31 Best Taylor Swift Songs About Exes

Best Taylor Swift Songs About Exes

One of the recurring themes in Taylor Swift’s music is relationships, particularly those that have ended. Whether it's through heartbreak, betrayal, or just growing apart, Swift has a knack for turning her romantic misadventures into chart-topping hits.

From titles like “Dear John” to options like “Our Story,” here are some of the best Taylor Swift songs about exes.

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Song Year: 2012

Have you ever felt attached to a relationship, always moving back and forth? That's what it was like for Taylor Swift until she refused to forgive her then-boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal, and give their relationship another chance. The song earned her a Billboard Music Award for Top Country song in 2013.

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” became a breakup anthem, especially for couples in on-and-off relationships. It was among the most-loved songs in 2012 and topped the charts that year.

Swift doesn't mention Gyllenhaal in the song. But her fans have suggested that he's the inspiration behind the song, given the hints in the lines. For instance, the mention of indie records matches some of her songs, referencing Gyllenhaal's appreciation of indie music.

Also, the scarf in the music video resembles one Swift was spotted wearing on a date with Gyllenhaal.


Song Year: 2014

Released in 2014, “Style” appeared at the top of the preference list for most swifties (Swift's fans) during the year. Apart from including Harry Style's name on the song's title, fans have noted a few similarities that make it feel like he's the inspiration behind the music.

For instance, the reference to extreme secrecy, privacy, and more was evident during their relationship. Also, the paper airplane pendant necklace's appearance made it seem like the song referenced Harry.

Harry and Swift had a romantic relationship between 2012 and 2013, after which the two young musicians called it quits. The extreme scrutiny from the media and Harry's cheating are the two issues often blamed for their breakup.

“I Knew You Were Trouble”

Song Year: 2012

“I Knew You Were Trouble” is among the best Taylor Swift songs about exes, although it’s unclear who inspired the lyrics. Music from the Red album seemingly talks about Harry Styles, while others suggest Jake Gyllenhaal.

“I Knew You Were Trouble” is a regretful heartbreak song, especially after starting a relationship you knew won't work. In this track, Swift blames herself for falling in love with her ex even after seeing red flags.

“Dear John”

Song Year: 2010

Under the album, Speak Now, Taylor Swift released a sensational song, “Dear John,” which became a big hit in 2010. “Dear John” targets her ex-lover and fellow artist, John Mayer. Their first public appearance was a collaboration in the song “Half of My Heart” in 2009.

Afterward, the two dated for some months between 2009 and 2010. Swift then wore “Dear John,” pointing out a few factors in their relationship, including their significant age difference (she was 19, and he was 32 when they were dating).

The song didn't sit well with John Mayer, who dissed Swift for her songwriting prowess.

“Forever & Always”

Song Year: 2008

“Forever & Always” comes a few months after separating from her celebrity ex-lover, Joe Jonas. It's among the songs that make you ponder love, especially after an unexpected breakup.

While Swift doesn't mention Joe Jonas in the song, a few pointers suggest him as the inspiration behind the track. For instance, Swift sings about gazing at her phone, a line that the celeb (Jonas) admits by saying he ended their three-month relationship over the phone.

The song may be scathing, but the two former lovebirds seem to have moved on from the drama. Swift regretted bashing Jonas in public, accusing teenage drama of her actions. The celeb's wife, Sophie Turner, has also admitted to being an ardent Swiftie.

“Back to December”

Song Year: 2010

“Back to December” is another great hit among Taylor Swift's songs about exes, but with a twisted story. If you're keen, you'll notice that most of Taylor Swift's songs about exes are scathing and bashing. However, “Back to December” was different.

Swift seems to be apologizing for her treatment of her then-lover, Taylor Lautner. They dated for a few months in 2009 after meeting on the Valentine's Day movie set.

The artist admittedly wrote on her website that the song was an apology to a lover she mistreated.

“Last Kiss”

Song Year: 2010

“Last Kiss” is among Swift's songs that carried the pop music world by storm in her 2010 album, Speak Now. The song quickly became a fan favorite due to its raw and vulnerable lyrics that strike a chord with anyone who has experienced heartbreak.

In the song, Swift reminisces about the final moments of a doomed relationship, describing the bittersweet feelings that come with the realization that it's over.

While she doesn't hint who inspired his song, many “Last Kiss” listeners believe the track was about Joe Jonas, linking the release time and when the two dated.

