98 Pop and Rock Songs About Cheating and Lying
Your Cheating Heart: Will It Tell on You?
Infidelity: Stolen Moments and Broken Trust
Most of us have been touched by a cheating relationship somehow—whether we've been:
- the one who strayed
- the one who was betrayed
- the third wheel
- an interested bystander or
- the smart one who just ain't sayin'. (You know who you are.)
Whichever one you've been, here's a list of pop and rock songs that capture the pain, yearning, and heartache of infidelity. Sadly, it's a situation in which everyone winds up a loser.
If you dare, use these songs to assemble your own dysfunctional love playlist. Listen to it for companionship while your borrowed honey is with his wife and you're watching Redbox movies, eating pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream straight out of the container.
Or if you are the scorned spouse, assemble your own cheater's soundtrack to let your wayward one know that you know about his or her little "extracurricular activities."
So Which One Are You? Don't Worry. We Won't Tell
Reader Poll: We Won't Tell
In your dating and marital history as an adult which role have you played most often?
1. "Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul
"Me and Mrs. Jones" is a sultry soul song that celebrates a man's bittersweet romance with a married woman whom he meets with each day in a café. Despite his passion for her he understands that:
We got to be extra careful
That we don't build our hopes up too high
'Cause she's got her own obligations
And so do I.
Originally recorded in 1972 by Billy Paul, it was remade by others, including Michael Bublé.
2. "Unfaithful" by Rihanna
Poor Rihanna. In this 2006 song, she casts herself as a cheater who is stepping out yet again on the man who loves her. Although she sees him dying inside, she cannot curb her cheating ways. She compares the emotional pain she causes him to pulling out a gun and murdering him inside. (Infidelity is painful, but that's a bit over-the-top there, Rihanna, don't you think?)
Secrets and Lies: A Slippery Slope
3. "Hit 'em Up Style (Oops!)" by Blu Cantrell
Blu Cantrell's saucy 2001 R&B hit suggests that scorned women should seek revenge on a cheating man by hitting them where it really hurts—in the wallet.
4. "If Your Girl Only Knew" by Aaliyah
In this 1996 R&B and hip hop number, a guy who is already in a relationship is trying to make the moves on Aaliyah.
However, she taunts him that if his girl only knew that he was dissin' her, she'd curse him out, turn off her phone, and leave him alone. Aaliyah tells him straight-up, "But it's dumb to put up with you; I won't be no fool." Aww, Aaliyah, leave that cheatin' cheater alone! Girl, you can do better!
5. "Between the Cheats" by Amy Winehouse
In this 2011 song, troubled and talented Amy Winehouse was likely memorializing her toxic marriage with Blake Fielder-Civil. Theirs was a rocky union characterized by infidelity, substance abuse, and legal problems.
She sings, "I would die before I divorce ya; I'd take a thousand lumps for my love." Although the couple divorced in 2009, her fans believe she certainly did take her lumps for him.
6. "Always the Last to Know" by Del Amitri
You often don't realize the gem you had until it bedazzles someone else's heart. The Scottish band Del Amitri released this song in 1992. It tells the remorseful tale of a cheating man who has lost his girl. She was always the last to know about his cheating, yet now she is gone. This leaves him the last to know about whether she is happy in her new life.
7. "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child is known for this 2000 Grammy-Award winning hit, which tells of a young woman who calls her lover on the phone. Her woman's intuition kicks in and she suspects him of cheating. He's "acting kind of shady, ain't callin' me baby." As proof that he's being faithful—and that he has no other lover with him at the moment—she tells him to simply say her name, to say, "Baby, I love you."
Warning: Revenge Can Be Brutal
8. "A Woman Needs Love" by Ray Parker Jr.
Ray Parker Jr. reminds men in his 1981 song to take care of things at home. He warns wayward fellas not to kid themselves, not to put their woman off or make excuses because a woman can fool around just like a man can:
By the time poor Jack returned up the hill
Somebody else had been loving Jill.
