songs about cheating

Songs About Cheating: A Journey Through Betrayal

Welcome, dear reader, to the melodious yet painfully familiar world of songs about cheating. Yes, we’re diving into the musical cesspool where heartbreak, betrayal, and the inevitable “I told you so” live in perfect disharmony.

If you’ve ever found solace in a song while simultaneously cursing its existence for hitting too close to home, this article is for you. Or maybe it’s not. Honestly, why are you even here?

Let’s embark on this tragicomic exploration of songs that have topped the Billboard Music charts, giving voice to the countless victims of unfaithful lovers. Below, you’ll find a list of these unforgettable tunes, each accompanied by a music video link for your viewing (and wallowing) pleasure. We’ll delve into the song’s lyrics, offer intriguing song details, and share some tidbits about the artists who bravely (or foolishly) bared their souls through their music.

1. “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood

Ah, Carrie Underwood, the country darling who went full psycho ex-girlfriend in this anthem. “Before He Cheats” is a delightful tale of a woman taking sweet revenge on her cheating partner by vandalizing his precious truck. The song’s lyrics are a masterclass in how to obliterate a man’s prized possessions without actually confronting him. The track won a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and has been a karaoke staple for jilted lovers everywhere.

2. “Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse, the tragically talented songstress, gives us “Back to Black,” a soulful lament about returning to old habits after a breakup, fueled by infidelity. The song’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of despair and self-destruction. This title track from her second album was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, winning numerous awards and solidifying Winehouse’s legacy as a queen of heartbreak.

3. “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” – Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston gives us an empowering, if slightly bitter, anthem in “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.” The song chronicles the moment a woman discovers her cheating partner’s indiscretions and decides she’s better off without him. The upbeat tempo belies the song’s heavy theme, and it won a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Fun fact: this song has been featured in countless “strong independent woman” playlists.

4. “Say My Name” – Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child brought us this timeless classic of suspicion and confrontation. In “Say My Name,” the song’s lyrics reflect the anxiety and doubt of a woman who senses her lover’s infidelity. Beyoncé’s commanding presence as the lead singer turned this track into an unforgettable hit, earning the group Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best R&B Song.

5. “Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake, the ex-boyband heartthrob, struck gold with “Cry Me a River.” This song, allegedly inspired by his breakup with Britney Spears, is a bitter recount of betrayal and heartbreak. The music video is particularly noteworthy for its not-so-subtle allusions to their very public split. The song earned Timberlake a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and remains one of his most iconic solo hits.

6. “Careless Whisper” – George Michael

No list of songs about cheating would be complete without George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.” This saxophone-laden track is the epitome of regret and sorrow over infidelity. The song’s lyrics capture the anguish of a lover who realizes too late the damage they’ve caused. It topped the charts worldwide and remains one of the most recognizable songs of the 80s.

7. “Lyin’ Eyes” – Eagles

Eagles took a more narrative approach with “Lyin’ Eyes,” a song that tells the story of a woman leading a double life. The song’s lyrics expose the deceit and pretense of a woman who “played dumb” while keeping her secrets hidden. It won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and remains a staple of classic rock radio.

8. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a soulful exploration of discovering infidelity through rumors. The song’s lyrics convey the shock and hurt of learning about a lover’s betrayal secondhand. This track became one of Gaye’s signature songs and is often listed among the greatest songs of all time.

9. “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette unleashed a torrent of anger and bitterness in “You Oughta Know,” a song about the fury and pain of being cheated on. The song’s lyrics are raw and confrontational, making it an anthem for anyone who’s ever been scorned. It won two Grammy Awards and catapulted Morissette to fame with her debut album, “Jagged Little Pill.”

10. “Bust Your Windows” – Jazmine Sullivan

Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows” is a tale of sweet, sweet revenge. The song’s lyrics describe the act of vandalizing a cheating partner’s car, an act of property damage that many heartbroken listeners can vicariously enjoy. This song garnered Sullivan a Grammy nomination and remains a powerful anthem for the wronged and vengeful.

11. “Shout Out to My Ex” – Little Mix

Little Mix delivers a playful yet pointed farewell to a cheating lover in “Shout Out to My Ex.” The song’s lyrics celebrate moving on and thriving after a toxic relationship. This track topped the UK Singles Chart and won the British Single of the Year at the Brit Awards, proving that success is the best revenge.

