If you're in a serious relationship or seriously in love with your partner, you might be inclined to celebrate your feelings with a grand gesture or by taking a big step in your relationship. You might move in together, adopt a dog, or get matching tattoos. I personally am tattoo-free, but I can totally see the appeal of inking a symbol of your love and committment on your body forever and seeing that same image on your bae's bod. If you're considering getting matching tattoos with your boyfriend or girlfriend, here are a few things to consider beforehand.
Noelle Cordeaux, life coach and CEO of JRNI Coaching, suggests that before you get inked, you should examine the personal meaning behind the tattoo. While matching or coordinating a tattoo with your significant other has meaning for both of you as a couple, it should also have meaning for you individually. "As a life coach, I would ask any client of mine to examine the personal meaning and/or implications of partnering with someone else to enact a very permanent form of self-representation."
If your partner is encouraging you to get a matching tattoo and you're hesitating, that doesn't necessarily indicate that you have doubts about the relationship. It could simply mean you're unsure of making that kind of commitment to a tattoo. It could be that the image isn't quite right, or the meaning behind the image isn't quite right, or you're not interested in getting inked at all. Whether you've never gotten a tattoo or are running out of available space on your bod, you should listen to your gut. Cordeaux agrees, "The amount of tattoos you currently have should have zero bearing on whether you decide to coordinate a tattoo with a partner."
While you might decide to take steps forward with your partner based on how long you've been dating, Cordeaux says, "I do not think that the length of time that a couple has been in a relationship matters when a couple decides to get matching tattoos; rather it is the meaning and intent behind the decision that is important." So whether you're one month into dating or celebrating your first anniversary, an important consideration before getting your ink is the meaning of the tattoo.
Another thing Cordeaux suggests considering is your motivation for getting a matching tattoo with your boo. "Motivations for getting a tattoo include personal adornment/decoration, an expression of individualism, or markers of identity." Interestingly, men and women have different motivations for tattooing — women are more motivated by the urge for personal decoration and to feel independent, while men tend to use tattoos as symbols of group identity.
Lets say you and your partner overcame a challenge together, or deeply bonded over past or shared experiences. Cordeaux believes this could be a good motivation for getting a tattoo. "Tattoos can aid self-management by providing a reminder to overcome difficult emotions." Therefore, an image celebrating a personal or shared triumph can be very meaningful, and your motivation for a tattoo could be wanting a permanent reminder of that shared experience.
You and your partner could simply want to show the world how much you love each other and how committed you are to each other. Cordeaux adds, "Deciding to get a matching or representative tattoo is often a physical declaration and/or celebration of the person we have become through our relationship." She also believes you're attracted and feel connected to someone because they represent a vision of life that you want for yourself. "We fall in love with someone because we love who we become when we are with them."
So before you go under the needle, be sure that your matching tattoo means something to you as your own person. You should also have significant motivation for getting your tattoo and it should embody who you are as a person and who you are as part of a couple. While people grow and change, if you get a tattoo that's meaningful with the proper motivation, chances are your ink will age with you just beautifully.
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