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Carolyn Hax: Update to ‘cringey’ wedding ring hurts wife’s feelings

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)
3 min

Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My wife and I were high school sweethearts and got married in college. Despite the struggles of marrying so young, I wouldn’t change a thing — except the wedding band I chose.

We picked out our rings together, and I wanted my ring to look cool. My wife wisely chose a classy and timeless style. My ring is large, clunky, mostly black and has a cringey design on it with a shiny faux stone inlay. I loved it at the time and couldn’t understand why my dad laughed when he first saw it.

I’ve matured and have slowly come to hate it. I am very self-conscious about it at the office and usually take it off when I meet with important clients. I feel horribly guilty, because my wife saved for almost two years to buy me that ring.

For our 10th anniversary, I gently broached the topic of getting a ring that looks more adult and professional, but my wife is hurt, saying that she has wonderful memories of picking our rings out together and saving her waitressing tips to buy it, that we’ve had the bands all these years and that it’s really special to her. I absolutely do not want to hurt her feelings, but I just don’t want to wear this monstrosity anymore.

Is this even a joint decision, or is it my ring, my choice?

— Love the Marriage, Hate the Wedding Band

Love the Marriage, Hate the Wedding Band: You share those wonderful memories, clearly — so you will wear the original ring on special occasions.

And wear a new, timeless band the rest of the time.

Your wife’s attachment is touching, but she is well into the wrong here. Guilting you into wearing a dated ring she knows you don’t like is not cool.

A chat reader suggested a vow renewal: “Doesn’t have to be a big affair. Just a new band for you and an anniversary band to add to hers if she’d like.”

Dear Carolyn: I have a girlfriend I have dated on and off for 25 years. We met when we were both 15, and we are now 40. I have been married twice, and she has remained unmarried. We decided to try once more to see whether we could make the relationship work. She believes we are soul mates, if you believe that kind of thing; however, I am skeptical, because we have tried maintaining a relationship over the years and failed.

I have produced children in my marriages and unfortunately she has not, and she believes she is past the childbearing age. I’m trying to figure out whether I should just let her go, because evidence shows we aren’t great for each other. But I feel guilty about her not having children, because, in a way, it feels as if she has been waiting for me, and I owe her my love.

— Skeptical

Skeptical: What? No. You don’t owe anyone yourself because you feel guilty. Or a child, if that’s what you’re implying. Gah.

Date her if you enjoy her company. Don’t if you don’t.

If you do enjoy her company but only in limited doses, then say the “evidence shows we aren’t great for each other” thing out loud. Misleading her while you indulge yourself is contemptible.

Nevertheless: Even if you led her on, and even if she was only biting at whatever leading-on bait you dangled, any consequences of her choice to wait for you are hers to reckon with, including not having children. Because she can’t trust you. Plus we all must own our self-deceptions.

And if you don’t see being a father again, then get a vasectomy. Stat.