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Why Did Taylor Swift And Joe Alwyn Break Up? A Full Explanation And Timeline Of Their Split

While Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn dated for six years, it certainly didn’t feel that long, as a large part of the relationship was spent hiding from the public. But since coming out, everyone was happy enough for them. It gave us folklore, so we weren’t about to complain. People weren’t thrilled by Joe, but they were happy enough. After Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer, anyone half-decent will do.

It seems he wasn’t enough for Tay Tay though, as suddenly we were told that mommy and daddy had broken up (we want to go live with mom!!). Swift was following her ancestors’ footsteps and leaving the UK for America. What went wrong in the relationship? Why did Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn break up? It’s time to go full “Mastermind” on this shit.

When did Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn break up?

Unfortunately, the pair didn’t change their relationship status to single immediately after breaking up like the rest of us do, so we don’t have an exact answer to this question. But we have enough details to start investigating.

March 20, 2023: Taylor is spotted getting super emosh while performing “Champagne Problems” on the Eras Tour. It’s a super sad song, and I always cry while singing it at karaoke, but fans think this was actually a result of the breakup happening/having happened.

April 8, 2023: Our worlds are rocked when Entertainment Tonight announces the breakup with the headline, “Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Break Up After Six Years of Dating (Exclusive).” The source claims they broke up “a few weeks ago,” which would make it late March 2023. They also say it was “not dramatic” and “the relationship had just run its course. It’s why [Joe] hasn’t been spotted at any shows.” He also wasn’t at any shows beforehand but okay.

April 19, 2023: Over a few days, a bunch of Taylor’s known friends start unfollowing Joe on social media. It occurs within a short span. This includes Ryan Reynolds, Ashley Avignone, all the Haims, and Austin Swift. What do they know that we don’t??

May 18, 2023: Taylor and Matty Healy are in the throes of their mysterious situationship, and apparently Joe has feelings about it. “Joe feels slighted and is distraught after seeing her budding relationship with Matt but is doing his best to keep busy and focus on himself,” a source tells Daily Mail.

Also, “Joe was aware that Taylor and Matt were making music together and collaborating” and “she told him that they had become friends, and he trusted her.”

Joe was only spotted in public again on May 23, 2023, while Taylor never left the public eye. It’s almost like one of them had something to hide hmmmm….

Sunshine and Midnight Rain

A source close to the couple claimed that it was caused by “differences in their personalities” which became “harder to ignore after years together.” Kind of like how you go into a relationship convinced their terrible dress sense will grow on you, only to find yourself tossing their hole-ridden Vans in the trash (hypothetically, of course).

“They had plenty in common and fell in love in a safe bubble while she was retreating from the world during Reputation,” the source told People. “Then the pandemic hit, and they were locked down together and able to continue growing their relationship in this insulated way. But he didn’t really ‘know’ her yet outside of that bubble. Joe has struggled with Taylor’s level of fame and the attention from the public. The differences in their personalities have also become harder to ignore after years together. They’ve grown apart.”

“They’ve had rough patches before and always worked things out, so friends thought they would take some time apart but eventually come back together,” the source commented, noting that “ultimately” Swift and Alwyn “weren’t the right fit for one another.”

They were sunshine and midnight rain, they were just too different!! An insider told Entertainment Tonight, “Taylor and Joe are in totally different places in their lives right now. It was more of Taylor’s decision to break up, but both of them realized that they weren’t completely right for one another. They had been together for such a long time and were spending so much time together, but their personalities were just too different. Joe is more introverted, shy, and quiet.”

He couldn’t handle a breadwinner

The same source also claimed that Swift’s insane success contributed to the split, and said, “Joe has struggled with Taylor’s level of fame and the attention from the public.”

This makes sense, given that they got together/fell in love during the pandy days, when Taylor’s huge success wasn’t as noticeable as it is now. But once the sparkly gloves came on, it would be hard for him not to realize just how bloody famous she was. 

Someone told the Daily Mail as much, “It’s been hard for Joe trying to make it in Hollywood and not quite becoming leading man material while dating one of the most famous women in the world over the last six years. It was easier during the pandemic when it was just the two of them, but once things returned to normal, Taylor Swift the superstar emerged, and their differences were even more apparent.”

While some people (like Travis Kelce) love supporting their Queen, others can’t handle it, and it makes sense that a not-quite-famous actor would also struggle. He quickly became known as her boyfriend and likely wondered if he got certain roles through that. Meanwhile, she was raking in the Grammys.

A lot of what Tay has said about her new relationship with Travis Kelce suggests that she was no longer content with the forced privacy and lack of PDA. Girlie wanted a smooch in public!!

Not marriage material

Taylor seems like quite the marriage girlie, and after six years, one might’ve wondered if that was coming. Rumors spiraled that Joe didn’t want to marry her, or wasn’t willing to commit. But others wondered if it was actually Tay who wasn’t willing to commit to him. “Taylor didn’t see them working out in the long run,” one insider said.

