Music is among the best kinds of medicine for healing a broken heart. When you’re trying to move forward after a breakup, having a playlist full of songs about moving on you can cry to, laugh to, dance to, and do whatever you need to do to is key.
Luckily, making music is part of the recovery process for many musicians as well, which means there’s no shortage of breakup songs for you to choose from as you work on picking up the pieces of your broken heart.
Uplifting songs about moving on and letting go can be great — to an extent. But if you don’t want to end up wallowing in self-pity for too long, what you really need is breakup songs about moving on to bigger and better things.
Moving on from a breakup is hard—really, really hard—and can take time, but music can be a crutch that helps prop you up while you heal. “Music affects the limbic system of the brain, a mid-brain interior section that responds emotionally,” says relationship therapist Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. “When we listen to music the limbic system reacts with chills, excitement, joy, sadness, and anger.”
With that in mind, listening to empowering, uplifting songs can help boost your mood. Dr. Nelson explains that the amygdala (a part of the limbic system inside your brain that controls memories and emotion) is connected to trauma, and when we listen to music, feelings connected to trauma can be quieted.
“Music literally controls our brain and our memories,” Dr. Nelson says. “We can heal our emotions with the right songs.” Her Rx for anyone going through a breakup right now: Lizzo’s new album, Cuz I Love You. “It’s a journey of her own sexual empowerment and her psychotherapy and how she heals from her body image issues and owns her sexual power,” Dr. Nelson says. “It’s an album worth blasting.”
Below are the 15 Songs About Moving On To Help You Move Forward.
1. “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” — Grace Carter
This song is a great reminder that as painful as moving on is, you deserve better than being treated poorly or being in the wrong relationship. And before you know it, it won’t hurt like it used to.
2. “IDGAF” — Dua Lipa
This song will make you feel like a badass—even if you’re not there yet. Sample lyrics: “Don’t need your love”/”‘Cause I already cried enough”/”I’ve been done”/”I’ve been movin’ on since we said goodbye.”
3. “Ain’t Thinkin Bout You” — KREAM, Eden Prince
Girl, YES. It is time for something different. With lyrics like: “I ain’t thinking ’bout you anymore”/”What if you did the same and just let go?”/”Don’t care about you, now I don’t”/”‘Cause I know that my feelings are long gone,” it will help transform your mindset into Miss Independent status.
4. “Don’t Hurt Yourself” — Beyoncé
You knew there would be some Beyoncé on here, right? Not only does this song—and the whole Lemonade album, really—serve as a reminder that everyone experiences heartache (even Beyoncé), when it happens, it’s their loss, not yours. Repeat after me: “I’m the dragon breathing fire”/”Beautiful mane, I’m the lion.”
5. “Let Me Go” — Hailee Steinfeld & Alesso
If you’re feeling some post-breakup guilt about hurting your partner, this song can help you move past it. Sometimes relationships just aren’t built to last and letting go is what’s best—for everyone involved.
6. “Better By Myself” — Hey Violet
Hearing the words “I’m better by myself” sung repeatedly for virtually three minutes is pretty convincing, just saying.
7. “We Are Never Getting Back Together” — Taylor Swift
You know what’s healthier than an on-and-off again relationship? Admitting when a relationship is over—for good. It’s only then that you can actually truly start moving on.
8. “Miss Movin On” — Fifth Harmony
The first words of this song can set the tone for how you’re going to live the rest of your day: “I’m breaking down, gonna start from scratch”/”Shake it off like an Etch-A-Sketch”/”My lips are saying goodbye”/”My eyes are finally dry.” Repeat as needed.
9. “I Will Survive” — Gloria Gaynor
A little cheesy? Maybe. Effective? Abso-freaking-lutely. This oldie-but-goodie is a solid reminder that no matter how down and out you feel, you’ll make it through. So hey, you might as well dance your way through it, right?
10. “Thank U, Next” — Ariana Grande
Thank U, Ariana, for the reminder that downright tragic endings can make you stronger. For an extra mood lift, watch the music video to this gratifying breakup song.
11. “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James
Talk about heartbreak. On this stunner off 1968’s Tell Mama, James claims she’d prefer never being able to see again than watch her love walk away. What’s more, she’s helpless: She notices the way her man is chatting up another girl and knows right then and there that, no matter how much she cares for him, it’s all over.
12. “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Elliott Smith
The late-great Smith might have sung, “So when I go home, I’ll be happy to go / You’re just somebody that I used to know,” but he wasn’t fooling anyone:
13. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
Dolly Parton wrote and recorded this song in 1973 as a rueful envoi for her mentor and champion, Porter Wagoner, and later reprised it in the 1982 movie musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
14. “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight & the Pips
Over a swelling, slow and deliberate melody, the Empress of Soul calmly and painfully recounts the end of her relationship in this heartbreaker.
15. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by the Righteous Brothers
Love crashes into a wall— specifically, producer Phil Spector’s trademark “Wall of Sound”—in this blue-eyed-soul lament, the 20th century’s most-played song on radio and TV.