86 Songs About Break Ups, Heartbreak and Divorce
The Bitter End: When Love Is Finally Over
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
It was all fast heartbeats and goo-goo eyes in the beginning, but now you're left with that sinking feeling that you're all alone again.
Some people brood and get stuck pressing replay on all those old memories, reliving what went wrong. (Sorry, but you can't go back.)
Others reach deep down for their survivor spirit. What will you do?
Here's a winner's playlist of songs showing a variety of reactions to break-ups, broken hearts, and relationship bust ups. Have fun listening and go get your inspiration!
When Love Or Something Like It Has DisappearedClick thumbnail to view full-size
1. "I'm Moving On" by Rascal Flatts
In this emotionally raw song, contemporary country group Rascal Flatts (2001) describes a man who has faced personal demons in his past and has come to realize that his life is passing him by in his current relationship. He has packed up his belongings and is leaving town, hoping to find forgiveness down the road.
2. "Tears Dry On Their Own" by Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse (2006) sings about a love affair that has run its course. Although she knows she'll be some other man's lover soon, she regrets the end of their strained relationship. There is a poignant contrast in how they immediately handle the break-up:
He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I'm grown
And in your way in this blue shade
My tears dry on their own.
Pressing Replay On the Past?
3. "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
In this 2004 rock song, Kelly Clarkson describes a girl who is relieved that her relationship is over. The couple began as friends, and their romance became intense. Now she is free and feels like she can breathe for the first time in a long time. And yes, she is glad he's miserable.
4. "What Goes Around" by Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake released this 2006 song as a sequel to "Cry Me A River" which was rumored to be about his break-up with Britney Spears. It's a can't-let-it-go song about a guy who was in love with a woman and ready to marry her.
However, she went and cheated on him. The brokenhearted Romeo reminds her that karma has a way of coming back around and kicking you in the backside. Ease up, Justin. She ain't worth it.
LOVE is ...
You Gonna Mope? Nope. Get Out There And Love Again
5. "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye, featuring Kimbra
Blame and miscommunication are flying in this 2011 song. The man in the relationship tells his side of the story -- that he felt lonely in the relationship and glad when it was over. He didn't understand why his old lover cut him off completely and treated him like a stranger.
6. "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" by Beyoncé Knowles
In this unforgettable 2008 number, Beyoncé Knowles sings about a girl who has just broken up with her boyfriend of three years. On the rebound, she now has all the male attention she can handle, and it's driving her ex-boyfriend crazy.
If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it
Oh, oh, oh.
What do you regret most about your most recent break-up, if anything?
7. "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars
In this 2012 song, Bruno Mars' special lady now belongs to another guy. Having a major case of the coulda-woulda-shouldas, all he can do is ruminate over what he did wrong:
... I should've bought you flowers
And held your hand
Should've gave you all my hours
When I had the chance
Take you to every party
'Cause all you wanted to do was dance
Now my baby's dancing
But she's dancing with another man.
8. "Burn" by Usher
The relationship is coming to an end, and Usher delivers the final blow in this 2004 song. Even though he's the partner who is terminating the love relationship, he grieves the end of their romance.
He hates the thought of his ex-lover with someone else, even long after they have split. But hey, he lit the match that burned the bridge.
Does Your Heart Feel Like A Crumbled Cookie?
9. "Straight Tequila Night" by John Anderson
The lonely, heartbroken lady in this John Anderson song (1996) is friendly and fun when she's sipping Chablis. But when she's downing straight tequila, don't mess with the broad. That's when she's got her ex-lover on her mind. Baby, that's when she's a train wreck looking to tear up some tracks. Toot, toot!
10 Things Not To Do When Drinking and On the Rebound
You'll be sorry if you ...
1. Tweet, update your Facebook status, or post messages on Internet message boards.
2. Call up your old flame to discuss unresolved relationship issues. Or show up at his/her apartment.
3. Call up your ex-lover's new romantic interest to give them the scoop on what Mr. or Ms. Right is really all about (or to wish the new couple well).
4. Try to find a new partner -- especially if that partner is also drunk and/or on the rebound.
5. Get a tattoo, cut your own hair, or both.
6. Profess your love to anyone.
7. Tell the world what you think of your ex through spraypaint.
8. Discuss your troubles with any and all who will listen.
9. Upload photos and videos to the Internet.
10. Re-enact any dramatic breakup music videos. (e.g., Single Ladies)
10. "My Give A Damn's Busted" by Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina is all fired up and tired of her man's lame excuses. She's kicking the no good buzzard to the curb in this 2005 country number. He's filled her head with lies, manipulated her, and used her. Ole' Jo Dee is DONE.
