He stopped wearing his wedding ring a long time ago.
Just like when he moved to the sofa under the guise of the flu, and never came back to our marital bed, he removed his ring under the guise of work. He was working on a mural and I found the ring sitting all alone on an empty shelf in his workspace. It sat there untouched for two weeks before I took the ring and hid it in my jewelry box to see if he’d notice it missing and come looking for it. He never did. Finally, I brought it up and he said he took it off because it hurt his hand while he was working and he just hadn’t gotten around to putting it back on yet. I said that it was important to me that he put it back on. He said there was no latent meaning behind his not wearing it. I said that the ring is our symbol to each other and to the world that we are married. I said that choosing not to wear it, knowing how much it would upset me, most certainly had meaning. He said he understood why I might feel that way. He did not put the ring back on.
I took my ring off 6 months later. Figured: f*ck you! If you aren’t wearing yours, I’m not wearing mine either. But my finger felt vulnerable and naked. I’ve worn that ring every day for more than 13 years. I never really cared for the ring, I’d just gotten so used to wearing it. He hated my ring. Hated it! He purchased it when we were fresh out of college, paying for it in a seemingly unending stream of micro-payments: $5 here, $25 there. By the time it was paid off, he deeply resented that ring. Probably frustrated by having to spend the money when we were just starting out and totally broke. It kind of feels like we’ve always been broke.
The other day, I decided that I need to find myself a new ring. A gift to myself. Something symbolic of the change I am making in my life. I fully admit that I am an overly-symbolic person. Not wearing a ring during this transition doesn’t feel right. When I first took my wedding ring off, I started wearing other rings on that finger to feel less emotionally naked; only those were meant for other fingers and were way too big. For months I’ve used double stick tape to hold my decoy rings in place.
I’ve decided that a new ring is absolutely essential and I’m on the hunt for just the right one. Nothing flashy. Nothing extravagant. Just something to slide on my size-5 finger that restores my symmetry and honors my commitment to myself: to fly, to soar, and to muster the courage to leap from the nest.
“With this ring”… do I promise to show myself love, patience, kindness, and unfailing courage? I do. I absolutely do.
Related Video: 22 Stages of Relationship Between An Empath and A Narcissist
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Written by Cris Gladly
Originally appeared on Yourtango.com
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