9. "Back Door Man" by The Doors
A "back door man" is a man who has an intimate relationship with another man's wife while the husband is away at work. As the husband returns from work through the front door of the home, the cheating partner leaves the home through the back door, hence "back door man." The Doors released this song in 1967.
10. "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse
This 2006 soulful R&B song by Amy Winehouse tells the story of a wife caught cheating by her husband. Now she regrets her dalliances, realizing that she is the real loser:
I cheated myself
Like I knew I would
I told you, I was trouble
Yeah, you know that I'm no good.
Why Cheaters Stray from Their Partners
The following factors are associated with infidelity:
Gender: Men cheat more than women—in not only dating relationships but also cohabitation and marital relationships. Testosterone is a powerful hormonal driver (but it's not an excuse).
Personality Factors: People who are less faithful generally have lower levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness and are sensation-seeking.
Other Background and Experience Factors: Two-timing lovers are more likely to be high school drop outs and to live in the city. They also tend to be less religious, have increased opportunities to meet others, and have a higher number of previous sexual partners.
Relationship Dissatisfaction Factors: Although infidelity can occur in happy marriages, let's face it: It's a big sign that something is wrong. Relationship factors include a lack of communication and understanding, emotional dissatisfaction with one's partner, and sexual incompatibility.
Every Rose Has Its Thorns
11. "Betcha Gon' Know" by Mariah Carey
The imperfect angel in Mariah Carey's 2009 song catches her lover in a silhouette with another lady—in her own bedroom, no less. Too upset to confront them, she decides to exact revenge. Marriah's character bolts out of the door, jumps into her car, and spends the night elsewhere. We can only imagine the pain he's in for: "Betcha gon' know how it feels when I get you back."
12. "Cold Shoulder" by Adele
In this jazzy 2008 number by Adele, a woman tells her man not to go all coy, that she understands that she's been cast in the role of the fool. While the other woman gets all the man's attention, she gets stale leftovers—a cold shoulder and words made of knives.
13. "Confessions Part 2" by Usher
Sometimes when you dip your toe in another pond, you can sure stir up trouble. That's exactly the story Usher tells in this 2004 R&B hit in which a man confesses to impregnating the girlfriend he has on the side.
Faced with the reality of the consequences, he's finally sorry. Although many assumed the song was autobiographical, Usher said that no, it was instead fiction, inspired by the combined experiences of his friends.
14. "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake
This 2002 hit by Justin Timberlake is reportedly about his broken relationship with Britney Spears. It tells the story of a man who moves on after his girlfriend betrayed him by cheating with another man.
The girl gets a taste of the heartache she's been dishing out when her new man cheats on her. She seeks sympathy from the man she had once betrayed, but he has only a cold, rejecting heart for her.
15. "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" by Elton John
This sassy 1988 song by Elton John laments the cheating ways of a lover who indiscreetly keeps multiple partners on the side:
And I don't wanna go on with you like that
Don't wanna be a feather in your cap
I just don't wanna tell you honey I ain't mad
But I don't wanna go on with you like that.
It's hard to believe a lover is not mad about infidelity with multiple partners.
16. "Liar" by Profyle
In this 2007 song, Profyle sings about a man who discovered his woman's infidelity. He's had enough. Rather than crying, the man has some strong words for her:
You're nothing but a liar, a cheater, a deceiver, heart-breaker ...
So I'm takin'
The house, the cars, the kids, and the dog
I want it all.
17. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye made this done-me-wrong song famous way back in 1966. It's about a sad man who hears from others that his honey has been stepping out on him. She is about to leave him for another man. In disbelief that he'd hear about the betrayal from others, he's confronting her about the rumors.