11. " I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor
It's an old tune (1978), but if you need a high-spirited, pick-me-up song after a break-up, then Gloria Gaynor delivers! She describes a woman who has been left by her lover and was dejected -- a hollow shell of a human being:
At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.
Later, however, the ex-lover returns to find a brand new version of his former sweetheart: strong, full of herself, and more than willing to toss him out:
Go on now, go walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore.
Weren't you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?
Did you think I'd crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I
I will survive ... .
Are You An Angry Bird? Did the Break-Up Ruffle Your Feathers?
12. "Best Days Of Your Life" by Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler wants to rub her ex-boyfriend's face in his mistake. The cheater broke her heart and is now marrying someone else, but she reminds him that she will always be there in the back of his mind as the one who got away.
Does it surprise you that Taylor Swift co-wrote this 2008 song?
I heard you're gonna get married, have a nice little family
Live out my dreams with someone new
But I've been told that a cheater is always a cheater
So I've got my pride and she's got you. ...
13. "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green
This 2010 R&B song has two versions: the sanitized one and the naughty one, called "F*ck You." Cee Lo Green sings about the pain of being in love with a gold digger; she's left him for deeper pockets.
14. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor
This song was written by Prince, although Sinéad O'Connor made it famous throughout the world in 1990. She describes feeling empty, and she counts the days since her lover left her.
Although she now has the freedom to do anything she wants, her sleeping is interrupted, she's having crying jags, and she's gone to see a doctor to no avail. She's even willing to give their disintegrated relationship another try. The song paints the picture of a broken woman.
15. "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum
One of the unhealthiest combinations is a broken hearted lover who's been drinking and has access to a phone late at night. It inevitably leads to the drunk dial. This is what Lady Antebellum is contemplating in this 2010 song.
It's a quarter after one
I'm all alone
And I need you now
And I said I wouldn't call
But I'm a little drunk
And I need you now.
N-o-o-o-o! Don't do it! Nothing good comes from the drunk dial. Just sleep it off, or go write a song.
16. "Never Ever Getting Back Together Again" by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift sings about an on-again/off-again love affair in this 2012 Grammy Award nominated song that was inspired by her ill-fated relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal (of Brokeback Mountain fame). There's frequent picking of fights, screaming, gossiping with friends. It doesn't sound like these two need to get back together. Sound familiar?
Facts About Divorce & Singledom
- Did your parents divorce? This makes you up to 4 times more likely to get divorced yourself.1
- The odds of first marriages succeeding are about 1 in 2. The odds of second marriages succeeding are about 1 in 3. Third marriages? Almost 1 in 4.
- The number of divorce filings tend to rise dramatically each January. There's even an unofficial "Divorce Day," the Monday after Christmas break when divorce attorneys return to their offices to LOTS of inquiries.
- The third full week in September is National Unmarried and Single Americans Week.2
17. "You Don't Even Know Who I Am" by Patty Loveless
Relationships don't always end in verbal flame throwing and slammed doors. Sometimes they just die on the vine, as in this 1994 song by country singer Patty Loveless.
She describes a wife who realizes she and her husband have fallen out of love long ago. The wife leaves her wedding ring and a note on her pillow that says the following, and husband calls her to say he feels the same way:
You don't even know who I am
You left me a long time ago
You don't even know who I am.
18. "Apologize" by Timbaland
Timbaland (2006) describes the emotional torture that plagues some relationships as they die off.
He is a lover who desperately loves his sweetheart. However, she plays with his heart, letting him dangle "10 feet off the ground" ... seemingly for the fun of it. He finds that there are some things you can't take back, and it's too late to apologize.
Alone Doesn't Have To Mean Lonely
19. "50 Ways to Say Goodbye" by Train
Train brings rare humor to grieving the loss of relationship in this 2012 song. Left by his lover, a snarky man refuses to tell his friends the truth about the demise of their affair. Instead he tosses out suggestions of what happened to her. What great ways to say, "You are both gone and forgotten."
20. "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon
If your love relationship has ended but you haven't technically broken up yet, Paul Simon offers some advice on how to become officially single again in this fun 1975 classic:
You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be Coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.
10 More Ideas for Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover"
You Could ...
1. Become a fella, Stella.
2. Stow away on a plane, Elaine.
3. Pretend to be dead, Ned.
4. Fail to make bail, Mikail.
5. Tell it like it is, Liz.
6. Join the CIA, Ray.
7. Become a nun, hun.
8.Move out of state, Nate.
