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Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn
Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images + Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Culture > Entertainment

All Of The Clues In ‘TTPD’ That Taylor Swift Wanted to Marry Joe Alwyn

In 2019, Taylor Swift was in her Lover era. She proudly announced to the entire world, “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings.” The “you” in question was Joe Alwyn, her boyfriend of two years (at that point). But by April 2023, her paper rings had been burnt to a crisp. After six years of dating, Swift and Alwyn had called it quits. Swift’s been quiet about what led to the breakup ever since — that is until her lyrics in The Tortured Poets Department (TTPD) painted a clear picture of what happened behind the scenes.

Though Swift’s been singing about wedding bells for years, she never got to hear any during her relationship with Alwyn. TTPD’s constant references to weddings and rings hint that deciding to get married (or rather, not get married) was a factor in the couple’s breakup. Here’s every reference Swift makes to marriage, weddings, and rings in TTPD that clue fans into why she broke up with Alwyn.


Lyrics: “Your wife waters flowers / I want to kill her” and “My husband is cheating / I want to kill him.”

When Swift envisions a future in which both her and her ex are married to other people, she’s the one in a losing situation. Swift and Alwyn’s relationship was kept mostly out of the public eye due to Alwyn’s desire for normalcy. That’s not really possible when you’re dating the world’s biggest pop star.

Swift’s fame is rumored to be one of the biggest contributors to the couple’s breakup. In “Fortnight,” Swift sings about imagining her former lover settling down with a normal (and presumably non-famous) woman whom she resents for being the one to finally get a proposal. In Swift’s mind, Alwyn was always willing to get married — just not to her.

“The Tortured Poets Department”

Lyrics: “At dinner, you take my ring off my middle finger / And put it on the one people put wedding rings on / And that’s the closest I’ve come to my heart exploding.”

These lyrics made my heart explode. With this lyric, Swift confirms two things: she desperately wants to get married and she’s never been engaged. Sorry to everyone who believed Deuxmoi’s rumors that Swift and Alwyn got married in 2020, but Tree Paine told you so.

“So Long, London”

Lyrics: “You swore that you loved me, but where were the clues? / I died on the altar waitin’ for the proof.”

This is the most compelling explanation for Swift and Alwyn’s breakup: Swift wanted to get married, but Alwyn didn’t — at least, he never proposed. After six years of dating, not wanting to get married is a valid dealbreaker.

“But Daddy I Love Him”

Lyrics: “And no, you can’t come to the weddin’ / I know it’s crazy, but he’s the one I want.”

In “But Daddy I Love Him,” Swift defends her relationship with Matty Healy to her fans. These lyrics reveal that even though their relationship was short-lived, Swift had marriage on her mind. This makes sense given that marriage seemed to be the deciding factor in her breakup with Alwyn. If you can date someone for six years and still not have a ring to show for it, why not marry someone you’ve been dating for a month?

Her admission of “I know it’s crazy” can be applied to both getting married so quickly and being attracted to Healy in the first place. At least she’s self-aware.

“Fresh Out the Slammer”

Lyrics: “Ain’t no way I’m gonna screw up now that I know what’s at stake here / At the park where we used to sit on children’s swings / Wearing imaginary rings.”

“Fresh Out the Slammer” seems to validate Swift’s decision to rebound with Healy after breaking up with Alwyn. Healy told NME in 2016 that the singers had a “flirtation” in 2015. “Fresh Out the Slammer” is the first time Swift has given any kind of confirmation that she was involved with Healy before their 2023 fling. If they were imagining wearing wedding rings in 2015, the “flirtation” was probably more serious than Healy made it seem.


Lyrics: “And your cheating husband disappeared / Well, no one asks any questions here.”

This lyric is seriously giving “no body, no crime” vibes. Before TTPD came out, fans speculated that “Florida!!!” would confirm rumors that Alwyn cheated on Swift in Orlando, Florida. The “cheating husband” line is the closest confirmation we get to these rumors on the entire album.



  • “If you know it in one glimpse, it’s legendary / You and I go from one kiss to getting marriеd.
  • “And your suit and tie in the nick of time.”
  • “What we thought was for all time was momentary.”
  • “You sh*t-talked me under the table / Talkin’ rings and talkin’ cradles / I wish I could unrecall / How we almost had it all.”

If by now you don’t think Swift wanted to marry Alwyn, listen to “loml” until it clicks. Swift did not hold back on the marriage references in this song. There’s no doubt that she envisioned a future in which she’d become the newest Mrs. Alwyn.


Lyrics: “Whether I’m gonna be your wife or gonna smash up your bike, I haven’t decided yet.”

Dating can only end in two ways: getting married or breaking up. Although Swift’s hoping for a ring, she knows another failed relationship is in the cards. It wouldn’t be the first time she damaged a vehicle in the name of revenge.

“How Did It End?”


  • “Soon, they’ll go home to their husbands / Smug ’cause they know they can trust him”

In “loml,” Swift expresses feeling lied to in her relationship. She circles back to this point in “How Did It End?” Those who still believe the cheating rumors might argue that this line points to Alwyn’s supposed infidelity.

  • “Leaving me bereft and reeling / My beloved ghost and me / Sitting in a tree / D-Y-I-N-G.”

We all know how the rest of the nursery rhyme is supposed to go: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” Swift mentions marriage and babies in “loml.” But with the end of her and Alwyn’s relationship, he and their future family have all become ghosts to her.

“So High School”

Lyrics: “Are you gonna marry, kiss, or kill me? / It’s just a game, but really / I’m bettin’ on all three for us two.”

Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce gives off high school power couple vibes. They’re like if the football star and popular girl from your hometown got together, but on a scale that influences the economy. Fans unearthed a 2016 video of Kelce playing “kiss, marry, kill” for Afterbuzz TV in which he picks Swift as his “kiss.” Swift’s taking his answer one step further on TTPD.

Swift’s paper rings might be ashes now, but I have a feeling she’ll have a real ring on her finger sometime soon. If she can devote a third of TTPD to songs about not getting married, imagine the kinds of songs we’ll get when she finally does walk down the aisle.

Fabiana Beuses is a senior at Florida State University double majoring in Media/Communication Studies and English (Editing, Writing, and Media). She is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at FSU. She previously served as Her Campus' Summer 2023 Entertainment & Culture Intern and is currently a National Culture Writer, where she profiles celebrities and professionally fangirls over pop culture phenomena. When she's not polishing her latest article, you can find her browsing bookstore aisles, taste testing vanilla lattes around town, or rewatching the Harry Potter series for the millionth time.