20 Songs About Loving Someone You Can’t Have

Songs about loving someone you can’t have can serve as the best companion to deal with the frustration of unrequited love. Usually, we go through life with its numerous challenges that come in different stages, with one of the most challenging times of life being that of adolescents. Most times, people in this stage tend to discover what it means to have a crush on another person. Sometimes they are lucky to find that the one they like feels the same way about them but on the other hand, others get the bad luck of liking someone who doesn’t feel the same way.

Loving someone who doesn’t feel the same way is not restricted to just adolescents or teenagers, in fact, much older people experience this as well. There are quite a number of reasons for which love may not be returned as hoped. They may include; The person doesn’t like you as a person, the person likes you as a friend but not attracted to you, there are probably societal or family boundaries, the person is already hooked to someone else, etc. Nevertheless, it hurts really bad to not have your love reciprocated. If you happen to find yourself in this situation, be rest assured that you are not alone – at least a lot of people have passed through the pain and some are still passing through it.

In the meantime, you can ease your heart by employing the companion of really good songs about loving someone you can’t have.

Songs About Loving Someone You Can’t Have

1. I want it that way (Backstreet Boys)

With the many hit love songs the Backstreet Boys have, it would be a surprise if they have no song that focuses on unreciprocated love. Considering that this group of crooners has become the crush of many over the years, the line – “But we are two worlds apart” and “Can’t reach to your heart” kind of makes a lot of sense. Overall, the song is about a love story that leaves two people in a dilemma because it’s too late to do anything about it. Most people find the lyrics a bit confusing but the Backstreet Boys have tried to explain them.

2. You Don’t Know My Name (Alicia Keys) 

It’s hard enough that your crush doesn’t feel the same way about you, what if your crush doesn’t even know you exist. This classic song by Alicia Keys speaks to a lot of people in this situation. The song starts with a clear description of that first feeling you have when you meet someone you like.

“Baby, baby, baby, from the day I saw you
I really really wanted to catch your eye
There’s something special ’bout you, I must really like you”

In this song, she talks about all the fantasies that build up in her head about what a first date, hugs, and kisses with her crush would look like if only he noticed her.

“Oh baby baby baby, I see us on our first date
You’re doin’ everything that makes me smile
And when we had our first kiss, it happened on a Thursday
Ooh it set my soul on fire
Ooh baby baby baby, I can’t wait for the first time
My imagination’s runnin’ wild”

3. All I Ask (Adele)

You can’t go wrong with Adele “the queen of heartbreaking ballads.” This song “All I ask” speaks about a guy who is willing to be around her but is not willing to return her love emotionally and intimately.

“Look, don’t get me wrong
I know there is no tomorrow”

But she sings passionately even as she asks him to grant her one last request on their final night together. She asks him to hold her as more than a friend, that though she knows he is leaving for good, he should oblige her because she is not sure she would ever fall in love again.

“All I ask is
If this is my last night with you
Hold me like I’m more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use”

4. Memphis (Justin Bieber)

Justin Bieber plays the role of a man who is obsessed with this girl playing hard to get. But he actually admits that she probably makes it difficult for him because she has been hurt by other guys in the past but he beckons on her to give him a chance.

“I’d like to give you what you need
I try, but you’re makin’ it hard for me
How do I make you believe?
‘Cause I love you, need you, need you here to stay”

More so, he pleads with her to tell him what he has to do to make her believe that he can give her all she needs. So lady, whoever you are, we ask you to take a chance on the Beiber in your life, he might just be the one for you.

5. Anything Could Happen (Ellie Goulding)

This song by Ellie is one that is quite self-explanatory. She sings to her crush who is unwilling to reciprocate her love on the basis that he isn’t attracted to her. Here, she tells him to give their love a chance that anything could happen, he might be surprised to discover that she is the girl for him.

“But now I’ve seen it through
And now I know the truth
That anything could happen
Anything could happen
Anything could…”

6. I Want the One I Can’t Have (The Smiths) 

The title says it all. Of course, when thinking about heartbreaking songs, your playlist would be incomplete without “The Smiths.” You like someone and you just know that no matter how hard you try, you both can never be together because of circumstances beyond your control. In this case, the song talks about wanting the one you can’t have.

