51 Breakup Songs That Understand What You’re Going Through

Breakup Songs That Understand What You’re Going Through

Breakups are tough. They can leave you feeling a range of emotions, heartbreak, sadness, confusion, relief. Sometimes it is hard to put what you are feeling into words. Thankfully, you can always go to music to decompress.

Luckily, popular artists have been through heart-wrenching breakups, too, and they have recorded plenty of songs to help us cope, each one able to help you articulate all your feelings. Whether you are about to leave, just left, or are in the midst of a breakup, here are our top choice of songs that understand exactly what you are going through.


“good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo

Song Year: 2021

Teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo has become 2021’s queen of breakup songs. Not only were her first three singles bona fide breakup anthems, but her debut album also brought fans several more.

Her third single, “good 4 u,” will have you screaming the lyrics when you are bitter about your ex moving on so quickly.

Upset your ex seems to be doing well while you are pretending to be happy? Blast this proverbial “screw you.” It might make you feel better.

“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt

Song Year: 1995

Members of No Doubt Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal wrote this song together after ending their seven-year relationship, which explains why you can hear the pain in the lyrics.

This is for everyone who knows exactly why their relationship is ending but does not want to be told.

If you are still struggling, even after you’ve listened to this song, just be glad you are not in a best-selling band with your ex.

“Forget You” by CeeLo Green

Song Year: 2010

Just out of a relationship with an arrogant gold digger? Did your ex leave you for someone with more money and a nicer car? Blast this CeeLo Green hit.

Now that you know how shallow and cold your ex really is, move on knowing you are better off alone. Forget them. Do not forget this song, though. You may need it for future breakups.

“thank u, next” by Ariana Grande

Song Year: 2019

No one has written an empowering breakup anthem quite like Ariana Grande. “thank u, next” reminds us it is possible to use breakups as an opportunity to grow, and that you can be thankful for your past relationship.

The only thing more iconic than Ari calling out her exes by name is the video she gifted the world, which references everyone’s favorite 2000’s films: Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, Bring It On, and 13 Going On 30.

“Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects

Song Year: 2008

Not everyone can be as mature as Grande amidst a breakup. Some of us choose bitterness and hope our ex gets upset any time they see us.

If you know your relationship is over, but you still miss your ex, even the slightest bit, this All-American Rejects tune is for you.

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

Song Year: 2008

Long before we had Olivia Rodrigo, we had Taylor Swift. The original queen of breakup songs has bestowed anthem after anthem to help with heartbreak, but not all make you want to shout at your ex quite like this one.

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is for everyone stuck in an on-again-off-again nightmare with someone who says they are going to change, but never actually does. Play this for encouragement when you are finally ready to put the relationship to bed (figuratively speaking, of course).

“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

Song Year: 2005

Country queen Carrie Underwood gives us the ultimate revenge song to play when you know your significant other is cheating.

Play this song when you need to hype yourself up before warning your S.O. you are not to be messed with. It is probably best to avoid damaging their property, though. 

“Stay” by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko

Song Year: 2021

This gut-wrenching duet between Rihanna and Mikky Ekko sums up what it’s like to want someone to stay, even when they are not good for you.

“Leavin’” by Jesse McCartney

Song Year: 2008

Are you stuck in a terrible relationship, but want to leave because you have found someone else? Jesse McCartney’s “Leavin’” is for you.

Tell them it is over. You are moving on because there are other people in the world who will treat you right. Give them this list of songs to help cope to prove you are the bigger person. 

“Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw

Song Year: 2011

There is always an ex you cannot seem to get over, and Gavin DeGraw summed it up perfectly in “Not Over You.”

This song is perfect for anyone who says you are over your ex when you really know you are lying to yourself and everyone else.

“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber

Song Year: 2015

Fans theorized for what seemed like years about who the Biebs wrote this song about, most speculating it was an homage to his ex Selena Gomez. Fellow singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran later revealed he was the song’s author, originally writing it for his album Divide.