Also, Swift confirmed that her album, Speak Now had a song about Joe Jonas. She also revealed that the celebrity ex-lover broke up with her over a phone call lasting less than 30 seconds.


Song Year: 2020

Many people look for closure after breakups. You want to know why your partner behaved in a certain way and the reason behind their decisions. To some, the only way to move on from a breakup is to find closure from the person who hurt you.

But Swift has a different message for you in the “Closure” track, which she released on the album, Evermore. It talks about forgiveness and moving on after a breakup, urging the man behind the inspiration not to explain anything.

Are you ready to take that step and close that chapter of love? “Closure” by Taylor Swift has your back.

“Picture to Burn”

Song Year: 2008

“Picture to Burn” is among Taylor Swift's single titles in her debut album. It was released in 2008 and has created a great sensation among her fans and haters.

While she didn't mention the name of the ex-lover behind the inspiration, Swift includes some killer lines that hint the song is about her high-school boyfriend, Jordan Alford. Alford left Swift for her friend, who later became his wife.

In an interview, her friend (Alford's wife) laughed at the accusations against her husband in the song.

“I Forgot That You Existed”

Song Year: 2008                                                                                                              

Moving on after a breakup can be challenging, especially if you have major emotional investments in the partner. It may take time, making you doubt whether life will ever return to normal.

But if you listen to “I Forgot that You Existed,” you'll realize that it's not only easy to move on and start living again, and it's also possible to forget about the person and let go of the bothersome emotions.

You don't wait for them to call anymore. Their social media posts no longer have the same effects on you, and stalking them doesn't make sense anymore. It's the moment when you carry no hate or love for those who hurt you.

This song is an upbeat tune that glamorizes the morning when you finally wake up and realize you feel indifferent toward an ex.

“Getaway Car”

Song Year: 2017

No list of the best Taylor Swift songs about exes is complete without “Getaway Car.” In this track, Swift uses the picture of two criminals, Bonnie and Clyde, trying to flee from the police using a getaway car.

“Getaway Car” is a song targeted to Tom Hiddleston, with whom she had a summer fling doomed to end from the start (according to the music). To her, the brief moment she dated Hiddleson in 2016 was part of her rebound from her breakup with Calvin Harris, which she compares to a getaway car that she used to escape her realities (the loneliness and heartbreak).

“All Too Well”

Song Year: 2021

Swift wrote “All Too Well” in 2012. At first, it wasn't clear who she was referring to in her song, though many fans suspected it was directed at her actor ex-lover, Jake Gyllenhaal.

However, the newly released 2021 version of “All Too Well” (a 10-minute version) clarified that the song was about Gyllenhaal and earned her a 2023 Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year and a Grammy win for Best Music Video the same year.

Also, this latest version (Taylor's version) has attracted the attention of most of her fans.

“Out Of The Woods”

Song Year: 2014

“Out of the Woods” is one of the best and most popular hits from Swift's 1989 album. Like most of her tracks, this song talks about her ex-lover, Harry Styles, and the downfall of their high-profile love story.

Considering the many roadblocks Harry and Swift had to pass in their relationship, “Out of the Woods” is an excellent beat for when you finally leave a relationship that's full of pressure. In her case, some relationships can be too stressful and cause high anxiety levels.

Apart from the pressure that was the norm in the two singers' relationship, Swift also hints about a snowmobiling incident that ended with Harry needing 20 stitches in his chin.


Song Year: 2020

“Happiness” might be the title of this song, but it remains a sad breakup hit from this celebrated pop music star.

While most of Taylor Swift's songs about exes bash former lovers, happiness sends a positive message about forgiveness and a new start.

It's a realization that some people come into your life not to stay, and when the time is up, they ultimately leave. Also, Swift says that “Happiness” sometimes lies on the other side of wishing it to those who take it away from you.

“Bad Blood” ft. Kendrick Lamar

Song Year: 2014

“Bad Blood” doesn't talk about an ex-boyfriend but an ugly fallout between two seemingly great friends. In the song, Swift hints about her doubts about her friend, A-Lister Katy Perry.

You probably have such kinds of friends—the ones who sab you at the back and laugh with you from the front.

As the song depicts, the two had several instances of bad blood before the final fallout over their dancers.

“Holy Ground”

“Holy Ground”

Song Year: 2012

“Holy Ground” is among the most-loved Taylor Swift songs about exes, although she doesn’t clarify the song's inspiration. Some of her sleuthing fans are good at connecting dots and have suggested that “Holy Ground” is about Joe Jonas.

