9 Songs That Capture How Betrayal Hurts More Than Being Cheated On

Betrayal can be truly shattering regardless of how or why it happened. Finding out that your loved one has lied to you to get their way is one of the worst sensations ever. Leaving aside that the lie itself can be heart-breaking, the fact that we trusted someone else and they lied to us is

Isabel Cara

9 Songs That Capture How Betrayal Hurts More Than Being Cheated On

Betrayal can be truly shattering regardless of how or why it happened. Finding out that your loved one has lied to you to get their way is one of the worst sensations ever. Leaving aside that the lie itself can be heart-breaking, the fact that we trusted someone else and they lied to us is very disappointing. What hurts the most is to know that you could have the power to hurt them too, but still chose not to do so.

If you have been in this situation and know the helplessness it leads to, take a deep breath and relax; you’re not alone. Just pay attention to your favorite love songs, and you’ll see that an awful lot of them talk about betrayal and heartbreak, with the sole intention of making you feel what they felt or would have felt in that situation. So many musicians have written about betrayal in the past. It’s such a painful experience that they had to turn to words to look for support and catharsis. If you ask me, I think that most of them have done it in such a realistic way that their lyrics become strongly relatable. As a matter of fact, let me share with you some of my favorite songs that portray betrayal as real as it can be.

“You Give Love a Bad Name,” Bon Jovi

An angel’s smile is what you sell

You promise me heaven, then put me through hell

Chains of love, got a hold on me

When passion’s a prison, you can’t break free

Whoa! You’re a loaded gun

Yeah, whoa, there’s nowhere to run

No one can save me, the damage is done

This particular song describes how loving someone can create an illusion of perfection but ends up in disappointment. The narrator feels trapped in a lie he can’t run away from. He knows he has to confront his S.O. and free himself from betrayal and pain. Even the classic rock tune builds up for the desperation he’s feeling inside, enhancing the intensity of that emotion.

“Take a Bow,” Rihanna

Oh, and the award for the best liar goes to you (goes to you)

For making me believe

That you could be faithful to me

Let’s hear your speech, oh

How ’bout a round of applause?

A standing ovation

Rihanna knows how to be raw about real life situations, so she’s not afraid to face failure and heartbreak in her lyrics. This song is about the particular heartbreaking moment when you know there’s nothing left to do, but to thank the other person’s betrayal, because in the end there’s always a lesson to learn from our own experiences. Plus, she’s very straightforward about assuming our own actions, to the point that she asks for a speech about how skillful the other person is while lying to her.

“Cry Me a River,” Justin Timberlake

You don’t have to say what you did

I already know, I found out from him

Now there’s just no chance

With you and me

There’ll never be

Don’t it make you sad about it?

You told me you love me

Why did you leave me all alone?

In this song, Justin talks about his frustration from experiencing betrayal and the confusing phase one goes through, when nothing makes sense. He describes perfectly the level of desperation one can feel after finding out the awful truth, hopelessly wondering if their partner is not even sorry for what they did.

“You Oughta Know,” Alanis Morissette

Cause the love that you gave that we made

Wasn’t able to make it enough for you

To be open wide, no

And every time you speak her name

Does she know how you told me

You’d hold me until you died

‘Til you died, but you’re still alive

When dealing with betrayal, we might get to a point when we feel we are the ones to blame for our partner’s actions, because we were not good enough for them. That’s how Alanis Morissette describes it in this song; she finds out her man is sleeping with someone else and suggests that maybe he felt like one woman wasn’t enough for him. More than that, she gets so angry she reminds him of the promises he made to her and asks him if he stills remembers them while being with someone else.

“How Do You Sleep?,” LCD Soundsystem

Standing on the floor, facing you

I can’t see you, your impermanence

This place is empty

Empty of you

And if I see you, it’s like nothing went wrong

Yeah, if we meet again tomorrow,

just like nothing went wrong

But there I go

Erasing our chances

Just by asking

“How do you sleep?”

In this song, James Murphy describes the emptiness we feel after accepting that our loved one lied to us on purpose. It just feels as if they weren’t with us anymore. We now see them as a different person, because the version of them we used to know isn’t there anymore. He also talks about trying to look past it, as if nothing had happened, but in the end it’s just so hard to forget something that hurt so much, so it’s better to move on.

“Heartless,” Kanye West

‘Cause I already know how this thing go

You run and tell your friends that you’re leavin’ me

They say that they don’t see what you see in me

You wait a couple of months, then you gon’ see

You’ll never find nobody better than me

In the night I hear them talk

The coldest story ever told

Somewhere far along this road

He lost his soul

To a woman so heartless

How could you be so heartless?

Oh, how could you be so heartless?

Betrayal can feel like the coldest shower we have ever taken. We trust someone blindly and never expect to receive lies and deceit, but when it happens, it makes us wonder if that person really loved us after all. In this song, Kanye West describes that element of surprise and anger we get when someone betrays the trusting bond we created with them. He even tries to explain betrayal by saying that the woman was so heartless, she backstabbed him without feeling guilty about it and told her friends that it was actually his fault.

“Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé

Call up that chick and see if she’s home

Oops, I bet you thought, that I didn’t know

What did you think I was putting you out for

Because you was untrue

Rollin’ her around in the car that I bought you

Baby drop them keys

Hurry up before your taxi leaves

What I like about this song is that she knows her man took her car and went with his mistress for a ride, but that won’t stop her from moving on. She hates the fact that he thought she would never find out, but she’s also not spending another minute with him. It’s over. She can’t wait to kick him out of her house and forget about him forever. After being betrayed, she doesn’t care about how it happened. She only thinks of what’s she’s going to do about it.

“Smile,” Lily Allen

When you first left me

I was wanting more

But you were fucking that girl next door

What’cha do that for?

When you first left me

I didn’t know what to say

I never been on my own that way

Just sat by myself all day

I was so lost back then

But with a little help from my friends

I found a light in the tunnel at the end

Now you’re calling me up on the phone

So you can have a little whine and a moan

And it’s only because you’re feeling alone

The first time a loved one cheats on you, you feel like everything’s going to hell. You feel terribly lonely and even silly for trusting them. That’s the way Lily Allen describes betrayal: a huge disappointment that comes with deep sorrow. What’s worse, she knows that he’s coming back with her as soon as he feels lonely, but she’s not going to fall for that again. Fortunately, even though her heart was broken, she could find support and managed to let go of that tainted relationship. Even the tune of the song is as upbeat as the resolution she finds after being hurt.

“Notget,” Björk

Once you fell out of love

Our love couldn’t carry you

And I didn’t even notice

For our love kept me safe from death

You doubted the light

And the shelter it can give

For in love we are immortal

Eternal and safe from death

If I regret us

I’m denying my soul to grow

Don’t remove my pain

It is my chance to heal

This song is one of my personal favorites, because was inspired by real betrayal. Divorcing Matthew Barney, was one of the hardest things Björk had to experience. She loved him so much, but he didn’t want to be with her anymore. Even though that’s a valid opinion, it doesn’t make it less painful. “Notget” describes that liberating phase after being hurt and realizing that moving on is always the best way to go. Feeling the pain inside is part of healing, but also letting go.

Betrayal can be the worst thing we can experience while being in a relationship. It hurts so much it becomes somehow unbelievable that it happened. Nonetheless, as pain takes over our hearts, so does the will to let that person go. What these songs can teach us about betrayal is that it doesn’t matter how bad it was, we can always grow and overcome damaging situations like these ones.


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