60 Sad Breakup Songs Guaranteed To Make You Ugly Cry

Because sometimes, a good cry is just what you need.

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Breakups are hard to get through, no matter the circumstances.

Music can almost always help you move past the pain. Some of the best breakup songs are those that are happy and empowering, but sometimes, the music gets so deep and relatable it can make you relive memories you hoped to block out.

Even worse are the songs that put you in the artist's shoes when you haven't even experienced anything the lyrics talk about. This tends to happen every time I listen to the "Waiting to Exhale" soundtrack, The sad lyrics force me to become a middle-aged mother of two, whose husband left her after 13 years. And that's deeper than anything I've yet to feel. What do we know about that kind of heartache and strength?


Regardless, we know the great mood-altering impact of music.

RELATED: Why Am I So Sad Even Though I Wanted To Break Up? 4 Causes Of Confusing Post-Breakup Depression

And the best sad breakup songs are likely to reduce you to tears whenever you listen to them.

The 60 Saddest Sad Breakup Songs of All Time

1. "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" by Whitney Houston

This Whitney song perfectly sums up the confusion that comes along with ending a relationship you knew was over from the very start. Yet after the breakup, you can't help but miss him.


It's an inevitable emotion, but slightly more confusing in these instances.

"So why does it hurt so bad / Why do I feel so sad

I thought I was over you / But I keep crying

When I don't love you / So why does it hurt so bad

Baby I thought I had let you go"

2. "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars

A song filled with regret and so much love — we only hope to find this kind of man someday — Mars learns from his past mistakes and wants only the best for you.


"​I should have bought you flowers / And held your hand

Should have gave you all my hours / When I had the chance"

3. "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

Adele is the queen of heartbreak jams, and it's because her soulful words have so much power, forcing you to recall the "scars" of your own love.

"We could have had it all / (You're gonna wish you never had met me)


Rolling in the deep / (Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

You had my heart inside of your hand / (You're gonna wish you never had met me)

And you played it to the beat"

4. "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus

Written about the decay of a relationship, possibly her split with now ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, this song is proof that loving someone is risky business.


"I came in like a wrecking ball / I never hit so hard in love

All I wanted was to break your walls / All you ever did was wreck me

Yeah, you, you wreck me"

5. "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men

This song marked a period in time when love meant something, and even when people messed up they didn't have too much pride to beg you. Well, at least not the guys from Boyz II Men.


"Said we'd be forever / Said it'd never die

How could you love me and leave me and never . Say goodbye?"

6. "Breakeven" by The Script

There's nothing more difficult than experiencing heartache while the other person goes on with life. "Breakeven" does a perfect job at conveying how it feels as you try not to watch them move on, while you struggle to break free of the pain.


"They say bad things happen for a reason / But no wise words gonna stop the bleeding

'Cause she's moved on while I'm still grieving / And when a heart breaks no it don't break even"

7. "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts

Some days it can feel difficult to pretend everything is okay, when you're really dying on the inside for closure.


"What hurts the most was being so close / And havin' so much to say

And watchin' you walk away / And never knowin' what could've been

And not seein' that lovin' you / Is what I was trying to do"

8. "Emotions" by Bee Gees

Ending a relationship is an emotional process. And in this Bee Gees classic, it's all about the emotional rollercoaster we've been on at one point or another.


"In the words of a broken heart / It's just emotion that's taken me over

Tied up in sorrow, lost in my soul / But if you don't come back

Come home to me, darling / You know that there'll be nobody left in this world to hold me tight

Nobody left in this world to kiss goodnight"

9. "What's Left of Me" by Nick Lachey

This song was apparently written in reference to Lachey and Jessica Simpson's divorce, and although Nick doesn't quite admit that, the proof is in the pudding.


"I've been dying inside / Little by little

Nowhere to go / But goin' out of my mind

In endless circles / Runnin' from myself until

You gave me a reason for standing still"

10. "Everytime" by Britney Spears

One of Britney's few ballads, it's often said that this was her response to ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River." And, if it truly is, how could he not forgive that?


"Every time I try to fly I fall

Without my wings / I feel so small

I guess I need you baby"

11. "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars

Before Bruno Mars was cranking out disco hits, it was his relatable love ballads that won us over. Heartbreak leaves you feeling like you're near death, and this song still resonates to the core.


"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"

12. "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia

The end of a relationship can lead to silence, where you remember everything you and your ex did together. But in the light of day, you can be reminded that a relationship built on "illusion" would never succeed.


"There's nothin' where he used to lie / The conversation has run dry

That's what's goin' on / Nothing's fine, I'm torn

I'm all out of faith / This is how I feel

I'm cold and I am shamed / Lying naked on the floor"

13. "Over My Head (Cable Car)" by The Fray

For anyone and everyone who refuses to let go without a fight, this song is for you. Hang in there.


