Social Question

OpryLeigh's avatar

How can I make my partner comfortable with the idea of me getting a tattoo?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25265points) July 2nd, 2011

I have really wanted a tattoo for as long as I can remember but my boyfriend really isn’t a fan and so, because of his views, I decided not to get one.

Now, I must stress that he would never try to stop me doing anything that I wanted and it’s not something that would cause him to stop loving me. He’s always encouraging me to be myself and not let the relationship dictate decisions like this. However, as much as I don’t want to feel this way, I worry that he may not find me as attractive with a tattoo because of his own personal opinions.

For the past few years I have been able to push the want for a tattoo to the back of my mind but over the past year or so the urge has been getting stronger to the point where I look longingly through the window of the tattoo shop down the road from my house.

I know exactly what I want and where I want it and it’s not going to be discreet. I have wanted this design in this place for a long time which tells me that it’s something that I will regret having done.

I don’t really know what I am asking you guys to tell me, I guess I just want to hear your thoughts. I was thinking that maybe I could get the tattoo when we go on holiday together so that it will have good memories attached to it for him.

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26 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Just do it. Have you wanted the tattoo longer than he’s been your bf? Longer than you think you two will be together?

My ex husband didn’t like tattoos back then and so for near decade we were married I didn’t get one. These days (divorce and new marriages later) he’s sporting tattoos and piercings himself.

You never know but if you’re comfortable your guy’s love for you will not make him wince and turn away from your inked body part/s then do for yourself. It’s a short ride.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I have wanted the tattoo for longer than I have been with him but in the early years I put it off to make sure it wasn’t a teenage phase. However, this is the person I want to be with. I don’t think about not being with him and so I have to make the decision with him in mind because I want him to be around for as long as the tattoo will be.

wundayatta's avatar

I would talk about it with him. Is he going to leave you if you get it? Or will he just be put off if you get it? That way you know what you are dealing with and can make your decision. I’m assuming that he’ll leave you, you wouldn’t get it. But if he’d only be disappointed or mildly turned off, you would get. Hell, if he was majorly turned off, but wouldn’t leave you, then I guess you’d get it?

But you have to be careful. You are giving him a built-in excuse to leave should he ever decides he wants to.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Leanne1986: He loves you and I’ll wager if he sees how pleased you are with your tattoo then he will grow to not think it’s so horrible a thing to do. Maybe share with him the artwork, tattoo artist research and stuff?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@wundayatta I know he loves me, I have absolutely no reason to doubt his love for me and I really don’t think he would leave me if I got a tattoo. He says he doesn’t want me to permanently mark (what he thinks is) a perfect body. I see tattoos as art that could enhance my body, he doesn’t share that opinion. He’s so laid back that, in reality, he would probably take a while to get used to it but it wouldn’t effect his love for me. I worry that he would find me less (physically) attractive but I think that is probably me reading to much into that situation.

What do you guys think of the idea of me getting it on our holiday so that it is associated with a happy memory for the both of us?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

He might not find you as attractive if he finds tattoos unattractive – here’s where you choose between caring about that and caring about doing what you want with your body. In my own life, I’ve never stayed long with anyone who would make me feel uncomfortable about choices I’d make with relationship to myself, my body. It will always be my body but they might not always be my loves, so screw them. However, if you’re the kind to concede to his likes and dislikes and perhaps there’s something he’s been wanting to do that you don’t find attractive, let him do it and compromise, in the end of it all. To be honest, though, I just don’t get how exactly relationships work where partners tell other partners that they will find each other unattractive if something little like getting a tattoo changed. Ya’ll are better people than me, perhaps, to put up with that kind of bs?

Brian1946's avatar

“I have wanted this design in this place for a long time which tells me that it’s something that I will regret having done.”

Did you intend to say, ”...will not regret having done”?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir He’s never told me he would find me unattractive with a tattoo. He’s said that he is worried about me permanently marking my body but he seems to be saying that out of concern that I will regret my decision. He is the only person in the world that I can’t think “screw him and his views” about and this is also the only thing that I have sacrificed for him.

@Brian1946 Yes, I did mean to say that. Sorry.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Brian1946 I really think he might change his mind. You see, if he loves you like you think he does, then he will love the tattoo you get because it’s on you, the being that he loves.

wundayatta's avatar

If it’s an issue of marring the perfection of your body, then I understand his point of view perfectly. I like tattoos fine on other people, where I don’t have to see them every day and I don’t have to pay much attention to them. But on a lover, it would give me pause.

I’d wonder how you could do that to yourself. I just don’t understand it. People change and the tattoos begin to look ridiculous. I don’t know if it would wear on me enough to break up with you, but I think it would be a sign of something. I don’t know what that something is, but whatever it is, I might not like it.

I’ve never had a girlfriend with a tattoo, and of course my wife doesn’t have one. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a class thing, too.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta…I’m sure you meant class-ist, as in your views. But carry on.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t doubt his love for me so perhaps you’re right.

