scorecardI'm a single mom who wears a fake wedding ring. Lying about my marital status makes me feel safer.
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I'm a single mom who wears a fake wedding ring. Lying about my marital status makes me feel safer.

Angela Hatem   

I'm a single mom who wears a fake wedding ring. Lying about my marital status makes me feel safer.
LifeScience3 min read
  • I'm a single mom by choice.
  • A handyman made me feel weird in my own house after I shared that I wasn't married.

It was in the late evening on an inordinately warm November night, in the kitchen of my home, with tears running down my cheeks that I said "I do" to my shotgun wedding. It was a simple affair — no guests, no fancy dress, no big cake, just some Ben & Jerry's in the fridge and a ring on my hand.

Having a husband wasn't something I necessarily wanted — but I discovered I needed it.

All it took was a new dishwasher, an urgency to get it installed, and a frightening evening with a repairman for me to realize I needed to put a ring on it — a fake ring, that is. Though I'm not technically married, to the outside world it looks like I am.

I make my house look as if I'm married

I have a wedding ring. I have pictures of one of my college buddies strewn about the house. I have a 40-by-40-inch framed photo from my brother's first wedding leaning against my living-room wall; "we just haven't had the time to hang it up," I say.

I babble on and on about my husband, who's at Lowe's for the thousandth time today because he just can't seem to find that one thing he needs for his project, or who's watching the game with his buddies. He's always somewhere out in the world being ridiculous, but he's also always on his way home, anytime now.

My fake nuptials may seem extreme, and maybe they are, but for me they were born of necessity. I was done with feeling uneasy and unsafe in my own home.

It all started when my dishwasher needed to be installed

A visit I had scheduled with a repairman kicked me over the edge.

The man I'd hired to install my new dishwasher wore a button-down shirt in his profile picture. He had a long and wordy description elaborating on his experience and skill set. Better still, he had five-star reviews, and he was available to install my dishwasher that day.

When he arrived at my home in the early evening, there wasn't a button-down shirt or khaki pants but a plume of smoke, a stained and disheveled T-shirt, and some uncomfortably low basketball shorts. He seemed pleasant at first; we made small talk, and he offered to put my old machine on the curb.

He also asked me about my husband and the father of my son. It didn't occur to me to lie, so I told him I wasn't married.

Things started to get uncomfortable

He told me it would take about an hour and a half to bring out the old machine and put in the new one. He began calling the service appointment a "first date" and peed with the door open twice. He asked me for a drink; I figured out later he wasn't asking for water. There were times during the visit when I wasn't sure where in my house he'd gone.

He left five hours later, after I asked him to leave. He had closed off my ability to pay him through the app and insisted I pay him via check to avoid losing some of his payment to the platform.

As he took my check and took his leave, he looked back at me and said, "I notice you don't have any security cameras on your house." With that, he took my remaining sense of security right along with him.

After speaking with Jason Ross, a police detective in Indianapolis, it became clear to me how naïve I'd been when it came to my safety and security — and that while my backstory idea isn't a terrible one, calling for backup is probably a better solution. "I think a more effective tool would be to ask a friend to be present with you if there is a service person coming to your residence," Ross said.

Ross added that while security systems, doorbell cameras, and other devices are great resources to have in your security tool kit, don't discount the safety value of just being a good neighbor. "One thing I think is often overlooked in our culture these days is having a good working relationship with your neighbors," Ross said.

After the repairman's car cleared my driveway, I checked the rooms in my house for unlocked doors and windows. I called ADT and ordered security cameras. And I told my neighbors, Abby and Steve, to be on the lookout should he return.

When it comes to repairmen, technicians, window washers, roofers, salesmen, and strangers in general, I'm going to be less trusting and more careful. And though it's not a perfect plan, I'm going to be way more married when the next service appointment comes around.




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