This week, I heard from many male readers who agreed that their wedding ring functions as a “chick magnet.” Here is a selection:
From Chad in Chicago: This piece about women's perception that married men are more approachable is absolutely on the money. In fact, I have found that the reverse is also true. I've been happily married for five years, so I'm well adjusted to married life.
I have never been as comfortable and confident approaching women as I am now. As mentioned, I don't have to worry what my “chances” are; it's a win-win situation. Either she doesn't talk to me and I go home to my loving wife or she does, we both have fun and I go home to my loving wife. I'm not some great-looking or suave guy, but Dr. Saltz is right on target. The aura I am projecting gives women no reason not to talk to me. I joke with my single friends that my wedding band is a “chick magnet.” It really is.
From Patrick in Cincinnati: After reading this article about women wanting to talk to married men, maybe I should get a wedding band and wear it. Maybe it will break the ice!
From Anonymous: As a single guy, I have to say such a reaction is just another obstacle in the tough, lonely, depressing life that is male singledom. In fact, few things upset me more than an attractive woman complaining about being single when dozens of single men like me would pay their life savings to call himself her committed partner. It's true that single men can be less comfortable to talk to “because” we are so actively seeking a relationship, but give us some slack, please.
From Scott in Oregon: You have, in part, missed the mark on this story. Many women actually hit on married men, hoping to “land” them, for three reasons: 1. Somebody wants them, so they must be OK. 2. They have no STDs (they're safe) and have sex regularly (they’re experienced). 3. It's a tough challenge they find amusing. I have experienced this firsthand many times. When I wear a wedding ring I get hit on a LOT. When I don't, I don't.
From Charlie in Kansas: It makes a lot of sense that women feel safer talking to married men. However, when I hear you talking about women being in conflict with their mothers over their own fathers, I realize just how complicated the female of the species is. Men are so simple. Feed us, give us a decent-paying job and we seem to be fine most of the time. I have been married three times and it NEVER ceases to amaze me how INVOLVED women are with themselves and all the problems they seem to have.
From Cheryl in Detroit: I totally agree. Married men are much safer to talk to than their single counterparts. Single men, especially those over a certain age, think that the very fact that they are unattached means that every single woman within a 100-mile radius is automatically “after” them. If they only knew that their attitude completely destroys any interest in getting to know them!
From Christopher: It’s easier to be friends with women when you are married. I had a very difficult time establishing friendships with women while I was single, but after getting married it was far easier. If you are really, really into your wife there isn't much chance you'll cheat on her, and women know that. On the other hand, if you are throwing off the vibe that you are unhappily married and available, you will attract those types of women, and you're in trouble.
From Kevin in Maryland: Married men can give the fun banter that is prized in conversation but at the same time are less likely to indulge in a romantic tone. This gives the woman a feeling of more control. She knows (or at least thinks she knows) what to expect from the conversation. On the other hand, a single guy shelling out the same banter makes the woman think too much. Her mind is looping into thoughts of “Does he like me?” or “Do I look stupid?” or “Why did he say that?"... I could go on. This “thought bombardment” will eat away at the woman’s composure, largely without her knowledge.
From Regina in Korea: I agree with this completely. It's much easier to just relax around a man who is involved than one who you know is single and looking. You don't have to worry about those awkward moments because there are none. He's going home to someone else and that makes it a much more comfortable conversation.
From Liz in Indiana: Why would you say it's OK to flirt when you are married? It is completely wrong! I am a single attractive woman that gets hit on by married men, and it's rude and disrespectful to their wives and to me. Many married and single people don't care to respect the covenant of marriage. But flirting should remain something you do to your spouse or one single to another. Not a married to a single or single to a married!
(Dr. Gail replies: I did not address the topic of whether it’s OK to flirt when you are married. But whether or not you approve of married people flirting with single people, it certainly occurs. I think flirting when you are married is a bad idea and, if there happens to be mutual interest, can be the start of a slippery slope toward further involvement.)
From Mark in California: Such a triangle is an example of the Electra complex, not the Oedipal complex.
(Dr. Gail replies: Specifically, that is correct. I was using this as an umbrella term for the general concept, which applies to both genders.)
Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to “Today.” Her latest book is “Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie,” by Dr. Gail Saltz. She is also the author of “Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts,” which helps parents deal with preschoolers’ questions about sex and reproduction. Her first book, “Becoming Real: Overcoming the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” was published in 2004 by Riverhead Books. It is now available in a paperback version. For more information, you can visit her Web site, .