Rings and Things

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:

  1. I was not wearing mine – tit for tat
  2. 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?


10 thoughts on “Rings and Things

  1. Hi InfIns,

    The wedding rings, yes that is a tricky one. Apparently, the history of the rings goes back to ancient Egypt 4800 years ago (I googled it).
    They are a symbol of eternity and never ending love. In Roman history the rings were also a symbol of ownership (a bit less romantic). Although the caveman idea has its attractions…;).
    Christians started to use wedding rings in marriage ceremonies much later (around 860).

    I am with you when you state that if indeed your husband is committed to working on the marriage, he should also show you that by wearing his ring, regardless of what you do. You did not break your vows, he did!

    I have mixed feelings about my wedding bands too, and often I am not wearing them. When I am not, I miss something and when I do, I feel like a fake as I perceived our rings as a symbol of eternity and belonging and all that goes with it, trust and safety and I did not get that.

    Some people start new with a new ring, some change their rings and some will never wear them again. We got new ones and they match nicely. My husband gave me the new ring when he had not been honest with me and more lies surfaced months after he gave me the ring with his personal promise.

    That crushed me and now I am not sure I will ever feel OK wearing it.

    On the other hand….he is working hard now, he has changed and the ring is a symbol and it could be a symbol of a renewed commitment. To us it could be a symbol of struggle of overcoming disconnection and developing a stronger connection. A symbol of love and heartache.

    The tit-for tat is childish of your husband. Now is not the time to be immature and he is not in a position to show you “pay-back”. I agree, with you…wait for these Herculean efforts on his part…..and be patient with yourself. Time will tell what you would like to do and all is good. It is your choice.

    Hugs from someone who gets it,
    E

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    1. Thanks so much E. I think you said it perfectly when you said wearing them feels like a fake out. How can I present to the world as this married woman when we are in the deepest struggle, and moreover, if things don’t work, people have seen me with them on, then off and separated, then on again (with questions), then off….its almost a joke, and I feel he has made a mockery of me and our relationship. I am trying to give myself time. I appreciate hearing from someone who gets it, it means the world to have others understand

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What many cheaters fail to understand is, it’s THEM who screwed things up. So it’s THEM who need to make things better. Frequently people cheat because they are looking for an escape from real life and real life issues, and/or they figure there is someone else better out there.

    Then when they find the person out there isn’t actually better, they “come back” thinking they can pick up where they left off as if nothing happened. They don’t want to talk about it, and they don’t really want to do the hard work of facing “why” they strayed in the first place and how they can ensure it doesn’t happen again.

    Regarding the rings, what you are doing makes perfect sense to me. Right now HE needs to be the one to show you that he actually wants things – you, the relationship. It can’t be just because he doesn’t want to be alone, and he’s looking for the safety and security that comes with you – he need to want YOU, and be willing to work for that and fight for that.

    It’s understandable to that he needs to prove himself to you. He broke the trust, not you. So he needs to re-earn it.

    Rings are a symbol, so insisting he wears the rings while you are trying to decide if you want to still wear yours makes a lot of sense.

    And if he’s taking the “well, you aren’t wearing yours so I shouldn’t have to” approach, then I think he’s totally missing the point. This is his actions and choices that have damaged things, not yours. So he needs to be the one to make things up to you.

    Regarding rings, although my wife and I have been separated a few months now, I found out she spent last week with her lover so I returned my wedding ring to her. When things were bad, I had this image in my head of things one day getting better, and us renewing our vows one day with new rings to symbolize the new start. Now? I never want to see that ring again.

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    1. Thanks Zombiedrew2 for giving me the push of confidence regarding my feelings about this issue. It says exactly what I am feeling, and hearing it from another person make a huge difference. Sometimes I feel like I am crazy or being unfair, unkind, punishing, hurtful. I felt crazy the whole time he was cheating on me (and I had no clue) and treating me so badly, like I was 100% the at fault party, like I was a horrible wife and had caused him so much angst. He even told me I was an irritating person at one point. I have NEVER been told that by anyone, not ex boyfriends, friends NO ONE, but he had me questioning myself when he in fact was the sick one. I think there is a little of that knee jerk reaction to feel at fault left over in my soul…and with every demand or complaint I have, I always have a great deal of guilt as well.

