18 Sad Love Songs That Capture Exactly What You're Going Through When Nothing Else Works
Since magic is a fictional concept (Gasp! I know!), I think the closest thing we have to it IRL is music. Music can make us feel better when nothing and no one else seems to be able to. If you got into an argument with a friend or a parent, there's a song for that. If you failed a really important exam, there's a song for that. If you're mending a broken heart or fighting with a lover, there's a song for that, too. Sad love songs that capture exactly what you're going through are anything but few and far between. There's an endless amount of songs out there that can get through to you in a way that maybe your best friend or your mom couldn't in that particular moment.
I'm sure music is a part of your life in some way, shape, or form. Whether you listen on your commute to work, at the gym, or in the shower, it's probably somewhat present in your day-to-day life. Sometimes, you may use music as a filler for the blank background noise you'd have otherwise, but when you really listen, lyrics can speak to you when you need it most. When you're sad, or going through something difficult in your relationship, these 18 songs will get you, and they'll get you through.
1. "I Almost Do" by Taylor Swift
And I just wanna tell you, it takes everything in me not to call you / And I wish I could run to you/ And I hope you know that every time I don't, I almost do.
Ah, the queen of breakup songs herself, Taylor Swift. Swift gets a lot of grief for always writing songs about her relationships, but those songs speak to your soul if you're going through a breakup.
2. "Heartbreak Warfare" by John Mayer
How come the only way to know how high you get me / is to see how far I fall / God only knows how much I'd love you if you let me / But I can't break through at all.
Sometimes no matter how much you want to love someone, they don't want to let you in. If that's the case, there's nothing you can really do about it, and that can be the most frustrating part.
3. "Call Out My Name" by The Weeknd
Guess I was just another pit stop / 'Til you made up your mind / You just wasted my time.
Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever. Sadly, some are meant to just make an appearance.
4. "Stone Cold" by Demi Lovato
God knows I tried to feel / Happy for you / Know that I am, even if I / Can't understand, I'll take the pain / Give me the truth, me and my heart/ We'll make it through / If happy is her, I'm happy for you.
When someone moves on from you, it can be really hard to be happy for them in the beginning. But eventually, you will grow to want the best for them, even if it's regrettably not you.
5. "Marvin's Room" by Drake
I'm just sayin', you could do better / Tell me have you heard that lately / I'm just sayin' you could do better / And I'll start hatin', only if you make me.
Because you love someone, you're always going to think they can do better. It's second nature. That goes for your friend, your ex, or even a parent. Wanting the best for them (and no one ever living up to that) is understandable.
6. "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith
Why am I so emotional / This is not a good look, gain some self-control / And deep down I know this never works / But you can lay with me so it doesn't hurt.
Sometimes all you need is someone to lay down with you — no words, no tears.
7. "So Sick" by Ne-Yo
It's been months, and for some reason I just (can't get over us) / And I'm stronger than this (enough is enough) / No more walkin' round with my head down / I'm so over being blue, cryin' over you.
Time is a tricky thing. It does wonders for the healing process for any situation, but getting through each day while you're still aching can be ridiculously painful. But it gets a little better each day, even if you don't notice it.
8. "Say Something" by A Great Big World, featuring Christina Aguilera
Anywhere, I would've followed you / Say something, I'm giving up on you / And I will swallow my pride / You're the one that I love / And I'm saying goodbye.
When you're with someone you love, sometimes it just doesn't work, and you have to say goodbye.
9. "Drive" by Miley Cyrus
You told me that you wanted this / I told you it was all yours, If you're done with it/ Then what you say forever for? / If forever's out the door / I'll ignore, when you call.
"Forever" is a big word, and sometimes people tend to use it too lightly. When that happens, love can get a little messy because you thought they meant forever, for real, and things change.
10. "Already Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
And I want you to know / You couldn't have loved me better / But I want you to move on / So, I'm already gone.
I dedicated this song to my high school boyfriend the second time we broke up. He really couldn't have loved me better, but I couldn't love him half as much, and he needed to know I was really gone so he could actually move on.
11. "Gone" by *NSYNC
Was it something I said to make you turn away / To make you walk out and leave me cold / If I could just find a way to make it so that you were right here.
Such a classic song, honestly. *NSYNC > Backstreet Boys, any day. Sue me.
12. "One Wish" by Ray J
If I had one wish, we would be best friends / Love would never end, it would just begin / If I had one wish, you would be my boo / Promise to love you, trust me I'll trust you.
If you tell me you never jammed out to this song, I don't believe you!
13. "Haunted" by Taylor Swift
Stood there and watched you walk away / From everything we had / But I still mean every word I said to you / He will try to take away my pain / And he just might make me smile / But the whole time I'm wishin' he was you instead.
Even if you move on post-breakup, there may be times when your ex still lingers in your mind and your heart. This new person makes you smile, but a small part of you may still wish it was your ex instead, and that's OK. Eventually, you won't feel that way anymore.
14. "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars
If you ever leave me baby / Leave some morphine at my door / 'Cause it would take a whole lot of medication / To realize what we used to have / We don't have it anymore.
Ugh, Bruno Mars. My heart.
15. "Just Give Me A Reason" by P!nk featuring Nate Ruess
Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough / Just a second, we're not broken, just bent / And we can learn to love again.
Sometimes, you really can learn to love again. But if you've tried, and you can't fix whatever may be wrong in your relationship, it may be in your favor to move on.
16. "Now You Tell Me" by Jordin Sparks
You were nonchalant, strong and unaffected / And you never wanted me to be there / I never saw your heart that's how close you kept it / So right now I'm so unsure how to care.
You know when you want someone, and they don't want you back, so you move on, and then they decide to come back and hit you with the, "I was wrong"? Hi! This is the worst!
17. "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" by Luke Bryan
Girl rest your head, one more time in my bed / Love me like you loved me when you loved me and you didn't have to try / Let's lay down tonight, and kiss tomorrow goodbye.
Hooking up with your ex is almost always a bad idea, but it's easy to romanticize one last night together, even if you know it's not doing much for your healing process.
18. "Our Last Summer" by Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Amanda Seyfried, and Meryl Streep
I can still recall our last summer / I still see it all / Walks along the Seine, laughing in the rain / Our last summer, memories that remain.
And with that, I bring you the perfect song for when you're feeling nostalgic and reminiscing on your past love. The memories rarely completely fade away, and they're nice to look back on from time to time to remember the good times you may have had together.
Next time you're feeling sad and your best friend's pep talks aren't doing it for you, try listening to these songs — and I mean really listening. Sometimes all you need are some sweet, relatable lyrics, some killer music chords, and time to just sit there and get lost in the music.
This post was originally published on Oct. 17, 2018. It was updated on Aug. 16, 2019 by Lilli Petersen.