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The real reasons you’re so emotionally invested in Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

Admit it, your thoughts are consumed by Swelce/Traylor/Tayvis — but why?
Taylor Swift / Travis Kelce
So you can’t stop thinking about Taylor and Travis ...Getty Images / TODAY Illustration
/ Source: TODAY

Let’s paint a picture: Maybe Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have been on your mind since it all happened Sunday. And maybe it’s not in a small, fleeting way. Maybe it’s a big, all-consuming way. Maybe 90% of your brain’s real estate is Swelce/Traylor/Tayvis.

Is that picture familiar? If it is, it’s not just you.

Just about everyone caught Travis-Taylor fever this week, after the pop superstar showed up in Kansas City Sunday to cheer on the Chiefs’ star tight end alongside his mom. She cheered loudly! They left together!

Followers know this has been a bit of a saga since July, when Kelce said that he went to Swift’s Kansas City concert but wasn’t able to give her a friendship bracelet with his phone number. Rumors were a bit muted until last week, when he said he “threw the ball in her court.” And now here we are — and everybody’s invested in this all-American romance. Even our astrologer can’t get enough of their compatibility

So what is it about an international superstar and elite NFL player that’s so captivating? Relationship experts spoke to to explain.

Reason No. 1: He’s a ‘cinnamon roll’

Neither Swifties nor football fanatics could miss Taylor Swift giggling through the Kansas City game with Travis Kelce’s mom, Donna.

Amber Przybyla, a psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, tells Swift’s body language and ease in their interaction could contribute to fans’ immediate attachment.

“To not only go somewhere to show support — that shows intimacy, that shows a relationship in some capacity — and then to see (Swift) interacting with someone’s parent,” Przybyla says. “I think all of that plays into people’s curiosity and excitement.”

Maria Avgitidis Pyrgiotakis, the CEO of Agape Match who goes by Matchmaker Maria, shared a TikTok video unpacking their interaction — and what it says about Kelce.

“When I saw this little video of them laughing together, I thought, ‘Yes, this makes sense.’ She’s just a nice woman, laughing with her future daughter-in-law,” Pyrgiotakis says in the TikTok. “Yes, I believe that Taylor Swift will one day marry this nice woman’s son, Travis.”

Romantic fiction writer Alexa Martin has a similar take on Kelce. She tells Travis Kelce as a star NFL player is a love interest that writes itself.

Martin, who’s married to a former NFL player herself and often writes books centering on football players, compared Kelce to the “cinnamon roll heroes,” or a leading man with a soft side, often at the heart of her stories.

“You’re going on the field and you’re hitting people, but then to be like, ‘I made her friendship bracelet’ and ‘I really like her.’ It’s just so soft and gentle and sweet,” Martin says of Kelce. “And you want that for (Swift), this woman who we’ve all grown up with, and we’ve gone through her relationships.”

Reason No. 2: Her excitement made you excited

Taylor Swift has historically dated actors, singers and performers. While some of those romances were quite public, her last longterm relationship — with actor Joe Alwyn, whom she dated for six years before they reportedly called it off in the spring — was relatively private. In her 2020 documentary “Miss Americana,” Swift called it “happiness without anyone else’s input.”

Until now, Swift hasn’t yet explored athletes, at least not publicly. And she’s doing it with bold enthusiasm.

“It almost seems like the environment, the person, the behavior, feels a little different than maybe her last relationship,” Przybyla says, “which I think, from my understanding, was a lot more private for a lot longer.”

Pyrgiotakis, aka Matchmaker Maria, tells her analysis in her TikTok discussed above boils down to shared values, beliefs, lifestyles and age (they’re both 33).

But it’s not just about their very apparent compatibility. Based on footage of Swift at the game, Pyrgiotakis says Swift herself was clearly invested, given her enthusiasm cheering him on and getting into the game. Pyrgiotakis compared that behavior to the wives of other athletes.

“If you see some football wives, they’re in it. They’re rooting for their man. It’s very similar, right? I think what’s different with some people, it’s they’ll keep a really stoic face. ‘I don’t want to show too much emotion. I don’t want to go all in,’” she said. “Taylor, our girl, she always goes all in.”

Reason No. 3: They’re high achievers — but on ‘different podiums’

Taylor Swift, the ninth highest paid entertainer in the world according to Forbes, and Travis Kelce, an eight-time Pro Bowler with two Super Bowl rings, have already achieved massive success in their respective careers. According to Pyrgiotakis, it’s better that they are both successful “just on different podiums.”

“What I see is a place where (they) are both high, gold medals on different podiums,” Pyrgiotakis says. “Which, if you are secure with yourself, and it seems like they both are based on interviews that we’ve seen, you have the opportunity to admire the hell out of each other.”

Within some professional circles, Pyrgiotakis explains, especially those in the entertainment industry, it’s difficult to share a space and partnership when both are trying to achieve similar goals. Over time, the competition can lead to resentment, she adds.

“This makes sense. It’s like, ‘Oh, Taylor gets to shine and doesn’t have to share that podium. Oh, Travis gets to shine and doesn’t have to share his podium,’” Pyrgiotakis says.