As I prepared to leave the house this morning, I paused at my bedside to put on hand lotion. As I typically do, I took off my wedding ring because I didn’t want to dull its beautiful sparkle. And because I was in a hurry, with a bunch of things to pick up and take with me, I forgot to put my ring back on

This is unusual for me, especially when I’m leaving the house.  Since getting married a little over a year ago, I’ve left the house without my ring only a few times.  I’ve never been much of a ring wearer; I like how they look, but I never really liked having something on my fingers.  When I first got married, getting used to wearing a ring took some time.  But now, as I’ve read that other women experience, too, my hand feels naked without my ring.  When people walk by, I have to resist the instinct to shamefully cover my bare hand.

I feel guilty because its as if I’m making a statement I don’t intend to be making.  And I’m not even talking about the fact that I’m loitering in the lobby of a hotel right now.  No, it’s even worse than that. 

I sometimes take off my ring (discreetly; I don’t make a production of it) when I’m really, really angry at my husband.  But even though he did something last night that annoyed me, it wasn’t a transgression of the take-off-the-ring level.  And there has only been one time when I was so angry at him that I deliberately didn’t wear my ring outside the house.

Going ringless on purpose as a response to extreme anger at my husband is cathartic for me, which is perhaps childish, but it also serves as an ever-present reminder to me (and maybe to my husband) that all is not well.  Something needs to be fixed.  But maybe it’s unfair of me to do that because he never takes off his ring (well, except when he inadvertently glued it to his hand with fiberglass paste), and if he did take it off because he was angry at me, I’d be really hurt.

So is it fair for me to do it?

My petulant side says, “Sure it is!” When we get in a fight I am willing to talk it out. The ring doesn’t come off till the talking stops.  I am a woman of words.  If I am waved off from using them to work through something (he prefers to just let things go), I get frustrated. And if I’m really frustrated and really angry, the ring comes off.  It’s like a pressure-relief valve.

But just because I take off my ring in such cases, it doesn’t mean I like it! My hand feels just as naked then (even in the privacy of our home).  But I especially don’t like sitting here ringless right now as if we’re in a huge fight.  My husband just e-mailed me to tell me about some bad stuff that’s happening to him this morning (including that his ex-wife is hauling him into court tomorrow morning for reasons unknown regarding the custody of their son).  So now I feel even more guilty for not having my ring on!

All because I didn’t want to get hand lotion on my ring.

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