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Dating for almost 6 years and not sure if he’s the one


Leigh34
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I am 29 and he is 39. We met when I moved into an apartment complex 6 years ago. I was just starting school again and he is a tattoo artist. Back then I was not serious about dating and didn’t think much of the future. He’s so good to me and has grown to be more mature than he was when I met him. But I am learning that maybe our lifestyles might end up being different down the road. Six years later and I’m in PA school. I’m finding that the lifestyle of being a PA doesn’t match that of a tattoo artist. All my cohorts are dating men with normal jobs and none of them have neck tattoos. Every time I get asked if I have a boyfriend they ask what he does, when I tell them they are shocked and some of them laugh about it. I hate that I’m embarrassed by it because I do love him so much. And to top it off, my parents aren’t crazy about him either. My extended family doesn’t even know about him because I’d basically be the black sheep for being in such an unconventional relationship. I can’t help feeling like we aren’t a good fit but we do love each other very much. I’m just worried about what that means for our future as far as social standing goes.

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If he's a good person who treats you well and is not sponging off you financially, what difference does it make how he makes a living or what he has on his neck?

 

My mother (thankfully) taught me to never knock honest work. If someone's working at a legitimate job (meaning, not stealing or selling drugs) then who am I to judge?

 

Honestly, it sounds like you agree with your friends and family if you're ashamed and are choosing to hide him. I would walk proudly into any room with a man whom I love and who treats me well. Why can't you?

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Well, frankly your reasons for believing you're not a good fit or "the one" seem quite shallow imo.

 

I mean clearly you are more concerned with "appearances" and what society thinks, so yeah end it, you're not doing your bf any favors by remaining with him.

 

I feel badly for him. Here we have an honest, hard working man who treats you well, who loves you and you love him (or so you claim).

 

Yet you're considering leaving because of how your relationship looks to others and what society thinks of it?

 

Sorry can't wrap my brain around that mindset.

 

Not that it matters, but there is a female attorney I know (partner in a large law firm), who is married to a construction worker with hair down to his waist and who rides and collects Harleys. Oh and yeah he has tattoos as well, several in fact.

 

Do you think she gives a crap what others and "society" think or say? Big fat NO! Nor would I if faced with the same situation.

 

But again your feelings so yeah dump him if you believe he is not up to your and society's "standards" of the type of person who is the right fit for you.

Edited by katrina1980
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Thank you for your replies. I guess I’m getting too hung up on what everyone thinks. I think it stems from lifelong insecurities and being raised to highly value those things, even though it might not be the right thing to do. I just want us to be accepted in a world that can be judgmental. I appreciate the honest feedback!

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If you are concerned about your differing lifestyles or interests, it may be one thing so I wouldn't neglect that or ignore if you don't feel those match or are compatible. Relationships aren't just about love and loyalty. It means being compatible also and bringing out the good parts of each other. He seems to trigger insecurities for you around your family.

 

Sometimes people also laugh out of nervousness, not because they particularly find anything amusing. Extensive tattoos are still frowned upon in most societies so neck tattoos will receive a lot of attention and not all of those are going to be positive. This may be a good time to ask yourself whether you're serious about the relationship or whether meeting him was part of a different era in your life (not compatible with where you see yourself going in the future). You are not obligated to stay with someone you're not in love with or don't see yourself spending your life with. I think it's also kinder to the other person if you're honest about it as opposed to ignoring it and telling him all those issues you're experiencing and what grief it's causing you years later on down the line. It wouldn't be a very loving or kind thing to do prolonging that.

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Unfortunately, even though tattooed people are prevalent, there's still discrimination at he work place (some job interviews), social settings among family and friends. I've known great people with tattoos. There's discrimination at the work place regarding body piercings, too. No one will say it but discrimination and stereotypes still exist. Tattoos and / or body piercings are stereotyped and associated with thugs, ex-convicts, convicts, gangs, weirdos, roughnecks, bikers, drug addicts, alcoholics and unconventional types. Unfortunately, how you present yourself to society is still discriminatory.

 

If you love him, then keep him! Don't care what other people think or say!

 

Since you've been with your boyfriend for 6 years and he's a nice guy, then all you have to worry about is if he's a good provider. I'd be more concerned if you have to work like a dog to sustain your household with him. Focus on that and if finances are not an issue, don't care about how your boyfriend is perceived socially.

