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In honor of her ex, my girlfriend got a tattoo, and I am not sure how I feel about it

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My girlfriend and I have been together for about 6 months, and early on in our relationship, she received a devastating call from a friend informing her that her ex-boyfriend had taken his own life. She has been blaming herself for his death, as she was the last person he spoke to. Although their relationship was troubled, with manipulation and mistreatment, she still feels guilt and wishes she could have done something to prevent it.

It has been 5 months since his passing, and she continues to blame herself and longs for him to be alive again. Some days, she feels overwhelmed with sadness and depression, but she finds it difficult to open up to me about her feelings, thinking it will upset me.

However, she regularly talks to her ex’s best friend and even hangs out with him at the house where her ex used to live. I want to be there for her and support her through this difficult time.

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Recently, she mentioned getting a tattoo and showed me the design she had in mind. She followed through with it and even got another tattoo—a heart symbol with “MISS YOU” written inside—on her visible leg. I’m unsure how to feel about this.

I understand that it’s her body, and she has the right to make her own choices. I have been supportive throughout her grieving process, even though it hasn’t been easy for me. However, this tattoo feels like a breaking point for me.

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I believe there are alternative ways to remember someone, such as an ex, without getting a permanent tattoo unless it’s for a family member. She already keeps some of his clothing for sentimental reasons, which didn’t bother me.

I’m hesitant to bring up my concerns because previous discussions on similar topics have resulted in arguments where she turns things around and makes me feel like the problem in the relationship.

While I can understand her maintaining contact with her ex’s friend and spending time with him for support, I don’t think I could handle seeing the tattoo every day, especially in intimate moments.

I suggested that she consider seeing a therapist to help her cope with the trauma, but she dismissed the idea, saying she’s not ready to let go or talk about it yet. Despite all this, she still expresses a desire for our relationship to work.

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I’m at a loss for what to do in this situation. It’s challenging for me to navigate her grieving process while also acknowledging my own discomfort. I want to support her, but I also want to address my concerns without causing more tension.

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