 and they sit in their box on the shelf. It bugs me that I don't wear one - especially since I'm now 4 months pregnant (God love hysterical bonding). I broached the topic when he left on his first business trip that he didn't take his and I got some lame excuse of he didn't take his because he'd be moving computer equipment, blah blah blah ... and how he wanted us to exchange them again when we were "reconnected." Wearing my ring is actually one of those "tests" that I have created in my head. Like he threw down that gauntlet and now I'm waiting for his lead.

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  9. Just about 7 months out, and I too took off mine the day I found out. It went on and off a couple times as my husband and I made progress and lost progress. As with many I turned to God with the pain, and asked him to show me the way to stay or go with the marriage. yes, I couldn't make the choice myself because well I was afraid. Not more then two weeks later, I lost my ring. Now I panicked, was this God's answer to end it? Or was he saying the old marriage was gone, which we know it is. My husband's thoughts have always been, "I wore it because it meant so much to you." Well when I told him, fearing he would be upset his comment was "I don't care about the ring, I care about you coming back." Oh yeah did I mention I'm on deployment in Afghanistan. While his words sounded nice, I wonder if they are just words. After all this is the same man that betrayed me while I was out here in Afghanistan. But I too feel that until he wants me to wear one again, to show the world I am his, I will not wear one. He must place it there, or some other that can say "She is the ONLY one and I want everyone to know it!"

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    1. Thank-you so much for sharing your comments. I'm so sorry for what you're having to go through -- and so far away from home, doing such an important and difficult job. Focus on staying safe and trusting that the rest will fall into place with time and a commitment to healing. Whether you stay or go, the most important thing is that your heart heals enough to trust again.

      Elle

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  10. My ring came off after finding out about the adultery, which is now about 8 years ago. At times it still sickens me to the pit of my stomach thinking about what went on. The topic of the past very rarely comes up in conversation, but in the last 6 months she has started broaching the subject. She wants me to wear my ring again and comments that the ring has been off my finger longer than it was on. She has asked me to think about putting it back on,to which I said I would, but I am unable to tell her the reasons why I won’t. The marriage ended the moment the adultery started, and the ring symbolized the trust and faithfulness which was now broken. She feels there is no long term commitment from me because I will not wear my ring, and I could leave at any time.

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    1. It sounds to me as if you both need to talk to each other. She clearly fears that you're not totally committed to the marriage. You perhaps fear that this could happen again and so you don't fully commit.
      Instead, though, you're living in a sort of limbo -- one foot out the door. Which might feel safe to you but isn't, ultimately, very gratifying.
      I know that fear all too well.
      But if you're going to remain in the marriage, then I think you owe it to yourself to give yourself to it. Is there something she isn't doing that you need her to in order to re-establish a sense of safety within the marriage? Is there something she is doing that you need her to stop? Have either of you sought counselling, either as a couple or individually? It doesn't matter how long ago the betrayal was -- if it hasn't been addressed and processed, it can feel like yesterday.
      I hope you'll consider digging further into your own issues around the commitment. With further healing of those old wounds, you just might find yourself committing to a rebuilt marriage -- perhaps symbolized by a new ring.

      Elle

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  11. I just found out a week ago about my husbands betrayal, which lasted several months, was physical and emotional. It started while I was pregnant with our now 7 month old who is our third son. I am reeling. Of course, my ring came off and I firmly believe that I won't put it back on. It's too soon to make a decision right now, but we've started counseling and are trying to work through this. No guarantee that it will work at this point. I'm really glad that I found this blog. Thanks for creating it!

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    1. Sarah,
      I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Dealing with a new baby (and two other kids!!) is tough enough without factoring in the emotional maelstrom of discovering an affair.
      Regardless of whether the counselling can help you rebuild a marriage, it can nonetheless help you be partners in parenting your kids should you split up. So it's worth a try.
      And glad you found us. Sorry you needed to.

      Elle

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    2. Hi Sarah,
      The exact same thing happened to me...
      I just found out my husband had an affair while I was pregnant w/ our third and she is now almost one year old. He ended it a few months ago but it is all very painful. I took my ring off and have no intention of putting it back on... it's very sad since I loved my ring. And he asked me how long I was going to go w/out it... he said I really liked seeing you with your rings. I'm sure you did was my response but it's all too fresh now. I never thought I would be in this situation. Much less thinking about working things out, but I feel like I have to for my children and my vows. Any advise?

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  12. It has been 5 months since D-day...I am taking my ring off tonight. 2 weeks ago I caught him in a lie ( he is still talking to OW, they are co workers). He will not give up friendship so I give up the ring. I think I am done.......

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    1. You set your boundaries and he violated them. You're wise to stick to your consequences.
      I'm sorry though. Nothing about this is easy, I know. Even when it's the right choice.