There was a brief rumor from Deux Moi that Joe and Taylor had gotten married in 2020 or 2021 in the UK, but Tay’s publicist Tree Paine put this to rest. She called it “fabricated lies” and went to town with Deux Moi.

What has our blonde messiah said about it?

Taylor wouldn’t be the “Mastermind” we love and worship if she just came out and discussed her breakup like a normal, functioning human being. Instead, she’s likely dropping Easter eggs like grenades, and allowing us to put the pieces together — fuck Wordle, I’m a Swiftie!

For example, on the 31st of March, during a performance of her record-destroying Era’s Tour, she swapped up the setlist. Instead of singing “Invisible String” (a song believed to be about Joe), she performed “the 1” (a song about moving on after a breakup). Taylor is a stickler for her setlist and usually only changes the surprise songs, so this is def worth noting!!!

The next day, her performance in Texas featured “Death by a Thousand Cuts” and “Clean” as the surprise acoustic songs, two songs about heartbreak and surviving a difficult breakup! SHE IS LITERALLY SPEAKING TO US. 

Similarly, Blondie went and deleted an Instagram video on the 30th of April, where she explained the meaning behind “Lavender Haze,” a song on her 2022 Midnights album. The song was inspired by Simple Joe himself!!!

“I happened upon the phrase ‘Lavender Haze’ when I was watching Mad Men, and I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool,” Swift explained in the now-deleted post. “And it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ’50s, where they would just describe being in love.”

THAT’S NOT ALL!! That same month, girlie released another extended version of Midnights (get that dough) called Midnights (Til Dawn Edition), and it included the vault track “You’re Losing Me.” It might just be her most heartbreaking song yet, and I say that as someone who knows all the lyrics to “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version).”

Keep in mind that Jack Antonoff, her collaborator/producer/lil boy, has since revealed the song was written in December 2021. This doesn’t mean that the song isn’t about Joe, but rather that she spent a whole year still trying to make it work, after writing this devastating track. 

Grab a box of tissues, and let’s dive in.

You’re losing me (and my will to live!!!)

This is our primary source in the question of why Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn broke up. It’s like reading the hieroglyphics directly off her shattered heart.

“Every mornin’, I glared at you with storms in my eyes

How can you say that you love someone you can’t tell is dyin’?

I sent you signals and bit my nails down to the quick

My face was gray, but you wouldn’t admit that we were sick”

Joe sounds super avoidant and like he went full ostrich with his head in the sand. Taylor is giving him all the signs to start fixing this mess but he just went full absent. It’s that great trick men do where they act so terrible that you have to dump them, and then THEY ACT LIKE THE VICTIM. So fun!!

This is reiterated in the bridge as she urges him to “do something,” to “say something,” and to “choose something.” She just wanted him to choose her, and he wouldn’t! My guess is that he chose his fragile masculine ego instead.

“I’m the best thing at this party (You’re losin’ me)

And I wouldn’t marry me either

A pathological people pleaser

Who only wanted you to see her”

It’s no surprise that Taylor is a total people pleaser, like anyone who has listened to “mirrorball” knows as much. It seems like Taylor ran herself ragged, trying to be enough for him as well as her fans, and that she just never felt like she was succeeding. 

She is the best thing at any party, and maybe she never felt like it. Maybe she felt sidelined in public (idk how but Alwyn would find a way). It makes me think of “Question…?” where she speaks of her lover’s friends laughing at them at a party, and maybe she didn’t fit in with his snobby Cambridge lads. 

“I wouldn’t marry me either” — ARE YOU HEARING THIS TOO? Did marriage come up? Did he express doubts about marrying Taylor and everything that comes with that? She once sang that she’d marry him with paper rings, but maybe the biggest diamonds aren’t enough for this man. 

I rest my case, your honor. Now excuse me while I play this song on repeat and sob hysterically into a pillow.

A Tortured Poet?

Many believe Swift’s upcoming album, The Tortured Poets Department, is written about Joe. The name might be a reference to Joe Alwyn’s group chat with Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott, called “The Tortured Man Club.” He certainly thinks it is, according to an insider.

“It’s undeniable that the name of her upcoming album is in reference to Joe’s WhatsApp group chat. Taylor knocked him for the name of this when they were together. She didn’t want people to think that it had anything to do with her, so when he spoke out about it, she was, of course, bothered,” the source told the Daily Mail.

It’s going to be released on the 19th of April, 2024, which is exactly one year since the day a bunch of her friends suddenly unfollowed him!!

With songs like “The Bolter” and “So Long London,” how could it not be about him?? I guess we’ll see!!

Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman
Fleurine Tideman, a European-based copywriter. She’s interesting (cause she’s from Europe), speaks multiple languages (again, she's from Europe), and is mentally unhinged (despite socialized healthcare). You can find her European musings on Twitter @ByFleurine and her blog, Symptoms of Living, both of which are written to the sounds of unhinged Taylor Swift playlists.