That sounds weird, considering the two broke up in 2008 (four years earlier). However, the speculations could be true, considering that Jonas appeared in a handful of Taylor Swift's songs in 2011. Also, they appeared in a picture together the same year, spiking rumors that the two former lovebirds may have rekindled their affection.

The fact that Swift is more positive in this song indicates that the two had moved on and developed and were only interacting as good friends.


Song Year: 2010

Although overshadowed by other big hits from the Speak Now album, “Mine” remains one of the best songs about exes from Taylor Swift. “Mine” is allegedly about the late actor Cory Monteith.

The two never opened up to the public about being together. However, rumors of their supposed encounter filled the air in the summer of 2010.

“Mine” talks about Swift's relationship with the Glee star actor, Monteith, a man she was yet to know. Sadly, Monteith died in 2013.

“Better Than Revenge”

Song Year: 2010

“Better than Revenge” is among the top preferences of many of Swift's fans for several reasons. Unlike most of Taylor Swift's songs about exes bashing men, this one also targets the woman he dates after her.

It comes shortly after their breakup with Joe Jonas and fiercely targets Camilla Belle, the woman Jonas dated afterward. Considering the words in the lines, “Better Than Revenge” remains among the most vicious songs from this artist.

When asked about her slut-shaming in the entire song, Swift blamed everything on her young age (she was 18), an age of naivete and young love.

“Our Song”

Song Year: 2007

“Our Song” marks the beginning of Taylor Swift's music career, setting her up to the standards of the best hits in the mid-2000s. She first performed the song at her school's talent show.

After releasing her first album, “Our Song” got the most attention from fans, establishing Taylor Swift as a superstar and reaching certified platinum status four times.

Like most of her tracks, “Our Song” was a story between her and her then high school and teenage boyfriend, Brandon Bordello. The two broke up when Bordello went to college but remained good friends.

“The Story of Us”

Song Year: 2010

“The Story of Us” is another big hit from Taylor Swift to her ex-lover, John Mayer—the two dated for some months between 2009 and 2010. The time might have been short, but Mayer must have had a major effect on Swift's little heart (she was 19 while he was 32) because of the drama that followed their breakup.

First, Swift wrote and released “Dear John,” a song that bashed Mayer for mistreating her. Mayer revealed in an interview that the track humiliated him, and he didn't do anything to deserve the hate.

Later, the two met at the CMT Awards and notably ignored each other, making Swift write the song “Story of Us.” To her, it was about the awkwardness of bumping into your ex and trying so hard to avoid each other.

“Teardrops on My Guitar”

Song Year: 2006

“Teardrops on My Guitar” is among the best Taylor Swift songs about exes and one of the tracks that gave her music career a breakthrough. The song reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The person behind the song's inspiration doesn't count as Swift's ex. However, it has no major variation with almost all her songs about former lovers.

The song draws inspiration from Swift's high school days, specifically her unreciprocated crush on her classmate, Andrew Hardwick. She talks of Hardwick telling her about the girl he loves and her (Swift) hiding her tears so he won't see.

Like all songs in this category, “Teardrops on My Guitar” gives Swift the last laugh. In an interview, she revealed that Hardwick knocked on her door two years later, but it was too late.

“Begin Again”

Song Year: 2012

Breakups happen, and in each, there's always a heartbreak. Well, the sad moments don't need to continue for eternity. As the name suggests, “Begin Again” refers to the moment when you pick your pieces after a terrible breakup and drag yourself to a new flame.

The time of this song's release comes shortly after this celebrated pop music star broke up with Gyllenhaal and hooked up with Conor Kennedy in 2012 summer.

While most of Taylor Swift's songs about exes are full of malice, “Begin Again” is different. It praises Kennedy, comparing him to her ex. From the music, you can easily notice how much the artist had high hopes for their new relationship.

“Tim McGraw”

Song Year: 2006

Tim McGraw was never her boyfriend and never became her ex. However, he inspired her to write this song, hence the title. It's among her first hits on her debut album and one of the songs that catapulted her career to the level of a superstar.

Talking about her relationship with Brandon Bordello, the high school boyfriend who left her after joining college, Swift creatively elicits motions into the song.

While the song might seem like an attack to Bordello, the superstar revealed that he (Bordello) later bought the Taylor Swift album and commented that it was fantastic.