"And suddenly I become a part of your past / I'm becoming the part that don't last

I'm losing you and it's effortless / Without a sound we lose sight of the ground

In the throw around"

14. "Don't Speak" by No Doubt

Written after her devastating breakup with bandmate Tony Kanal, Gwen Stefani eventually revealed, "It used to be more upbeat, more of a Seventies rock-type thing. [When] Tony and I broke up... it turned into a sad song."


"Our memories, well, they can be inviting / But some are altogether mighty frightening

As we die, both you and I / With my head in my hands, I sit and cry

Don't speak, I know just what you're sayin' / So please stop explainin'

Don't tell me 'cause it hurts, no, no, no"

15. "Somebody That I Used I Know" by Gotye ft. Kimbra

When the person you thought you knew best becomes a complete stranger, you find a way to be relieved despite your obvious state of lovesickness. Weird how that works, huh?


"But you didn't have to cut me off / Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing

And I don't even need your love / But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

No, you didn't have to stoop so low / Have your friends collect your records and then change your number

I guess that I don't need that though / Now you're just somebody that I used to know"

16. "Let It Flow" by Toni Braxton

Moving on is easier said than done, but once you do there are better things ahead. And we have Toni Braxton to thank for helping us realize this.


"Don't nobody want no broke heart / And don't nobody want no two time losers

Ain't nobody gonna love you like you are / If you take whatever he brings your way

You see the thing of it is we deserve respect / But we can't demand respect without change

There comes a time when we must go our own way"

17. "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse

Literally the perfect song for the darkness that comes before the light following a breakup.


"We only said goodbye with words / I died a hundred times

You go back to her / And I go back to

We only said goodbye with words / I died a hundred times

You go back to her / And I go back to black"

18. "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Beyoncé

Originally sung by Etta James, Beyoncé did a cover of this depressingly sad song for the film "Cadillac Records."


"Ooo I would rather, I would rather go blind boy / Than to see you, walk away from me child, and all

Ooo so you see, I love you so much / That I don't want to watch you leave me baby

Most of all, I just don't, I just don't want to be free no"

19. "Someone Like You" by Adele

Hats off to Adele for doing it yet again. This song rehashes the feelings of being unwanted and desperation for your love to be reciprocated... eventually.


"I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited / But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it

I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded / That for me it isn't over

Never mind, I'll find someone like you / I wish nothing but the best for you, too"

20. "Every Little Bit" by Alicia Keys

The first few months after a breakup hit the hardest, and sometimes it feels lonely despite having all the emotional support of friends. Being alone doesn't have to be a lonely experience but it often feels that way, especially when you're coming out of a one-sided relationship.


"I can't take this loneliness you've given me / I can't go on giving my life away

Come back to me / Darling you'll see

I can give you all the things that you wanted before / If you will stay with me"

21. "Apologize" by Timbaland ft. One Republic

This is the best tune for when you're no longer accepting fake apologies. Don't bother — your number will be blocked.


"I take another chance, take a fall, take a shot from you / I need you like a heart needs a beat

It's not from you / I loved you with a fire red and now it's turnin' blue

And to say / Sorry like the angel

Heaven let me think was you"

22. "Say Something (I'm Giving Up On You)" by A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera

This sad song perfectly depicts the moments where you know that if they were to say the right thing, the outcome would be different. But there is only so much fighting you can do.


"Say something, I'm giving up on you / I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you

Anywhere I would've followed you / Say something, I'm giving up on you"

23. "I'm Goin' Down" by Mary J. Blige

This song was first sung by Rose Royce, but brought back to life in the 90s with Mary J's sultry voice. To this day, this song is the simplest yet most accurate description of being dumped.


"Sleep don't come easy / Boy please believe me

Since you been gone / Everything's goin' wrong

Why'd you have to say goodbye / Look what you've done to me

I can't stop these tears from fallin' from my eyes / Ooh baby, I'm goin' down"

24. "Foolish Games" by Jewel

Originally written as a poem about a boy Jewel fell in love with when she was a teenager, her words were turned into lyrics, showing us what deep, deep heartbreak sounds like.


"Well in case you failed to notice / In case you failed to see

This is my heart bleeding before you / This is me down on my knees, and

These foolish games are tearing me apart / And your thoughtless words are breaking my heart

You're breaking my heart"

25. "On Bended Knee" by Boyz II Men

So much love, so much begging, again from these gentlemen. You've just got to love the 90s.


"Darlin' I can't explain, where did we lose our way / Girl, it's drivin' me insane and I know

I just need one more chance to prove my love to you / If you come back to me I guarantee that I'll never let you go"

26. "If I Ever Fall In Love" by Shai

This song sheds light on real love, and the yearning to find someone like your ex the next time you fall in love. We forget to appreciate people after we part from them, but that is how you know it's real.