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  13. I have been married almost 33 yrs. My ring came off in Nov.2013 when I found the motel ticket in the car. He left Dec 1. We are still going thru everything, and he loves me, he's just not in love with me. Two kids, two grandkids, and three decades. This is not OW's first rodeo and she is also married. I am very glad I got to your site. Thank you

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    1. Hi Sherry,
      Glad you got here too.
      Oh, how I loathe the "love you but not in love with you" nonsense. What does that even mean? It's like something a 15-year-old would say to break-up with someone.
      I think what he's really saying is that the excitement of love, the romance, is gone. But what so many don't realize is that is a natural consequence of any relationship. It takes time and energy to keep some level of excitement...and even then, it's not going to be like a new relationship.
      Have you told the OW's husband?

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  14. Took off the ring the day I found out. The next day I was possessed with a powerful sense that I was going to be ok no matter what happened - that the immediate future is going to be incredibly difficult, but that I am going to be ok, even great again - and I bought myself an "engagement" ring to myself to wear on my ring finger and remind myself of that feeling whenever a worse one takes over.

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    1. That's a great story! So glad you shared it. We should all feel so loyal and true to ourselves.

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  15. I have been married to a sex addict for 6 yrs. Every year he'd have an affair and I'd throw the ring away, or pawn it, or whatever. Eventually over the course of the next year he would buy me a new one representing his new commitment. I've now had 5. I will not wear one ever again because I can't look at it without thinking of all those other broken promises. We're still together, and he's made some changes that give me hope (on a good day), but as much as I would love one, I know I can't. I've learned about boundaries and this will be the last "second chance", but that aspect is lost forever.

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    1. Anon,
      What are you doing to keep yourself safe while you stay with him? It's crucial for you to acknowledge the role you play in this dance. If he continues to cheat and you continue to stay, what are the costs to you emotionally? Why do you stay? The choice is, of course, yours. But I want it to BE a choice...and not something you're doing out of fear.
      Are you therapy? A 12-step group for partners of sex addicts? I hope you'll begin to control the only thing you can control, yourself.

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  16. My husband's and my original rings are in a safety deposit box. I can't bring myself to have them melted down (for one thing, they are heirlooms from his family), but I can't wear them ever again. They represent our old marriage that was built on lies. My husband was a closet porn addict since long before he met me, and it continued after we got married and eventually escalated into him attempting to cheat on me with someone he met on the internet. (He was unable to actually go through with it, and confessed to me right away and begged for forgiveness, which was why I was willing to give him another chance.) I felt like the ring meant nothing to him--he was wearing it the night he snuck out of the house to go meet the OW.

    We're both committed to saving our marriage, but we're building a new relationship, not carrying on with the old one. We marked our new start with new rings.

    I just want to thank you for your blog. It's been 10 months since D-Day, your blog has given me hope that we can make it.

    ~Gee.

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  17. I can't even explain the feeling of oppression that came over me wearing that ring. I took it off the evening I found out about his infidelity and nine months later, not only could I still not wear it, but I couldn't stand to have it in my house. Every time I opened my jewelry box to grab a necklace or some earrings, it was there, mocking me. "I stand for love and commitment. Ha ha, joke's on you!" So, after nine months I sold the stupid thing and I donated the money to my kids' school. I didn't want to have any part of it. That was a year ago now and I haven't regretted it once. We are working on restoring our marriage but it is a slow and agonizing process. I have expressed my desire to have a vow renewal with a new ring to symbolize renewed commitment but my husband isn't interested. That's a whole other issue I guess.

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  18. My husband broke my heart. He's my best friend. He's been visiting those free porn chat sites for 6 months now and saying who knows what to complete naked strangers. This is my first time speaking out about it. I don't want to tell loved ones because I don't want to tarnish his name. I love him. I'm not sure I can forgive him though. Taking my ring off now. Although he has taken my heartbreak and loss of trust serious, maybe this will make it more clear. Porn doesn't offend me but interactive (chat/webcam) porn does. The worst part is right before finding out about the online infidelity he found out he was moving 2 hours away for 6 weeks (for his work) leaving me and our 2 sons. I'm not afraid of parenting solo. I am afraid that the timing could really cause the issue to get worse. I told him we shouldn't speak while he's away but I fear that could make things worse too. I don't know how to deal with this. :(

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  19. My husband doesn't wear his ring, so I am tempted to sell them both. He says it's because it doesn't feel comfortable, but seeing it there on the shelf feels like a slap in the face every time, because I know he just doesn't want to wear it. Do I have to ask him if I can sell his or can I just sell it? I don't want mine, but I don't want to get peanuts for it either.

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  20. I too am a wife of a sex addict (3rd relapse) and took my rings off. He realized it today. He was very sad but so am I. I question myself sometimes and it helps to read these. blogs. After all the betrayal, I am not sure how to put them back on. I too feel like they were a symbol of our commitment to each other and he broke the commitment.