No matter who inspired it, “Love Yourself” is the perfect relaxed breakup tune for anyone who is finally moved on from a selfish, self-absorbed ex, and is at peace with the breakup realizing sometimes it is better to be alone.

“Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga

Song Year: 2016

Written for her album Joanne, Gaga brought fans to tears with this breakup song. If you are in the mood to cry about a couple on the brink of a breakup, turn on “Million Reasons.”

Gaga takes listeners into the relationship of a couple too toxic for each other to stay, but too in love to leave.

“I Hate This Part” by The Pussycat Dolls

Song Year: 2008

When you are about to break up with someone, you know pain is imminent, but you also know waiting any longer hurts more.

The Pussycat Dolls had everyone in 2008 singing along to this breakup hit.

“Need You Now” by Lady A

Song Year: 2009

Now known as Lady A, this country trio won a Grammy for their breakup song “Need You Now,” putting into music what it feels like when you are not together anymore, but you still miss each other like crazy and think about each other all the time.

If you are on the verge of calling your ex, turn this on instead.

“Space Cowboy” by Kacey Musgraves

Song Year: 2018

Another Grammy Award-winning country breakup song, “Space Cowboy” is beautifully written and sung by Kacey Musgraves, bringing listeners inside the relationship between one person who wants to leave, and another who knows it is time to let them go.

“Space Cowboy” was written for Musgraves’s fourth studio album Golden Hour, for which the singer-songwriter won Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the 61st Grammy Awards.

“Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyonce

Song Year: 2011

Queen Bey’s album 4 gave fans an empowering breakup song to blare when you realize your worth that your ex never saw.

If you have ever gotten out of a relationship and realized they let go of someone better than they deserve, this song is for you.

“Irreplaceable” by Beyonce

Song Year: 2006

Beyonce is known for singing lyrics that empower women, and this breakup song is no exception.

For anyone who has been cheated on by someone with an oversized ego, find someone new and play this song. Let Beyonce’s lyrical lesson heal your soul.

“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

Song Year: 1978

Everybody on planet earth knows this song, or at least the chorus. Even if you cannot apply it to a breakup, it is the perfect anthem for reminding yourself of your strength and encouraging yourself to keep moving.

“Without Me” by Halsey

Song Year: 2018

“Without Me” is another breakup song inspired by the dissolution of a relationship between two stars. Halsey wrote this song after breaking up with rapper G-Eazy, and the lyrics make it clear how she felt about him post-relationship.

If you were there for your ex through everything and cannot imagine they could live without you, you can definitely relate to this song.

“U + Ur Hand” by Pink

Song Year: 2006

Ever one to bring fans a pop-rock hit to find your inner badass, Pink applied her hit-making formula to a breakup song and ended up with “U + Ur Hand.”

If your ex did not appreciate you and left you alone, sing along with Pink and let everyone know exactly who you are.

“Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye

Song Year: 2011

It is easy to reminisce on an old relationship, especially if you saw a future together but ended up going your separate ways.

Gotye lyricized just now jarring it can be to realize that, while you once were as close as two can be, now you are just two people who do not know each other anymore.

“IDGAF” by Dua Lipa

Song Year: 2018

In the upbeat breakup song “IDGAF,” British pop star Dua Lipa sings how we all feel when an ex calls after seeing how well life is going. Some terrible exes just have a radar that alerts them to the most inopportune times to come back into our lives.

If your ex is apologizing to you, as they should be, but you do not really give a you-know-what, this song is for you.

“We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey

Song Year: 2005

One of the most popular breakup songs of all time, “We Belong Together” topped the Billboard charts for months in 2005, reigniting Mariah Carey’s career.

Further securing her icon status, Carey re-wore the wedding dress she donned when marrying ex-husband Tommy Mottola. 

“drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo

Song Year: 2021

Teen queen Olivia Rodrigo turned her experience getting her driver’s license into a beautiful ballad about wishing you could share special moments with your ex after you anticipated them while you were together.

As a couple, you were not perfect, but you were in love, and now everything you do reminds you of what should have been.

