A friend of mine recently got married. It must have been a beautiful wedding – on a vineyard, with excellent catering and live music, a postcard sunset and the obligatory Hawaii-honeymoon afterwards. “Every girl’s dream”, as the saying goes, although I would not count myself as one of those girls dreaming about a wedding like this (or dreaming about any wedding at all, for a fact). And then – bang – another friend told me the most disturbing thing about this newly wed lady at lunch: Whenever she goes out at night or takes a business-trip she takes off her wedding ring. Just like that – she removes the proof of her recently legalized commitment to another person on purpose to pretend to be single to the outer world. Why, I was wondering, would anybody behave like this?
At first I have to say: it’s not that I do not understand her at least a little.
Being in a relationship and being single both come with advantages and disadvantages and I myself sometimes feel the need to try to get a piece of both cakes.
Flirting is fun. But waking up to your loved one is also fun – more than fun, actually, it is one of the most beautiful feelings anybody can experience. The sad thing is, though, that it wears out over time; the excitement and the sheer happiness of being with your loved one fades away, becoming a given somehow. I applaud every couple who can preserve the excitement of the first months of the relationship over years (please let me know how you do it!) without sometimes playing the what-if-I-was-with-someone-else mindgame. And then there is being single. No strings, no compromises, no why-is-the-oven-still-dirty argument when you get home after a long day at work. Just you and maybe one or two dates per week, charming text messages via whatsapp and sweet daydreams during boring meetings. But I always assumed that people who decide to get married were okay with not having this kind of life anymore. Shouldn’t it be a prerequisite for marriage to be absolutely sure to not need or want all this – the nervous rummaging in your wardrobe not being able to decide what to wear to a date, the blushing whenever he touches you accidentally on purpose, the butterflies in your stomach while you’re wondering “Does he sometimes think about me, too?”.
Taking off your wedding ring is betraying your spouse and all the people flirting with you.
When you cannot commit to your husband or wife in every single situation which life brings your way you should not have gotten married in the first place, in my opinion.
It might seem harsh, but being married marks a turning point in life where you cannot have both pieces of cake anymore – at least not in the classical sense of marriage. If I was my friend’s husband and somebody told me about my wife taking off her wedding ring, the very symbol of us belonging together, I would question this relationship profoundly. Because what does taking off the ring mean? It means: I need the amorous attention of other people. It means: my spouse’s affection is not enough for me. It means: I want to keep all my options open. And that is the exact opposite of what marriage means to me. So what is the solution here? I guess it’s: try to eat as much different cakes as you need to taste until you find the one that you like best. The one cake that doesn’t make you sick after three pieces but instead gives you a pleasant sugar-rush every spoonful. And then committ to your decision – everytime and everywhere. Everything else seems to be the wrong recipe.