Whether you've been under the needle before or you're a first-timer doing your research, there is a lot for you to think about before you dedicate a tattoo to the person you're dating. This is an entirely new realm of ink that you cannot tread into lightly, for it's representing your relationship in an endearing, yet very permanent way. Before you dive right in or get yourself in the chair one day out of impulse, ask yourself the following questions to really make sure that you're ready to get a love-related tattoo:
1. "How sure can I be that we will last forever?"
Tattoos in themselves are the ultimate cosmetic commitments. Add some sentimental value to the ink, however, and then you have an even bigger question to answer for yourself: how likely is it that you'll be marrying the person whose name you've got branded on your skin? Are you and your lover practically counting down the days until you say "I do," or are you only just starting to toss around the idea of getting hitched?
Think through your relationship's history and ask yourself candidly if it truly deserves such a permanent place on your body (right now, at least).
2. "If our relationship were to end, would having this tattoo bother me?"
Naturally, you'll want to display your partner's tattoo somewhere visible not only to get your money's worth, but to show the rest of the world that you're proud of the person who has your heart. But as sure as we can be about our lovers in the moment, you can never fully prepare for the conflicts you never expect. Something unforeseeable could go down that causes your romance to fizzle out, and even though they're gone one day, you'll always be stuck with a vivid reminder of what you used to have together.
Can you really handle seeing their name looking back at you in the mirror every day?
3. "Would my partner be okay with their name being somewhere on my body?"
If you're considering getting the tattoo as a surprise gift for your significant other…you may want to retire that idea ASAP. You've probably never discussed it explicitly, so how can you be sure that your partner would be okay with you decorating your skin with their name or their portrait? A tattoo for some has the same magnitude of an engagement ring, which is perfect, but only so long as you're both on the same page. And unfortunately, it's very possible that while you might be ready for that kind of intimate gesture, your lover may not be.
4. "Am I doing this for my partner or am I doing this for myself?"
Are you booking that appointment with the tattoo artist because your S.O. really wants you to, or because you're genuinely ready to dedicate a tattoo to your lover all on your own? Maybe they've been talking about getting matching tattoos for months and you don't want to let them down any longer, so you're biting the bullet and just going for it to appease them. If that's the case, you need to know that you have every right to back out at any point. This ink is going on your body, not theirs, so you are the only person who can consensually make the decision to mark up your skin with whatever you want.
5. "Do I really need to get a tattoo to show how committed I am to my partner?"
Honestly, no. There are so many other ways that you can demonstrate your love for and your devotion to your sweetheart that don't involve the pain nor the permanence of a tattoo. You have endless options for romantic gestures at your fingertips—matching engraved jewelry, framed photos, initialed keychains, and so much more—so why splurge for a tattoo so early on? It's better to be safe than sorry with this one, honey.
6. "Is it possible that I could 'jinx' our relationship?"
If you're a superstitious kind of person, you're risking your peace at mind by etching your lover's name into your skin. A lot of people swear by the "six month curse," which describes some tatted couples' sentence to relationship death soon after getting inked. Of course, by no means is this destined to happen to you, but it's not entirely uncommon that so boldly professing your love too soon can end in disaster. It might not necessarily be the tattoo that undoes you, but the pressure it puts on both of you to be the perfect "forever" couple could very well be what brings you down in the end.
7. "Am I ready for the judgment I might receive from others?"
Let's face it: people can be extremely rude and love to judge others whenever possible. But by inking your lover's name, you're subjecting yourself to scrutiny from more than just strangers. Your family, your friends, your partner's family and friends, your coworkers, and even your potential future bosses might view you differently once they see you've got a tattoo for your current sweetheart. Are you really okay with putting up with awkward comments and unwarranted jabs from the people you care about?
8. "How will I feel about this in the future even if we are still dating?"
It could be several months or even years from now and you're still very much in love with your soulmate, but your tattoo is starting to glare at you in the mirror and you find yourself covering it up at all costs. Maybe it just doesn't suit your taste anymore or it's faded too much for your liking, or perhaps it wasn't all that artistic to begin with and you're finally starting to notice where you might have gone wrong. Whatever your reason for doubting it may be, do you really want to endure the everyday hassle of hiding a tattoo you're no longer in love with even if it's commemorating the person you adore?
10. "Why does the tattoo have to be of their name and not something a little more subtle?"
These celebrity couples opted for less specific, but still very romantic designs for matching tattoos that could easily change their meaning should their relationships come to an end. You can still splurge and get a little bit of ink for your sweetheart, but you can take the emphasis off of their name and place it on something even more symbolic. Their favorite number, Bible verse, quote, or even their favorite animal is a much safer option if you're desperate to get inked in their honor. Or if you're dead-set on writing their name in fancy font across your skin, at least get the tattoo done in a more intimate or secretive place where only you two can admire it. If you were to break up, then, getting the tattoo removed could be at the least of your worries because it's out of sight and, therefore, out of mind.
No matter what you decide, as long as you and your significant other are happy with the results, there's no reason why you shouldn't take joy in the artwork you now have drawn onto your body. Kudos to you for living in the moment while most of us would hesitate to act—but do keep in mind, of course, that you can't take back what you've done without a lot of pain, money, or both.