      I am so sorry about your W being with her AP last week, sending her the ring back sends a much needed strong message that you are not a push over and willing to be treated with so little respect. Keep the faith and know if things don’t repair, you will find someone who has your moral code and values all that you are.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Something that may or may not have come up in your counselor sessions – look up narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and specifically how people with NPD approach affair and accountability.

        As we’ve discussed in the past, your story is VERY similar to mine (though I blanked for a moment when you commented on my blog yesterday).

        Marriages CAN be rebuilt after affairs. And actually, they can in many cases be even stronger after.

        But if the person having the affair also has NPD, the outlook is pretty grim.

        Sadly, my wife (ex) checks pretty much every box for NPD.

        After the revelation of her affair, what really mattered was HOW she reacted. If she would have been contrite, upfront and shown how much she wanted our marriage then maybe I could have given things a chance. But it would have had to be her doing/showing the work – not me.

        Instead, she became defensive, angry, refused to talk about anything, and shut down. The silent treatment was back, because I was demanding accountability from her.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s probably incapable of real love and empathy, and all I would ever be to her is a second choice and an option. And that will never happen.

        I’m moving on with my life, and at this point in time she’s part of my past and that’s it. Sad in some ways, but better now than later.

        Take a look at what you said to me here:

        “Keep the faith and know if things don’t repair, you will find someone who has your moral code and values all that you are.”

        Don’t ever forget that about yourself as well.

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      2. Thanks again, my H does not have NPD although I have researched that. He has been contrite, and trying to repair, doing the work in as much as he is able, because he has massive problems with feeling and showing emotion.
        Honestly, I think the main issue lies in the fact that he just never grew past his young teenage years emotionally. He suffered great trauma in childhood that he never faced. He solved and solves everything by shutting down, avoiding conflict and then reacting. His emotional intelligence and communication is not anywhere near where it needs to be and definitely not at the same level as mine. When we met he had never lived with a woman and his longest relationship had only been six months. He has cheated on every woman he has dated, even on the woman he cheated on me with. Once things turn real or get difficult or have a recurring issue, he just cheats…and up until now, did not notice a pattern or that it was his issue, not the women he has been with.

        I know he cares, I know he realizes what he has done has been devastating, he is participating in therapy. I just have to figure out if I can ever let it go, if I can see him through a different set of unhurt eyes, and if he can develop emotionally to a stage where we can live below the surface and have a truly deep connection.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry to be so late commenting. I found your blog through another I follow and I am now reading back through your posts. This touched a raw nerve with me. OH and I are not legally married, but we have been together 17 years and, 2 to 3 years into our relationship, we bought ourselves rings which we wear on our wedding fingers as symbols of our commitment.

    In early 2007 we went on a fabulous holiday across the other side of the world and OH lost his ring in the sea. I was really upset at the time, but when we came home he bought a replacement and life went on.

    Fast forward to 3 years ago. I discovered that OH had been having an emotional affair with a coworker that had been ongoing for many years. I then discovered that they had started meeting up in secret outside of work immediately before we went on that holiday. It is so symbolic to me that he lost our commitment ring at the sane time as he “lost” his commitment to us. He wore the “fake” replacement throughout his EA, and still wears it now.

    I do still wear mine, but often play about with moving it to another finger as if it doesn’t matter any more. Which I guess is also symbolic in that, in my heart, I have not yet fully committed to a future life with him. I am still not past his betrayal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Falling Ash, firstly let me apologize for a very tardy response, I lost my father in April of this year and had spent the previous four months by his side. My blog and marriage work fell by the wayside.

      I understand fully how you feel about the symbol of the ring and how it can be tainted. I still have not put mine back on. There are days I think about it but my heart is not there. My H also does not have his yet, its taking forever to come. Initially I felt naked without it. Then it became the norm for me.

      I have toyed around with costume rings on that finger as well…it upset my H enough that he made comment on it in therapy so I stopped but honestly his pain on the subject did not really bother me…I am still in the “he deserves it” phase of my thinking.

      How are things with you and your H now? How are you feeling about your ring and in general?

      Like

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