Last Updated on March 30, 2020 by Sloane Marie
If you have ever fallen in love with someone you can’t have, you are unfortunately not alone. They say that it is better to have loved and lost than not loved at all, but it is hard to really believe that when you are suffering from a severe case of unrequited love. These heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have show that everyone goes through this experience at some point. They are all songs about loving someone you can be with for whatever reason. Some songs are about loving someone who loves another person, and others are about caring for someone who does not feel the same. Plug in your headphones and console yourself with these heartfelt songs about heartbreak and unrequited love.
Heartbreak Songs About Someone You Can’t Have
1. Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye
This is one of my favorite songs about being in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same. In this song, Gotye sings about someone who used to love him, but no longer feels the same. After all that they have been through together, it is now like they are nothing. She is merely someone that he used to know instead of his lover.
“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”
2. I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys
If you love songs from the ’90s, then this is one of the best heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have. This song is all about being in love with someone, but falling apart from what you used to be. Now, the guy is singing about how he would take love in whatever form as long as she does not leave. The worst thing that could happen is for her to say that she wants it that way and wants to leave him.
“Now I can see that we’ve fallen apart
From the way that it used to be Yeah
No matter the distance
I want you to know
That deep down inside of me
You are my fire”
The one desire”
3. All by Myself by Celine Dion
Once you hear this song about loving someone you can’t be with, you are bound to recognize it. In this song, Celine is singing less about unrequited love to a specific person than not being able to love someone at all. In her youth, she was fine with tackling the world alone. Now, she is tired of being all by herself and wants to have someone to share her life with.
“Hard to be sure
Sometimes I feel so insecure
And love so distant and obscure
Remains the cure
All by myself
Don’t wanna be
All by myself
4. I Want the One I Can’t Have by The Smiths
Just about everyone has had this experience at some point. If you are going to create a heartbreak playlist, you really need to add this song. The tune might sound fairly upbeat, but the lyrics definitely are not. Instead, the whole song is about how the singer has no hope of getting the girl he loves back. Despite the fact that it is over and he can’t have her, he still ends the song with a final message that she can meet him by the railway station if she ever wants some self-validation.
“I want the one I can’t have
And it’s driving me mad
It’s written all over my face”
5. What It Takes by Aerosmith
When you love someone you can’t have anymore, it hurts and seems impossible to get over the pain. This song by Aerosmith is all about the struggle of moving on after a girlfriend left him. He wants to get her out of his mind, but all he can do is think about her. If you like rock music, then this is one of the best heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have.
“Girl, before I met you I was F.I.N.E. Fine
But your love made me a prisoner, yeah my heart’s been doing time
You spent me up like money then you hung me out to dry
It was easy to keep all your lies in disguise
‘Cause you had me in deep with the devil in your eyes”
6. You Don’t Know My Name by Alicia Keys
This is one of the best songs about loving someone who loves someone else, especially if your crush does not even realize that you exist. This classic song is all about fantasizing a crush who is unaware of your name or who you are. In the song, Alicia Keys sings about what it would be like to kiss him and have a first date. The only problem is that he’d have to notice her first for her dreams to come true.
“’Cause did I mention (oh)
You bout’ to miss a good thing
And you’ll never know how good it feels
To have, all my affection”
7. Moving On and Getting Over by John Mayer
This is one of the heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have that has a lot of truth about it. In the song, the lyrics talk about how moving on from someone is not the same as getting over them. Once you love someone deeply, you might be able to move on, but they are always a part of your heart. Many of John Mayer’s songs are great if you are going through a break up or are dealing with unrequited love, but this is definitely one of the best.
“Moving on and getting over
Are not the friends they used to be
It’s been so long since I got to hold you
But I still can’t seem to get you off my mind
And I do believe I feel you all the time”
8. 1,000 Times by Sarah Bareilles
In this song, Sarah loves someone who only treats her like a friend. Each time she tries to be close to him, he just hurts her over and over again. She knows that loving him hurts her, but she still tries to watch him from a distance. Even if she only goes through hurt and pain by loving him from afar, she would still put herself through these feelings 1,000 times. She will go through all the pain because she’d rather be hurt than take the risk of letting him go for good.
“’Cause I would die to make you mine
Bleed me dry each and every time
I don’t mind, no I don’t mind it
I would come back a thousand times”
9. All I Ask by Adele
Like John Mayer, Adele has a lot of songs about love and heartbreak. This ballad is all about loving someone who does not feel the same way at all. She sings about how she wishes he would hold like more than a friend because she genuinely believes that this could be the last time that she falls for someone. This is definitely one of the best heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have and is a necessity for any unrequited love playlist.
“Look, don’t get me wrong
I know there is no tomorrow
All I ask is
If this is my last night with you
Hold me like I’m more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use
Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do”
10. Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding
While you know that your crush does not feel the same, a secret part of you really believes that anything could happen. This song is about how Ellie knows that her crush is not attracted to her and does not feel the same. Still, she wishes that he would just give her a chance and try loving her because he could find out that she is just perfect for him.
“Stripped to the waist
We fall into the river
Cover your eyes
So you don’t know the secret
I’ve been trying to hide”
11. The Hardest Thing by 98 Degrees
The hardest thing is doing the right thing and being true to one woman. This song is actually about having to tell a side chick that the guy loves that he can’t be with her because he needs to be true (finally) to the girl that he is with.
“I’ve got somewhere else to be
Promises to keep
Someone else who loves me
And trusts me fast asleep
I’ve made up my mind
There is no turning back
She’s been good to me
And she deserves better than that
It’s the hardest thing
I’ll ever have to do
To look you in the eye
And tell you I don’t love you
It’s the hardest thing
I’ll ever have to lie
To show no emotion
When you start to cry”
12. Crush by Mandy Moore
This is one of the more touching heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have. In the song, Moore sings about how much she likes her crush and how she can’t even see straight when he is around. The only problem is that her crush already loves someone else. She can imagine how happy they’d be together, but the girlfriend is always going to get in the way of her dreams.
“You know, I’m the one that you can talk to
And sometimes you tell me things that I don’t want to know
I just want to hold you
And you say exactly how you feel about her
And I wonder, could you ever think of me that way”
13. You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
Everyone who has loved someone that does not love them back can definitely relate to this song. In the song, Taylor Swift sings about a guy who only thinks of her as a friend, but she thinks that he truly belongs with her. Unfortunately, the crush is in a bad relationship already with a horrible girlfriend. Swift just wishes that he would open his eyes to realize that the perfect girl is already waiting for him.
“But she wears short skirts
I wear T-shirts
She’s cheer captain
And I’m on the bleachers
Dreaming about the day when you wake up
And find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole time”
14. I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bon Iver
Unfortunately, this heartbreak song has a lot of truth to it. This love ballad is all about how Bon Iver loves someone, but she doesn’t love him back. He just wants her to love him in the same way that he loves her.
“I close my eyes
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 til then to give up this fight”
15. Take a Bow by Rihanna
Some heartbreak songs about someone you can’t have exist because of unrequited love. This song by Rihanna is all about loving someone you could totally have, but can’t stay with because they are a cheater. You can love someone with all of your heart, but you can’t just stay in the relationship if they keep cheating on you over and over again—especially if they are not actually sorry for what they have done.
“Don’t tell me you’re sorry cause you’re not
Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught
But you put on quite a show
You really had me goin’
But now it’s time to go
Curtains finally closin’”