18. "Keep on Loving You" by REO Speedwagon
REO Speedwagon reminds us what unconditional love is all about in this 1980 classic about a woman who betrayed her man with multiple others. Forgiving soul that he is, he tells her, "When I said that I loved you, I meant that I loved you forever." He's either the most forgiving man ever or the biggest sucker. The jury is still out on that one.
Next Time He'll Stay In His Lane
19. "Kiss 'n Tell" by Kesha
What's worse than a cheat is the one who brags about it to his friends. In 2009, Kesha sang about a woman who returned from an out-of-town trip only to hear rumors that her man had been a very bad boy. She's had enough of the dirty scoundrel and lets him know it.
20. "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry
Released in 1955, Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" was a pioneer rock-and-roll song about a young man whose girlfriend had cheated on him. He did what any jealous young man of the 1950s would do—he gave chase after her Cadillac Coupe de Ville in his Ford with its V8 engine. Of course!
7 Reasons Not to Cheat on Your Spouse or Significant Other
Reasons To Stay Faithful
1. Is your honor worth nothing? Check your conscience.
2. Revenge and public embarrassment can be brutal.
3. Sneaking around is expensive and stressful — between giving gifts to two lovers and making sure you're not detected, it all adds up.
4. You can bring home some nasty diseases of the nether regions. Scratch, scratch.
5. An "oops" pregnancy with someone you don't even love is a seriously stupid mistake.
6. Divorce can devastate finances and families.
7. In the end, everyone ends up losing.
21. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell
Soft Cell's 1981 chart-topper laments a dysfunctional love relationship in which "Once I ran to you, now I'll run from you." Therapy, anyone?
22. "Would I Lie to You?" by Eurythmics
This 1985 Eurythmics song is the story of confronting a two-timing lover. Fed up with infidelity, the woman is leaving her man. He expresses doubt that she'll do it, and she retorts, "Would I lie to you?"
23. "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers
In this 2004 song by The Killers, a jealous boyfriend struggles with paranoid ideas that his girlfriend is out spreading her love around.
24. "Don't Lie" by Black Eyed Peas
Owning up to your misgivings is hard, but in this 2005 Black Eyed Peas song, that's what the protagonist does. He apologizes for his immaturity—getting caught up in the limelight of his celebrity and both lying to and cheating on his girl.
25. "Leave Your Lover" by Sam Smith
In this soulful, moving song (2014), Sam Smith portrays the other man who pleads with his beloved to:
Pack up and leave everything
Don't you see what I can bring ...
I will give you all of me
Just leave your lover, leave him for me.
26. "Where I Wanna Be" by Donnell Jones
In Donnell Jones's 1999 song, he calls home to say that he's leaving. He says he needs time to explore who he is without her—that is, with this new lady in his life. Okay, so he didn't technically lie or cheat.
27. "In Love with Another Man" by Jazmine Sullivan
The girl in this 2008 song by Jazmine Sullivan is making a major mistake. She knows she's not acting sane, but she wants to trade in her steady man. He treats her right and understands her, but she wants to roll around with a bad boy who has a hot body—someone who at times fights with her and mistreats her. The relationship is doomed before it starts, but this crazy lady thinks she's in love.
28. "Cuts Both Ways" by Gloria Estefan
Talk about a dysfunctional relationship! Gloria Estefan sings about one of those damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't relationships that is bound to be trouble. The couple in this 1989 song has trouble living together as well as apart, and she compares their love to a freaking knife. That's never good. But hey, some of us have been there and have the emotional scars to prove it.
29. As We Lay" by Kelly Price
Kelly Price is the other woman with a conscience—well, sort of—in this 2000 song about a couple who has just spent the night together. Each of them is married to another and the woman starts to put their indiscretion into perspective as she realizes her lover needs to go home to his wife.
30. "A Woman's Threat" by R. Kelly
R. Kelly gets extremely specific that if the man in this 1990 song doesn't stop who he's doin', there will be some major repercussions in his life.
What Would You Do?
