Don’t get a tattoo of your significant other’s name … ever

As an addendum to the Baby High post, one thing that I must stress after watching the special is this: Never, ever, in a million years, get your significant other’s name tattooed on your body. Never do it. Don’t even try to think of instances when it would be appropriate.

LaKrista, one of the girls documented on the special, showed off her new “Broderick” tattoo, and at first I thought it was like Catelynn and Tyler’s “Carly” tattoos from the first season of Teen Mom, which were reflections of their daughter. “Oh, Broderick, she got a giant front shoulder tattoo of her baby’s name, that’s cute,” I thought. The tattoo was very pretty, so I thought it was a nice sentiment — then LaKrista explained that Broderick was her on-again, off-again boyfriend and the father of their daughter.

Although the fact that he is the father will always provide a connection between the two of them, that’s no reason to get his name tattooed on your body — especially a gigantic, highly visible tattoo that would be nearly impossible to hide in the event that he becomes “off-again.” Far too often people get tattoos to show their commitment, in hopes that the tattoo will keep the significant other around because it’s a symbol of how serious the person is about the relationship — as if the tattoo will change everything. Or maybe they simply get it as a sign of affection when the relationship is going really well — either way, it’s never a good idea.

There are far too many cases of people inking themselves permanently with the name of a significant other — ask Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, or Amy Winehouse, to name a few — and then having the relationship end, leaving them with a permanent tattoo that reminds them of a failed relationship (though Winehouse and Blake are on-again, off-again). Jolie and Depp both had part of their tattoos removed (the part that identifies someone’s name), though another option is to have a new tattoo done on top of the old one. Typically, though, the new tattoo will have to be somewhat bigger.

In fact, there’s an episode of True Life, “I Hate My Tattoos,” in which one of the people documented has her ex-boyfriend’s name tattooed on her forearm. She covered her forearm with a large sweatband so she isn’t reminded of the guy — who cleared out her bank account — but the tattoo also keeps her convinced that she should try to make things work this guy, who is a douchebag. The tattoo breeds an unhealthy desire to make the relationship work so she doesn’t have to change the tattoo and admit it was a huge mistake, giving her an excuse to try to reconcile what seems to be an abusive relationship.

The significant other tattoo breeds a lot of things in a relationship that are unhealthy — people use it to try to keep their partner around and to keep the relationship together, as if the permanance of the ink will transcend to the relationship. Or even if it’s just a sign of affection, it can psychologically mess with the inked person and make them pursue an unhealthy, abusive relationship simply because they already have the tattoo, or it simply acts as a reminder of bad memories that the inked person likely doesn’t want to relive.

Yes, people can get whatever tattoo they want. I’m not about stifling creativity, and people are free to ink themselves with whatever they want. But, I think if you want a tattoo or especially if want to fix your relationship, the significant other tattoo is a path that mostly leads to regret, tattoo removal, and people staying in unhealthy and/or abusive relationships.

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