10 Love Songs That Nail The Bittersweet Nightmare Of Toxic Relationships

Photo: Getty
10 Love Songs About Leaving Toxic Relationships (Because You Deserve Better)
Heartbreak

Many of us have encountered toxic relationships, and a few of us have had the misfortune of staying in one way past the relationship's expiration date.

Then there are some of us who are still in one. You know who you are.

And you know, like we do, that you better.

When you're in it, it just seems like it must be worth it to try making it work — you know, for the sake of love and all. And also because, for so many reasons, leaving a toxic relationship too often feels too hard.

Because our friends and family are often quick to criticize, even if it's in a well-meaning way, it can feel like you're the only one in your corner when weathering that particular storm.

In those cases, finding good songs to listen to — songs that assure you that you aren't the only one who gets it — can make a hugely positive difference for the sake of your emotional wellbeing.

That said, these 10 love songs about toxic love will make you feel less alone and more understood.

1. "Love On the Brain" —​ Rihanna

Rihanna is no stranger to singing about her toxic relationship woes, from her earlier singles (remember "Unfaithful"?) to her features on hits like "Love the Way You Lie" with Eminem. Thankfully, she's no longer actually living them, but knowing about her highly publicized relationship with Chris Brown makes these words that much more powerful.

Must be love on the brain
That’s got me feeling this way (feeling this way)
It beats me black and blue but it fucks me so good
And I can’t get enough
Must be love on the brain yeah
And it keeps cursing my name (cursing my name)
No matter what I do, I’m no good without you
And I can’t get enough

RELATED: 50 Empowering Breakup Songs (To Help You Feel Happy It's Finally Over)

2. "Mad Love" —​ JoJo

JoJo has always made good music, but she came back strong with this underrated song from her album of the same name. JoJo gets real about how a lot of the time we feel can't see that we can do so much better and settle for whatever it is that we get — despite how bad it is for us. The song paints the picture of insecurity and emotional baggage leaving room for toxic love.

'Cause you give me mad love
How far can we go? Nobody knows
You give me bad love
But I'll take what I get, I'm starvin' for it
Like I've never had love
You keep me insane, I'm not ashamed
Don't give a damn, love
I want you so bad

3. "Ex Factor" —​ Lauryn Hill

The longer you hold on to hope that things will get better and go back to how they were in the beginning, the worst things actually get. Most of the time, he cleans his act up for just long enough to keep the relationship going. You know you're stuck on this ride but no longer know when or where to exit.

No matter how I think we grow
You always seem to let me know
It ain't workin', It ain't workin' (No, it ain't workin')
And when I try to walk away
You'd hurt yourself to make me stay
This is crazy, this is crazy (This is crazy, uh-huh!)
I keep letting you back in
How can I explain myself?
As painful as this thing has been
I just can't be with no one else
See I know what we've got to do
You let go, and I'll let go too
'Cause no one's hurt me more than you
And no one ever will

4. "Bleeding Love" —​ Leona Lewis

Being so in love that you can't see what everyone else sees is probably the worst feeling once it finally ends, but we all know that there's no telling someone in love about their love. Just no.

But I don't care what they say, I'm in love with you
They try to pull me away, but they don't know the truth
My heart's crippled by the vein that I keep on closing
You cut me open and I
Keep bleeding, keep, keep bleeding love

RELATED: 10 Angry Breakup Songs To Help You Forget About Him

5. "Something in the Way You Move" —​ Ellie Goulding

It's the strangest feeling
Feeling this way for you
There's something in the way you move
Something in the way you move
With you I'm never healing
It's heartache through and through
There's something in the way you move
I don't know what it is you do
Not one bone in your body good enough for me
But this heart is open, bloodstain on my sleeve
When our eyes meet, I can only see the end
But tonight I'm here, yours again
But tonight I'm gonna lose it all
Playing with fire.

And, hell, sometimes we know we've got it bad as the relationship starts to leave you feeling worse than any actual breakup would. It's an agonizing feeling to have when you feel like your heart is breaking in slow motion, and often it ends up being a relief when you finally get the hell out.

6. "Jealous" —​ Beyoncé​

Anytime you're growing this enraged with someone, it's time to end things. These lyrics describe a relationship that has been tarnished constantly issues that led to mistrust and sometimes there's just no coming back from that.

I'm in my penthouse half-naked
I cooked this meal for you naked
So where the hell you at
Just one shot left of this drink, in this glass
Don't make me break it
I wish that you were me
So you could feel this feeling
I never broke one promise, and I know when you're not honest
Now you got me yelling that's because I'm jealous

7. "The Pressure" —​ Jhené Aiko

The "pressure" mentions in this songs describes the point of no return, where you have nothing left to give and you're sort of just staying with the person out of convenience. There's no fixing it, so you just begin to feel 'meh' about the love.

Up till the sun rises
There's no compromising
I know, I know, I know
You are such a liar
I never denied you
I was for sure
But it's really out of my control
The way you feel is not my problem
I don't wanna see you go
But I don't have time to solve this
And you don't have the right
After all you put me through
I'm starting to realize
Pressure
The pressure I know you feel
Pressure
The pressure just keep it real

RELATED: The 30 Best Songs About Moving On To Help You Get Over A Breakup

8. "Rock Bottom" —​ Hailee Steinfeld ft. DNCE

There's a certain high that comes with being in a toxic relationship and it keeps you wanting more ... despite you better judgment.

Oh, we're on the right side of rock bottom
And I hope that we keep falling
We're on the good side of bad karma
'Cause we keep on coming back for more
We're on the right side of rock bottom
Into you, I just keep crawling
You're the best kind of bad something
'Cause we keep on coming back for more

9. "Girl" —​ Destiny's Child

This song holds a different narrative in that it's one woman making excuses for why she stays with her awful boyfriend despite his cheating and her spending her days sad — instead of talking directly to her lover. After opening up about her own experience with domestic violence in while promoting her her solo single, "Dirty Laundry," Kelly Rowland admitted her now-former Beyoncé and Michelle​ Williams wrote this one for her.

See what y'all don't know about him
Is I can't let him go because he needs me
It ain't really him its stress from the job
And I ain't making it easy
I know you see him bugging most of the time
But I know he be tired he don't mean it
It gets hard sometimes
But I need my man
I don't think y'all understand

10. "The Heart Wants What It Wants" —​ Selena Gomez

All those times you've sat at home waiting for a call, a sign, and reciprocated love. That's what this song is all about. There's nothing worse than feeling lonely in a relationship, and this song makes that crystal clear.

The bed's getting cold and you're not here
The future that we hold is so unclear
But I'm not alive until you call
And I'll bet the odds against it all
Save your advice 'cause I won't hear
You might be right but I don't care
There's a million reasons why I should give you up
But the heart wants what it wants
The heart wants what it wants

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, there are resources available in your state, as well as the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).

RELATED: 25 Best Songs & Break Up Song Lyrics To Help You Move On After Getting Your Heart Broken

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Kiarra Sylvester is a freelance writer currently pursuing graduate degrees at Widener University.

Author
Author