Internet Slams Woman for Telling Widowed Co-Worker His Wedding Ring Was 'Misleading'

A woman went viral on Reddit after recounting the moment she told her co-worker he was "misleading" people by wearing a wedding ring although he was widowed.

The woman, who goes only by u/Ideal-Mind3099 on Reddit, published the post on Reddit's popular "Am I The A**hole" forum and received more than 16,500 votes and 4,200 comments in 14 hours.

The Redditor explained that her company hired a new employee a few weeks prior. She said the coworker, James, is a "good guy" and a widower. She explained that James' wife passed away eight months ago.

Redditor u/Ideal-Mind3099 explained in the post that she and her other co-workers get along well with James but that when she noticed he was still wearing his wedding band she was confused.

"It kind of confused me a bit and I couldn't help but bring it up with him while on lunch break," the post read. "We talked and I pointed out that he was being misleading by still wearing his wedding band when he's a widower."

The post explained that James looked "quite bothered" by the comment but that she told him he was "giving people the wrong idea or impression about his relationship" since he was "technically single" and "on his own."

The woman said she didn't want to "sound cruel" but that she was simply speaking from a "technical angle." She said James told her he never really gave it much thought because even if he wasn't wearing his ring and a woman approached him he would tell her he was not interested.

"For some reason things got awkward and everyone stopped eating and just stared at James and me," the post read.

Redditor u/Ideal-Mind3099 explained that she felt James was "generally misleading" by making people think he was married when he technically was not.

"He got upset, called me rude, and said that I repeatedly disrespected his marriage and his late wife's memory with what I said," the post read.

The woman claimed James grabbed his belongings and walked away after the conversation. She also said her co-workers told her there was no reason to bring up his marital status in the first place.

Although some of her co-workers said they thought James overreacted, they told her she should not have caused a scene. She also said James is now upset with her and the other co-workers who "sided" with her and he is no longer speaking to them.

"AITA? Did I overstep or did he overreact?" u/Ideal-Mind3099 asked at the end of the post.

Thousands of users poured into the comments section and said that u/Ideal-Mind3099 was indeed in the wrong and that her opinion on James' relationship status should be none of her concern.

"A wedding ring isn't a sign to others you aren't available it's a commitment to a person you love," the top comment under the post read. "His wife might be dead but if he's not ready to move on then he's still committed to her. Your confusion about his status isn't his concern."

In an advice column from the Washington Post, writer Judith Martin, also known as "Miss Manners," explained that there are no rules when it comes to wearing a wedding ring as a widow.

Martin explained in her column that while it is up to the individual, wearing a wedding band will potentially discourage "potential suitors" because they might think the individual is unavailable.

She wrote that by wearing a wedding ring, the widow is making it clear that they still feel bound to their deceased partner and are not inclined to move on with anyone else at the moment. She explained it is a personal decision but supports widowed individuals wearing their wedding bands "indefinitely."

In another comment under the viral post, which received 20,000 votes, a user called out u/Ideal-Mind3099 for being a "callous a**hole."

Person holding wedding ring
A woman went viral on Reddit after recounting a conversation with her coworker in which she told him he was "misleading" people by wearing a wedding ring even though he was widowed. Many commenters said the Redditor was in the wrong for bringing up the topic. Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

"It is not up to you to determine how long it's acceptable for someone else to grieve, or to police what they wear, jewellery [sic], clothing or otherwise," the user commented. "How dare you! Seriously humongous cold-hearted, unfeeling, socially inept a**hole!!"

In an update, u/Ideal-Mind3099 clarified that the conversation started off "casually" and that she did not use any "insensitive tones" during the discussion. She claimed the conversation suddenly "turned into an argument" although she tried to let the situation calm down before it unexpectedly got out of hand.

Many other users commented that a wedding ring does not always represent marriage status but rather a token of love and dedication regardless if the person's significant other is still alive. Some said it seemed as though u/Ideal-Mind3099 was upset because she was interested in James and personally felt misled.

"He's not wearing it to let others know he's available, he's wearing it for her memory and to show he's still committed to her," one comment mentioned. "OP massively overstepped James's boundaries. He can wear his wedding band any time, anywhere and for whatever reason—it still wouldn't be OP's business. Her telling him is super rude and inappropriate. It seems like she's interested in the coworker."

Another user who claimed to be a former HR staff said u/Ideal-Mind3099's comments were so inappropriate they would have considered writing her up.

"I would see this as a huge liability for a sexual harassment case and would initiate disciplinary action towards OP," the user said.

Newsweek reached out to u/Ideal-Mind3099 for comment.