Taylor Swift’s “Tolerate It” Lyrics Meaning

The death of Princess Diana in 1997 was the biggest news story in the world when it transpired. In the years that followed in some, let’s say feminist circles, the late Princess has become sort of a martyr-like symbol of the long-suffering wife. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Taylor Swift's Tolerate It at Lyrics.org.

That would presumably be why, on top of the 10+ year age difference that existed between herself and her older husband, circa this track’s release on 11 December 2020, quite a few notable outlets went about speculating that “Tolerate It” served as a tribute to the Princess. 

But in hindsight such speculations appear as clickbait, as Swift has clarified that this piece was actually inspired by a character from the early 20th century novel titled Rebecca. Furthermore, with this song being part of her album “Evermore”, it has been hypothesized that it may also be symbolic of how the songstress felt about her relationship with Big Machine Records, the label she was formerly signed to, whom Swift acrimoniously parted ways with shortly prior.

The Lyrics

One of the subthemes of Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” album, from which “Tolerate It” is derived, centers on romantic relationships gone awry. And on this particular outing the singer portrays the role of a lady in a loveless marriage. Or more specifically, she does in fact love her significant other and does everything she possibly can to make him aware of such. But he is indifferent to her affection. 

Indeed as the title implies, he treats her love like something that he must “tolerate” instead of appreciating the woman who puts him on a pedestal. And understandably, the vocalist herself is emotionally distraught as a result.

Release of “Tolerate It”

This track was put out through Republic Records, whom Taylor signed with after Big Machine. 

The aforementioned “Evermore” was released on 11 December 2020. Also to note, “Tolerate It” serves as the fifth track on “Evermore”, a playlist slot that holds a special, “vulnerable” significance as far as Tay Tay’s albums go. And as indicative of her overall popularity, even though this song was not issued as a single, it still managed to chart internationally (including appearing on the top half of the Billboard Hot 100.


“Tolerate It” was written by the singer alongside Aaron Dessner, the latter of whom additionally produced it.

Swift and Dessner co-wrote at least 11 songs on “Evermore”. Below are some of them:

Meaning of “Tolerate It”: By a Different Hand

What we are met with here is a narrator who comes off as if she is the perfect housewife, let’s say particularly from a husband’s perspective. The life of the character Swift is portraying is totally dedicated to studying and pleasing her spouse.

But the dilemma at hand is that said attention isn’t reciprocal. That is to say that besides the addressee going out and doing his own thing on the side, it’s as if he generally doesn’t appreciate Taylor’s efforts.  Or as she puts it, the way she faithfully loves him “should be celebrated”. But instead, the homey just ‘tolerates it’, treating her as just being there instead of valuing the blessing of having such a devoted wife.

All things considered, it is possible that he doesn’t even realize he’s abusing his younger spouse. So it’s as if from the bridge going, Swift is giving him an ultimatum of sorts. In other words, she is making the addressee aware of this in fact being the way that she feels. So it’s as if she wants him to verify that ‘it’s all in her head’, i.e. that she’s misreading his lack of mutual affection as something deeper than it actually is.

However, it isn’t likely this situation would be rightfully rectified unless he also backs up such words with definitively action accordingly which, by the looks of things, is not immediately likely, if at all. So for the foreseeable future, the vocalist is in the unenviable position of being the victim of an unreciprocated love in one of the worst ways imaginable.

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