Kourtney Kardashian's boyfriend Travis Barker tattooed her name on his chest. Is the new couple 'cursed?'

Elise Solé
·3-min read

Kourtney Kardashian's new boyfriend Travis Barker tattooed her name on his chest, but critics say the couple is moving too quickly. Are they right?

On Friday, Kardashian, 41, posted an Instagram photo of Barker's chest, where the Blink-182 drummer had inked her name amid his numerous designs. According to a fan theory, it was Barker's second tribute to his girlfriend— in March, the rocker, 45, showed off a design that read "You're so cool!" speculated to resemble Kardashian's handwriting. 

It's the third time Barker has expressed his love through ink. He previously got tattoos of the names of his ex-wives Melissa Kennedy and former beauty queen Shanna Moakler, the mother of his daughter Alabama, 15, and son Landon, 17. "The Shanna tattoo is still there," Barker told VICE in 2015. "I don’t know if I’m going to cover it up, but I’ve thought about it."

Travis Barker got Kourtney Kardashian's name tattooed on his chest. (Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Travis Barker got Kourtney Kardashian's name tattooed on his chest. (Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Most of Kardashian's commenters admired the design but some couldn't hold back. "Well that escalated quickly," wrote one, with others adding, "Way too soon" and "You'll regret this." Someone wrote, "…y'all just [cursed] yourselves," referring to a superstition that name tattoos preface breakups. 

Barker can speak for himself, however tattoo regret is real — according to a Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults, 23 percent of people wished they hadn't gotten inked due to the impulsivity of youth, lifestyle changes and breaking up with a romantic partner whose name they branded on their bodies. And in 2019, Paul M. Friedman, a spokesman for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, told the Associated Press that millennials were increasingly opting for tattoo removal procedures. The outlet quoted a Texas firefighter who tattooed his ex-wife's name on his neck. "I was young and stupid and thought it was a good way to show affection, which it's not," he said. 

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According to Bethany Marshall, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist, there are risks to making such a permanent gesture during courtship. "Becoming a couple is a developmental stage of a healthy relationship," she tells Yahoo Life. "And a name tattoo forecloses the ambiguity and mystery of a newly-developing bond." Marshall says couples with ink dreams should feel comfortable with the relationship's pace. "It could be difficult to dial it down later."

Tattooing a partner's name could be a sign that a couple is in love— according to Helen Fisher, a renowned anthropologist at Rutgers University, there are three stages of mating and reproduction: Lust (when partners can't keep their hands off each other), attraction (experiencing "intrusive thoughts" about the other person and a strong desire to see them) and attachment (in which partners feel calmed and comforted by one another). During these stages, testosterone, oxytocin and dopamine, which is associated with impulsivity, influence decisions. 

Marshall says before passing judgment on couples like Kardashian and Barker, to consider any personal reasons behind the ink. "As a therapist, I would ask about the significance of tattoos — is it part of a cultural ritual or just a relationship memento?"

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