"And if I ever (ever fall) in love again (again) / I will be sure that the lady is a friend

And if I ever (ever fall) in love so true (true) / I will be sure that the lady's just like you

Oh, yeah, the very next time she'll be my friend"

27. "She's Out of My Life" by Michael Jackson

Just listen to those lyrics! How can that not break your heart? It melts your soul to the core.


"She's out of my life / She's out of my life

And I don't know whether to laugh or cry / I don't know whether to live or die

And it cuts like a knife / She's out of my life"

28. "I Try" by Macy Gray

One of the more underrated songs about a failing relationship, Macy Gray gushes about the pain that comes with having to walk away from something you thought was promising.


"I try to say goodbye and I choke / Try to walk away and I stumble

Though I try to hide it, it's clear / My world crumbles when you are not here"

29. "Hopeless" by Farris Dionne

This song is laced with metaphors about moving on, and is all about the moment you decide it's time to stop looking at the past and take a step forward.


"But I've stayed just a little too long / Now it's time for me to move on

They say I'm hopeless / Penny with a hole in it

They say I'm no less / Than up to my head in it"

30. "Un-Break My Heart" by Tony Braxton

Heartbreak is all-consuming physically and mentally, and in this song, Tony Braxton asks her former flame to help fix the pain.

"Un-break my heart / Say you'll love me again

Undo this hurt you caused / When you walked out the door

And walked out of my life"

RELATED: 101 Songs That Nail The Bittersweet Nightmare Of Toxic Relationships

31. "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt

The one thing that may be worse than a breakup is having to move on from unrequited love, a feeling Bonnie Raitt describes in this song.

"I'll close my eyes, then I won't see / The love you don't feel when you're holding me

Morning will come and I'll do what's right / Just give me till then to give up this fight"

32. "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" by Al Green

While music styles change over the years, the pain of a broken heart is something we can all understand because as Al Green sings in this 1972 song, heartbreak is, unfortunately, inevitable.

"And how can you mend a broken heart?

How can you stop the rain from falling down?

How can you stop the sun from shining?"

33. "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers

After a breakup, it often feels like there's no light left in your life, a feeling Bill Withers explains well.

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone / Only darkness every day

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone / And she's always gone too long"

34. "Dreaming with a Broken Heart" by John Mayer

Sleep is one of the only forms of relief when you're fresh out of a breakup, but can be bittersweet when you wake up only to find that your heart is still broken.

"When you're dreaming with a broken heart / The waking up is the hardest part

You roll out of bed and down on your knees / And for a moment, you can hardly breathe"

35. "Call Out My Name" by The Weeknd

The Weeknd has gone through his share of public breakups, and this song is thought to be about his breakup with Selena Gomez.

"So call out my name (call out my name, baby) / So call out my name when I kiss you

So gently, I want you to stay (I want you to stay) / I want you to stay even though you don't want me"

36. "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrissette

Despite the upbeat feel of this iconic Alanis Morrissette song, the sad lyrics describe a woman reeling after a breakup.

"And I'm here, to remind you / Of the mess you left when you went away

It's not fair, to deny me / Of the cross I bear that you gave to me

You, you, you oughta know"

37. "Space Cowboy" by Kacey Musgraves

The uncertainty of a person telling you they need space is almost worse than a breakup because you're completely unsure of what will happen next.

"Well, sunsets fade, and love does too / Yeah, we had our day in the sun

When a horse wants to run / There ain't no sense in closing the gate

You can have your space, cowboy"

38. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston

Despite being a karaoke favorite, this iconic Whitney Houston cover of the Dolly Parton classic has an undeniably sad storyline about having to break up with someone you love.

"If I should stay / I would only be in your way

So I'll go, but I know / I'll think of you every step of the way"

39. "Let Her Go" by Passenger

"Let Her Go" is about not knowing what you have until it's gone.

"Only know you've been high when you're feeling low / Only hate the road when you're missing home

Only know you love her when you let her go"

40. "I Fall Apart" by Post Malone

This sad breakup song off Post Malone's debut album is one of the artist's slowest and relays the feeling of being blindsided by a breakup.

"Never caught a feelin' this hard / Harder than the liquor I pour

Tell me you don't want me no more / But I can't let go"

41. "Happier" by Ed Sheeran

After a breakup, it's always dreadful to see your ex with someone new — especially when they look happier without you, as Ed Sheeran sings about.

"'Cause baby you look happier, you do / My friends told me one day I'll feel it too

And until then I'll smile to hide the truth / But I know I was happier with you"

42. "Nothing Breaks Like A Heart" by Mark Ronson ft. Miley Cyrus

On first listen, the upbeat vibe of this song makes you want to get up and dance. But the lyrics describing the unique hurt of heartbreak is undeniably sad.

