7 Most Common Tattoos People Get After A Breakup, According To Tattoo Artists


Getting a tattoo after a breakup can be cathartic. Tattoo artists see people arriving after a relationship ends all the time. Through this, they learned what the most common breakup tattoo ideas are and a bit why.

Getting a tattoo after a breakup can be a healing experience. Physically and metaphorically, it can be a way to release pain. “In my experience, people usually get tattoos or piercings after a breakup, myself included,” Jason Ackerman, resident artist at SOHO Ink, told Bustle. “Many use tattooing and piercing as an outlet to purge accumulated, stored energy or pain. Instead of feeling pain emotionally, they prefer to feel pain physically in a safe, self-expressive way.” As long as you don’t make the decision to get a tattoo in a state of emotional recklessness, the decision can be very empowering.

This tattoo can be a lasting symbol of what you learned from that breakup for the rest of your life. “A ‘breakup tattoo’ is a symbolic badge for those who truly want to wear their heart on their sleeve,” Lisa Barretta, author of Conscious Ink: Mythical, Magical, Transformative Art You Dare to Wear, says Bustle. “In other cases, a breakup tattoo can represent newfound freedom. Only the wearer can determine the emotional energy they wish to imbue with their ink.” Getting a tattoo can be quite spiritual, and doing it in a time like the aftermath of a breakup can really amplify that.

Here are the seven most common tattoos people get after a breakup, according to tattoo artists.



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Covering up a tattoo can be much less painful and expensive than having a tattoo removed. It may also seem more meaningful.

“Usually a cover-up is the go-to choice after a breakup to rid the person of their ex’s name forever,” NY Heart and Dagger tattoo artist Michaelle Fiore told Bustle. “It will usually come in the form of roses, panthers, or anything larger, darker, or distracting to the eye of the name underneath.” So while tattoo artists advise against getting a partner’s name tattooed in the first place, there may be options to heal from the decision.


A quote

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After a breakup, certain lines of poems and songs may stick with someone more than before. Sometimes they become significant enough that the person tattoos them.

“Usually people will get a quote, saying or word about perseverance as a reminder to help them through the tough times as well as other difficult times they will face on the road without it always having to remind them of the breakup specifically,” says Fiore. In the moment, these tattoos may be related to the breakup, but later they can take on all sorts of new meanings.


A metaphor


Many post-breakup tattoos are symbolic. Not everyone comes in and gets the same design because people have all kinds of different metaphors they relate to following a breakup.

“It could take the form of a more cryptic version of a quote,” Fiore says.[…] Gone are the days when a simple broken heart tattoo was commonplace but could still happen!” Wolves and phoenixes are more common, but all sorts of symbols can inspire clients.


The word “freedom”


Not all post-breakup tattoos need an explanation to be understood. For many people, the word “freedom” says it all.

“Outside of camouflages, the next most popular tattoo would be the word ‘Freedom,'” says Ackerman. Getting a “freedom” tattoo has the versatility to last in all sorts of life circumstances and allows for both simplicity and creativity – as there are nearly endless scripts and fonts to choose from.


Bird-related imagery


For a variety of reasons, people tend to feel comfortable in post-breakup bird pictures. Luckily, this symbolism also translates well to tattoos.

“Those who prefer something a little more artistic tend to opt for a flock of birds flying out of a cage or vanishing from a feather,” says Ackerman. The metaphor is clear and the cute design can keep it from being a more obvious breakup tattoo.


A broken heart or a split arrow

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Not everyone who gets a tattoo after a breakup wants something happy. For those looking to head in an equally meaningful but slightly darker direction, Broken Hearts and Split Arrows fit the bill.

“A tattoo of a broken heart and a split arrow is a common and obvious choice for many people who literally want to wear their heart on their sleeve,” says Barretta. “Be careful with this tattoo choice because even if you cross a threshold between partnership and celibacy, you may regret this image once a new partner comes along.” If, however, you feel its meaning transcends whether you are single or not, this tattoo can pack a punch.


A pulse tattoo

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Sometimes post-breakup tattoos aren’t thought out and planned. Tattoo artists have noticed a lot of impulsive tattoos brought on by breakups.

“Usually people use the tattoo itself as a means of coping and use it as a meditative outlet to close a chapter,” says Fiore. “However, not everyone handles loss in the same way.” Luckily, many tattoo artists won’t tattoo a visibly intoxicated client. Emotionally impulsive tattoos, however, are a little more complicated.

If you’re considering getting a breakup tattoo, it’s probably a good idea to go through some of the early stages of grief first. “Before choosing to get a breakup tattoo, it’s best to let your emotions settle and not get tattooed impulsively,” Barretta says. “You may find that by grounding your emotions, the image you choose to tattoo will most likely be a more positive symbol of your experience with someone. Every failed relationship contains valuable life lessons and, in a meaning, represents not only a lost love but also a teacher in the journey of life.” Whatever these lessons are, they can be turned into a tattoo.


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