Taylor Swift All Too Well: Why Short-Term Relationships Can Hurt Just As Bad When They Fall Apart
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Break-ups are never easy regardless of when, where or how they happen.
But following the re-release of Taylor Swift’s blockbuster break-up album Red, a debate has arisen on social media about whether a short-term relationship can truly have a lasting emotional impact.
Taylor's new version of Red features the 10-minute opus All Too Well about the heartache she experienced after a devastating, world-shattering break-up.
The country track is widely believed to be about her time with Jake Gyllenhaal, who Taylor dated from October to December 2010 when she was 21 and he was 29. There were paparazzi pictures of the pair taking a Thanksgiving stroll with lattes and the internet lost it. However it was not meant to be.
Starting off with the scarf Taylor says is still in her (officially unnamed) ex's boyfriend’s house, the raw and uncut version also contains unheard, Instagram-caption ready lyrics. “And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now, he’s gonna say it’s love… you never called it what it was,” she belts.
Like many of Taylor’s lyrics, fans far and wide took to Twitter to dissect everything; the new lyrics, the old lyrics and the brand new video starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien.
Some fans were loving the drama: “taylor swift willfully ruining jake gyllenhaal’s year because of a three month relationship and a stolen scarf,” tweeted one.
However others were confused about Taylor’s emotional lyrics considering the relationship is said to have lasted only three months.
One Twitter said: “bro taylor swift is so toxic i literally can’t deal. she dated jake gyllenhaal for 3 months…. girl get over yourself."
A third tweeted: “Taylor swift referring to herself as a “soldier returning from war” after a 3 month relationship is the level of dramatics I aspire to embody in my romantic life.”
And some fans decided to joke about the length of the relationship. “if taylor swift can write all too well after dating jake gyllenhaal for 3 months then im also allowed to be as dramatic as i want”
Another woman said: “Taylor Swift wrote a ten minute song about someone she dated for 3 months. NO ONE CALL ME DRAMATIC EVER AGAINNNNNNNN”.
However relationship experts believe short term relationships can be just as impactful as the ones that span years. It's not unusual to feel upset about a coupling that expired after a few months.
Psychologist Zoe Clews says it’s important to go through the usual ‘grieving process’ when any relationship ends. “We need to let go of the 'ideal future' we had formed with that person, sometimes in shorter relationships this 'future' may be based on fantasy rather than the solid connection that comes with long term relationships, but it needs to be grieved nonetheless.”
Zoe also says regardless of the length of the relationship, if the bong was intense, if there was a deep attachment, or you were really shocked by it ending, it has the potential to have a impact.
Hayley Quinn, dating expert from app Match, said people often focus on the length of time to determine how 'meaningful' and committed a relationship is. "Ironically though, a long term romance means your lives are far more intertwined but you need to emotionally ‘check back in’ with your partner more often to reinforce your commitment and passion within the relationship.
"The end of a short term relationship is probably less about time spent together, but more about grieving the loss of the relationship's potential: the ‘what could have been’..."
Relationship expert and therapist, Charisse Cooke says research has shown that the ‘intensity of feelings’ and the ‘treatment we receive’ during a relationship dictates how we feel about it, rather than just the length of time.
“It is far more about how fulfilled or disappointed we were, the painful or sometimes traumatic events that we experienced whilst in the relationship, and the way the relationship ended, that will have a big effect on our future selves,” she says.
She adds: "In fact, it is sometimes in our shorter, more intense liaisons when the love hormones and chemicals are so heightened, we are the most idealistic in our hopes for the relationship and therefore are extremely emotionally vulnerable as a result.
"If things don’t work out or the rug is pulled from underneath us, the experience can be profoundly powerful and take months or years to process.”