21 Songs about Loving Someone You Can’t Have

Songs about Loving Someone You Can't Have

Imagine the heartache of loving someone who is just out of reach. The feelings of yearning, desire, and unfulfilled passion. These emotions have been beautifully captured in the melodies of various songs throughout music history. 

From Leonard Cohen’s soulful ballad to Taylor Swift’s relatable lyrics, these tunes encapsulate the bittersweet journey of loving someone you can’t have. Join us as we explore 21 heart-wrenching songs that perfectly express this universal human experience.

21 Songs about Loving Someone You Can’t Have

Take This Longing – Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s poetic prowess shines in “Take This Longing.” His gravelly voice and haunting lyrics evoke a sense of deep yearning that resonates with anyone who has experienced unrequited love.

Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

With his raw and emotive voice, Lewis Capaldi pours his heart into “Someone You Loved.” This chart-topper beautifully captures the pain of realizing the one you love has moved on.

Back To You – Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez’s “Back To You” explores the powerful emotions that linger even when a relationship is over. The song’s upbeat melody contrasts with its poignant lyrics, creating a memorable tune.

Cornerstone – Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys’ “Cornerstone” narrates the story of seeking a lost love in others, only to realize that no one compares. The melancholic melody mirrors the lyrics’ sense of longing.

I Want the One I Can’t Have – The Smiths

The Smiths’ iconic track “I Want the One I Can’t Have” embodies the frustration and desire of unrequited love. Morrissey’s distinctive vocals lend a unique depth to the song’s emotional landscape.

I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bon Iver

Bon Iver’s rendition of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is a heartrending plea for affection. The song’s stripped-down arrangement and vulnerable vocals capture the pain of unreciprocated feelings.

Just My Imagination – The Temptations

The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” is a soulful confession of daydreams and longing. Its harmonious melodies underscore the poignant lyrics of a love that exists only in the imagination.

Layla – Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton’s timeless hit “Layla” tells the tale of unrequited love with fiery guitar riffs and passionate vocals. This rock classic captures the intensity of yearning for a love that’s beyond reach.

Why Don’t You Love Me? – Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s “Why Don’t You Love Me?” combines her powerhouse vocals with a touch of vulnerability. The song’s upbeat rhythm contrasts with its lyrics, expressing the pain of unreciprocated affection.

Ever Fallen In Love – Buzzcocks

Buzzcocks’ punk anthem “Ever Fallen In Love” exudes raw energy while exploring the confusion and longing that often accompany unrequited feelings.

Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head) – Powfu

“Death Bed” by Powfu featuring beabadoobee is a contemporary take on unrequited love. Its lo-fi sound and relatable lyrics have resonated with a younger generation.

November Rain – Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” is an epic ballad that delves into the complexities of love and longing. The song’s soaring melodies and intricate guitar solos capture the intensity of unrequited emotions.

Gumboots – Paul Simon

Paul Simon’s “Gumboots” offers a unique perspective on unrequited love, using vivid imagery and African-inspired rhythms to explore the theme of longing.

Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley

Bob Marley’s reggae-infused “Waiting in Vain” conveys the pain of loving someone who seems forever out of reach. The song’s laid-back melody contrasts with its heartfelt lyrics.

Just a Friend – Biz Markie

Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” blends humor with heartache as it tells the story of unrequited love. The catchy chorus and relatable lyrics have made it a classic.

Just Friends – Connell Cruise

Connell Cruise’s “Just Friends” captures the vulnerability of admitting feelings for a friend when the affection isn’t reciprocated. Its pop melodies and relatable lyrics make it resonate.

Dreaming with a Broken Heart – John Mayer

John Mayer’s “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” showcases his soulful voice and poignant songwriting. The track conveys the struggle of moving on from unrequited love.

Shiver – Coldplay

Coldplay’s “Shiver” explores the anticipation and longing that often accompany unreciprocated feelings. Its atmospheric soundscapes mirror the emotional intensity of the lyrics.

The Girl of My Best Friend – Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s “The Girl of My Best Friend” laments the unattainable love for someone who is already taken. The song’s rock ‘n’ roll vibe contrasts with its wistful lyrics.

You Don’t Know Me – Ray Charles

Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me” is a soulful exploration of hidden feelings and unspoken emotions. The song’s timeless melodies and Charles’ emotive vocals make it unforgettable.

You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” captures the relatable experience of pining for someone who is with the wrong person. Its catchy hooks and honest lyrics have made it an anthem of unrequited love.


Q: Are these songs based on real-life experiences?

A: Yes, many songwriters draw from personal experiences when writing about love, making these songs even more relatable.

Q: Do these songs offer hope for those experiencing unrequited love?

A: Absolutely. These songs remind listeners that they’re not alone in their feelings and that time can heal even the deepest wounds.

Q: Can music help cope with unrequited love?

A: Music can be incredibly therapeutic, providing an outlet for emotions and a way to find solace in shared experiences.

Q: Are there other songs about unrequited love beyond this list?

A: Certainly. The world of music is vast, and there are many more songs that explore the theme of unrequited love from different perspectives.

Q: Why do people relate so strongly to songs about unrequited love?

A: Unrequited love is a universal human experience that touches on deep emotions and vulnerabilities, making it a relatable and resonant topic.

Q: Can listening to these songs help people heal?

A: Yes, music has the power to provide catharsis and comfort, allowing individuals to process their feelings and find a sense of closure.


Loving someone you can’t have is a poignant and universal experience that has inspired countless songwriters to pour their hearts into their music. From the haunting melodies of Leonard Cohen to the relatable lyrics of Taylor Swift, these songs serve as a reminder that unrequited love is a shared human journey. 

As you listen to these tracks, remember that you’re not alone in your feelings, and that music has the remarkable ability to heal and uplift the soul.

That’s all! You can also check out 10 Best Enrique Iglesias Songs of All Time and 20 Famous Female American Singers.

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