Body Language and Wedding Rings

At the request of The Sun newspaper in Canada I made some comments about body language and wedding rings because Jennifer Lopez had sparked rumors about splitting with husband Marc Anthony, after she had been photographed at a red carpet event without her wedding ring.

Here are the notes I sent to the reporter answering her questions...

What does it mean when someone stops wearing his or her wedding ring. Does it always spell trouble? Why would any women do this? Is this a way to punish your spouse or send a message? What about men who don’t wear rings? Or is it just a trend and is of little significance?

After all, when Madonna stepped out minus the wedding band, the media speculated that her union was on the rocks - and they were right. What does it mean if you just switch the ring in favor of a splashy art deco ring just for the night - like Michelle Obama did?

Anytime a woman takes off her wedding ring it sends a powerful message. A wedding ring symbolizes your bond and union. A woman can do it as a passive aggressive message. Jennifer Lopez is symbolically saying something is wrong. Some women take off the ring for an event to say symbolically "I am my own person." Some take it off to say silently, “my husband broke our bond by being unfaithful.” Some women take off their wedding ring to say, “I am available again.” No matter what the reason, a woman not wearing a wedding ring is rarely just a fashion statement. In rare cases, not wearing a wedding ring may be necessary because the person has problems with his or her fingers swelling or the ring is lost, but a women caught without her ring will usually speak to those extenuating circumstances immediately. In J-Lo’s case I think the fact that she is not wearing her ring shows a message that there are problems. In Michelle’s case I believe it was to show that she is an independent, powerful woman on her own. Typically, women are socially rewarded for their relationships and men for their work and independence. Women start their sentences with "we" much more often than men. That gender difference is dramatic. When a man wears a ring he is saying, “I am proud of my bond.” When he takes it off he is saying, " I am open to other offers."

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

The Washington Post described Patti as, "The Babe Ruth of Body Language." and the New York Times credited her with bringing the topic to national attention. A professional speaker, author and body language expert she reads the nonverbal cues of world leaders, celebrities, criminals, business leaders and the world at large. She has been interviewed on: The BBC, CNN, FOX news, PBS, The History Channel, E!, The Discovery Channel, US Weekly, USA Today, Psychology Today, Cosmopolitan and many more. Time Magazine recognized her nonverbal communication course at Florida State University as a top college course in the US. Patti has been researching, writing and speaking on the topic since 1982. Her latest book is "Success Signals Understanding Body Language" and can be found at