If you suspected your spouse/partner of infidelity, what would you do?
Love: Is It Worth Fighting For?
31. "Grenade" by Bruno Mars
Poor Bruno Mars. In this 2010 pop song, he's caught in a toxic relationship with a woman he'd do anything for. He'd catch a grenade for her, jump in front of a train for her, throw his hand in front of a blade for her, take a bullet for her ... but do you think she appreciates his fearless dedication? Oh, no! (Hey, Bruno, try to not seem so desperate. You've got a lot going for you!)
32. "Same Girl" by Usher and R. Kelly
In this 2007 song, Usher and R. Kelly come to an ironic realization that they are dating the same girl. After one of them describes the love of his life, the details ring all too familiar to the other man:
Do I know her? Like a pastor know his word
We messin' with the same girl, the same girl
How could the love of my life and my potential wife
Be the the same girl, the same girl?
33. Creep" by TLC
In this 1994 TLC number, a woman admits that she is lonely and cheats on her man. (He also cheats on her.) They've been through a lot together but don't have the same quality of relationship they used to enjoy. She is left to seek satisfaction "on the down low."
34. "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy
Imagine getting caught red-handed and trying to deny the obvious. In this 2000 song by Shaggy, a man asks his friend for advice on how to handle the situation. His friend advises him to tell the girlfriend, "It wasn't me."
35. "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" by R. Kelly
The woman in this 1995 R. Kelly song is being enticed to cheat by a persuasive man who promises they can be secret lovers, even though she is committed to someone else. He suggests that they keep their affair clandestine:
Keep it on the down low
Nobody has to know.
Love Triangle: One Lover Too Many
36. "Lies" by Marina and the Diamonds
Marina and the Diamonds sings a sad song from the perspective of a woman whose partner has fallen out of love with her (2012). While she desperately hangs on, he reaches for her only in the dark, unable to admit that he made a mistake in choosing her as a life partner.
37. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" by Pink
In dysfunctional relationships, partners often give mixed messages, and that's exactly what Pink does in this angst-filled 2006 song. She wants to send her lover away for the night because she is lonely. She wants a chance to miss him:
Why can't I just have it both ways?
38. "Picture" by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow
Life on the road can take a heavy toll on love when there are drugs, whiskey, and cheating. This 2001 song by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow tells the story of betrayal and yearning from both the woman and man's perspectives.
39. You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette
In this 1995 song by Alanis Morissette, she is seriously pissed and wants the man who left her lonely to know what he's done. Mr. Duplicity promised to love her until he died, however he is still alive, kicking it with another woman. She does what any betrayed woman with stalker-like tendencies would do: she shows up at dinner to remind him of the pain he's caused her.
If He'll Cheat With You, He'll Cheat On You
40. "Secret Lovers" by Atlantic Starr
With this 1986 song, Atlantic Starr celebrated a secret love affair between two people who have happy home lives with other partners. Although they know their relationship is wrong, they risk everything in their stolen moments of passion.
Statistics on Infidelity: Who's Cheating Whom?
Percentage of People Surveyed
Men who say they would have an affair if they knew they wouldn't get caught
Women who say they would have an affair if they knew they wouldn't get caught
Men who admit infidelity in ANY relationship
Women who admit infidelity in any relationship
Marriages in which at least one spouse admits to infidelity (emotional or phyical)
People who admit to having a fling with a co-worker
Married men who have cheated at least once during their marrried lives
People who admit to infidelity on business trips
Marriages that stay together after an affair has been detected or revealed
People who admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law
Married women who have cheated at least once during their marrried lives
Children who are the result of infideltity
41. "Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes
This 1979 song by Rupert Holmes tells an ironic story about a man who is bored with his current relationship. The man responds to a newspaper personal ad and arranges to meet a woman at a local bar. (In an age before computers and the Internet, love-hungry people found matches through newspaper personal ads rather than AshleyMadison.com or Craigslist.)
