A few days after it's release it was announced that "Better Man" was written by Taylor Swift. This was the second song that Taylor wrote in 2016, at least that was found out she wrote. There was no controversy over the release of this song, unlike "This is What You Came For". Taylor has been good friends with the group for years that released it. A lot of fans cherished this song because it went back to her country roots even though she did not sing it.
Who is this song about?
It is about Calvin Harris or Adam Wiles, her boyfriend of one year. They dated from February 24, 2015 where they met at the Elle Style Awards being introduced by Elle Goulding to June 2, 2016. But sadly it did not last and as an astute fan I could see the tell tell signs. Adam is a reactionary person and it is great if he is defending Taylor, bad if he is against her. The line in the song perfectly describes this, "But your jealousy, I can hear it now." What was this jealously. Well there is probably many things, but the next line gives the answer, "You're talking down to me like I'll always be around." Around the time of their breakup, Taylor just happened to win the Album of the Year Grammy, along with a slew of awards. Adam Wiles, did not attend this award ceremony with her. He did attend an award ceremony with her earlier in the relationship, The Billboard Music Awards.
I think this jealousy also was aroused when Harry Styles, one of Taylor's exes wrote a song about her called "Perfect" in October 2015 that just so happens to be able to be played exactly along with her hit "Styles". When he turned 22, he referenced Taylor's "22" song. Both were sweet outreaches to Taylor. And both showed that he respected her music. First writing a song to go with her song and releasing it as a single and making a music video about it. And second referencing her songs. This probably made Adam super mad, because he knows Taylor had strong feelings for Harry and Harry was extending an olive branch to her.
Taylor also had this problem with Jake Gyllenhaal. In the song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" it says, "with some indie record that's much cooler than mine", meaning that Jake respected up and coming indie records more than he respected her music. What made this worse with Adam was that he is also a musician, a very well paid DJ. He probably was jealous of her success like Jake was the same reason, but added to it, he felt he could not measure up to her. He did write a song with her, but I think he made her hide that she actually wrote it, because he did not want to give her credit and he wanted to be successful on his own. When the song did amazingly well he probably got even angrier because he knew she was behind the song. If you look at pictures Adam was always trying to be the lead in the relationship, but he just needed to acknowledge her as an equal and not push her away.I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22.— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) February 1, 2016
Adam was cold to her at times, "You push my love away likes it's some kind of loaded gun." He probably was not very nice at times to her and thought she would hang "on every careless word, Hoping it might turn sweet again."
It is interesting to note that the line "I gave you my best and we both know you can't say that" implies that they talked about this and he knew what he was doing, that he was jealous of her. She loved him when he was nice and charming, "it was magic". But because of his anger tendencies and his jealously she knew she could not leave. She knew she had to "run" and get out of the situation. The song implies that she caught him off guard, "you never thought I'd run". But she did, even though there was "permanent damage" she knows she is "better off on my own."
I think it is so brave of Taylor to do get out of the situation. I love that she calls him out on it and says if he had been a "better man" she would have stayed. So empowering. Adam was a great guy in so many ways, but he did have a hot button temper. People have so many different facets to them, and sometimes even though one side is super sweet and nice, the glaring bad sides will win out and cause much heart ache and pain. I hope that Taylor finds her prince charming someday. I know it will be extremely difficult because she is SO successful, it is hard to not be jealous, but somewhere someone exists out there that is like that. And maybe they are not famous. She needs to keep dating, getting to know people because someone will be out there some day.
Click here for the lyrics to "Better Man".