12. “Two Black Cadillacs” – Carrie Underwood

Another entry from Carrie Underwood, “Two Black Cadillacs” tells the dark tale of two women who discover they’ve been deceived by the same man and decide to take matters into their own hands. The song’s lyrics and the music video unfold like a mini-murder mystery, making it a standout in her discography. This song was a hit on the country charts and showcased Underwood’s storytelling prowess.

13. “Call Your Girlfriend” – Robyn

Robyn takes a different approach with “Call Your Girlfriend,” advising her lover to end his current relationship before starting something new with her. The song’s lyrics offer a mature and honest take on infidelity. This dance-pop track was a critical darling and solidified Robyn’s reputation as a pop innovator.

14. “Unfaithful” – Rihanna

Yes, Rihanna gets a mention here because “Unfaithful” is just that good at encapsulating the pain and guilt of being the one who cheats. The song’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of the emotional turmoil experienced by the unfaithful partner. It was a commercial success, further establishing Rihanna as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

15. “Illicit Affairs” – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “Illicit Affairs” from her Folklore album is a beautifully crafted song about the hidden complexities of a secret relationship. The song’s lyrics delve into the shame, guilt, and fleeting joys of an affair. This track is a testament to Swift’s lyrical prowess and has been lauded by critics as one of her best works.

16. “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town

Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” is a song about jealousy and obsession, where the protagonist envies the woman who has her lover’s attention. The song’s lyrics explore the darker side of infidelity and longing. This track won several awards, including the Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, and has been praised for its unique perspective.

17. “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” – Blu Cantrell

Blu Cantrell gives us a catchy anthem for the scorned lover with “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!).” The song’s lyrics detail the narrator’s revenge on her cheating partner by maxing out his credit cards and draining his bank account. This track was a commercial hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and earning Cantrell a Grammy nomination.

18. “Take a Bow” – Rihanna

And finally, Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” is a fitting end to our list. This song is about a woman confronting her unfaithful lover and telling him to leave. The song’s lyrics are both poignant and empowering, making it a favorite for anyone who’s been through a messy breakup. The music video complements the song perfectly, showcasing Rihanna’s emotional performance.

19. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell

Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” isn’t directly about cheating but rather about the fallout from a toxic and unfaithful relationship. The song’s lyrics describe feelings of betrayal and the need to escape from a harmful lover.

It’s an iconic track from the 80s that captures the disillusionment and pain associated with deceit. The song’s melancholic yet catchy melody has made it a timeless hit, often associated with themes of infidelity and emotional turmoil.

20. “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett

In “I Hope,” Gabby Barrett delivers a scathing country anthem aimed at a cheating ex. The song’s lyrics express a wish that the cheater gets a taste of his own medicine, hoping his new lover cheats on him just as he did.

This song resonated with many who have experienced similar betrayal, making it a chart-topping hit. Barrett’s powerful delivery and the song’s vengeful message make it a standout in the genre of country music.

21. “Your Cheatin’ Heart” – Hank Williams

Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” is a quintessential country music song about the pain and heartache of being cheated on. The song’s lyrics capture the sorrow and inevitability of a relationship doomed by infidelity.

Released in the 1950s, it has become a timeless classic, embodying the emotional depth and storytelling tradition of country music. Williams’ heartfelt delivery ensures the song remains an enduring favorite among fans of the genre.

22. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (originally by Dolly Parton)

Though not explicitly about cheating, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (originally by Dolly Parton) deals with the bittersweet nature of parting ways. The song’slyrics express a deep, enduring love despite the need to say goodbye, which could imply a backdrop of betrayal or unfaithfulness.

Houston’s powerful rendition brought the song widespread acclaim, and it became one of the best-selling singles of all time, often associated with themes of love and loss.

23. “You Belong with Me” – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me” is more about unrequited love than outright cheating, but it touches on feelings of betrayal and longing for someone who is in another relationship.

The song’s lyrics depict the narrator’s frustration and heartache as she watches the person she loves with someone else. Swift’s storytelling ability shines through in this track, resonating with anyone who has ever felt overlooked or left out in matters of the heart.

24. “You Make Loving Fun” – Fleetwood Mac

You Make Loving Fun was written by band member Christine McVie about her affair with the band’s lighting director. To keep her husband and fellow band member John McVie in the dark, she cleverly told him the song was about their dog.

The song’s lyrics celebrate the joy of a new romance, masking the underlying story of infidelity. This track from Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “Rumours” album is a perfect song for illustrating how personal experiences of cheating can inspire great music.

