It has been a while since I have posted, there have been therapy sessions, and arguments and acts of service, contrition, trying to get normal in this abnormal existence…trying to find love in anger and hurt. There are times when I am sufficiently distracted where I am able to find pure joy, and a good laugh….so in all this mess..there is still me.
The issue of wedding rings, where do I start? I have researched about aversion to my wedding rings, thinking I was crazy and had invented some new phobia, only to learn that it is a quite common issue among us betrayed. I would love to hear from any of you that have overcome this aversion. I have often thought about remodeling them for a fresh start, however as in renewed vows, it just stinks of trying to climb out of the pit of failure with a material fix….
I have a beautiful vintage engagement and wedding ring. They were chosen with care and great excitement and I wore them proudly for ten years of marriage. They symbolized all my hopes and dreams for the future, my love for my H, fidelity, trust, a grand partnership, the joining of two families.
I am pretty sure all of us can remember the events around our engagement, the search for the ring, the first time it is put on your finger. Revealing it excitedly to friends and family. The feelings of safety, trust, overflowing love. What an amazing time in life, I would honestly not trade it even given where I find myself now. It was a time of innocence and love. A time when my H was as perfect to me as he could be.
The first time I took my rings off, was when my H and I separated in the summer of 2013. Against all my wishes and frantic efforts, my marriage was imploding and I had no option but to accept it. I had no clue what was happening, or how we had come to that point, I only knew I was being stonewalled at every turn. Seemingly overnight, my H no longer loved me. Taking the rings off hurt so badly, my hand felt naked. In the weeks and months that followed, all I noticed was wedding rings, who had one, who didn’t. It was as if I had been diminished as a female, as a human simply by its absence. I had not realized but I had come to identify so deeply as a married person, that when it was removed, somehow my identity had been wiped clean and I was no one.
When H and I started talking again, I did not immediately put them back on. My H showed up to our very first meeting after all those month wearing his ring, I was at first shocked by it. How could he put that ring on, given that he had thrown me and us away? It took me a few months, and mine was back on but what exactly did that mean? This time there was no joy or excitement, there was trepidation, hurt, betrayal. I had not forgiven or figured out how to navigate the hurt feelings he had caused but there I was, presenting as a married woman even though I felt that marriage was transitory and could be yanked from me at any moment. I did it to make H feel better, to hide my ambivalence about returning to our unresolved marriage.
The second time I took them off was this past August, when all his cheating finally came into the open. I took them off, this time, with no regret, no angst, and now they have become superman’s kryptonite, and I am repelled at the thought of wearing them. This is an issue in my current married life. I think back to all the times I had them on, when he was cheating and it sickens me. I am not avoiding my rings out of spite or punishment. I wish I felt differently. I just simply can’t face them right now. I also look at his ring and often think, did he always remove it before cheating, did any of the “others” come in contact with it…my guess would be yes. It meant so little to him through his cheating and although those thoughts have been getting more distant, they still jump up to upset me from time to time.
My H is wearing his ring, although he did decide not to wear it for a few weeks this month. There was no discussion on his part, he just parked them on the sink and there they sat until I broached the topic. Did it bother me, damn right. It was and is my feeling, that he should wear his ring if he wants to show me he is committed to this process. In therapy it became a topic and his reasons were as I understand:
- I was not wearing mine – tit for tat
- It felt weird when we were out that I did not have mine on and he did.
So here it is, am I unreasonable? double standard? While we navigate this repair, I require him to wear his ring. I no longer feel pressure to wear mine to make him feel better. I have been gifted the thoughts of all the times he removed his or tainted it with the touch of the “others” so I don’t really care if its awkward, or he is uncomfortable. I need him to prove to me, that despite his feelings he will keep the faith, stay the course, whatever you want to call it. I am looking for Herculean efforts on his part, and this is one of the arenas where he will have to do penance. After tears and discussion he decided to put it back on and has not mentioned mine again. Honestly I feel if he had stuck his feet in the mud on this issue, we were lost. I keep watching his decision making, his reasoning, his coping, trying to see if there is hope for our future. Is this reasonable or not. Thoughts?