17 Songs about Loving Someone You Can’t Have 

By on November 19, 2017

You’re not alone in loving someone you can’t have…and here are 17 songs to prove it!

Loving someone you can’t have, quite frankly, sucks. As Kate Winslet put it in The Holiday (because I really couldn’t have put it any better myself):

I’ve found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said “Journeys end in lovers meeting.” Oh, what an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said “love is blind”. Now that is something I know to be true.

For some, quite inexplicably, love fades. For others, love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there’s another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. It’s called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert.

Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space.

Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years. The absolute worst years of my life. The worst Christmas’s, the worst Birthday’s, New Years Eve’s brought in by tears. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I’ve been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back. Oh god, just the sight of him. Heart pounding. Throat thickening. Absolutely can’t swallow. All the usual symptoms.


What I am trying to say is I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places that you didn’t know you had inside you. And it doesn’t matter how many new hair cuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of Chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends. You still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the heel for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he’ll see the light and show up at your door.

And after all that, however long all that may be, you’ll go somewhere new, and you’ll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again, and little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.

Now that you’ve read that you know that you are not alone. You also know that falling out of love is quite possible. Finding new love, requited love, just as possible (and there are several articles on here that will give you tips on that). That said let’s have a look at songs that resonate with how you feel (though I’m more pro recommending you to watch The Holiday and focus on rebuilding your life – it’s what I did when my ex left me many years ago…I still love that movie!).

All By Myself – Céline Dion

You know that beginning scene to Bridget Jones Diary? Renee Zellwegger sitting in her PJs, singing All by Myself while drinking vodka? The song might not specify a certain person as a love interest, but anyone suffering from unrequited love can most certainly recognize themselves in it. (And do watch Bridget Jones Diary if you’re feeling down in the dumps – you’ll be smiling by the end of it!).

All by myself

Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore

All by myself

Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore

Needles and Pins – The Searchers 

Bring back the good old fifties! This song may be about unrequited love, but it has a happy melody which one just can’t resist singing along to! Definitively more of a feel-good song than many others on this list. Sing along with it to take out your frustrations on how you are feeling and make yourself feel good simultaneously. There’s even a bit of a revenge theme to this song…which may not be all that “aware” and “conscious” to think of, but hey, sometimes a little bit of gloating is a like a dollop of Ben and Jerry’s – too indulgent to resist!

I saw her today, I saw her face, it was a face I loved, and I knew

I had to run away, and get down on my knees and pray that they’d go away

But still they’d begin (uh), needles and pins (uh)

Because of all my pride, the tears I gotta hide

Hey I thought I was smart, I’d won her heart

Didn’t think I’d do, but now I see

She’s worse to him than me, let her go ahead

Take his love instead, and one day she will see

Just how to say please, and get down on her knees

Hey that’s how it begins (uh), she’ll feel those needles and pins

A-hurtin’ her, a-hurtin’ her

Dancing On My Own – Robyn / Calum Scott

Heartbreaking. You’re in the corner watching him/her kiss someone else… But oh what a beautiful song! And Robyn’s version is definitively…happier due to making you want to dance!

Moving On and Getting Over – John Mayer

That voice, that man, this sad song…

Moving on and getting over

Are not the same, it seems to me

‘Cause you’ve been gone, I’m growing older

But I still can’t seem to get you off my mind

And I do believe I feel you all the time

To Know Him Is to Love Him – Amy Winehouse 

That feeling of one day he will know that you’re meant for him. Really. Right?!

It’s a Heartache – Bonnie Tyler

“It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache. Hits you when it’s too late, hits you when you’re down…” Need I say more?

Andreas Johnson – It Should Have Been Me

This is a song I used to love – jazzy, sad and that rainy Sunday kind of feeling. And of course, all about unrequited love. “It should have been me. It should have been my kind of love.”

Creep – Radiohead

A classic. Don’t we all wish we were special? Like that special one we can’t get out of our heads?

When you were here before

Couldn’t look you in the eye

You’re just like an angel

Your skin makes me cry

You float like a feather

In a beautiful world

And I wish I was special

You’re so fuckin’ special

You Belong with Me – Taylor Swift

When you feel that you’re the one who understands them, you’re their great friend…and they’re with that drama queen who is just so not right for them. But if they want to suffer…what can you do? Not much. (But hey, spoiler alert: in the video there’s a happy ending!)

The Kill – 30 Seconds To Mars

This song is, in truth, about a break-up with self…facing one’s fears and becoming who one truly is, BUT most people going through a break-up with another person can relate to the very same words.  (Oh and the acoustic version is just the best!)

I tried to be someone else

But nothing seemed to change

I know now, this is who I really am inside.

Finally found myself

Fighting for a chance.

I know now, this is who I really am.

Love Yourself – Justin Bieber

You know that feeling, you’re in love with them still, but you shouldn’t be, but you are, but all they care about is themselves, so you should be moving on… Yeah, that. This song will definitively get you thinking about moving on!

‘Cause if you like the way you look that much

Oh baby you should go and love yourself

And if you think that I’m still holdin’ on to somethin’

You should go and love yourself

Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye 

After the break-up…suddenly they’re just somebody you used to love. I mean know.

Grenade – Bruno Mars

You’d take a grenade for them…do anything for them…and they’d do nothing for you. What’s fair in that?

If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher 

If only you could, because then they’d stay…

Take a Bow – Rihanna 

You were so in love (still are) and the person cheated on you! It’s time to face up to the fact that s/he isn’t really sorry and you’re better of without him/her. You’re just gonna get through another pack of Kleenex first. “Don’t tell me you’re sorry cause you’re not. Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught.”

Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel

We’re back to the 50s/60s and a happy tune about an unhappy subject: Cecilia. The woman who continuously ends up in bed with someone else…and he can’t stop begging her to come home…

Not Just Friends – Connell Cruise

That feeling when they want to be just friends. Ugh. And the music to this song really pulls you in as well to feel the sting of those words.

A Final Word…

Now, when you are done with this depressing list, put on Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like a Woman or That Don’t Impress Me Much! And why not add Pink’s Just Give Me a Reason,  Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. Go have fun, get a life, join a meet-up group, go to the gym, take your girlfriends on a  weekend away, watch comedies, score a better job, make sure you do what you love! Soon enough love will find you!


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