It’s February, and despite the brisk weather (here in the North at least), we’re starting to feel the exhilarating warmth of love in the air. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is here, and people are excited to express their affection for that special someone. There’s something about February 14th that invites and inspires all of us to take that extra step in bringing love to life–whether it’s with your fiance, your crush, or your family.
And let’s be honest: love can be found in the most unexpected of places. Some find love with a life-long neighbor, some at the gym, and others find love walking down the street. But perhaps one of the most interesting places to find an expression of love is in someone’s tattoo.
What are partner tattoos?
Partner tattoos are an ink symbol of one’s love for another–be it platonic or romantic. As you might have guessed, the partner tattoo doesn’t stand alone: each half of the whole has one, and they either match or complement one another.
With today being Valentine’s Day, we wanted to explore partner tattoos between lovers of all kinds–siblings, spouses, old flings, and new ones. It takes courage to celebrate a significant other with permanent ink on your body, so we wanted to learn more about the passion behind them!
You’ve probably seen some of these
Partner tattoo designs can reflect strong romantic ideas, like ‘completing one another,’ or sharing an ‘everlasting love.’ Some classic duos include the Lock and Key design, Yin and Yang, the Sun and Moon, and Two Heart Halves. We’ve even seen two avocado halves! The sentiments behind these designs are wide ranging, encompassing everything from fun-loving to passionate.
And speaking of passionate, some partner tattoos even stand as formal symbols of commitment: tattoo wedding bands are gaining popularity, offering a unique alternative to the more traditional gold wedding band.
A Red String of Fate
Amanda and her lover decided to get a red string of fate tattooed around their fingers, which she says was a “spontaneous and last minute” decision. The red string of fate is symbolic of a love that is destined, regardless of time or place. Her partner is her “first true love,” she knows that no matter what, she will “always remember him.”
Bonding Over Comedy
Joy and her partner are a newer couple that we spoke to, but despite the freshness of their relationship, Joy speaks positively about her partner, claiming that she loves the idea of always being able to “keep the tattoo on her body to hold the memories of him in her heart, and to thank him for giving her a more colourful life.”
Joy’s design is especially eye-catching, flaunting a light-hearted, intricate cartoon style and a deep-seated romantic message:
“We both love comic style tattoos because we think that, through comics, we can see ourselves- our lifestyles and things that we both believe in. In our design, you see combined skeletons- a symbol of our everlasting love, beyond death.”
A love that lasts “beyond death” is a powerful kind of love, and–of the people we spoke to–it wasn’t the only kind that transcended personal meaning: Brittany and her fiancé decided to get partner tattoos of the equal sign–an official symbol in support of gay rights. In the same way that Joy’s love rises above any particular time and place, Brittany’s tattoo message extends beyond her particular relationship to a larger community of people.
And not all partner tattoos are symbols of romantic love; some represent the loving bonds between family members. Rachel and her sister were proud to tell us about their sister tattoos:
“We decided to get the quote ‘if nothing else,’ in cursive writing, which is a reminder to us that, if nothing else, we have each other to depend on.”
Partner tattoos range from fun, youthful celebrations of a relationship to something as binding as an everlasting symbol of love in the form of a tattooed wedding band. But despite the broad differences in meaning, matching tattoos are positive reminders of time spent with someone special, and they put a creative spin on love.
All in all, we were truly impressed by the optimism and strength of the couples we’d interviewed. But that left us wondering about those who decided to get a partner tattoo with someone who it didn’t work out so well with. That’s when we heard Laura’s story: when she was 18, an age which she deems “young and reckless,” she decided to take her boyfriend to get a matching tattoo.
She tells us that she stepped into a place where some of the workers were drinking, and that she saw “all the signs in the world” that she should have left. But, she says, “the desire to get inked got the best of us, and we even waited for an hour for someone to do our tattoos. In the end, I got this crooked star, and my boyfriend got the same one.” Jokingly, she adds, “The moral of my story? Kids sometimes do impulsive things, but it’s not the end of the world! I look back on it and smile. After that, I knew that my next tattoo would be much better planned.”
If you’re interested in hearing more stories like Laura’s, check out our My Funny Valentine blog post!
Have a special person you want to get your own custom parter tattoo with this Valentine’s Day? Getting started is easy, just fill out a FREE Custom Tattoo Design Quote.