British singer Harry Styles, best known for the boy-band One Direction, has opened up about his ill-fated romance with pop star Taylor Swift.

“When I see photos from that day,” he tells Rolling Stone in its new issue, referring to his and Swift’s date at the Central Park Zoo in December 2012, very early in their brief romance, “I think: Relationships are hard, at any age. And adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier. I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with. You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it — I just wanted it to be a normal date.”

Styles, 23, and Swift, 27, had first appeared to be a couple the previous month during a taping of Fox’s “The X Factor,” People magazine said at the time. After being photographed together in Central Park, the two were seen partying in New York City four days later and were in northern England together on her birthday on Dec. 13, the magazine said. The two reportedly broke up during a trip to the British Virgin Islands sometime between New Year’s Eve and Swift’s solo return on Jan. 4. Swift later released songs largely believed to be about their relationship.

“I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not . . .” Styles says about “Out of the Woods” and “Style,” “but the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere.” He adds, “I write from my experiences; everyone does that. I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That’s what hits your heart. That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people. I’m never going to tell anybody everything.”