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Your Love is My Drug: Withdrawal Symptoms in The Way I Loved You

The Basics

In the verses of The Way I Loved You, Swift describes a relationship with a man who seems perfect. In the chorus, she addresses her ex, revealing that she craves the excitement from their more volatile relationship.

Literary Device: Oxymoron

Taylor Swift ends her description of an ideal partner with the line “and I feel perfectly fine.” Swift’s glowing recommendation may well have ended two syllables earlier, with “and I feel perfect.” Instead, she surprises the listener by contrasting perfection, something that couldn’t be any better, with being fine: just ok. The juxtaposition of these two words provides the first hint that things in this relationship are not what they seem. Instead of feeling perfect, Swift feels perfectly that she is just ok.


Taylor Swift describes her past relationship as if it were a psychedelic drug. She refers to her ex as “intoxicating” and describes their love as a “roller coaster kind of rush.” While they were together, her senses and feelings were heightened: “never knew I could feel that much.” Now that Swift no longer has access to this drug, she is experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. She craves the way that she felt during the relationship: “I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain.” Swift is bored, and feels a lack of interest or pleasure in her life: “and my heart’s not breaking / ‘cause I’m not feeling anything at all.” The end of this unhealthy relationship left Swift feeling drained, but craving another hit.

In the first verse, Swift stated: “I couldn’t ask for anything better.” At first glance, this sentence emphasizes how perfect Swift’s new boyfriend is. Upon re-examination, it also indicates Swift’s detachment from herself and from this relationship. From the chorus, it is clear that Swift would like this relationship better if there were more passion and spontaneity, but in her post-high ennui, she is unwilling or unable to ask for it. Swift won’t even let her new boyfriend see that she is unhappy: “he can’t see the smile I’m faking.” Swift’s new boyfriend is attentive and invested in her happiness: “he respects [her] space,” “never makes [her] wait,” “calls exactly when he says he will” and “says everything [she] needs to hear.” If Swift could communicate what it is that she wants, this attentive, loving fellow would undoubtedly be receptive. In Swift’s current state of withdrawal she is unable to contribute to a healthy relationship and just craves the excitement of an unhealthy one.

P.S. In all fairness, I would also be bored if I were seventeen and my boyfriend was talking business with my father

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