35 Songs About Unrequited Love We Can All Relate To

Unfortunately, the people you fall in love with don’t always fall in love with you. It can be hard to let go and move on, even when you know that’s the best thing you can do. To hear others' experiences with this, below are the top songs about unrequited love we can all relate to.

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“You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift

Song year: 2008

We don’t plan who we fall for.

Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” is a song about falling for a close friend.

Knowing Swift, this song could be autobiographical.

The trouble, at least as she sees it, is that:

“…she wears short skirts/I wear T-shirts/She's cheer captain/And I'm on the bleachers/Dreaming about the day when you wake up/And find that what you're looking for has been here the whole time.”

Friendship is a great starting point for a relationship, but sadly these types of situations have a way of not working out. Ok, here's another song about loving someone you can't have.

“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Song year: 2001

This might seem like an odd pick, but when you think about it, at no point does the protagonist say:

“We’re together now and everything’s great.”

She’s fascinated by a guy she comes across and essentially calls it love at first sight (typically a red flag, as attraction is not indicative of a connection, matching interests or a suitable personality type).

Yet, if you read the lyrics closely, you can see that he hasn’t said anything about being into her yet:

“You took your time with the call/I took no time with the fall/You gave me nothing at all/But still you're in my way.”

It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of love before anything has materialized.

“You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

Song year: 2005

There’s a good chance you never thought of “You’re Beautiful” as a song about unrequited love before.

So, if you’re reading this now, you’ll probably never look at it the same way again, because honestly, it’s kind of creepy.

Have a look at the first verse if you don’t believe me:

“My life is brilliant/My love is pure/I saw an angel/Of that I’m sure/She smiled at me on the subway/She was with another man/But I don’t lose no sleep on that/’Cause I’ve got a plan.”

Of course, that “plan” is never revealed in this song, and in the end, the protagonist admits “I will never be with you.”

Editor's note: This is one of my favorite songs about unrequited love.

“Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus

Song year: 2000

Probably not the first song that comes to mind when you try to brainstorm songs about one-sided love.

If you know the song, then you probably know the lyrics already.

The theme of “teenage dirtbag” comes out so strongly that sometimes it’s easy to overlook the dormant themes of unreciprocated love:

“But she doesn’t know who I am/And she doesn’t give a damn about me.”

What sets this song apart, however, is that things turn out well for the protagonist, because the girl he likes is a “teenage dirtbag” too.

A classic song about loving someone you can't have.

“Why Don’t You Love Me” by Beyoncé, A Song About Loving Someone You Can't Have

Song year: 2010

No matter how good you are to someone, there are times when they don’t recognize the sacrifices you make and the things you do for them.

As backwards as it is, sometimes that’s the problem – the fact that we shower them with too much attention.

Relatable love songs

It certainly doesn’t help your situation though, because it can leave you feeling resentful.

Beyoncé offers up these simple questions many can relate to:

“Why don’t you love me?/Tell me, baby, why don’t you love me/When I make me so damn easy to love?/And why don’t you need me?/Tell me, baby, why don’t you need me/When I make me so damn easy to need?”

“Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon

Song year: 1984

The first verse says it all:

“I can't fight this feeling any longer/And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow/What started out as friendship has grown stronger/I only wish I had the strength to let it show.”

As I’ve already noted, friendship can quickly evolve into feelings of love, regardless of your original intent.

We’re not sure how the story ends in this song but it certainly stands as a classic ballad about unanswered love.

“To Be With You” by Mr. Big

Song year: 1991

It’s easy to forget that this cheery sounding acoustic ballad from the early 90s via hard rock supergroup Mr. Big is indeed a song about unrequited love.

It’s not clear whether things turned out well for the protagonist in the song, either.

In many ways, it was Mr. Big’s answer to Extreme’s “More Than Words” only a year earlier.

At the time, it was important for hard rock/hair metal bands to show their sensitive side, as it gave them access to a new fan base.

Singer Eric Martin later explained that this song is a page from his own book, noting there was a girl he fell for in high school.

She had a lot of guy problems, and Martin got an earful.

Martin ended up liking her and wanted to be her knight in shining armor, but things never quite worked out that way.

“Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf

Song year: 1978

While the first verse alludes to unrequited love, this is just as much a song about love lost, as indicated by these lines:

“I remember how she left me on a stormy night/She kissed me and got out of our bed/And though I pleaded and begged her not to walk out that door/She packed her bags and turned right away.”

So, although the love took shape, ultimately, it didn’t last.

But there are still plenty of great lyrics that will resonate with anybody experiencing the agony of one-sided love, including these:

“There’s only one girl I’ll ever love/And that was so many years ago/And though I know I’ll never get her out of my heart/She never loved me back.”

“Teardrops On My Guitar” by Taylor Swift

Song year: 2006

Everybody knows Taylor Swift breakup songs are a dime a dozen.

We could almost say the same for her catalog of unrequited love songs (I’m being a little facetious here).

Music, of course, is often a healing agent, something this song hints at:

“He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar/The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star/He's the song in the car I keep singing, don't know why I do.”

If you keep dreaming about someone and can’t get them out of your head, this song is for you.

“Everything You Want” by Vertical Horizon

Song year: 1999

Unrequited love can leave you feeling angry.

There’s a part of you that wants to convince your crush of your goodness.

But many times, no amount of coaxing and persuading will make a difference:

“He's everything you want/He's everything you need/He's everything inside of you/That you wish you could be/He says all the right things/At exactly the right time/But he means nothing to you/And you don't know why.”

Sometimes, people don’t fall for the people that are right for them and instead fall for the people that will end up hurting them and teach them lessons.

Beneath the shiny veneer of this upbeat pop song lurks a great deal of frustration.

“Love Stinks” by The J. Geils Band

Song year: 1980

It doesn’t get any funnier, direct or more absurd than this song:

“You love her/But she loves him/And he loves somebody else/You just can't win.”

Who hasn’t been through something like that?

When love has got you down, it’s better to put this song on and air your grievances.

“All To Myself” by Marianas Trench

Song year: 2009

Here’s another catchy pop punk number you may not have identified as a song about unrequited love.

But it’s clear that the narrator wants someone he doesn’t have.

He’s so in his own head that he’s starting to hear things no one has even said:

“Did you say please just follow me/I thought you wanted me/'Cause I want you all to myself/I can try and suck it up/I just can't suck it up/Make me feel like someone else.”

He’s also down on himself for his lack of self-confidence in going up to ask for what he wants.

For me, the awkwardness of Jr. high and high school come to mind.

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