Why We Relate to Breakup Songs

Elly Zulaikha
April 2, 2020
5 minutes

We often associate music with important things in our life as certain songs carry different meanings to us. After all, there’s a reason why people write songs. But what makes sad/breakup songs so relatable to us? 

Coping mechanism

Image via thoughtcatalog

Processing a breakup is like dealing with trauma. The constant cycle of emotional pain, in turn, made people search for solace in sad songs as a coping mechanism. After all, nothing speaks volume than a song that tells a story like yours.

There’s a reason why we choose to retreat to ourselves in times like post-breakup. As we spend our time alone, the melody and the lyrics of a song can potentially give a sense of relief and clarity for ourselves. Think of these sad/breakup songs as an emotional boost whenever you’re feeling down.

 Image via goingtothestory

Thus, eventually, some of us can move past the breakup because of those songs. Although it varies from one to another, the fact that music alone can be a powerful tool for recovery proves why people find breakup/sad songs relatable.

Unconscious feeling


Screencap via psychologytoday

A lot of thought processing could happen as we go through a breakup and it can be messy. Whether you notice it or not, the reason you find the words in a breakup song as “deep” has a lot to do with your unconscious feelings.

You may find certain words or lines in a chorus as the most profound or terribly sad, as you could be unconsciously feeling a certain way in a moment you experienced beforehand. Similarly, the songs you listen to could mean there are some issues that are left unaddressed.

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Was there any miscommunication that happened? Could it be that one of you overlooked each other’s needs? So, when words can’t explain what you’re feeling, sometimes all you need is a song to convey what you’ve been wanting to say.

Neurological and chemical reaction

When you are in love, you feel at your happiest and you’re generally in a good mood. This is because love is basically like an addiction, and the brain is responsible for producing feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine.

Screencap via insider

But without the constant dose of “love hormone”, you start experiencing the opposite effects of it, which later translates to a higher level of stress and anxiety. This is because our brain processes physical and emotional pain in the same way, and perhaps explains why your chest aches simultaneously when you’re crying.

Image via vox

So, yes, when our brain is in mess, that’s why we repeatedly find ourselves crying our eyes out to Taylor Swift’s hit breakup songs because it hurts. But the good news is, sometimes, listening to sad songs can play an important role in maintaining good well-being for ourselves.  


Image via thoughtcatalog

Thus, it is normal when we relate to breakup songs and it is completely okay to go through the rough phase. As Elton John sang: “There are times when we all need to share a little pain… When all hope is gone, sad songs say so much.”