 

You have to choose between your boyfriend or society. It's your boyfriend or your social standing and your family. It's a package deal. If you think your boyfriend will affect your image due to his unattractive tattooed image and this truly bothers you, then let him go. If you will sacrifice your image and social standing for your boyfriend, then keep him as your boyfriend. Those are your two choices so choose one of them.

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You are saying you arent a good fit with him because others would not like his tattoos or what he does for work. But you do like this guy, despite tattoos. I think you've convinced yourself it wont work with him because of what others think! You need to get over that. It doesnt matter what other people think. It matter how YOU think.

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If he was Steven Tyler and dressed like a woman, would you still be embarrassed?

 

Personally, I like seeing couples that don't appear to 'match' on the exterior. I always figure that got something going on that's so good, nothing else matters. You might actually find that some people will be envious.

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You say he has matured during the time you've dated but you have a lot more maturing to do. The 20's are a time to date, get burned, date some more, get burned some more, until reaching a point of appreciating what a real relationship has to offer. You clearly haven't had that opportunity of experiences if your main concern is about what others think of YOUR relationship. That's high school stuff.

 

I don't have an answer for you other than you both may need to start discussing how you both would like the future to be as far as your relationship. Based on what you've written, at some point you are going to wander away from this relationship.

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I would get to the root of whether you agree with your family. I think it is essential to respect and admire what your partner has chosen for his career or profession or job. Of course some people work just to meet their financial needs but again - then the spouse should admire and respect those values too. If you do not -you not your family - then he is not the right person for you as a spouse. He might be fine to date or be friends with but not for a spouse. If you care that much about what people think that you are ignoring what you personally respect and admire then that is a separate issue -and if you care that much I would say you're not ready to be with him or anyone because part of a healthful relationship requires that you can be secure in your own beliefs and values and not be swayed to that extent by what others think.

 

No I would not have dated a tattoo artist most likely because I personally would not be comfortable with that kind of work or with a partner who wanted/had tattoos. I certainly could be friends with a person who made that choice. And I am comfortable expressing that preference for marriage and other preferences and values I had - because marriage is not about treating everyone "equally" -it's about selecting a good match for life. Being "fair" and not "judging" is important when it comes to who you associate with, work with, are friendly with. Certainly if the judgment is too an extreme as in "I won't date a left handed person because they are all sinister" that's just silly but deciding that someone has a profession you don't respect or admire is enough in many cases to decline to be with that person in a long term committed relationship.

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Personally, I like seeing couples that don't appear to 'match' on the exterior. I always figure that got something going on that's so good, nothing else matters. You might actually find that some people will be envious.

 

I agree and feel the same.

 

I am also one of those women who actually prefer dating men outside of what society would deem "appropriate" for me, call it the rebel in me but men like this appeal to me!

 

I work in a very conservative field (legal) and have dated lawyers and doctors and they all eventually bored me to death, no thank you!

 

One of my brothers literally yelled at me when I broke up with an ex a couple of years back -- a doctor.

 

I am attracted to creative eclectic men and would date (and marry) a tattoo artist in a heartbeat!! Assuming there was a mutual chemistry and attraction, and love should we choose to marry, and would feel more than proud to introduce him to the stuffy lawyers in my office and my brothers who are all quite conservative.

 

I also love tattoos on men! I find then incredibly sexy!

 

But that's just me. Another poster said she would never date a tattoo artist so there ya go, we are all different.

 

The only issue I have w this is you dated him for six years, fell in love w him, knowing full well he was a tattoo artist, but now that you are studying to become a PA, you've changed your tune and feel he is no longer up to your standards due to what society and your family think.

 

I don't know, there is just something very wrong w that mindset in my opinion but best of luck whatever you decide.

Edited by katrina1980
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Hi Leigh,

 

It sounds like you two are a great couple and appearances or society should not be what drives you apart. That being said, you mentioned something about your "lifestyles" not being compatible, and that's a different matter entirely. Are your interests/hobbies/pastimes starting to be different also? Or do you still have as much in common as when you got together? Ask yourself whether your "he has tattoos" objection is you covering for real, deeper issues you haven't addressed. And if not, if he's a great guy who loves you and you're in love with him, then I think 30 years from now you may regret walking away for these reasons.

 

But I don't know you guys or the situation very well, so these are just some thoughts. I hope you're able to reach a good decision on this and I wish you both the best!

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You don't live together, you're not engaged or married or in a committed relationship so you can still rethink if you're compatible. This isn't just about tattoos and entering a more staid field. It's about major incompatibilities, major conflicts in values, goals and outlooks. The worst part is that you already have family conflict. Perhaps your rebel without a cause days are over so he's suddenly not so appealing to you because the shock value he once had on your parents has worn off?

