Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce’s PDA is drastically different from her relationship with Joe Alwyn

Swift’s dating life has long been the topic of scrutiny and public speculation − so, in that regard, the buzz around her relationship with Kelce is nothing new.

What stands out to fans this time, however, is the freedom with which Swift and Kelce show their relationship for the world to see. It seems a stark contrast to Swift’s previous relationship with actor Joe Alwyn, which lasted six years and seldom saw the two at crowded places together, let alone making public comments about each other or their relationship.

Mental health experts say keeping a relationship private or making it public is a decision every couple has to make together. Each path has its benefits, but each also has its challenges.

One burden of the public route is it gives people outside the relationship the opportunity to read into signals about the health of the relationship − regardless of if these signals are real or imagined. For instance, after the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, Kelce scream-sang “Viva Las Vegas” into a microphone.

The camera flashed to Swift’s expression, and many fans were certain she felt “the ick,” or a sudden feeling of repulsion, toward Kelce.

“We call this kind of body language micro-expressions,” says Gary Brown, a licensed marriage and family therapist “What we’re seeing are snapshots in time. We’re seeing a couple in a given moment, but we don’t really know what’s really the baseline of their relationship when they’re not in front of a camera or a microphone. What is the tone of their relationship? What is the quality of their relationship? What is the nature of their love? And so I think we really run the risk of analyzing to the point where our analysis can become pretty easily flawed.”

Being in a public relationship also lends itself more easily to public support. You can celebrate milestones online and receive affirmation from those who may not know you deeply, but champion you all the same.

“Your fans can enjoy watching your journey as a couple and celebrate your happiness, and you get to celebrate your love openly,” Brown says.

Of course, however, going public with anything, especially a romance, comes with the risk of trolls and detractors. This doesn’t just go for famous people. Everyday people who hard-launch a relationship on social media or share a mushy post about their significant other should brace themselves for unwanted comments and intrusive questions from everyone including disapproving relatives, envious exes and judgmental acquaintances.

These comments can take a toll on one’s mental health, exacerbating issues like anxiety and depression; so, if you’re going to date publicly, you need to prepare for them.

“Anytime that we’re exposed to unneeded criticism I think can impact self-esteem and confidence,” says Stephanie Sarkis, a psychotherapist and author of “Healing from Toxic Relationships: 10 Essential Steps to Recover from Gaslighting, Narcissism, and Emotional Abuse.” “Your relationship is really nobody’s business but you and one person.”


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