25. “Unholy” – Sam Smith

Sam Smith dives into the darker side of infidelity with “Unholy,” a song that explores the sinful and secretive nature of cheating. The song’s lyrics depict a clandestine affair and the guilt that accompanies it, painting a vivid picture of the emotional turmoil involved.

Smith’s haunting vocals and the song’s intense production create a mood that perfectly encapsulates the forbidden and illicit aspects of an affair, making it one of their standout tracks and a good song for those exploring the complexities of infidelity.

26. “She Don’t Have to Know” – John Legend

In “She Don’t Have to Know,” John Legend details a mutual affair where both parties are cheating on their respective partners. The song’s lyrics shift perspectives between the man and the woman, highlighting the shared guilt and secrecy of their relationship.

Produced by of the Black Eyed Peas, this song from Legend’s debut album captures the complexity and moral ambiguity of infidelity, wrapped in smooth vocals and soulful melodies. It’s a good song for anyone delving into the multifaceted emotions involved in cheating.

27. “Me and Mrs. Jones” – Billy Paul

Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” is a soul classic that narrates an affair between the protagonist and a married woman. The song’s lyrics convey the intense, clandestine meetings and the emotional conflict of knowing they are doing wrong but being too in love to stop.

This song, with its lush orchestration and Paul’s heartfelt delivery, has become one of the defining tracks about infidelity, demonstrating how love and moral dilemmas often intertwine. It’s a perfect song for understanding the depth of emotional entanglement in extramarital affairs.

28. “Part-Time Lover” – Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s “Part-Time Lover” is a vibrant depiction of a secretive affair. The song’s lyrics describe the thrill and danger of being involved with a “part-time lover,” someone with whom you share a secret relationship.

The upbeat tempo and catchy melody contrast with the song’s theme of infidelity, making it a standout track that showcases Wonder’s ability to blend complex emotions with accessible pop music. It’s a good song that captures the essence of secret love affairs.

29. “Traitor” – Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo captures the devastation of betrayal in “Traitor.” The song’s lyrics recount the pain of realizing a partner’s emotional infidelity, even if they didn’t physically cheat. Phrases like “brown guilty eyes and little white lies” and “Yeah, I played dumb but I always knew” encapsulate the gut-wrenching moment when suspicions are confirmed.

Rodrigo’s raw vocal delivery and poignant storytelling have made this track resonate deeply with listeners who have faced similar heartbreak, cementing her status as a rising star in pop music. This song is a perfect song for expressing the pain of emotional betrayal.

The History of Artists Who Made Cheating Famous

A lady singing a sad song.

Now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the artists who’ve given us these gems. Taylor Swift, known for her confessional songwriting, often draws from personal experiences, making her songs deeply relatable. Carrie Underwood, the American Idol alum, has made a name for herself with powerful anthems about heartbreak and revenge.

Amy Winehouse, with her deeply personal and often dark lyrics, left an indelible mark on the music world despite her short career. Whitney Houston, with her powerhouse vocals, has delivered some of the most memorable breakup songs of all time. Destiny’s Child, with Beyoncé at the helm, revolutionized pop and R&B music with their bold and empowering songs.

Justin Timberlake, transitioning from boy band fame to solo stardom, has continuously reinvented himself while staying true to his pop roots. Rihanna, ever the chameleon, has given us countless hits across genres, making her one of the most versatile artists in the industry.

Interesting Facts About Songs About Cheating

Did you know that songs about cheating are not just popular but also highly therapeutic? According to psychologists, listening to songs about betrayal can help individuals process their emotions and find a sense of solidarity with others who have experienced similar pain. It’s a way to cope with the feelings of anger, sadness, and helplessness that come with infidelity.

Moreover, songs about cheating often become cultural touchstones, resonating with listeners long after their initial release. These songs offer a glimpse into the human condition, reflecting the complexities of love, trust, and betrayal. They serve as both cautionary tales and comforting companions, reminding us that we are not alone in our heartbreak.


A couple singing karaoke.

So there you have it, a comprehensive (if slightly sardonic) exploration of songs about cheating. From the heart-wrenching ballads of Amy Winehouseto the vengeful anthems of Carrie Underwood, these songs have captured the pain and drama of infidelity in all its messy glory. Whether you’re seeking solace, revenge, or just a good cry, there’s a song on this list for you.

For more musical explorations, check out these articles on songs about sad love, songs about change, and songs about depression.

Until next time, remember: love is a battlefield, and music is your best weapon.