Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande’s breakup has headlines constantly updating their cover-up ink. Jhené Aiko finally covered up her Big Sean tattoo with a star-lit, swirling galaxy. But what about the tattoos that people get after a breakup, and not for their significant other? Artists weigh in on the most common types of tattoos the breakup-ees and breakup-ers, get.
Getting a tattoo after a breakup can be freeing, as well as a way to translate feelings of hurt, into a cathartic pain. Tattoo artists frequently see people coming into their shops after the end of a relationship. Through seeing these clients, they've learned what the most common breakup tattoo ideas are, and a little bit of why.
Getting a tattoo after a breakup can also be a healing experience, and a way to punctuate the close to a chapter.
"As per my experience, typically people get tattooed or pierced after a breakup, myself included," Jason Ackerman, artist at SOHO Ink. "Many use tattooing and piercing as an outlet to purge built up, stored energy or pain. Instead of feeling the pain emotionally they would rather feel the pain physically in a safe, self-expressive way."
While making the decision to get your tattoo in a state of emotional recklessness can have adverse effects, getting ink after heartbreak can also stand as a lasting symbol for what you have learned through your past relationship, to grow for the next one.
Getting a tattoo can be spiritual, and getting it in the aftermath of a breakup can really magnify that.
In the moment, these tattoos may relate to the breakup, but later, they can take on all sorts of new meanings. Here are the 5 most common tattoos people get after a breakup, according to tattoo artists.
Certain lines in poems, songs, and books may stick out to someone after a breakup, more than they did before. Getting a quote, lyric, or word regarding perseverance, is a frequent breakup tattoo choice. They serve as a reminder to help the client get through the tough times, as well as help nudge them through the tough times they will encounter in the future, without having it remind them of the breakup specifically.
A metaphorical symbol of a quote
A lot of post-breakup tattoos are symbolic, because the way they interpret the quote that resonates with them, is different for everyone. This cryptic version of the quote can be much less vulnerable, while still serving as a way to wear your heart on your sleeve, so to speak.
Of animals that represent resilience and perseverance, wolves and phoenixes are more common.
Whether it’s the literal word, or birds that signify this freedom, this is one of the most common imagery. Not all post-breakup tattoos need explanations to understand. The word freedom has versatility, like suggesting wanderlust, and can last through all life circumstances, while allowing for simplicity and creativity.
Heart, whether whole, broken, or split with an arrow
Always a fan of traditional heart tattoos, whether during a breakup or not, those looking to go in a meaningful but a bit darker direction, broken hearts and split arrows are the perfect “fuck that love.”
The meaning transcends whether or not you're single, which makes it a common go-to choice.
An Impulse Tattoo
Sometimes, breakup tattoos aren't thought out and planned, and are done in a state of emotional recklessness. Tattoo artists have noticed a lot of impulse tattoos spurred by breakups.
They might be coming in and using tattoos as a coping and meditative outlet, or they might be taken away by the winds of freedom, if their partner didn’t have an encouraging outlook on tattoos.
While every failed relationship holds valuable life lessons, it is best to get through some initial stages of breakup grief, to avoid a tattoo you regret, let alone a bad breakup tattoo. To see our list of the worst, alongside the best, click here.