Relationships don’t always go as planned. Even when you get into one with the best of intentions, your impulses and desires can get the best of you.
That’s what cheating is all about. And most if not all of us, for better or for worse, have experienced it.
In this guide, we’re going to be looking at 37 songs about cheating you’ll probably be able to relate to (for better or for worse).
“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood
Song year: 2005
Sometimes you just know that your partner can’t stay faithful.
In “Before He Cheats”, the narrator seems like she’s wrapped up in her imagination, speculating on what her significant other is doing while she’s elsewhere.
Not just that, but she’s already enacting revenge: “I dug my key into the side / Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive.”
I can’t say the narrator doesn’t come out looking a little crazy in this song. But love can make people do crazy, irrational things, and to that extent, I’m sure you can relate.
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
Song year: 1995
By far, my favorite song about cheating is “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette. I know that’s an odd thing to say, because generally there’s nothing great about cheating. But the aggressive tone of the song is just perfect.
In this song, we find the narrator resentful and angry. She begins simply enough, saying she wishes the best for the new couple. But then she turns around and says she hopes he feels it every time she digs her nails into someone else’s back.
Either way, this female alternative rock song was groundbreaking in its time, and even today, from the songwriting to the music, it stands as a great tune.
“Should’ve Said No” by Taylor Swift
Song year: 2006
In Taylor Swift’s “Should’ve Said No”, the narrator confronts the man who cheated on her.
He told her it happened in a moment of weakness, but the narrator insists, “You should’ve said no.”
Overall, the song reads like a “typical” cheating song if there is such a thing. Nothing revolutionary or out of the ordinary. Just a simple song about what went wrong and why it should have never happened.
“Would I Lie To You?” by Eurythmics
Song year: 1985
The lyrical content to “Would I Lie To You?” is relatively sparse, but it basically follows the narrative of a woman confronting her cheating lover.
It sounds like a relationship that got worse over time. Even though the narrator gave her lover a chance, things got to the point where she felt she had no choice but to break up with him.
Much of this is reflected in the music video as well.
“Never Again” by Kelly Clarkson
Song year: 2007
This is one of those songs where the cheating is more implied than anything.
It’s clear the narrator had a bad experience with her ex, and cheating may have been involved. But more than anything, it sounds like her ex is in the habit of leaving women when he’s bored with them.
The song takes the perspective of a narrator who’s viewing her ex’s new relationship from the outside looking in.
“Between The Cheats” by Amy Winehouse
Song year: 2011
“Between The Cheats” by Amy Winehouse is almost poetic, and to that extent, a little harder to follow.
But the lyric “between the cheats” lets you know something unsavory is going on in her relationship.
Apparently, this song is about Amy’s relationship with Blake Fielder, which was complicated. When Blake was dating Amy, he was basically cheating on his girlfriend.
Amy defended him, and in this song, the lyrics reflect this fact.
“Back Door Man” by The Doors
Song year: 1967
There’s nothing subversive or complicated about The Doors’ “Back Door Man”. It’s basically just a song about a guy who beds a lot of married women (thus the “back door”).
I do rather enjoy the slow, bluesy groove of the tune, as well as the rock organ though.
“Betcha Gon’ Know (The Prologue)” by Mariah Carey
Song year: 2009
“Betcha Gon’ Know (The Prologue)” has the narrator catching her lover with another. Unable to deal with the situation, she bolts from the scene in her car.
She reflects that she had been good to her significant other and couldn’t believe that such a thing would happen.
The narrator was clearly hurt and is struggling to come to grips with what happened to her.
“I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” by Elton John
Song year: 1988
In “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That”, the narrator discovers their partner isn’t satisfied with just one love.
So, the narrator decided to end the relationship, because they don’t want to be a “feather in your cap.” Basically, they value themselves too highly to continue in a relationship that isn’t exclusive.
The best part of the song, though, undoubtedly, is the music. I love the groove, the piano, and the vocals!
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
Song year: 1968
It’s unlikely you haven’t heard Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” because of how ubiquitous it is.
The message of the song is straightforward. The narrator finds out, “through the grapevine”, that his significant other has been cheating on him.
As the narrator indicates, the relationship isn’t going to last much longer.
“Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon, A Song About Infidelity
Song year: 1980
Power ballad “Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon is kind of a positive look at infidelity.
The narrator mentions there were some men in his significant other’s past. Despite that, he promises to keep on loving her.
This song reminds us that relationships aren’t always easy.
“Maybellene” by Chuck Berry, Famous Song About Unfaithfulness
Song year: 1956
“Maybellene” by Chuck Berry is a classic rock and roll song.
The song tells the story of an unfaithful girlfriend. The narrator chases after her in a V8 Ford while she drives a Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
“Picture” by Kid Rock ft. Sheryl Crow
Song year: 2015
“Picture” by Kid Rock seems to be more about “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” than cheating in general. And the lyrics are a bit of a pickle.
