Making a commitment to someone is a big deal, and breaking that commitment hurts everyone involved. Sadly, it happens a lot.
As you’re about to see, there are countless songs about affairs that show all sides of the story, from sad songs from the heartbroken – to exciting songs about the thrill of a secret love affair.
- Disclosure – Magnets feat. Lorde
- A Thing Goin’ On – Coolio
- Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
- She Doesn’t Have To Know – John Legend
- Say My Name – Destiny’s Child
- Saving All My Love For You – Whitney Houston
- This Kiss – Carly Rae Jepsen
- You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse
- My Little Secret – Xscape
- Careless Whisper – George Michael
- Should’ve Said No – Taylor Swift
- Part Time Lover – Stevie Wonder
- Never Again – Kelly Clarkson
- Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac
- Rumour Has It – Adele
- Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
- Secret Lovers – Atlantic Starr
- I’m Not The Only One – Sam Smith
- Perfume – Britney Spears
- Thinking of You – Katy Perry
- Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
- Secret Love – Little Mix
- Can’t Do a Thing (to Stop Me) – Chris Isaak
- Last Name – Carrie Underwood
- Girlfriend – Michael Jackson
- Call Your Girlfriend – Robyn
- 4AM – Melanie Fiona
- Follow Me – Uncle Kracker
Disclosure – Magnets feat. Lorde
This catchy song is a scandalous story of a man cheating on his girlfriend with the singer of the song. At first, they didn’t feel guilty, but then the singer started to have real feelings for the man and became jealous. The melting magnets are a metaphor for their attraction. Now that the singer is developing feelings, the draw between them is weakening because it’s becoming something more than sneaking around. “The point of no return” would be turning the affair into a real relationship.
A Thing Goin’ On – Coolio
The thing going on in this song is an affair between two people, presumably Coolio and Mrs. Jones, who are already in their own relationships. The song reveals that they sneak around and hope they don’t get caught because they enjoy being together, but they don’t want to end the relationships they’re in. But, each one is getting something they don’t get from their lovers, which makes this forbidden romance worth the risk. Coolio borrowed much of Billy Paul’s classic ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’ to make this song.
Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
What’s worse than your partner cheating on you? Finding it out through the grapevine. The singer in this song is heartbroken to hear that his partner has been cheating on him and intends to leave him. He mentions that he’s been told not to believe everything he hears, but he can’t help but be a little doubtful of his partner’s faithfulness. Martin Gaye sang this song in 1968, but it was initially performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1967. Gaye’s version soared in popularity and is the most well-known version.
She Doesn’t Have To Know – John Legend
In this song, the man cheating on his girlfriend isn’t too remorseful about the forbidden love he’s found with another woman. He does seem to be a little paranoid about getting caught but ultimately justifies his decisions by pointing out that the woman he’s seeing is also cheating on her partner. Perhaps the one redeeming quality is that the man knows he will feel sorry someday, but for now, he’s not too worried about it.
Say My Name – Destiny’s Child
In this song, the woman suspects her partner is cheating on her. She wants him to say her name and call her “baby” to prove that there’s not another woman in the room with him right now. The song is somewhat stylized as a phone call since later in the song, she claims that he said he was alone “two seconds ago.” ‘Say My Name’ was released in 1999 and remains a memorable song today. It went Platinum three times in the US and twice in Australia and the UK and has received many more awards and certifications over the years.
Saving All My Love For You – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston quickly rose to fame when this song came out on her debut album in 1985. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. initially performed the song, but most people know it because of Whitney. It was her first song to be the #1 in the Hot 100 in the US and #1 in the UK. The song is about a woman who’s pining for a married man and insists she’ll wait for him. The song suggests the man won’t stay faithful to his wife since he told the woman to “wait a little longer.”
This Kiss – Carly Rae Jepsen
Some kisses are irresistible, and this song goes through the conflicting emotions of wanting it while staying true to the relationship you’re in. It’s about a guy and girl who are both desperate to share a kiss, but they’re each in a relationship. The singer seems to stay strong and resists it in the end, but not without wrestling with herself over the decision first and making risky decisions to go out where she’ll run into him.