“Come ’round ’cause I want the one I can’t have
And it’s driving me mad
It’s all over, all over, all over my face”

Sometimes we come across situations where we don’t like those who have a crush on us and in the same way, those we have a crush on may not feel the same way about us, therefore, leading to a roller coaster of emotions.

7. The Hardest Thing (98 Degrees)

Songs about loving someone you can't have

This 90’s boy band “98 Degrees” came alive with this mid-tempo song about doing the right thing. Here the group talks about leaving a side chick to stay loyal to the day one girl in their lives. They admit that though they love their side chicks, they feel it will be better to stay faithful to one woman. Even though it hurts them to let the side girl go but they have to do it and they seem quite heartbroken by it.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do
To look you in the eye
And tell you I don’t love you
It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to lie
To show no emotion when you start to cry
I can’t let you see what you mean to me
When my hands are tied and my hearts not free
We’re not meant to be
It’s the hardest thing
I’ll ever had to do”

The most emotional lyrics in the song is “It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do, to look you in the eye and tell you I don’t love you.”

8. Stephen (Kesha)

If there is one music star who can write a smash hit pop anthem, it’s her majesty “Kesha.” The song opens in such a way that she continually calls out her crush’s name “Stephen,” and asks him why he doesn’t call her back. She further admits that although she knows that he has a girlfriend – she says that she is ugly and thus “Stephen” should be with her.

In the video, however, she becomes highly obsessed with the guy to the point that she gets him drunk and lures him to her house and thus bounds him in the closet in order to keep him for herself. He manages to escape and this throws her into a terrible state of paranoia. Hmmm! we feel your pain Kesha, but we don’t want to be in this situation with you. It seems really bad.

9. What It Takes (Aerosmith)

“Tell me what it takes to let you go” these striking lyrics send chills down the spines of people, especially those going through a serious heartbreak. In this song, Aerosmith sings about being in a relationship that was full of struggles, though he loved her deeply, she still left him.

“So baby, what’s the story?
Did you find another man?”

Therefore he desperately tries to find out what it takes to let the one you loved dearly out of your heart and mind.

“Tell me what it takes to let you go.
Tell me how the pain’s supposed to go.”

10. Adore (Cashmere Cat ft. Ariana Grande)

In this melodious ballad, songstress, Ariana Grande lends her voice. “Adore” is a song that talks about how she totally loves a guy and desperately hopes he returns the affection. Even though she knows that he doesn’t really fancy her, she still tries to make him understand that they can work something out because she adores him.

“Boy, so what’s been on your mind?
For me, it’s just you all the time
We don’t need to go nowhere tonight
It’s you and I, we’ll be alright”

She also promises to give her all to him and he doesn’t need to anything in return other than just relax and enjoy the love.

“I give you everything (I give you everything)
I give you everything (I give you everything)
You don’t owe me anything (you don’t owe me anything)
So are you ready baby?”

11. Crush (Mandy Moore)

Sweet candy Mandy Moore gives us this number in which she gushes on about her crush. She goes on and on about how she can’t seem to think straight whenever she sees him. She also admits that it’s just a roller coaster of emotions in her mind thinking of just how beautiful and simple life would be with him by her side, the only problem is that he has a girlfriend which she sings is really bad.

“I know, I should tell you how I feel
I wish everyone would disappear
Every time you call me I’m too scared to be me
And I’m too shy to say”

Hers is one of those situations where you love someone but can only hope they know the way you feel.

“Ooh, I got a crush on you
I hope you feel the way that I do
I get a rush when I’m with you”

12. Oh So Quiet (Björk)

“Oh so quiet” is one oddly weird song by Bjork that talks about the joy of being in love with someone. She sings about the sparks and rushes you get from seeing your crush with the hope that he or she notices you and probably says hi. When this doesn’t happen or go as planned, everything goes quiet again.

“Wow bam
You’ve never been so nuts about a guy
You wanna laugh you wanna cry”

This, the singer says is hurtful and I’m sure most of us can relate.