I am 29 and he is 39. my parents aren’t crazy about him either.
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I can’t help feeling like we aren’t a good fit but we do love each other very much. I’m just worried about what that means for our future as far as social standing goes.

 

I think this^ pretty much says it all, and as far as being incompatible, my advice is to think long and hard about why exactly you believe you are now suddenly incompatible after six years.

 

Is this what you truly believe due to your own personal values and standards?

 

Or are you adhering to the standards of "society" and your family's values and standards?

 

It's an important decision cause it will affect your happiness for the rest of your lfe.

Edited by katrina1980
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I'm a bit cautious about the stereotypes of tattooed vs non-tattooed. I'm sure we all have our differing views. A lot of people fall in the gray areas between those stereotypes.

 

Tattoo artists fall into different categories depending on how they approach their work. I'm sure you have a very good overview of the industry with your partner being in it. It is very hard and backbreaking work as most artists spend their time hunched over, squinting for long periods, especially for larger pieces. Most artists also make themselves available after hours or on weekends when people want to be tattooed. Tattooing is time consuming but it can also be a lucrative career. There are different levels of experience and talent in the industry and you'll usually hear about a good artist through word of mouth.

 

I felt it was necessary to write about this because not many know about the industry or the type of endurance and level of talent it takes to sustain a job/career in it. As a creative in the industry working these hours and this type of work, he may lean on you for a lot of support and he may also be very likely oblivious to any misgivings you have as he's not around a lot or is consumed by his work. For this reason, I'd be cautious about misleading him and allowing him to believe you support him when you feel you really cannot, mentally, emotionally. You deserve to be with someone you can be passionate about now or in the future too. Be kind to each other.

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I am a college administrator. And I love a tatted up man! More so, I love a creative man!

 

If you are questioning him not being right for you, he probably isn't. And you need to respect him enough to let him go. Don't lead him on if you are looking for a 9-5 cookie-cutter man. If you can't be confident with him, let him find the right person.

 

My main questions is why do you feel like you need to fit in to a certain stereotype? Especially in the medical field, I prefer a doctor or PA who is more individualistic.

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I am a middle aged woman and I am tattooed.

 

Fortunately I work for a company that cares less about what's on my body, my hair color or what metal is attached to my body and more about my skill set. I could go to work tomorrow with green hair with purple stripes and my boss would say "Hi! Cool hair!"

 

My family is also very accepting of people no matter how they choose to decorate their bodies.

 

Tattoos say nothing about what a person is capable of professionally or what their character is.

 

OP, please think hard about what's more important to you...having a partner your family will "approve" of or having a partner YOU approve of.

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I am a college administrator. And I love a tatted up man! More so, I love a creative man!

 

If you are questioning him not being right for you, he probably isn't. And you need to respect him enough to let him go. Don't lead him on if you are looking for a 9-5 cookie-cutter man. If you can't be confident with him, let him find the right person.

 

My main questions is why do you feel like you need to fit in to a certain stereotype? Especially in the medical field, I prefer a doctor or PA who is more individualistic.

 

I don't think it means at all she is looking for a 9 to 5 cookie cutter man just because she is uncomfortable with his chosen career. I preferred to date creative men and I married one. I am creative in writing but not in art but I've always surrounded myself and worked with artists for many years.

 

I wouldn't assume she is seeking to fit a certain stereotype unless she responds that she is blindly following her family's opinions and that they ascribe to those stereotypes. Then I would ask her to question whether this is about pleasing her family or her personal values. If the latter she certainly can be a huge fan of the arts, very into creative people AND not choose to marry this tattoo artist because she does not respect or admire this tattoo artist's chosen job, why he chose it, how/when he works, etc. Just like creative people are often very individualistic I would shy away from making broad generalizations about why she feels this way about this particular artist and when it comes to marriage/long term relationship. I'd make no other assumptions, just like we shouldn't make assumptions about all tattoo artists. No I would not date a tattoo artist for a variety of reasons and that is a general statement just like people choose not to date people of certain religions - but if I met someone who did this for a living I would get to know the person as an individual - separate decision from who I choose to marry/get involved with (hypothetically). Just like I have friends who didn't attend college and I only dated men who at least had a college degree.

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I don't think it means at all she is looking for a 9 to 5 cookie cutter man just because she is uncomfortable with his chosen career. I preferred to date creative men and I married one. I am creative in writing but not in art but I've always surrounded myself and worked with artists for many years.