"This world can hurt you / It cuts you deep and leaves a scar

Things fall apart, but nothing breaks like a heart"

43. "Anyone Who Had A Heart" by Cilla Black and Dionne Warwick

This song is relatable for anyone who wondered just how someone could hurt you so bad.

"Anyone who had a heart / Would take me in his arms and love me, too

You couldn't really have a heart and hurt me / Like you hurt me and be so untrue"

44. "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart sings about loving someone despite all the hurt they've put you through.

"You made a first-class fool out of me / But I'm as blind as a fool can be

You stole my heart, but I love you anyway"

45. "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie

This iconic 00's breakup song is about breaking up with someone — even though you might still love them — because you know you need time to work on yourself.

"I hope you know, I hope you know / That this has nothing to do with you

It's personal, myself and I / We've got some straightenin' out to do

And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket / But I've got to get a move on with my life

It's time to be a big girl now / And big girls don't cry"

46. "All Too Well" by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is the queen of love songs, tackling every stage of falling in and out of love within her vast discography. This song is thought to be about Swift's relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, and some fans have theorized that Swift even references losing her virginity to the actor.

"And maybe we got lost in translation / Maybe I asked for too much

But maybe this thing was a masterpiece 'til you tore it all up / Running scared, I was there

I remember it all too well"

47. "Driver's License" by Olivia Rodrigo

It's extremely difficult after a breakup to feel better when you see your ex seemingly doing just fine.

"And I know we weren't perfect / But I've never felt this way for no one, oh

And I just can't imagine how you could be so okay, now that I'm gone"

48. "Coaster" by Khalid

The stages of breakup grief aren't linear, so it's likely after a breakup you'll find yourself feeling fine one day only to feel like you're at rock bottom again the next.

"So I'll be coasting, I'm roller-coasting / Through my emotion

I will be coasting, roller-coasting / I'm hoping that you'll come back to me"

49. "Falling" by Harry Styles

Whether you're the one who initiates the breakup or the one who is broken up with, you're probably going to feel some post-breakup regrets. In this song, Harry Styles questions if breaking up was the right decision.

"What if I'm down? What if I'm out?

What if I'm someone you won't talk about?

I'm falling again, I'm falling again, I'm falling"

50. "I Have Questions" by Camila Cabello

This song asks the questions we all think about after a breakup.

"I gave you all of me / My blood, my sweat, my heart, and my tears

Why don't you care, why don't you care?"

51. "Million Reasons" by Lady Gaga

It can be hard to initiate a breakup even when you have a million reasons why it's the right thing to do.

"I've got a hundred million reasons to walk away / But, baby, I just need one good one to stay"

52. "when the party's over" by Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish's haunting voice is perfect for this breakup ballad about finding it hard to fully cut ties with someone after a breakup.

"Once we've both said our goodbyes / Let's just let it go

Let me let you go"

53. "Lose You to Love Me" by Selena Gomez

This song is sad because it details the pain of losing yourself in a relationship only to see it end. However, it shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

"We'd always go into it blindly / I needed to lose you to find me

This dancing was killing me softly / I needed to hate you to love me, yeah"

54. "Yesterday" by The Beatles

This song describes the drastic difference a day makes after a breakup.


Love was such an easy game to play

Now I need a place to hide away

Oh, I believe in yesterday"

55. "If You See Her, Say Hello" by Bob Dylan

Sometimes you can't help but think about what your ex is doing after a breakup.

"And though our separation / It pierced me to the heart

She still lives inside of me / We've never been apart"

56. "Sober" by Childish Gambino

When you're in the throes of a breakup, sometimes you'll do whatever it takes to numb the pain.

"And now that it's over, I'll never be sober"

57. "These Arms of Mine" by Otis Redding

This song perfectly describes the feeling of missing being in your ex's arms after a breakup.

"These arms of mine, they are burning

Burning from wanting you"

58. "Not Gon' Cry" by Mary J. Blige

There's nothing quite like being blindsided by a breakup after you spent so much time giving everything to that person.

"And you can leave me at the drop of a dime / Swallowed my fears, stood by your side

I should've left your ass a thousand times"

59. "It's Too Late" by Carole King

Anticipating having to break up with someone is almost more painful than the aftermath.

"It's too late baby, it's too late / Though we really did try to make it

Somethin' inside has died / And I can't hide and I just can't fake it"

60. "Take a Bow" by Madonna

This song is perfect for when you feel like you've been played.

"I've always been in love with you (Always with you) / I guess you've always known it's true (You know it's true)

You took my love for granted, why oh why / The show is over, say goodbye"

RELATED: 75 Songs About Betrayal And Broken Trust

Kiarra Sylvester is a freelance writer and contributor to YourTango, HuffPost, CafeMom, xoNecole.com, and more.