Do You Need Permission From Your Husband or Wife if You Want to Go Under the (Cosmetic) Knife?

Do You Need Permission From Your Husband or Wife if You Want to Go Under the (Cosmetic) Knife?

The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Margaret Josephs recently revealed her face lift — and her husband wasn't on board at first.

By Marni Eth

The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Margaret Josephs understands this question better than most, after this issue played out with her husband when she discussed her desire to have a face lift on camera. Earlier in the season, Margaret’s mother went under the knife for the same procedure, and Margaret’s husband was left to care for his mother-in-law, witnessing first-hand the recovery process from that type of cosmetic surgery.

While that specific experience may contribute to why he was not in favor of the face lift, it begs the question, should a partner need consent from their spouse before making that kind of decision? 

Personal Space spoke to Dr. Sheila Nazarian, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, to learn more about the process. According to Dr. Nazarian, the average price for a face lift in Los Angeles is around $20,000 and takes about 2-4 weeks to recover (as well as two nights of aftercare right after the surgery required for her patients).

Although this type of procedure usually requires general anesthesia, there are a lot of other cosmetic procedures that only require local anesthetics and have a lower cost point. Despite the range, should the same level of spousal approval be required for any changes done to the body and face? 

According to a mix of people, both married and unmarried on social media, it was a split ratio of whether or not they felt permission was needed to get cosmetic procedures. About half who were in favor of getting the ok from their spouse beforehand thought it should be for the major surgeries that involve general anesthesia, but not necessarily for minor work such as botox or fillers.

Those who were in favor also mentioned needing the support mostly for practical reasons, such as sharing finances and the cost being an important consideration. Others were more concerned with needing help after a procedure is done as their justification for having them on board with the idea.

Michelle O. of TX shared, “I used to hide when I got botox because my husband didn't like it,” so she rationalized it by viewing her botox and surgeries as maintenance, not enhancement. She explained, “it’s a line in the sand that we can both agree upon. As long as I stay within those parameters, I don’t really have to ask him.”

Pamela M. of NJ simply said “no,” that she didn't feel she had to ask permission from her spouse before having cosmetic work done. However, whether or not approval is needed for the act itself, for those that share finances with their partner, it is obviously important to agree on spending $20,000 on something. 

David Cantu, a relationship coach at Life Coach Austin, weighs in that each couple has a “unique relationship,” so it is important to understand what “boundaries and expectations have developed between themselves.” Cantu elaborates that “more complicated procedures require greater thought and transparency.”

If a partner is against a procedure, understanding why they aren't supportive can help navigate where the issue stems from. Determining if it’s “money, or safety, or keeping each other informed” that is most important to them, can be a good way of finding middle ground. If the cost itself is an issue, creating a plan to save money to pay for the procedure, could help eliminate some of the problem.

Samantha H. of TX determined that if finances are a non-issue, she didn't think permission was needed... "But as partners major changes like a face lift should be discussed. You might decide to go against… but it should at least be a conversation beforehand.” 

Alex G. of NY shared that perhaps approval isn't exactly what was needed as much as the heads up, "...I wouldn't want to come home to a surprise patient in bed.” 

Dr. Nazarian explains that a face lift is not the kind of procedure someone can hide from their partner; “I had a patient once who did not want to tell her husband (he was traveling for work!), and I forced her to call him the night before and let him know.

First and foremost, your significant other should always know if you're doing anything under general anesthesia. Secondly, you experience bruising and swelling for a few weeks post-procedure, so unfortunately there would be no way to hide it in-person.”

At the end of the day, each person is responsible for how they want their body to look and feel. If someone really wants a face lift, they can afford it and it won’t negatively impact their health, it is their decision to make even if their partner is opposed. Cantu explains, a “relationship is not a dictatorship, but a partnership.” However, it’s equally important to consider a partner’s objections.

“Learning how to cope with emotional challenges is a skill everyone can benefit from. So, whether it’s about makeup, or botox, or plastic surgery, practice asking yourself some hard questions and be ready to hear things you may not like. It can save your love life.”

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