9. Hide under a rock, Jacque.
10. Claim to have ebola, Lola.
21. "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John
In this upbeat 1983 rock number, Elton John informs his cold-blooded ex-lover that threats and emotional manipulation are not enough to take him down. He's still standing, stronger than ever before. So take that!
22. "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus shed her Disney Hannah Montana image like a snake discards its skin. By 2013 she was sporting a bleach blonde pixie cut, twerking with Robin Thicke on the VMA Awards, and announcing the break-up of her wedding engagement.
Although she didn't write this song, the emotional upheaval seems to fit her. People who have been through a tumultuous relationship can identity:
I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crouching in a blaze and fall
All you ever did was break me
Yeah, you, you wreck me. ...
23. "Someone Like You" by Adele
Adele shows up out of the blue to remind an ex-boyfriend that although he married is to someone else now, moving on is not so easy for her. Unable to stay away, she relives their old times, even if it's just in her memory.
In 2011, she was famously brought to tears performing the song at the Royal Albert Hall.
24. "You'll Think Of Me" by Keith Urban
In this country ballad, Keith Urban grieves the end of his romance as his cheating girlfriend leaves him for someone else. He tells her to take what she feels she needs to -- it's only stuff. He is confident that while she is sleeping with her pride, he will long linger in the back of her memory.
25. "Baby Come Back" by Hall & Oates
This song is vintage Hall & Oates (1977) about a man who is desperate to see his sweetheart return to him:
Baby come back, any kind of fool could see
There was something in everything about you
Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
I was wrong and I just can't live without you.
If you've never heard it -- for example, because it was released before you were born -- do yourself a favor and go listen!
26. "So What" by P!nk
P!nk has just lost her husband in this 2008 song, but you won't catch her crying on anyone's shoulder. She's sporting a new attitude. Look out because she also plans on drinking his rent money, starting fights, and living it up.
Be honest: Have you ever done the following after a break up?
Have you used social media to monitor a former romantic partner's new life or had it done to you? Tell us in the Comments Section below.
Is Your Ex Creeping On You?
Facebook might make it harder to get over a breakup in a healthy way.
According to one study, 88 percent of Facebook users employed the social media site to monitor their former romantic partners' new lives.3 Such surveillance activities were associated with increased levels of distress.
Seventy percent of Facebook users in the study acknowledged using a mutual friend's profile to secretly monitor the ex-lover. Nearly 75% used Facebook to conduct research about their ex-partner's new love interest, and 50% were still Facebook friends with their ex.
27. "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" by Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson (2011) describes an empowered woman who has noticed that since her break-up, she is freer than ever before. The bed is warmer, she dreams in color, and she's found personal strength in flying solo.
28. "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts (2006) sings this song of regret about a man who kept quiet instead of saying what needed to be said. The woman he loves has left, and all the words he meant to say won't help him now.
What's In A Name? Locations With Names Associated With Relationship Breakups
29. "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman
This 1995 Grammy-award winning song by Tracy Chapman describes the painful end of a relationship. The woman in the song tell her partner that she is leaving. Pained, she implores her lover: "give me one reason to stay here, and I'll turn right back around."
30. "I'm Gonna Miss Her" by Brad Paisley
The lady in Brad Paisley's life misjudged him. In this tongue-in-cheek country song (2001), a man recounts how his sweetheart gave him an ultimatum: it was either her or fishing. Unfortunately for love, he chose to go to the lake.
31. "Rumor Has It" by Adele
Like a cat toying with a mouse, the confident woman in this 2011 Adele song reminds her ex-lover that what you do to others is gonna get done to you. He had left the song's narrator for a woman half her age and was cold-hearted in doing so.
In a winning psycho ex-girlfriend move, she gives him the same treatment. Schwing!
Other Great Playlists
- Revenge Playlist: 59 Songs About Getting Even
Got bad blood with someone? Make a playlist about songs that celebrate revenge: pop, rock, and country hits about vengeance and striking back. Why get mad when you can get even?
- 74 Pop and Rock Songs About Cheating and Lying
Make your own playlist of love-triangle and cheating songs. Here are great pop, rock, soul, and R&B songs that warn of the dangers and betrayals of stolen moments and broken promises.
- 73 Country Songs About Cheating and Lying
Make your own playlist using the best collection of done-me-wrong songs in country music. No one knows the heartache of lying, cheating, two-timing, and sweet revenge like country music does!
32. "Princess of China" by Coldplay
When a lover skips out on you and takes your heart with them, they can leave you with a lingering heartache, noticeable by "oooh oooh oooh you really hurt me" in the lyrics of this song.
Coldplay (2011) reminisces about how the couple used to be on the same side. The woman in the song could have been his princess if he hadn't gone and ruined it. Oddly, the song features Rhianna as the Chinese princess. Sometimes you just have to make believe.