In the first verse, the narrator says, “Wish I had a good girl to miss me.” But then the narrator talks about putting a picture away. We assume this is the picture of his girlfriend. Is he saying he has a “bad girl” that does miss him!?
Not sure, but yeah, this is certainly a song about a relationship that has some fidelity issues.
“Lyin’ Eyes” by Eagles
Song year: 1975
“Lyin’ Eyes” epitomizes the country rock sound bands like the Eagles and America made popular in the 70s.
The narrative in the song isn’t hard to follow. It’s basically about a girl who’s in a relationship but lies about going out at night to comfort an old friend. Instead, she heads for “the cheatin’ side of town.”
The narrator knows what’s going on, however, and says to his girl, “you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes.”
This is one of those classic cases where the music sounds happy, but the subject matter is kind of sad.
“Careless Whisper” by George Michael
Song year: 1984
The unforgettable “Careless Whisper” features a weeping saxophone, sad chord progression, and melodramatic lyrics that complement the serious vibes. I rather like it.
The narrator regrets cheating on his significant other and wishes he had never done it. He knows that he’s going to be found out one way or another, and it’s going to lead to a fight.
The song hints at how painful cheating on someone can be.
“Baby Don’t Lie” by Gwen Stefani
Song year: 2014
In “Baby Don’t Lie” by Gwen Stefani, the narrator admits her significant other has been good to her. But she also sees right through his guilty conscience.
She’s also prompting her lover to fess up to his sins.
To me, the music seems whimsical and doesn’t complement the subject matter at all. I don’t think this is Stefani at her best, but that’s just my opinion.
“Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn
Song year: 2010
Here’s another lens through which cheating can be viewed. In “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn, the narrator asks her newfound lover to call her girlfriend and break up with her so the two can be together.
The music isn’t bad, kind of catchy, but I find it a bit weird. I like some of Robyn’s earlier material – not sure how I feel about this song.
Anyway, this song hints at some of the things that can happen where cheating occurs. Breakups are generally imminent, but sometimes it does lead to new relationships too.
“Part-Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder
Song year: 1985
“Part-Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder is about a love affair. The lovers act like strangers by day but come together at night.
The two know that what they’re doing is wrong, but they go ahead and keep getting together anyway.
The best part of this song is undoubtedly the catchy groove (similar to Hall & Oates style groove).
“Better Man” by Pearl Jam
Song year: 1994
So far as Pearl Jam songs are concerned, this is probably one of the more straightforward ones to follow. If you didn’t know this about grunge music, much of it is lyrically abstract on purpose.
“Better Man”, though, starts off on a quieter note, and suddenly picks up about halfway through.
This song is also about a woman trapped in a bad relationship. Vedder even said it was about an abusive relationship and that it was about his stepfather, who was likely a cheater too.
Fun fact – Eddie Vedder wrote this song as a teenager in high school.
“Little Lies” by Fleetwood Mac
Song year: 1987
I feel like Fleetwood Mac has more than a few songs about cheating, or at the very least, relationships that have gone horribly wrong.
This upbeat song is one of the less dramatic and melodramatic ones, though. Most people remember it for the catchy chorus – “Tell me lies / Tell me sweet little lies.”
If you follow the narrative, you’ll see that the narrator knows her significant other is cheating on her, but wants to keep the relationship going, at least for the time being.
I’m a fan of the groove in this song.
“Run To You” by Bryan Adams
Song year: 1984
Here’s another one of my favorites on this list, mostly because all the guitar playing on the album it comes from, Reckless, is like a template for solid modern guitar playing.
“Run To You”, however, is not sophisticated or complex. It’s just a song about a man who doesn’t want to tell his girlfriend about his cheating ways.
Basically, it’s a song about not being able to resist your base instincts and impulses.
“No Tell Lover” by Chicago
Song year: 1978
Chicago’s got an impressive catalog of music, and I love it all.
“No Tell Lover” is about a relationship that isn’t meant to be – in other words, an affair. So, the narrator doesn’t tell anyone about her.
Again, it’s mostly a song about following one’s uncontrollable impulses for someone beautiful.
“Go Away” by Weezer
Song year: 2014
In this song, the narrator cheated on his lover, and begs for forgiveness from his girlfriend.
Otherwise, it’s a simple, straightforward song that sounds like early Weezer.
“It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” by Whitney Houston
Song year: 1998
The lyrics to “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” read like a story unfolding.
Basically, the narrator discovers her man has been cheating. She tells him to pack his bags and never come back. It would also appear he has cheated on her more than once.
“He Wasn’t Man Enough” by Toni Braxton
Song year: 1996
Here’s another 90s favorite. “He Wasn’t Man Enough” by Toni Braxton may not be a song about cheating (not saying cheating couldn’t have been involved) as much as it’s a song about letting go of someone you know isn’t good enough for you.
Still, it’s a great song, and if you’re looking for a song that makes you feel empowered after a breakup, you’ll probably enjoy this tune.