“Take A Bow” by Rihanna

Song Year: 2007

If your ex wronged you and is trying to make things right, but you just want them to leave, Rihanna’s “Take A Bow” is the breakup song for you.

Another anthem for anyone who has been cheated on, play this song when you need a reminder of why you are not together anymore.

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Song Year: 2011

“Rolling in the Deep” also falls under the exes-who’ve-wronged-you category, except this time you are out for revenge.

Adele sings about being cheating on, inspiring you to seek revenge that you may seek after a nasty breakup.

“I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith

Song Year: 2014

File this song under “heartbreaking.” Grammy Award-winning singer Sam Smith simultaneously blessed and depressed the world with this breakup ballad.

“I’m Not The Only One” gives listeners insight into a broken marriage between someone who is stepping out and their partner who has been devastated over its impending end.

“I Fall Apart” by Post Malone

“I Fall Apart” by Post Malone

Song Year: 2016

If you thought you and your ex were meant to be and were more in love than you had ever been, play “I Fall Apart.” Then again, maybe do not. It will definitely make you feel something, even if you are not still hurt by an ex.

From his debut album Stoney, Post Malone’s breakup song can explain how you are feeling better than you can.

“Knock You Down” by Keri Hilson ft. Ne-Yo and Kanye West

Song Year: 2009

Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo, and Kanye West teamed up to deliver this beautiful breakup song about falling in love, getting knocked down, and picking yourself up again. It’s beautiful that West actually used a string arrangement of the song to propose to his now-estranged wife Kim Kardashian. Oh, the irony.

If you have been knocked down by love and need some encouragement to get back up, this is the perfect song to prepare you to try again. 

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

Song Year: 2001

Although this song was written as a message to former Destiny’s Child members who thought the band would be unsuccessful after their departure, it is perfect for a breakup.

If you need a reminder that you can survive anything, even a terrible breakup, this anthem is for you.

“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus

Song Year: 2013

Although it is probably better known for its music video (you know, the one where a naked Miley Cyrus is swinging back and forth on an actual wrecking ball), “Wrecking Ball” is a great breakup song.

If you have ever been in a relationship that was not good for you and are left broken, listen to this song. Miley knows a thing or two about tough breakups, and she beautifully articulates it in this song.

“Good Things Fall Apart” by ILLENIUM and Jon Bellion

Song Year: 2019

Sometimes relationships end, and you are not really sure why. You cannot igure out the cause, but know you are sad about it, and wish you knew what you did to drive them away.

If you can relate to that, ILLENIUM and Jon Bellion’s “Good Things Fall Apart” is perfect for you. Sing your longing emotions out with the beautiful verses, then scream-sing your confusion during the chorus. It will be cathartic.


Song Year: 2020

Everyone knows 2020 was a terrible year, but one good thing to come was this breakup song. The Kid LAROI’s “WITHOUT YOU” is perfect for a breakup where you are the one who screwed up.

If you wish you could still be with your ex but know it is over, plays this song to cope.

“Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

Song Year: 2017

If you do not already know, this song was released years before it surged in popularity. Two years after being recorded, “Truth Hurts” climbed to the top of the charts, and had everyone in America singing along.

If you need a song about finding your worth after someone left you, play this anthem. It will remind you are better off alone than with someone who does not appreciate you.

“That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony

Song Year: 2016

“That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony is another anthem to play when you need a pick-me-up.

If you have been hurt and knocked down, get back up. Let this girl-group power song run blast and sing at the top of your lungs. Find your confidence and get over your ex.

“Needed Me” by Rihanna

Song Year: 2016

No one else can sing a breakup song with indifference like Rihanna, and no one else should. If you had fun in your relationship but it is over now and you are fine with it, if your ex needed you way more than you needed them and you do not want them to forget it, this song is for you.

“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars

Song Year: 2012

Bruno Mars’s voice can make you feel anything, even regret over not appreciating someone when you had them, even if you have never experienced that.