13. I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bon Iver)

When you take a listen to songs like this, you tend to wonder what the writer was thinking or feeling while writing the piece. This soul-crushing ballad resonates clearly with the pain the singer is obviously going through when he says that though he really wished he could but he knows he can’t make his crush love him the way he does her.

“‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t”

14. You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift)

You just can’t make a list of heartbreak songs without pop diva “Taylor Swift.” In this song, she tells her crush who only sees her as a friend, to leave his bad relationship with his current girlfriend who obviously takes him for granted. She passionately sings to him saying that they belong together, and she is the perfect one for him.

“You’re on the phone with your girlfriend, she’s upset
She’s going off about something that you said
‘Cause she doesn’t get your humor like I do”

“If you could see that I’m the one
Who understands you
Been here all along
So, why can’t you see?
You belong with me
You belong with me”

15. 1000 Times (Sarah Bareilles)

This prolific singer with an amazing yet soulful voice, Sarah Bareilles comes through with this wonderful song about loving someone deeply and knowing fully well that he doesn’t like her the way she wants. She knows that being friends with such a guy would make her hurt 1000 times more but she doesn’t care. She feels that she would rather hurt for as long as possible than stand the risk of losing both his friendship as well as imaginary love. How sad!

“Eyes on the ground
But I can’t look up now
Don’t wanna give it away
My secret”

16. Cornerstone (Arctic Monkeys)

When you lose someone you love, it’s hard to let go and that is what this Arctic Monkeys song is all about. It tells of a man whose lover probably passed on and he is going around looking for who to replace her with. The only problem is – he wants to call them by her name.

“She was close, close enough to be your ghost
But my chances turned to toast
When I asked her if I could call her your name”

17. Needing / Getting (OK GO)

The lyrics are all about trying to get over someone you love but can’t have. The singer finally realizes after many years that he has been dumb, hoping a girl could change and develop feelings for him the way he loves her. He now blames himself for wasting his time on such fantasies.

“I’ve been waiting for months
Waiting for years
Waiting for you to change
Aw, but there ain’t much that’s dumber
There ain’t much that’s dumber
Than pinning your hopes on a change in another”

But he has come to realize that it’s not everything you want you can get and he is trying to move on.

“And I, yeah, I still need you, but what good’s that gonna do?
Needing is one thing and getting, getting is another”

18. Crown of Love (Arcade Fire)

This piece is more about apologizing for unrequited love. Both parties are represented here with one longing for the other’s love which wasn’t forthcoming. The other person, on the other hand, is asking for forgiveness because they don’t feel the same way.

“If you still want me, please forgive me
The crown of love has fallen from me
If you still want me, please forgive me
Because the spark is not within me”

This is a bit different from some others on the list because in this case, you know someone loves you dearly but you just can’t return the feeling.

19. Bruno Mars (Grenade)

Bruno Mars pours his heart out about loving someone too much when they don’t love you back. Imagine being so in love you would catch a grenade for them but they will do nothing for you, now that’s a heartbreaker.

“Oh, oh, I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for ya, baby
But you won’t do the same”

He calls her out for tossing his love in the trash after giving her his all. There is also the insinuation that she is a terrible person who might want to him.

“Mad woman, bad woman
That’s just what you are
Yeah, you’ll smile in my face then rip the brakes out my car”

20. Not Just Friends (Connell Cruise)

It’s painful losing a love you once had and even worse when they want to be just friends with you instead of losing it all. But Connell Cruise is not having it any other way if he can’t have you all to himself. The pain of being friends and seeing her happy with someone else is just too much to bear, thus, he would rather lose it all.

“So I’ll tell you this, I don’t really wanna be your friend.
See you loving someone else, I’m not gonna do that.
And for you I wish nothing but happiness but I’m not gonna be your friend, no were not gonna be just friends.
‘Cause I, I’d rather lose it all.”

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness, if you've found a possible error, be it factual, editorial or something that needs updating, please contact us
Banks
Banks
I am a perfectionist, an advocate of sound mind and intentional living who loves the thrill of travelling the world through writing and editing from the comfort of her desk. When I am not going crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, you might catch me experimenting with various culinary dishes or trying to originate another recipe.

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