“Case Of The Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do)” by Mya
Song year: 2000
I don’t know who the narrator was involved with, but he sounds like bad news.
She suspects right away that her lover is talking to his ex on the phone. So, she confronts him and asks him how he’s going to act around his ex.
Seems like a reasonable question. Of course, it has me wondering whether the narrator is planning to stay with her man regardless. Because the song basically just keeps asking “What you gon’ do when you can’t say no?”
Seems like there might be a connection between this song and the previously mentioned Mariah Carey song, which feature similar lyrics.
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton
Song year: 1974
In this song, we find the narrator begging Jolene not to steal her man away from her.
The narrator paints this woman as being incredibly attractive, and even says she can’t compete with her.
Further, because her ex has been saying Jolene’s name in his sleep, she knows something has been going on for a while.
Parton later revealed that “Jolene” was based on a true story. But there is a bit of ambiguity in the song. We don’t know for sure whether Jolene was in fact after Parton’s man.
“A Quick One, While He’s Away” by The Who
Song year: 1966
“A Quick One, While He’s Away” unfolds like a mini opera – almost like a Queen song (which was yet to come).
The song isn’t about just one thing. Guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend, in fact, shared that parts of the song were based on his real-life experiences of being molested as a child.
If I were to sum it up, the song is about Townshend’s broken family life, where cheating was certainly a part of the equation.
“It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones
Song year: 1965
It’s easy to forget that this chipper classic could be interpreted as a song about cheating. It is certainly a song about unrequited love, but if you were to interpret the lyrics to mean that the narrator doesn’t like seeing his girlfriend out and about messing around, it’s not a stretch at all.
Either way, it’s a great song and it’s hard not to love.
“Emo” by Blink-182
Song year: 1997
Looking at the lyrics, “Emo” by Blink-182 isn’t explicitly about cheating. It sounds to me like the narrator is on the outside looking in on an abusive relationship. And he’s in love with the girl.
But there is another way to look at it – that the girl in the song is constantly being cheated on and can’t seem to escape the bad cycle.
“Heart Turns To Stone” by Foreigner
Song year: 1987
“Heart Turns To Stone” is told from the third-person perspective, but it’s clear the narrator cheated on his girlfriend and she’s heartbroken. The narrator laments losing everything.
The lyrics aren’t anything special or striking, but I’m a fan of good 80s music, and I think this tune is executed to perfection.
“High Fidelity” by Elvis Costello
Song year: 1979
Elvis Costello is revered as a superb lyricist, and his lyrics typically are full of play on words, metaphors, and references to other great music.
“High Fidelity” is an incredibly catchy song with an amazing arrangement. But Costello described it as sad song about a couple who cheat on each other, even while one still believes everything will somehow work out.
Costello called it delusional, and it was loosely based on his personal and public struggles during an especially trying three years.
“I Know A Little” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Song year: 1977
In this song, the narrator suspects his girlfriend has been cheating on him. He says:
“I know a little ‘bout love / And baby I can guess the rest.”
The narrator says to his significant other, if you want to keep me, you’ve got to do right by me.
“Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake, A Top Song About Cheating
Song year: 2002
“Cry Me A River” is cheese-ball to say the least, but it’s also an anthem for the cheated on and wounded.
In this Timberlake song, the narrator finds out his girl has been cheating on him, from the guy she cheated on him with!
Apparently, she thought she could get away with it. But the narrator breaks up with his girlfriend, and she’s devastated.
“Don’t Bother” by Shakira
Song year: 2005
“Don’t Bother” by Shakira basically follows the same narrative as Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
The narrator speaks of a woman she considers superior to herself. In this case, though, it would appear the narrator is the one that’s been cheating, while the “superior” woman is already married.
“Bad Situation” by Richie Kotzen
Song year: 2011
Richie Kotzen is most known for his work with Poison. But I love everything off his solo album 24 Hours, which easily makes it onto my top 10 list of favorite albums.
“Bad Situation” is a bad situation because the narrator has been messing around with a married woman and he can’t tell her he loves her because he knows how that’s going to be received (not well).
Catchy song, great guitar playing.
“Get Outta My Way” by Kylie Minogue
Song year: 2010
Kylie Minogue’s “Get Outta My Way” may not be a song about cheating, exactly. But it certainly is a song about the intent to cheat.
The narrator finds herself frustrated with a boring guy and basically tells him to sit and watch her as she finds someone else who’s more interesting.
What I love most about this song is the killer piano riff.
Songs With Cheating In The Title, Final Thoughts
If there’s anything we can take away from all this, it’s that cheating isn’t pretty.
If you’re the cheater, your guilty conscience can haunt you.
If you’ve been cheated on, betrayal, disappointment, and heartbreak can hit you all at once.
Fortunately, there’s always a song you can turn to, because infidelity has inspired a lot of great songs. We hope you enjoyed this list and wish you the best in all your relationships.