If you are searching for a song about being a better partner, this song is for you. If you are not, listen to it anyway. It is beautiful.

“All Time Low” by Jon Bellion

Song Year: 2016

If your breakup hurt you, like really hurt you, and you are in a bad spot, an all-time low, perhaps, take a listen.

Jon Bellion will narrate your feelings. You thought you two were good together but clearly, the other person disagreed.

Do not sleep on this song, or on this artist.

“When It Rains It Pours” by Luke Combs

Song Year: 2017

We can get so caught up in the sadness and anger surrounding breakups we forget that sometimes breaking up is the best thing for you.

“When It Rains It Pours” is a country breakup anthem for those of you who just ended a relationship, and realize now that it is over, nothing but good has come your way.

Maybe you are not winning the lottery like Luke Combs, but if you are out of a bad relationship, it probably feels like you did.

“What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts

Song Year: 2008

There is always a breakup that hurts like hell, and Rascal Flatts sings all about it in the country ballad “What Hurts The Most.”

If you are hurting thinking about the unknown, and how you were so in love but did not show it when you should have, this is your song. If you are in need of therapy-by-song, let Rascal Flatts be your therapist.

“Someone Like You” by Adele

Song Year: 2011

2011 was a great year for Adele and breakup anthems. In addition to “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele blessed us with “Someone Like You.” While much sadder than the former, it feels just as good to scream-sing.

This song is for you if you know that it could have been you had you done things a little differently. This song is for you if your ex is in a really good place in their life, and you are happy for them but sad for yourself. This song is for you if you know, deep in your soul, you will find someone else to love.

“Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

Song Year: 2019

You took your relationship for granted and thought they would always be there. Now they are gone and you are sad. Sound familiar? Listen to this song. It will help.

“Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & AJ

Song Year: 2007

Arguably the least popular song on this list (okay, definitely), Aly & AJ’s “Potential Breakup Song” is the perfect warning to anyone who needs to get their act together before they lose someone amazing.

Aly & AJ recently released an explicit version, so if you did not hear the original, give the rerecorded one a try.

“Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake

Song Year: 2002

If you do not understand why someone left you, you thought you had a good relationship, and now they want you back, give “Cry Me A River” a listen.

“End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men

Song Year: 1991

Play this song any time you know you two should be together but you are not going to be. Play this song any time you know your relationship has run its course and you do not understand why. Play this song literally any time because no matter what is happening in your life, it is amazing.

“Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson

Song Year: 2004

Talk about a heartbreaking ballad. Kelly Clarkson beautifully sings about being permanently damaged from your ex but being strong enough to not let yourself be like that person.

“Let Her Go” by Passenger

Song Year: 2012

Sometimes you do not realize what you have until it is gone, and when you do let that person go you realize how much you love them. If that describes your predicament, give this song a listen.

“Tequila” by Dan + Shay

Song Year: 2018

Does the memory of your past relationship still haunt you? Does the taste of tequila haunt you? If you answered yes to either of those questions, listen to this song by Dan + Shay. It is perfect for a breakup with a person, and with tequila, both of which were probably necessary.

“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac

Song Year: 1977

We all know this breakup song. It is one of the most famous breakup albums of all time. There is really nothing else to say about it. If you have not heard it, how and why?

“You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon

Song Year: 1972

What an amazing song. If you were dating someone who is very vain, blast this song. Even if you just know someone who is very vain, blast this song. The moral of the story: blast this song. 

“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

Song Year: 2003

Anyone else picturing Cameron Diaz in The Holiday jamming to this song and getting inspired? If she can use this song to get over her ex and fall in love with 2006 Jude Law, you can, too.

Some of the best songs are breakup songs, and one of the best ways to get through a breakup is through music. Refer to this list whenever you need someone else to articulate your feelings for you.

Best Breakup Songs, Final Thoughts

If you are looking for songs to help you get past a breakup, then consider these top breakup songs. Each song has something special to offer and will help you process any lingering emotions you may have after a breakup.

Similar Posts