 

I wouldn't assume she is seeking to fit a certain stereotype unless she responds that she is blindly following her family's opinions and that they ascribe to those stereotypes. Then I would ask her to question whether this is about pleasing her family or her personal values. If the latter she certainly can be a huge fan of the arts, very into creative people AND not choose to marry this tattoo artist because she does not respect or admire this tattoo artist's chosen job, why he chose it, how/when he works, etc. Just like creative people are often very individualistic I would shy away from making broad generalizations about why she feels this way about this particular artist and when it comes to marriage/long term relationship. I'd make no other assumptions, just like we shouldn't make assumptions about all tattoo artists. No I would not date a tattoo artist for a variety of reasons and that is a general statement just like people choose not to date people of certain religions - but if I met someone who did this for a living I would get to know the person as an individual - separate decision from who I choose to marry/get involved with (hypothetically). Just like I have friends who didn't attend college and I only dated men who at least had a college degree.

 

From the original post:

"All my cohorts are dating men with normal jobs and none of them have neck tattoos."

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Jmo but based on what the OP has posted, in all her posts, yes she is seeking a certain stereotype, one that will fit into what society and her family deems "appropriate" for her as a PA.

 

Doctor, lawyer, businessman, teacher, sadly (imo) tattoo artist doesn't fall into the category of "appropriate" with respect to social standing which is clearly important to her.

 

She has made that very clear, it's the premise of this entire thread!

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From the original post:

"All my cohorts are dating men with normal jobs and none of them have neck tattoos."

 

Yes and I wouldn't assume she means 9 to 5 cookie cutter. Or that they are not creative, not artists, etc. I know people who have tattoos who are not creative and the opposite is true as well. Thank you though for pointing that out as I would need to know more, what she means and why she cares that much. For one thing those with normal jobs might lose those jobs, pursue a less typical career, etc - many things are not set in stone. For what it's worth to me tattoo artist is a normal job.

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What exactly are you worried about? That people will judge you based off of him? That you feel like you’ll constantly have to defend what a good person his is?

 

I’m in the healthcare/education field, but I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum as far as dating preferences.

 

I can empathize with the feeling after you get those comments from people. I dated a guy for years who was three times my size and everyone would turn their nose up when they saw a picture of us together. That had the opposite effect on me though, I wanted nothing to do with those people-family included. Your cohort sounds a lot like mine when I went through grad school (if they were the ones you were referring to as laughing in your post). People look for any excuse to judge others to make themselves feel more secure.

 

I say think long and hard about what you love about him and what exactly you’re worried about. From the post it sounds very superficial. If you’ve got a good man, remember, someone new may “Look” like more your match, but could be a terrible partner.

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What exactly are you worried about? That people will judge you based off of him? That you feel like you’ll constantly have to defend what a good person his is?

 

I’m in the healthcare/education field, but I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum as far as dating preferences.

 

I can empathize with the feeling after you get those comments from people. I dated a guy for years who was three times my size and everyone would turn their nose up when they saw a picture of us together. That had the opposite effect on me though, I wanted nothing to do with those people-family included. Your cohort sounds a lot like mine when I went through grad school (if they were the ones you were referring to as laughing in your post). People look for any excuse to judge others to make themselves feel more secure.

 

I say think long and hard about what you love about him and what exactly you’re worried about. From the post it sounds very superficial. If you’ve got a good man, remember, someone new may “Look” like more your match, but could be a terrible partner.

 

Yes, I like this way of looking at it and your story reminds me of a guy I dated many years ago (who did theatrical design work on the side of his more typical day job) -he was short, a bit overweight, thinning hair and not that handsome but I thought he was cute and to me, he "sparkled" -that's the only way I can describe it. I brought him to a work event. Two of my coworkers who were very, very attractive were there and dating. I was friendly with the guy not so much the woman. She saw my boyfriend, stared at me with a definite look of 'why are you with him???" and it made me even happier to be by his side after a momentary cringe from that "look" -I quickly realized it was her issues and how awful it was of her to give me a look like that.

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External vs Internal. Your preference or others.

Don't get hung up on other's opinions of what they perceive externally.

 

What's matters is your opinion with who he is as a man and partner to you.

They aren't going home with him, you are.

 

I have a little more experience than you and I've dated (and married) men with fancy titles and impressive resumes. Good social standing, as you say. They were the least likely to have good character and didn't make for good partners.

 

If you love this guy and he's good to you, then you should be proud of him. Tattoos and all.

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