12 Great Sad Songs for Dealing with a Breakup (No Matter What Kind of Music You Like)

Whether you were with the other person for 30 days or 30 years, breaking up is one of the hardest things to do. It’s natural to grieve the relationship, no matter what kind of relationship it was and no matter who initiated the breakup. It’s a life change, and it involves letting go of the dreams you had for the future of that relationship. When grieving, you might want to kick back, wallow a little, and listen to some sad songs written by other people who have gone through the same thing you’re going through. Whatever genre you like to listen to and whatever type of relationship you had, you can guarantee there’s a sad song out there that’s perfect for you. So pull out your headphones, kick back, and listen to one of these 12 songs, each representing a different musical genre and perfect for a break-up. 

Where I Stood by Missy Higgins (Acoustic)

It can be hard to explain why you’re grieving a relationship when you’re the one who broke things off. Missy Higgins captures this emotion perfectly, describing a situation when a person has defined themselves based on their relationship and has forgotten who they are in the process.

Strong Enough by Matthew West (Christian)

If you’re the type of person who likes Christian music, Matthew West’s Strong Enough, which is about going through any sort of hard time, makes for the perfect break-up song. If you find comfort in prayer and seeking a higher power, West’s reminder to reach out during these hard times is sure to be a comfort for you.

Someone Like You by Adele (Soul)

Adele’s heartbreaking, soulful voice has made Someone Like You such a ubiquitous break-up song that there was an SNL skit about it. The joke is that it’s one of those songs you almost can’t help but cry while listening to. If you’re just looking to wallow and have a good cry, even while wishing the other person well, this is the perfect song for you.  

The Truth by Jason Aldean (Country)

Country is infamous for its wide array of breakup songs, and there’s no shortage of them to listen to if country is your genre of choice. Jason Aldean’s The Truth is particularly good because it captures the feeling you have when you’re still grieving a break-up when it seems like the other person has moved on. Grief takes everyone different amounts of time, so if you’re still struggling with a break-up after you feel like you should have moved on, listen to some Jason Aldean.

Alone Again, Naturally by Gilbert O’Sullivan (Oldies)

Gilbert O’Sullivan has one of the most upbeat sounding breakup songs on the planet, and yet if you listen to the lyrics, it's absolutely heartbreaking. Covering everything from being left at the altar to your spouse dying before you do, Alone Again, Naturally is an all-encompassing break-up song perfect for anyone’s needs.

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor (Disco)

Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive is perfect when someone breaks up with you in a particularly harsh way. If you need an anthem behind you to remind you that you can keep going after the break-up, this disco will be perfect to help you pick up the pieces of your life and move on.

Burn by Usher (Contemporary R&B)

Usher’s Burn is perfect if you’re trying to get yourself prepared to break up with someone. Sometimes, breaking up is the best thing you can do for the other person, but fear of hurting them can make you hold on to a dying relationship longer than you should. If that’s the place where you find yourself, this break-up song will be perfect for you.

Love Yourself by Justin Bieber (Pop)

If you’ve ever had a relationship with someone who was self-absorbed and didn’t care about your needs, Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself will ring true to you. It’s about getting out of a relationship where the person loved themselves more than they ever loved you and about realizing that you’re better on your own than with someone who doesn’t care about you. An empowering pop song, it’s great for when you need to stick to your guns about a break-up and remember why you broke up with the other person.

Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye (Alternative/Indie)

People change. When you and the other person you’re with change differently, you can suddenly feel like you’re in a relationship with a stranger. Gotye’s funky alternative song is about what it’s like to break-up from that kind of relationship, when the other person is being mean for the sake of being mean or is just so different from the person you initially fell in love with that they seem like a stranger.

Let Her Go by Passenger (Neo-Folk)

Sometimes, you don’t appreciate a good thing until it’s gone. Passenger’s Let Her Go is about what it’s like to lose someone when you didn’t realize how much you loved them. Maybe you took the relationship for granted. Maybe there’s a chance of winning them back if you work hard at it. But sometimes, loving someone only after they leave you is exactly what you need in life to become the person you need to be in your next relationship.

Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Meyer (Rock)

Meyer’s slow-paced rock song is about the depression that can settle in after a break-up. It’s waking up thinking you’re still with them, and the heartbreaking realization that you have to face day after day that they’re gone. This can be a great song if you’re trying to cope after the death of a loved one or have otherwise lost someone after they’ve been in your life for a really long time.

Stay with Me by Sam Smith (Soul)

Sometimes, after breaking up with someone, you reach out to other people and have meaningless one-night stands to try to reclaim that feeling of being loved. Sam Smith’s Stay With Me is about that—about what it’s like to use meaningless relationships to try to cope with losing one that mean something, and about the inevitable extra-heartbreak that brings with it.

Going through a breakup is hard. Even equipped with the best breakup songs, you’ll still have to go through all the emotions and realizations that come with a breakup. But a good breakup song can help you on that journey of self-realization, ensuring that when you come out the other side of the breakup stronger for everything you’ve been through.