The relationship talk. Where are we? Where is this going? Are we officially dating? Do you want to see other people? Do you even like me?
Everyone has endured/suffered through this dating milestone. It’s the moment where two lovers go from people who like hanging out to people who are in a Relationship. Capital R intended. Perhaps no one knows this tradition better than Taylor Swift .
As pop music’s resident hopeless romantic, she’s gone through the stages of a relationship time and time again—and all in the public eye. Unfortunately for anyone with even the slightest busybody tendencies, most of the actual wheelings and dealings of this conscious couplings go on behind the scenes, and the world at large is forced into a dizzying spin of dating conjecture.
Don’t you people have lives?, some way wonder. Don’t you have anything better to do besides obsess over poor Taylor Swift and whether or not that-one-guy is her boyfriend?
The answer, of course, is a resounding no.
But it has to be said that Taylor’s fans (and those of us who do this for a living) have actually managed to be pretty accurate when it comes to predicting what the heck is going on with her new guys. What can we say? It takes a hopeless romantic to know one.
With each (at one time) rumored relationship, there has been a pivotal instance that tipped off Taylor’s biggest fans to the fact that things were getting serious. A moment in which we said, that’s it. A no-turning-back-now moment.
Let’s journey back to the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. Taylor-watchers had been speculating that she was getting close to the middle Jonas brother, when the two posed for this picture and put pretty much any rumors to rest. It was a big award show for Tay: She was co-hosting the red carpet show and she was nominated for best new artist.
She was also tasked with introducing the JoBros’ performance (they sang “Lovebug”), and the moment was certainly not lost on fans. But truly, the biggest draw was this here pose. Their body language says, we’re young, we’re in love, but we’re also kind of in that awkward stage where we don’t really know how we should be acting in public.
Taylor and Taylor Lautner:
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage
What do you do when you’re young, in love, and being interviewed by InStyle magazine? You talk about your new boyfriend, of course. In the December 2009 issue, Swifty was promoting Valentine’s Day (you know, the movie in which she plays Lautner’s girlfriend) and just couldn’t resist talking about the other half of Taylor Squared. More specifically…their nicknames. Apparently they went by Swifty and Taylor, respectively, to avoid confusion on the set. It’s a great story to tell at your wedding, but unfortunately that never happened.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Well this one was awkward. For all intents and purposes, most people didn’t realize that Taylor Swift and John Mayer were an item until she wrote that epic revenge song about him. When “Dear John” came out, the world’s collective jaw dropped straight to the floor. The day was October 25, 2010, and the album Speak Now had just dropped. There were lots of catchy jams and more than one breakup song (like the Lautner-inspired “Back to December”), but one stuck out above the fray.
Lines like “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with” and “You’re an expert at sorry and keeping the lines blurry” and of course the eponymous chorus of “Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone” painted one picture and one picture only. Taylor Swift and John Mayer were in a relationship and he was a total d–k to her, if you’ll pardon our French.
Thus began a whirlwind of retroactive interpretation of everything either of them had done for the last six months. How did we miss this? Why didn’t we realize what was going on? What is wrong with us, and more importantly, what is wrong with John Mayer?
Taylor and Jake Gyllenhaal
Say it with us now: Maple latte. Just like our parents remember where they were when they heard about the JFK assassination, every millennial can recall the exact moment in which they heard that Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift walked through Brooklyn. (We know you’re dying to know: This writer was in her Park Slope apartment, several stories above the very street in which this stroll occurred, desperately trying to figure out how she could score a sighting herself.)
We can still see the Us Weekly cover now. They looked outrageously happy, high off the inordinate amount of sugar in those maple lattes, celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday the only way to lovers in Brooklyn know how: buying overpriced fair trade cheese at the Union Market.
This revelation of their conscious and serious coupling (they spent Thanksgiving together, for Pete’s sake!) led to a fever pitch of Jake and Taylor obsession, which was only intensified months after the relationship ended, thanks to All Too Well. How lucky we were to have witnessed, photographically, the day The Scarf went missing.
Remember that time Taylor Swift was almost a Kennedy? That was magical.
There were a few gossip-y rumblings and a sighting here and there at the beginning of the ill-fated relationship, but we became convinced that things were for real once Taylor was spotted in Hyannis Port, otherwise known as Kennedy Sacred Land. They wouldn’t allow just anyone on such hallowed grounds—if a person is allowed onto the compound, then it’s definitely a relationship. One must be ingratiated with the great Ethel Kennedy to even dream of being allowed to touch their many artifacts.
It’s Baby-Gate 2012.
Back in December of that year, the world stopped spinning for a brief moment. Taylor Swift and Harry Styles were spotted strolling through Central Park playing mom and dad to an adorable pig-tailed baby. Whose baby was it? Did they steal this baby? These are questions for which we didn’t care the answer. All we cared about was the fact that Tarry (Haylor? Swyles? We’ll work on it.) was real.
They had a straight-up super romantic day and the paparazzi captured all of it, from the leaf-peeping to the seal show at the zoo. This was one of those times that we were so thankful for the paps.
We knew these two were shacking up, to some degree, well before this telling Instagram, but no one knew quite how serious it was. But once Calvin made it onto Taylor’s Sacred Insta feed, the jig was up.
Just look at them—cozied up, enjoying the beautiful sunny weather, indulging in the age-old pasttime of fashionable floaties. If that doesn’t say “official relationship,” we don’t know what does.
Taylor and Tom Hiddleston
These Rhode Island rocks will never be the same again.
The moment came as quite a shock to pretty much every single human alive, since it was the first we had ever heard of their coupling. To the public, Hiddleswift went from two relative strangers to a super serious couple in a few clicks of a camera shutter.
It is a photograph that will go down in history…call it Rock Gate. Because once you allow yourself to be photographed making out by the seashore, there is no turning back in a relationship.