Dear Darling D,
I feel bad sending this question in, but I feel worse saying it out loud to anyone I know. My girlfriend just got a tattoo and while she is beautiful and I love her, I really don’t like the tattoo. I never knew I didn’t like tattoos until she had this new splattered ink on her arm. I feel awful because I supported her doing it, I knew it was an expression she’d been wanting for a while. But now that it’s here I can’t help but wish she didn’t have it. What do I do to get rid of these feelings? I want to like it, for her sake!
Tim, Me No Likey
Thanks for writing in about this. I can only imagine how conflicted you feel. It sounds like you supported her getting a tattoo and are an open guy, but once that tattoo became permanent and not just an inkling of an idea (pun intended) you realized you maybe weren’t as cool with tattoos on your partner as you thought.
Before any haters start trolling on you saying you need to get over it and deal, I want you to know your feelings are your feelings and no one can take them from you. You recognize you’re not into the tattoo and that’s okay. That’s the end of that part.
Now let’s talk about moving forward. I understand you want to move beyond your current feelings. I think it’s great you want to like her tattoo because if she’s pleased with it you don’t want to take that away from her. I get that. Let’ talk through a couple things.
1+1=2, but 1 still equals 1. Relationships are made up of two people, and in general those two people compromise on certain things to bring together both people’s happiness. But those two people are still individuals, with individual tastes, preferences and feelings. In the span of a long-term relationship, chances are high that at some point one partner in the relationship will do something to or for themselves that the partner isn’t the biggest fan of. Examples could be cutting their hair short or growing it long, growing or shaving a beard, getting a piercing, buying or wearing a certain piece of clothing, etc.
My point in saying that is that it’s okay to not be the biggest fan of something. I prefer my boo with facial hair, but he loves shaving and sometimes is really into his face being smooth. It might not be my preference, but it’s his body and his prerogative to do with it what he wants! We have a healthy relationship and he knows what I like too – he never does anything out of spite, only for what he wants while also considering my feelings.
With this tattoo, you don’t have to be the biggest fan. Hopefully as time goes on two things will happen: you will notice it less as a distraction because you will just be used to it, and because you get used to it you no longer mind it. Remember, you love her – you said it yourself! I hope that means you love all of her – short hair or long hair, high heels or sneakers, sweatpants or fancy dress, tattoo or no tattoo.
The tattoo is a new piece of her. You may not be attracted to the tattoo itself, but if you truly do love her, you will quickly be able to move beyond the stark distaste of the tattoo to a more neutral place. You never have to be in love with it – only in love with her!
Props to you for acknowledging your feelings and wanting to move past them. Remember all the reasons why you love your lady friend on the inside, and one little thing on the outside will hopefully not matter soon enough!