However, when the bored cheating husband shows up, he discovers the mysterious woman who caught his attention is actually his wife. Rather than being angry with one another, they realize they have more in common than they realized. (Yeah, like that is a possibility.)
He Crossed the Wrong Girl
42. "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You" by Heart
Married to a man who is unable to father a child, the woman in this 1990 song by Heart picks up a stranger and has a one-night stand with him. She leaves him a note telling him not to seek her out. Years later they meet again and he learns that their night of passion was motivated by her desire for parenthood. Wouldn't a sperm bank have been safer, healthier, and more ethical? Just an idea.
43. "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles
In this classic Eagles song (1975), a woman lies to her rich old husband in order to venture to the cheating side of town for the evening. She meets up with a guy she knew in school, also telling him lies about how they will soon be together forever. She is a practiced liar, and her eyes give this away.
44. "Thinking of You" by Katy Perry
Katy Perry's 2009 song features a woman who has trouble moving on from a relationship she ended. When she is kissing her new man, she cannot stop imagining that she is instead in the arms of her former lover. (People can cheat emotionally, physically, or both.)
45. "Your Little Secret" by Melissa Etheridge
When it comes to cheaters, it takes one to know one. But in the case of this 1995 Melissa Etheridge song, the would-be other woman is a reformed cheater ("I used to be just like you ... One sugar ain't enough for you.") She threatens to tell the cheater's little secret.
46. If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night) by Me'shell Ndegeocello
Me'shell Ndegeocello sounds like a high school mean girl in this 1993 song: "Boyfriend, boyfriend—yes, I had your boyfriend!" The other woman taunts the woman who was betrayed using some details of the tryst and some ugly name calling. Somebody gon' get slapped! I can see it coming.
47. "Wake Up Call" by Maroon 5
The guy in this 2007 rock song takes jealousy about infidelity to a whole new level. No one is worth going to jail for, right?
Infidelity and Broken Trust: Creating Heavy Emotional Baggage
48. "Careless Whisper" by George Michael
In this 1984 song, George Michael sings about the guilt of betrayal as a result of falling for someone who didn't belong to him.
49. "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder
In this 2005 song by Indie rock band Hinder, the other woman makes a daring, tearful call to her lover late at night. He answers the call, even though his girlfriend is in the other room and tells her how she makes it hard for him to be faithful.
50. "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne's 2007 song features a sassy Miss Thang who isn't afraid to mince words. Who cares if the guy she likes is already taken? She tells him that his girlfriend is all wrong for him. Then, she suggests a solution for his problem.
I don’t like your girlfriend!
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one.
Just remember: What goes around, comes around, sweetheart.
Even More Pop and Rock Songs About Cheating and Lying
51. I Know I'm Not the Only One
52. Baby Don't Lie
53. Take It on the Run
54. Lips Are Movin'
56. What the Hell
57. Torn Between Two Lovers
58. Mama's Broken Heart
59. You Ruin Me
60. Love Hurts
61. Upside Down
62. You're No Good
63. Rumour Has It
64. Call Your Girlfriend
65. Part-Time Lover
67. She Doesn't Have To Know
69. Should've Said No
70. Never Again
71. Take A Bow
72. Mrs. All-American
5 Seconds of Summer
73. Saving All My Love For You
75. Little Lies
76. Love the Way You Lie
Eminem (featuring Rihanna)
77. Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing
79. She Holds a Key
82. Don't Know What Came Over Me
Mike + The Mechanics
83. Hell No
84. You Don't Wanna Know
86. Watching You Watch Him
87. How Long
88. Last Time
89. I Know What You Did Last Summer
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
91. Find What You're Looking for
92. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
93. Follow Me
94. Run to You
95. Runaround Sue
96. This Kiss
Carly Rae Jepson
97. High Heels
98. No Tell Lover
You Cheated? Lied Too?
Questions & Answers
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