Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn mostly kept their relationship out of the public eye before their split in 2023. However, the singer has seemingly given some insight into their breakup with her music. Fans have dissected how they think Taylor’s 2022 album, Midnights, and upcoming 2024 record, The Tortured Poets Department, fit in with her and Joe’s timeline.

When Did Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Split?

Taylor and Joe began dating in 2017, but fans rarely got a glimpse of the couple. ​They didn’t even make their relationship Instagram official until a year later in 2018 when they both posted photos of the same cactus on their profiles. However, until then, Joe had kept his Instagram private and fans quickly picked up on the sly nod to Taylor. While the pair officially called things off in April 2023, fans have reason to believe Taylor and Joe ​actually split much earlier.

Taylor’s close friend Jack Antonoff, who has worked with the “All Too Well” singer multiple times, revealed that Taylor wrote ​her May 2022 song “You’re Losing Me” in December 2021. With lyrics like “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,” the tune seemed to be about her breakup with Joe. Fans started speculating that the exes had been having issues for quite some time before they actually ended things.

When Did Taylor Swift Record ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ and ‘Midnights’?

Taylor began recording Midnights after the 2021 Grammys, according to The ​National’s Aaron Dessner. Based on Jack’s reveal about “You’re Losing Me,” a Midnights ‘From the Vault’ track, she finished ​the record at the end of 2021, long before she called things off with Joe. When Taylor announced The Tortured Poets Department during the 2024 Grammys, she revealed that she’d been keeping the album a secret from fans for two years. Fans quickly deduced that meant that the conception of ​The Tortured Poets Department seemingly came at the beginning of 2022, right after Midnights was completed.

Why Do Taylor Swift Fans Think ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Is About Her Split From Joe Alwyn?

As soon as Taylor announced the release of The Tortured Poets Department, Swifties got to work uncovering clues. One fan discovered an interview Joe did with Paul Mescal for Variety in December 2022 and many believe that the title of the album ​is a reference to something the Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk star said in the Q&A.​

In the interview, Joe and Paul revealed that ​they were part of a group chat ​called The Tortured Man Club.

“It hasn’t had much use recently,” Joe said, as Paul chimed in with, “No. I feel like we’re less tortured now.”

Fans immediately put the similar titles together and speculated that The Tortured Poets Department would include songs referencing Joe and Taylor’s relationship.

“I knew that Taylor Swift’s new album name sounded a little too familiar,” one Swiftie wrote on X.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn hold hands in New York City
Robert Kamau / Getty Images

The “Speak Now” singer also released the ​tracklist for The Tortured Poets Department and fans began theorizing ​about which songs ​might reference Joe. The most obvious choice for most Swifties was the album’s Track 5. Taylor has historically placed her most emotional and vulnerable songs in that spot on the album. The title “So Long, London”​ gives fans a big clue that it’s about Joe considering his British roots.

Fans also believe the track titled “Florida!!!” will reference the couple’s split because Taylor’s first show after news of the breakup surfaced was in Tampa, Florida. Other telling track titles on the album include “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” “loml,” and “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart.”

Did Taylor Swift Reference Joe Alwyn on ‘Midnights’?

Midnights, the album Taylor released in ​2022, also seemed to reference the pop star’s failing relationship with Joe. ​In addition to “You’re Losing Me,” plenty of other songs on the album have been dissected by fans to see if they reference Joe and Taylor’s split, including her song “Glitch.”

“But it’s been two-thousand one-hundred ninety days of our love blackout/(Our love is blacking out)/The system’s breaking down,” Taylor sings in the second verse.

Two thousand one hundred ninety days equals out to roughly six years, which was how long the couple dated. Fans believe the line “the system’s breaking down” is a sign that Taylor knew the relationship was on its last legs.

Fans have also speculated that the hit “Bejeweled” may have been a warning song to Joe before Taylor officially pulled the plug on their relationship. The most telling lyric? “When I meet the band, they ask ‘Do you have a man?’ I can still say, ‘I don’t remember.’’

Has Joe Alwyn Addressed ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Rumors?

While Joe and Taylor have remained tight-lipped about their split and the potential contents of The Tortured Poets Department, a source exclusively revealed to Life and Style how Joe was feeling amid the album’s announcement.

“It’s safe to say that Joe is bracing himself for a lot of questions. No one is safe,” a source close to Taylor shared. “Joe should be worried about what she reveals.”