You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse
When you cheat on your partner, you cheat yourself, and Amy Winehouse knew it. She got honest in her song about her infidelity to her lover, and you can hear her disappointment toward herself. But, she expected to behave this way. The song is heartbreaking not only for the man she cheated on but also for Amy because it reveals how little she thought of herself since she knew she wouldn’t be faithful in her relationship. However, the man doesn’t seem surprised in the third verse, which only breaks Amy’s heart even more.
My Little Secret – Xscape
Cheating is portrayed as something to be proud of in ‘My Little Secret.’ The lyrics talk about the undeniable thrill of being in the same room as the other woman without her knowing a thing about the affair that’s happening. It makes the bold claim that “everybody cheats,” but you need to know to do it right to make sure nobody knows about it. This song was Xscape’s last single before they disbanded in 1998. It reached the top ten on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was sampled by Lil Wayne in 2010.
Careless Whisper – George Michael
The person singing these lyrics is a remorseful cheating partner, and no, it’s not an autobiographical song by George Michael. He was only seventeen when he wrote these lyrics, and he’s said in interviews that even though this song means something to many people, it didn’t mean anything to him, especially since he was too young to know anything about relationships at the time. Even so, this heartbreaking song about a man feeling guilty as he dances with the lover he cheated on has remained one of his most popular songs ever.
Should’ve Said No – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift wrote this song as a teenager just a few days before recording it. It’s unfortunately autobiographical and is based on what she said to her ex-boyfriend, who cheated on her. Rather than being an angry song, it was meant to deal with the moral impact of cheating and reflect on how easy it would’ve been just to say no and not ruin the entire relationship. “I shouldn’t be asking myself why” shows that she may have partially blamed herself for just a moment but quickly realized that his actions were in his control.
Part Time Lover – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder takes on the role of a married man with a part-time lover in this song. He and his lover communicate through blinking lights to determine if they get to spend the night together or not. They keep the affair a secret and act like they don’t know each other when they see each other during the day. At the end of the song, Stevie got what was coming to him when he learned that his wife was cheating on him when a man showed up at their house looking for her.
Never Again – Kelly Clarkson
‘Never Again’ is a bitter song that doesn’t wish her ex-boyfriend or the other girl well, although she “would never wish bad things.” In the song, Kelly Clarkson has a bit of a smug attitude (that’s undoubtedly deserved) toward her ex and asks about what it’s like for her to be everywhere – citing her fame – but her not actually being there. She also talks about how his new girl is too naive to know how horrible he is and that Clarkson is now wise enough to know to stay away.
Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac
In this song, the singer wants to go back in time to when their relationship was happy and stable, but in the end, they know that they’re better off putting an end to it. The little lies are most likely kind words and “I love yous” that aren’t really real but make the relationship feel like it’s okay. Some people may assume that the reason the relationship is failing is due to an affair, but the song isn’t specific enough for that to be the only meaning. Regardless, those “sweet little lies” are the duct tape holding it all together.
Rumour Has It – Adele
In an interview, Adele said that she wrote this song because her friends were asking her about rumors they heard about her. “People say crazy things,” as Adele sings, and she wanted to set the record straight that you can’t believe everything you hear. But, since this song mentions another woman who is half the man’s age, a second interpretation of the song can be a woman telling her partner that the girl he’s cheating on her with can’t compare and that he looks like a fool for fooling around.
Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
Beyonce takes on the role of a woman who just found out her partner was cheating on her and put all his stuff in a box and told him to get out! The man acts like he’s irreplaceable, but really, it’s Beyoncé. It’s a powerful song about knowing your self-worth when someone tries to make you feel down. This song is incredibly popular and has gone Platinum in many countries. Oddly enough, it was intended to be a country song! Ne-yo wrote this song and initially wanted Shania Twain or Faith Hill to sing it.
Secret Lovers – Atlantic Starr
‘Secret Lovers’ is a story of forbidden love between a man and woman who are each married and are cheating on their spouses with each other. They know they can never be found out because it would destroy their families, but they can’t help but be together because they feel like they were meant to be. They try to justify their actions by thinking that maybe their spouses have secret lovers, too. Their attitudes about the situation can be summed up with the question, “Is this cruel, or do we care?”