@wundayatta Thank you for your honesty. I love him too much to just say “screw him, I’m going to do what I want to do regardless of how he feels” which is why I have put it off for so long. He can’t help how he feels about tattoos and I’m not going to dismiss his concerns to prove that I am my own person. I don’t need to. He’ll get used to it and love me all the same, this I know but I want him to be as comfortable as possible during the process!!

marinelife's avatar

Go for it. Let the boyfriend’s chips fall where they may. Anything you have wanted for this long is real not a passing fancy.

Brian1946's avatar


”@Brian1946 I really think he might change his mind. You see, if he loves you like you think he does, then he will love the tattoo you get because it’s on you, the being that he loves.”

Excellent point- I’m definitely gonna get one now! ;-p

YARNLADY's avatar

Maybe you could go for a temporary, painted on tattoo, and see if you both like it.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@YARNLADY That idea has crossed my mind!

tinyfaery's avatar

If a simple thing like a tattoo has the potential to ruin your relationship then the relationship isn’t very strong to begin with.

Just do it!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Henna. It is not permanent and won’t be something you might regret later.

I predict in 20 years one of the best businesses to be in will be laser-hydroacoustic tattoo removal.
It will cost 3x more that the original ink, but the machines will still be busy.
How about Gucci Mane’s face tattoo of an ice cream cone with lightning bolts shooting of it. Eyebrow to lip
His momma must be so proud.

Brian1946's avatar


How long does a henna tattoo last?

dabbler's avatar

Of course it’s a matter of taste but it seems to me the nature size/scope/location of the tattoo would make a lot of difference for getting a better idea of whether or not your boyfriend is more concerned than he ought to be… or not adamant enough in his objection.
(if you described your anticipated tattoo, I apologize I missed that) .

I was surprised when my mom got a tattoo. But it didn’t bother me in the least. She got a rose about an inch high on one of her ankles. It was cute and it made her happy. It was easy to get behind it.

But that’s on the innocuous end of the range of possibilities. If you’re thinking of something like that then the guy’s off his rocker to object.
But if you’ll have vines of thorns twisting up one leg around one butt cheek to your backbone where it bursts into skulls and musical notes, culminating with vultures on your shoulders, then I’d lean in your boyfriend’s direction and/or throw my opinion behind those recommending henna for a test run.

Porifera's avatar

I wish I could begin to understand why the need to tattooing your (one’s) body can be so strong as to put it on the same level as a relationship. What effect has a drawing on your skin that is so important? I just don’t like it, don’t understand it, etc.
When he met you, you didn’t have one, had you had one at the time, maybe he wouldn’t have gone so far with you. I know I wouldn’t be with a guy with tattoos. There is more to the tattoo than the actual design on your skin, it is a way of thinking of expressing yourself, such way of thinking whatever it is, it’s not mine and I don’t want someone so close to me to have a tattoo that I’ll have to look at everyday. Maybe your BF thinks like me in which case, you are risking a lot. I don’t think he will grow to love the tattoo because is on you and he loves you. You are you, and the tattoo is a drawing on your skin that will stay there for ever. I think you need to know on a scale of 1 to 10 how much he dislikes it, and take it from there before you make your final decision.

SavoirFaire's avatar

As a guy who doesn’t particularly like tattoos married to a woman who has a growing desire for a tattoo, I’d say you should do what you want if your desire is really that strong. My feelings for my wife are not going to change if she gets the tattoo, I sincerely doubt it could make me find her less attractive, and I’m sure I would get used to it. Indeed, I suspect that my feelings are half projection of my own lack of desire for a tattoo and half worry that she’ll come to regret it. Neither is a good reason for me to stand in her way.

I also disagree with @wundayatta that getting the tattoo gives your boyfriend a built-in excuse for leaving you. It certainly would not be a legitimate excuse, and anyone scraping the barrel that desperately would blame you for having the wrong eye color if necessary. So in my opinion, that’s not a real worry.

As for making your partner more comfortable with the idea, I would stop asking him about it and start talking about it as something you’re seriously considering. Do research and share it with him. Even if you don’t actually need any more information, it just gives him time to get used to the idea that this really might—and likely will—happen.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Porifera The need for a tattoo doesn’t even come close to the importance of my relationship which is exactly why I haven’t just gone and done it regardless of his concerns. If I thought that I had to choose between my relationship and a tattoo of course my relationship would win.

@SavoirFaire Thank you. I will have a real discussion with him and go from there. Like you, my boyfriend would never try to stop me doing something I want to do and it is because of this that I want him to be comfortable. He’s always been so great about me staying true to myself and he has never tried to dictate how I should act/dress/be.

Porifera's avatar

@Leanne1986 I think I understand you a little —from your stand point that is. I meant to talk in general because I’d genuinely like to understand the importance of a tattoo that so many people feel so strongly about, let alone to even consider it an issue with my SO. I’m sorry if by the way I wrote it, that didn’t come accross the way I meant it. Hope you reach a win-win point where you can have your tattoo and keep the bf happy :)

wundayatta's avatar

Have you had the conversation yet? And if so, what happened?

OpryLeigh's avatar

Not yet. We haven’t been at home together for a long enough period of time and I don’t want to do it when we are rushed for time. I’ll keep you informed.

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