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04 June 2010

Ring etiquette question There is a girl who occasionally flirts with me at work. I recently saw her and she is wearing a broad silver ring (doesn't really look like a wedding band) on the ring finger of her right hand. Does this mean she is married? I don't know whether she has worn it before. I think traditionally wedding bands are worn on the left hand, but maybe she just has a different style? Some people wear the band on their right hand anyway, right? This is in the U.S., and she appears to be from the U.S.
A ring on her right ring finger does not indicate marriage (nor does a ring on the left ring finger, for that matter, if it's not a wedding ring). But, some married people don't wear wedding rings anyway.

Based on your description, I'd say it's almost certain she's not married, but the only way to know for sure is to ask.
posted by amyms 04 June | 15:41
I am from the US and live in the US. I wear my wedding band on the left. I would assume she is not married.
posted by LoriFLA 04 June | 15:42
No one I know wears their wedding band on the right hand. If she does not have a ring on the third finger of the left hand, it's safe to assume she is not married. I am in the US.
posted by desjardins 04 June | 15:50
Ditto desjardins.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 04 June | 15:52
No way is she married.
posted by Stewriffic 04 June | 15:58
there was an AskMeFi about this within the past 12 months...

I've worn cheap sterling silver wide bands on both ring fingers (one on each hand) throughout my single life, FWIW. I am in the US.

Several of my athletic friends / teammates who are married wear no jewelry at all.

ymmv. And by that I mean: you can't know unless you ask.
posted by lonefrontranger 04 June | 16:09
Seconding that some married people do not wear wedding rings.

They're a minority, admittedly, and the best guess is probably that she's not married, but I respectfully disagree that it's a safe assumption.
posted by box 04 June | 16:12
I remember in college an older lady at the dorm telling me that a wedding ring on the right hand signified "divorced".

I don't wear my ring, but that's because it was stolen in a burglary and we've never talked about replacing it.
posted by lysdexic 04 June | 16:16
Eastern Europeans wear wedding rings on their right, not left, hands. But if this woman is American, I would guess she's unmarried.
posted by Senyar 04 June | 16:19
I don''t wear a ring because they annoy me a bit unless it's for very short periods of time.
posted by gomichild 04 June | 16:21
I used to always wear a ring on my right ring finger, and I wasn't married.

However, my former boyfriend's parents both wore their wedding rings on their right ring finger (they were Dutch, don't know if it's common in NL as well as Eastern Europe) and I have two friends who wear their wedding rings on their right hand just because they prefer it. They were all typical looking wedding rings, though, so i don't think anyone was misled.
posted by gaspode 04 June | 16:24
The right hand thing is generally a European Catholic thing (the more religious Spanish and Italians often wear their wedding rings on their right hand). But these rings are obviously wedding rings. N-thing the probably-not-a-wedding-ring, but-you-don't-know-until-you-ask camp.
posted by Susurration 04 June | 16:34
U.S. resident: Sometimes I wear a wedding band on my right hand, but I'm not married. It's my mother's wedding band that she gave me several years ago.
posted by JanetLand 04 June | 16:35
I think the most common is likely to wear a wedding ring on the left ring finger, to be sure. But, yes, for myriad reasons, some won't wear a wedding ring despite being married. I've never encountered anyone who wore a ring of any romantic significance on their right ring finger.

Small data point - as a guy, I wore a band on my left ring ringer when I was married. I also wore the ring that my dad wore when he was married to my mom, on my right ring finger. Since I've been separated, I stopped wearing both. It seems that a wedding band on a right ring finger can be confusing to people, if the amount of questions I encountered was any indication.
posted by richat 04 June | 16:37
Oh, and I'm a Canadian fella.
posted by richat 04 June | 16:38
My partner and I wear our rings on the ring finger of the right hand because, well, we're not married. It might be that she's with someone she's not married to. Or maybe she just likes the ring.
posted by mudpuppie 04 June | 16:52
It's unlikely that she's married, but you never can be sure.

My friend wears his wedding ring on his left middle finger, because it's too big (not sure why in 10 years of marriage he's never had that fixed).

My dad was mugged more than 20 years ago and they took his wedding ring. He never replaced it but is happily married.

I think it used to be common for women to move their engagement ring to the right ring finger when they got married, and wear the wedding band on the left, but now it seems far more common to wear both on the left hand.
posted by amro 04 June | 17:16
I'm left-handed and wear my wedding band on my left hand which means that it bangs into stuff a lot but I'd be afraid that moving to the other hand would be misinterpreted.
posted by octothorpe 04 June | 21:13
I've known a number of gay couples who wore rings on their right ring fingers to indicate a committed relationship that wasn't marriage. Outside that community, the women I know (including myself) who wear rings on the right hand do so for fashion, not to indicate marital/relationship status.
posted by occhiblu 04 June | 21:17
A [unisex] question about ponytail holders. || Let's talk checkbooks