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  21. I am a wife of a husband who went overseas and cheated with 9 other women and lied about several details. He has been home for 2 months want to work on things but gets so mad when I want to talk about it to try to move on. Which I don't even know how. I haven't wore my ring in months. He lied a d said he lost his while overseas but once he came home he put it back on and told me he lied about losing it. How do you stay with someone you love so much but tells you that he don't feel stuck anymore because now he knows he can get someone else in life and it wouldn't be the end of the world if he left me and that he enjoyed the women he was it but yet no one was better then me. It's hard trying to bury this. I am trying but most days i just want to scream and sleep and cry.

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    1. Anonymous,
      It's not just hard to bury this, it's impossible. You can't have a wound like this in your marriage and not have it affect every part of your life. It will come out in some way, often as depression or anxiety or self-loathing.
      Please PLEASE find yourself a therapist who can help you through this in a way that's healthy and can help you find your strength. You deserve so much better than this. Anybody can find people to have sex with them. Trust me, it doesn't make him a prize. It makes him a lousy husband. He simply doesn't want to face that truth.
      Please, Anonymous, keep reading here and gaining strength and wisdom from the incredible women on this site. And find a counsellor to help you. You are so much better than you know.

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  22. I took mine off immediately when he finally admitted to cheating. He still wears his, but wearing it didn't stop him from screwing someone else so that's fairly meaningless.
    It's only been a little over a month since the confession, so I'm riding that awful roller coaster others described and am not sure where I'll end up. We are doing counseling and he seems to be making a genuine effort, but... we'll see. If I decide for sure that I want to stay I would probably wear the ring again, but I would want him to, not propose exactly, but to present it to me and make a new commitment because the marriage we had is destroyed and we'd be starting a new one.

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    1. I think that's a perfectly reasonable expectation -- to essentially make a new commitment with all the awareness and (hopefully) insight that comes from wrestling with the aftermath of infidelity.
      But yes...it takes time to get there. And that's something that I think a lot of us struggle with. We want certainty. We want to know right now how things are going to play out. And yet...if we give ourselves time to digest it all and figure out what we really want, then we're able to make a choice rather than a reaction.

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  23. Anonymous - Today is the 5 month mark for us. At about 1 month I commented on how H didn't take his ring on a business trip - he commented that he didn't because he knew he'd be slipping it on and off (he's an IT guy) and wanted to put them back on when we "reconnected" in a meaningful way for both of us. 2 months H asked me if putting his ring back on would be a sign of his intentions ... I told him no ... that basically I agreed with what you just said - and that I actually HATED those rings. I have had a date in my head that if H didn't do something about my ring situation then I was going to start making my exit plan - because of his statement back in August. After meeting with my therapist last week, I decided that I couldn't "test" him ... that I was going to have to tell him my thoughts on this and that I couldn't stay quiet about it.

    I broached the topic last week ... and we both agreed we didn't want new rings and that it bothered both of us that we weren't wearing them. I'm still without my ring. So my date is still in play in the back of my mind and I have to decide if this is really a deal breaker or not.

    I just wanted to say - you've found the right place. This group of women are AMAZING! It's NOT all sunshine and roses ... there are some who are months out ... years out ... decades out ... and we are all dealing with the horrors of the aftermath ... but we also share the good times too. Which for me was exactly what I was looking for - someone to admit that yes it's hard ... yes there are days you'll want to throw in the towel ... but that YES there are days that you feel healed and that there is hope.

    Welcome!

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    1. Kimberly,
      For 5 months out, you sound incredibly level-headed. I can't say the same for me at that point! And I'm glad your therapist is encouraging you to be straightforward and honest. It can so hard, in the wake of betrayal, to just make ourselves vulnerable again rather than "test". But it's the only way to begin to create a healthy dynamic.
      So glad you found us, Kimberly, and thrilled that you're finding it helpful. As you've discovered, the women on this site are an incredible bunch. In the midst of their own pain, they never fail to reach out to support others.

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  24. When I first found out, I took off both my engagement ring and my wedding band. I was still deciding whether or not to stay in the marriage, and on the days where I thought I would for sure stay, I would wear the engagement ring. This would let my husband know how I was feeling about our future on any given day. My husband actually took my wedding band with the intentions of presenting it to me with a heartfelt apology. On our 12 year anniversary, which was 4 months after D-Day, he surprised me with an upgraded version of my wedding band. He also sold his extra vehicle and put all that money into a bigger diamond for my engagement ring. Now when I look at it, the diamond reminds me of his re-commitment to be honest and the sacrifice that he was willing to make. I actually do love it again. It helped a lot that he sacrificed something of his to make my rings better, and that it still held a lot of meaning to him.

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