“I Did Something Bad”

Song Year: 2017

You might be wrong if you thought all of Taylor Swift's exes featuring in her songs took the blame and bashings without fighting back. John Mayer, for instance, dismissed her songwriting prowess in an interview calling it cheap. As if that was not enough, he also wrote a song, “Paper Doll,” dedicated to Swift, his ex-girlfriend.

Swift’s 2015 boyfriend, Calvin Harris, didn't even wait for the celebrated songstress to dedicate a song to him. He took the fight to social media and kept dissing Swift on the platforms after their breakup.

That prompted Swift to cover their breakup in a song, “I Did Something Bad.” Afterward, Harris also avenged by mentioning Swift in his track “Ole.”

“Hey Stephen”

Song Year: 2008

“Hey Stephe”n is about Stephen Barker Liles. While the two never dated technically, they had a mutual crush on each other during the singer's 2008 tour.

Stephen was a member of Love and Theft, which was supposed to be the opening act during Swift's 2008 Fearless album tour. In an interview, he joked about the whole issue, saying that he was worried when Swift told him that she wrote a song about him, given she rarely writes good things about men.

But he was relieved to hear that it was a nice song and the best thing someone ever did to him.


Song Year: 2012

“Starlight” is among the sensational songs that rented the waves in 2012. It came at a time Swift's relationship with Robert F Kennedy's grandson, Conor Kennedy, was at its peak to the point she bought a home close to the family's house in Massachusetts.

That spiked a closeness between her and Kennedy's family, with “Starlight” being an inspiration from his grandparents. The song reflects the two lovebirds' (Ethel and Bobby's) early romance.

“The Last Time” ft. Gary Lightbody

Song Year: 2012

“The Last Time” is a song released in Swift's album, Red, featuring Gary Lightbody. Swift didn't mention the name of the ex behind this song. However, fans have suggested that Jake Gyllenhaal could be the inspiration.

That makes sense, considering the timing of the song's release. Gyllenhaal was the biggest inspiration behind most of Swift's tracks on the Red album released in 2012. Also, rumors were that Gyllenhaal was romantically entangled with two ladies, Rachel Bilson, and actress Anna Kendrick.

Thus, Swift uses the song “Last Time” to express her desire to be at the top of her boyfriend's preferences.


Song Year: 2010

Have you ever had to defend your love and protect your partner from world criticism? You need to hear “Ours,” one of the best Taylor Swift songs about exes. This song came at the time Swift was dating John Mayer.

Even without much scrutiny, it's easy to see that he (Mayer) inspired this hit in the superstar's 2010 album, Speak Now. Their love became a massive subject in the media during that time, with critics basing arguments on their huge age difference.

Ours was a fierce song fighting against all the opposition towards their love. It continuously references Mayer's physical features, including his tattoos, gapped teeth, etc.

“I Know Places”

Song Year: 2014

Taylor Swift's relationship with Harry Styles was one of the hardest. According to her, their biggest fear was finding somewhere peaceful they could hide from the paparazzi instead of focusing on what happens in the relationship.

Going by the dynamics surrounding their dating life, fans have consistently suggested “I Know Places” to have drawn inspiration from the relationship.

“I Almost Do”

Song Year: 2012

The feeling of rekindling a relationship, especially if you loved the person so much, is always inevitable. However, is it always the best step to follow?

“I Almost Do” is a song Swift wrote depicting the opportunities she and Gyllenhaal had to rekindle their love but refused to do so.

They knew the relationship wouldn't stand the test of time, and rekindling it was just a recipe for more heartbreaks.


Song Year: 2008

“Fifteen” is another great hit from Taylor's album, Fearless. It talks about her relationship with her then-high school boyfriend, Brandon Bordello. While she doesn't mention Bordello in the song, fans suggest he could be the inspiration behind the track, given that he was the one Swift dated at 15.

Apart from her personal experiences, “Fifteen” talks about being 15 and has several struggles that most girls at that age can relate to. The desire to love and be loved, the ease of trusting people's words, and the wish to go back and tell herself the things she knows now are all quite relatable.

Top Taylor Swift Songs About Exes, Final Thoughts

Taylor Swift is among the most celebrated pop music stars today. Since her career debut, Swift has been drawing inspiration for her songs from personal life experiences, and some of these experiences have been her love life.

Swift has several songs dedicated to the men she has dated, with most of them aiming at bashing the exes. This list of the best Taylor Swift songs about exes is sure to have a breakup ballad or ode to moving on that will have you listening on repeat.

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