33. "We Just Disagree" by Dave Mason
Irreconcilable differences. No assignment of fault or blame. That's what Dave Mason regrets in this 1977 soft rock classic:
There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy,
There's only you and me and we just disagree.
Still, it doesn't make a relationship bust-up hurt any less.
34. "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonie Raitt
A one-sided romance is one of the loneliest places on earth. Bonnie Raitt sheds all pride in this poignant 1991 song as she bares the raw vulnerability in loving someone who doesn't return the feelings.
Rely On Your Friends When You're Hurting
35. "Here's A Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares" by Travis Tritt
In this 1991 country hit, Travis Tritt takes the tough love approach. The woman has lied, cheated, walked out ... and now wants reconciliation?!? Huh! He ain't having it:
You say you were wrong to ever leave me alone
And now your sorry, you're lonesome and scared
And you say you'd be happy if you could just come back home
Well here's a quarter, call someone who cares.
Pay Phones ... Remember Them?
What was Travis Tritt referring to when he said, "here's a quarter; call someone who cares?"
Before cell phones, there were coin-operated telephones, often found in public places such as malls, convenience stores or street corners. In 1960, there were 1 million telephone booths, and by 2000 there were double that number.4
The cost of a call was
- 5 cents in 1948
- 10 cents in 1951
- by 1984 in many places it was a quarter
- by 2002 many people were paying 50 cents (or using a calling card).
Prices typically varied by state. When's the last time you used a pay phone?
Grieve Your Loss Then Move On
36. "Just When I Needed You Most" by Randy VanWarmer
Although this soft rock song was released in 1979, it's just as relevant today. It recounts the pain of being left alone, still loving the one who went away and yearning helplessly for their comfort.
37. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye
This Marvin Gaye classic (1968), which made the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, is about a devastated man who hears gossip about his woman's plans to leave him for another man. Confused, he confronts her.
38. "Angry All the Time" by Tim McGraw
Disillusioned and emotionally spent by the tolls wracked up by marriage, the husband in this Tim McGraw song (2001) is walking away from his family. He provides a sad explanation of why he feels he cannot stay.
39. "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi (1986) describes the woman in this song as having an angel's smile. But beware, she is "a loaded gun" -- a game-player -- and she shoots him in the heart.
40. "Leaving You A Better Man" by Clint Black
This is a philosophical way to look at the end of a relationship. In this 1989 song, Clint Black considers the value of knowing his sweetheart, although their relationship ultimately fizzled. Now that she is gone, he sees that he is a better man for knowing her. How very mature!
Even More Songs About Break Ups, Heartbreak & Divorce
41. Have You Seen Her?
5 Seconds Of Summer
43. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
The Righteous Brothers
44. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?
45. Story of Us
46. I'm Not In Love
47. These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
48. Baby Bye Bye
49. Part of Me
50. You're So Vain
51. You Oughta Know
52. Gives You Hell
The All-American Rejects
53. Goodbye My Lover
54. Say Something
A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera
The Band Perry
56. Not Coming Home
57. A Little Bit Stronger
58. Over You
59. Goodbye To You
60. You Give Love A Bad Name
61. You Ruin Me
62. I Miss You
63. I Don't Know What To Do With Myself
The White Stripes
64. What I Didn't Do
65. Hell No
66. Just Give It Away
67. Staying’s Worse Than Leaving
68. Does My Ring Burn Your Finger
Lee Ann Womack
70. As Good As I Was To You
71. Picture To Burn
72. What Might've Been
73. Somewhere On A Beach
74. It's A Heartache
75. It Must've Been Love
76. Different For Girls
Dierks Bentley (featuring Elle King)
77. Goin' Through the Big D
78. Big Girls Cry
79. Behind These Hazel Eyes
80. Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You
81. As You Turn Away
83. The Harold Song
84. Consider Me Gone
I'm So Over You
1 Divorce Statistics. "Divorce Statistics and Divorce Rate in the USA." Last modified 2014. http://www.divorcestatistics.info/divorce-statistics-and-divorce-rate-in-the-usa.html.
2James, Larry. "National Unmarried & Single Americans Week." Celebrate Love & Relationships with Larry James. Last modified 2014. http://www.celebratelove.com/singlesweek.htm.
3Flacy, Mike. "Nearly 9 out of 10 Facebook users keep tabs on their exes." Digital Trends. Last modified July 18, 2012. http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/nearly-9-out-of-10-facebook-users-keep-tabs-on-their-exes/.
4Wordwizard. "Pay phone history." Last modified September 30, 2008. http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=20853.
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