It’s one of the quickest ways to arouse suspicion between a couple and might just require some very fast talking to smooth things over – a fifth of young married Britons have admitted to removing their wedding ring before going out with friends or after a row.
And while it is a symbol of love and commitment to a partner, many are sneaking their ring off because they think they will get more attention from the opposite sex.
The study of 2,000 married couples found that people also removed their ring because it was uncomfortable or because they were cross with their partner and wanted to make a point.
But more than 80% of those men who were brave enough to head out without their ring had been caught by their wives, and only half of them had managed to talk their way out of it.
The research, carried out by law firm Slater & Gordon, found that while both both men and women are more likely to wear a wedding ring today than in previous generations, those under 40 are also more likely to remove it.
Kaleel Anwar, a family lawyer at the firm, said: “As wearing a wedding ring has become more popular it seems that couples are more likely to take offence or consider it a sign of infidelity if someone refuses.
“More men than ever before have a wedding band and this research shows that women like this, but unfortunately rings are easily removed and this can cause trust issues and confusion among couples.
“I have had men coming in saying they have caught their wife not wearing her ring, so it isn’t just men who are guilty. But it is often hard for people to understand why someone would remove a ring without a very legitimate reason.
“The ring is just a symbol of love and commitment, a materialistic symbol. It won’t stop someone straying and essentially a ring comes off very easily.”
One in eight of those polled said thought they would be judged as “boring” if people knew they were married, while more than a third blamed it on work and said they had a better chance of winning business if they did not wear a band.
Men were most likely to take their ring off before socialising, while women were more likely to remove theirs after a fight.
Despite this both men and women under 40 attached more significance to wearing a wedding band and were also more likely to be hurt if their partner refused to wear one than older generations.
A fifth of women under 40 said they thought a man who did not wear a ring did not take his marriage as seriously and a quarter said it would make them suspicious.
A third of couples said they would be more confident their partner would not cheat on them if they wore a ring as it would be a reminder of their commitment.
But 10% of people said they thought their wedding ring was seen as a “challenge” by the opposite sex.
Men said they got more attention from women after they started wearing their ring, while women said they received less attention.