Husband Feels 'Betrayed' By Wife Getting A Tattoo — He Says 'The Damage Is Done'

He compared her tattoo to marital infidelity.

tattooed bride with groom Git Stephen Gitau / Pexels

A woman wrote to the English parenting forum Mumsnet about a conflict between her and her husband which left her “feeling sad currently.” She wondered if she was wrong for getting a tattoo without her husband’s explicit permission.

The woman’s husband felt ‘betrayed’ because she got a tattoo without him knowing.

She explained that she went away for a weekend with friends, at the “end of a tough period [with] lots of family illness and bereavement.” She and her friends decided to get small, matching tattoos “as celebration [and] memory.”


She wrote that her husband is “furious — both about the tattoo and that we didn’t discuss it beforehand.”

The woman’s husband has expressed to her that he hates tattoos, and thinks that she got the tattoo “out of spite.” She also explained that she has three “much larger” tattoos that she got before she met her husband. “He has generally mentioned he doesn’t like tattoos but nothing that made me think this would be the reaction,” she said.

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Her husband compared her getting a tattoo to having an affair, saying he felt ‘betrayed’ by her decision.

“I apologized and tried to explain, offered to have it lasered off,” she said. “He said no, as this would cause a scar and that the damage is done and he ‘would always know.’”


holding hands tattooPhoto: Tim Samuels / Pexels 

The woman told him “in [the] heat of the moment, maybe [the] only option would be divorce, if he felt [it] comparable to breaking marriage vows.”

In response, her husband gave her the silent treatment and slept in a separate room. She reiterated that she apologized and tried to explain her reason for getting the tattoo, which she said was “very small” and “on [a] visible part of [her] body, but can be covered.”


She thinks that his angry response was an overreaction, “especially when comparing [it] to an extra-marital affair.” 

“It’s my body and he shouldn’t be dictating what I do with it,” she stated. 

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The people in the comments agreed entirely with her assessment of the situation being one centered on bodily autonomy. 

One person noted, “he’s angry that you made a decision about your body that didn’t prioritize him. This is a control issue.”

Someone else said, “He can have a preference that you hadn’t done it but that’s it.” They opined that comparing a tattoo to having an affair is “off the rails… and suggests he thinks he owns you in some way, which is such a red flag.”


Another person stated, “Obviously, he’s allowed to feel whatever he feels — but he’s absolutely not allowed to ill-treat you over something perfectly legal that you do to your own body.”

“Stop apologizing. Stop explaining,” advised a different person. 

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The woman came back to the conversation to comment on the responses she received.

She wrote that it was “reassuring to know that this is a massive overreaction from him, and I agree it felt so controlling.” She noted that “generally he isn’t controlling… although this reaction is making me question other aspects of the relationship dynamics.” She also stated that she and her husband have kids together, “and I feel this is such a bad example to them of what is an appropriate way to behave in a relationship.”


The woman’s concerns are quite valid. It appears that her husband is using the silent treatment to shame her about a decision she made that he disagrees with. As noted in an article from Verywellmind, “when the person using the silent treatment takes away the ability to communicate and collaborate with one another, the person on the receiving end often will go to great lengths to restore the verbal aspect of the relationship.”

The woman’s repeated apologies and attempts to “fix” what her husband sees as a mistake fits that exact pattern. His way of navigating his disapproval is harmful to her, and she’s right to worry about what his reaction means, both for her and for her children.

While she didn’t follow up on the thread about any plan of action, she did utilize a community space to seek support and validate her experience, which is an essential part of standing up for herself in what appears to be a controlling relationship.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers relationship issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.