I Hate My Girlfriend’s Tattoo

Question:

I am very much in love with my girlfriend and I want to marry her. Recently, she got a tattoo on her left wrist that I do not like whatsoever. I am trying to get over it but the idea of looking at it the rest of my life is not thrilling.

I keep telling myself it is not a big deal but why do I loathe it so? She did not get it behind my back. Due to some miscommunication she got it anyway. We have had several conversations before about how I do not like them.

Do you have any advice for me to try and get over this faster?

Luke

Answer: 

Dear Luke,

We’re not crazy about answering questions with our hands tied behind our back.  That is what you’re doing by asking us to help you get over this. Perhaps that is the direction in which you should go, but we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest that the depth of your loathing (your word) demands that you rethink your premise.

We know that people often write their questions quickly. We may be reading more into what you wrote than is necessary. However, perhaps your letter reveals more than you intended. You say that you had many conversations about your dislike for tattoos, but that is was simply a miscommunication that your girlfriend got one anyway. Sorry, but that doesn’t add up.

In every marriage, there are times that husband and wife disagree. Being able to resolve those disagreements is essential to harmony. We suspect that the issue here isn’t the tattoo, but that deep down you see getting the tattoo as your girlfriend’s statement that she doesn’t care what you think. You are so invested in the relationship that you can’t face that possibility.

Our advice would not be to work on getting over this, but instead to get relationship counseling. Sometimes pre-marital counseling should actually be pre-engagement counseling and we do suggest that in your case. Either the two of you will emerge with a stronger relationship and the tattoo will become less important or you will realize that, despite how you feel, there is not a happy future in the picture.

Wishing you the courage to face reality, wherever it leads,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

 

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14 thoughts on “I Hate My Girlfriend’s Tattoo”

  1. As alway- great counsel

    I so ‘wish’ I had your wisdom while I was married (and most especially before).

    The best emails I get are Thought Tools, Ask the Rabbi and Susan’s Musings

    I am a more informed, educated Christian because of your teachings

    Thank-you and blessings to you and Susan.

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    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you so much Karen–
      we all have that same feeling of regret at mistakes made before we had the knowledge, life experience and wisdom with which we’re now blessed.
      Don’t let it make you miserable. You also did many smart and good things too. Like all of us….
      Moving onwards and upwards
      Happy TG
      Cordially
      RDL

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  2. David Altschuler

    Tattoos are inherently short-sighted; they proclaim that the wearer knows that he will never want to express himself any differently in the future than he does now. If he wrong (and does change and grow) he will eventually feel embarrassed. If he is correct (there will never be change and growth) he/she might be a fool and so not marriage material.
    The nice thing about the tattoo fad (and it will not last long) is that the victim can never forget the moment of vulnerability when he/she paid after-tax dollars to have graffiti applied to his/her G-d given complexion. The assured regret will be a worthy lesson for the victim’s entire life.

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    1. I don’t approve of tattoos and would not ever get one, and I would not like the idea at all if my wife expressed a desire to get one.

      That said, I can certainly think of sentiments that are timeless and would not become less meaningful over the years; verses from Scripture being perhaps the most obvious example. I don’t think that not changing one’s mind about such a subject reflects a lack of growth.

      But overall, I agree with David Altschuler. And I think a tattoo removal business will be a fantastic business opportunity in the future!

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    2. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thanks for the insightful comments David–
      But why do you predict the practice won’t last long? It would hardly have been prohibited in the Torah were it not something found in all times and places? So I don’t agree with you on that–I think the desire to tattoo is deep and real. I’ll be honest and tell you that I actually ‘get it’. I won’t do it but do feel some of the draw.
      Cordially
      RDL

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  3. I agree totally with your perception and answer. I appreciate both you and Susan’s thoughts and teachings. Thank You

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    1. We are happy to discuss the Biblical view of tattoos, but we didn’t feel that the tattoo was the issue here. Had he said that she bought a dog knowing he was allergic to them or disliked pets, the answer would be the same. This seemed to exemplify a problem in the relationship rather than a specific problem with tattoos.

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  4. As usual your wisdom shoots right to the heart of the matter…and sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable at first but then comes out as truth. God Bless you,

    Ruth

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