Moving On From ‘The 1’: What We Can Learn From Taylor Swift’s Breakup

I'm doing good I'm on some new sh*t
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

From Midnights breaking every record in the book to having a tour so highly anticipated it literally took Ticketmaster to the Congress floor, there’s no denying that it’s the year of Taylor Swift. Seriously, 2023 belongs to her—the rest of us just happen to also be here. So when news got out this past week that she and her long-time boyfriend Joe Alwyn have officially split, my Swiftie heart sank. Not because this proves true love isn’t real, or because it means that every word on Lover was a twisted lie. Rather, I didn’t want the world to overshadow everything else she’s accomplishing. I just felt sorry for my gal. Breakups suck regardless of the circumstances, but dealing with it in front of millions of people while headlining one of the biggest tours of all time? That is, for lack of a better phrase, some heavy shit. 

So instead of being one more voice on the internet theorizing about how, why, where, and when the split went down, let us take the opportunity to learn from the situation at hand and let Taylor Swift live in peace, shall we? Here are some of the key relationship lessons we can take away from her breakup, so we can all cope a little better with the big heartbreaks in our own lives and understand that life isn’t over if you’re no longer with the person you thought was your end game. In the words of Taylor Swift, it would’ve been fun if Joe Alwyn was ‘The 1’, but it’s also OK if he isn’t.


1. Breaking up doesn’t invalidate the love you shared

What do King of My Heart, Daylight, Sweet Nothing, and invisible string (besides being some of Taylor’s God-tier love songs) all have in common? Joe Alwyn inspired them. One of the biggest responses the world has had toward their breakup is being in disbelief that a couple who was so madly in love with one another for such a long time can be over. Don’t get me wrong—that’s an entirely understandable reaction. I also have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of writing the line “All of these people think love’s for show, but I would die for you in secret” about someone and then not marrying them.

But that doesn’t mean all of the love they shared was never real or that it was a waste of time. It especially doesn’t mean that love should be forgotten—I have literally seen several videos on Twitter of people removing the Lover album from their Spotify likes. Even if your loving relationship comes to an end, particularly if you were together for a long period of time, all of the love between you two was still so real, beautiful, and something you were lucky to experience. Don’t tell yourself that none of it mattered—look back on it fondly. A breakup is just the end of a love story, not proof that it was one that never mattered. So I don’t know about you all, but I’ll still be happily screaming the words to Paper Rings knowing that Taylor meant every single word and is thankful she met someone she felt that way about.


2. No matter how long you’ve been together, you can still grow apart

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn were reportedly together for over six years, which definitely adds to the shock factor of the split. Obviously, the longer you’ve been with someone, the harder it is to imagine breaking up with them. My friends and I have aggressively cried over flings that lasted 3 months (while listening to Taylor songs to cope, might I add), so going separate ways after multiple years is a tough pill to swallow. But just because a relationship lasted for a substantial period of time doesn’t mean it was meant to last forever. There’s no threshold you magically pass that gives you breakup immunity. Things can change for a million different reasons at any given time—and that’s totally okay.

Imagine yourself six years ago. Are you the same person now? Probably not. There’s a good chance that you’re a completely different human being. We change! A healthy relationship is one that allows you to grow as an individual even while sharing your life with another person, and sometimes that personal growth means growing apart from your partner. Our priorities, values, goals, and needs change over time, so if those are things no longer aligning in your relationship (this goes for friendships, too), it’s not a sign of failure. It shows that you’ve evolved as a person and are being true to yourself. Let that be a silver lining. 


3. Your privacy is sacred

Sure, the average gal doesn’t have to worry about millions of people all around the world giving their two cents on their breakup. But we can still take some notes on how Taylor Swift is publicly handling the situation. Long story short, she isn’t. Neither she nor Joe has addressed the news, which isn’t controversial given that they’ve always kept their relationship very under wraps. No matter if your relationship was low-key or everyone and their mom knew you two were together, taking the time to process and heal in private is so important. This doesn’t mean you need to self-isolate or never speak to anyone about it (once again, Taylor is literally on a stadium tour as we speak). Confide in those you love and trust, but don’t let random people’s opinions get in the way of your healing. 

Especially if you two were together for a long time, people are going to have opinions on it—that’s inevitable. Prioritize yourself and your needs during this time, and don’t even give those who don’t matter to you the opportunity to ruin that. Keep it off of social media and out of messy group chats to protect your peace—you’ll thank yourself in the long run. As Taylor said in the very underrated Paris, “Privacy sign on the door, on my page, and on the whole world.”


4. You can still be happy while you’re healing

Handling a breakup is not easy, especially a long relationship with someone you loved so much. The healing process looks different for everyone, but one thing definitely stands true for all: You can still be happy in the process. Many have assumed Taylor will be putting up some sort of front for the rest of her tour, “pretending” she’s happy to be there and hiding in the shadows when she’s not on stage. Nope! Our girl has been seen out and about in NYC with friends, shooting music videos, and absolutely killing her performances since the breakup news dropped. Obviously, we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, but from what I’m gathering, this is the verdict: You still deserve to live your life and allow yourself to be happy while you’re healing.

Not every day will be a good one—some will probably feel absolutely unbearable. But if you pour your energy into your friends, family, things that you like doing, and loving yourself and who you’re becoming as much as you can, there can still be so much joy experienced in the process. As Taylor Swift herself once said, “There’ll be happiness after you.” And she made points.