Until last week, I had absolutely zero idea I’d be writing this post today. I had an appointment booked with a buzzy colorist I was so excited to see, told her I was game for a change, and when she said “I’m thinking Amy Adams from American Hustle,” I think I just basically flashed her a thumbs-up sign with my eyes. The resulting color is a pinky-red that darkened the ombre I’ve had for a few years, and I was still deciding whether I loved it myself when I came home.

(John Legend’s stuck by Chrissy Teigen through many a hair change, reason no. 451 I love them as a couple).

“What did you do to your hair? I do not like it,” my husband said when we saw each other at the end of the day (this was a guy who’s been oblivious in the past to the point where I told the salon folk that I wasn’t even sure he’d notice). I was surprised he didn’t like it but even more conflicted about whether I’d made a misstep. My gut had been powered by a feminist notion that the hair’s on my head and, as such, I can do whatever I want but…was that wrong?

I called up relationship expert and sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff and asked if I should have consulted him before getting it done. “I’m a big believer in not asking permission but to have a conversation and sit down and say, ‘I’m thinking of making a change—here’s what I’m thinking. What do you think about it?'” she suggested. “Give your partner a little bit of respect, like their input is valuable. Don’t blow them off, but say ‘In the end, this is my decision, but I do want your feedback.'”

She made a good point by explaining that so much of relationships involve making decisions as a couple (which flight do we book for vacation? is now the right time to get a dog? what should we have for dinner?) that to have one person decide something solo can be jarring. I mean, if you’re going from dark brown to bleach blond, that’s major.

All fantastic advice but what if you’re like me and didn’t talk it out beforehand? “It’s not about acknowledging that it never occurred to you to ask about it because that sends a message their opinion wasn’t important,” she said. “Instead, say something like ‘I’m sorry you don’t like it. I didn’t think this would be a big deal to you because you’ve always made me feel good about how I look. I didn’t think this would be any different.’ It’s explaining why you want to do something different. The conversation shouldn’t end with as a yes-or-no question.”

Ladies who are considering a hair change can also use pictures to show what they’re thinking, especially if it’s a color the average guy will never, ever understand. To wit, Logan went from blond to an ever-so-punky rose gold the week before we talked and showed her husband and kids photos so they wouldn’t fret over the image of Mom with fluorescent locks.

Have you ever had a loved one react badly to a beauty change? How’d you handle it?