I’m Not The Only One – Sam Smith
In this song, the singer reveals that he’s suspected his wife had been cheating on him for several months and has found out that it’s true. He seems to have talked to her about it because she called him crazy and is now either lying about it or trying to gaslight him into thinking that he’s making it all up. However, it’s unclear in the lyrics if the singer wants to divorce or not. He does say he wishes it could be over, but that may be referring to her affair.
Perfume – Britney Spears
Britney sings about her ex-fiance cheating on her in this song. But, rather than getting angry and throwing him out, she takes a more subtle approach. She puts on her perfume when she’s around him, so maybe the other girl will smell it when he’s around her, which will make her want to break up with him. This tactic suggests that she either loved him enough to want to keep him around, or she wanted to make her presence known to the other girl before she cut things off with him.
Thinking of You – Katy Perry
Katy Perry sings about how hard it was to get over an ex-boyfriend. She had no choice but to break up with him, even though she didn’t want to, and reveals that she kept thinking about him every time she was with someone new. Her metaphor of the apple and the seed is the perfect way to explain a heart-wrenching breakup: the apple is gone, but the seed—the smallest memory—remains, only to remind you of what you lost.
Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
‘Cry Me A River’ is an unforgiving song by a man who found out his girlfriend cheated on him. “Cry me a river” is a sarcastic saying you say to someone when you don’t have any sympathy for their sad story. The use of the phrase shows how the singer feels about his girlfriend not cheating on him only once but reportedly many times. He’s moving on, and there isn’t any room for sympathy or forgiveness in this situation.
Secret Love – Little Mix
‘Secret Love’ is a song about wanting to be with someone when you can’t be. It’s a duet with Little Mix and Jason Derulo, and Derulo’s line is about an affair he had with a woman who was dating someone else. They wanted to be together, but they couldn’t be publically. Some people choose to interpret this song to be about not getting to be with someone for any reason and not just cheating because the frustration of forbidden love can go beyond affairs.
Can’t Do a Thing (to Stop Me) – Chris Isaak
“Stop thinking about me,” a former lover might say. This song can be a sly response to the demand. Chris Isaak is caught up in the thoughts of an ex, and nobody can stop him. Thinking of his ex makes the days easier to get through, and he finds comfort in the thoughts while he’s with someone who reminds him of his ex. Maybe it’s an unhealthy mindset, but what else is one to do when you can’t stop thinking about them?
Last Name – Carrie Underwood
‘Last Name’ is a comedic story about drunk flirting (and potentially a one-night stand?) that turned into a Vegas wedding. The singer is ashamed that this happened, especially because she got married and didn’t even know her new last name! It’s not clear if the singer cheated on someone throughout all this, but it does lend itself to that situation since she says, “I did things I’m not proud of.” At the very least, you could say she “cheated” on her reputation with her mama.
Girlfriend – Michael Jackson
Unlike other songs about cheating, this one isn’t trying to hide the relationship. No, this one is about making the relationship official by telling the girl’s boyfriend about the affair so he’ll leave and the two of them can live happily ever after. It’s a bold move, but what could go wrong? The song was first performed by Wings, although the song was intended to be sung by Michael Jackson. It was released in 1978, and Michael Jackson ended up covering it in the same year.
Call Your Girlfriend – Robyn
In this song, a woman is telling her lover how to break up with his girlfriend so they can be together. However, she advises him how to do it gently since it’s hard news to break. It may be seen as a little dishonest since she tells him to leave out the details, but it’s for her own good that she doesn’t know the reason why he wants to leave her. Even though the woman may seem cruel for telling her man to break up with his girlfriend, she does seem to be genuinely concerned about the girlfriend’s emotions.
4AM – Melanie Fiona
This heartbreaking song is about a woman who found out her man has been cheating on her. She knows she’s worth more than that and deserves better, but her love for him is strong enough to make her stay longer than she should. Rico Love wrote this song and contacted Melanie Fiona hoping she would agree to sing it. Fiona said that the song actually fit her situation well and thought it was neat that someone was able to write a song that fit her life.
Follow Me – Uncle Kracker
Here, the narrator tries to convince the woman to stay with him, even though she’s already in a relationship. He tries to convince her it’s okay by pointing out that she doesn’t look like she feels guilty, so she obviously isn’t too sorry.