Breakups are messy. Anyone who tells you they ended “on good terms” forgot to include the part where they stayed up for three days moping in between watching re-runs of The O.C. and frantically refreshing their ex’s Twitter page every ten minutes, all while living off melted ice cream with tears for toppings.
Few ever make it out unscathed. But thankfully, there are other ways to fill the void that doesn’t involve as much calories and self-pity. The Love Doctor recommends a no-fail Breakup Playlist to aid you in your emotional healing, when it feels like nobody but Taylor Swift understands your romantic turmoil. Whatever your symptoms may be—angry, heartbroken, homicidal, or Beyonce—there’s a song for that.
Cue: Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor
So. You’re single again. Or are you? But not really? Did you accidentally tell a friend or five that things are “just complicated” while still refusing to take down your relationship status on Facebook? Play this when you’ve still got relapsing tunnel vision for your former flame, but promise yourself some 20/20 glasses after. This song is such a classic, even your mom probably cried to it.
2. Embracing the pain
Cue: Slow Dancing in A Burning Room by John Mayer
Before the heartbreak capitalist white Barbie that was Taylor Swift, there was John Mayer—the man who could make you ache over a lover you may not have even had in the first place. But in case you did, then play this at 3 am while cocooning yourself under your blankets while you compensate for a warmth that is no longer there. Just for optimum #feels.
Cue: Irreplaceable by Beyonce
This is definitely a must-have in your breakup playlist; it’s empowering, optimistic, and at the same time gives you encouragement that the best is yet to come. The song is completely laced with Beyonce’s brand of positive feminism that reminds you to continue being yourself even after having been wronged—and that this too shall pass.
4. Reveling in your newfound freedom
Cue: Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
This is one of those songs that makes you feel like a large weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and how wonderful that feeling actually is. It’s one of the most powerful “moving on” songs in this list, and its strong message merges well with its beat.
5. Knowing your worth
Cue: Forget You by CeeLo Green
CeeLo Green’s soul-heavy vocals make this song both irresistibly cool and dance-able. This song—which has a more fun, explicit version—serves as a great reminder that the right person for you wouldn’t mind you being an Atari instead of an X-Box, because true love isn’t just about the material things.
6. “Oh, yeah? I’ll show him!”
Cue: Believe by Cher
While an old 90s song, this contagiously upbeat dance hit is an iconic hit by an equally iconic singer. Let your Tita Cher remind you that it’s his loss, not yours. This is the song you could dance and sing to when no one’s looking, which inevitably puts you in the best of moods despite the aftermath of your closure talk.
7. For your first single karaoke night out with friends!
Cue: You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi
This is the perfect song to rock out to amidst those hugot jokes you might hear from friends for making this selection. At least the song is old-school cool! The imagery presented in this number by one of the classic rock icons is highly relatable, and you just can’t help but channel your inner rockstar and bang your head with those riffs. Bon Jovi’s song will inevitably get you pumped up despite the breakup.
8. When you want to let loose at the club
Cue: Break Free by Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
“Single, and ready to mingle,” as they say. Ariana Grande’s encouragement for you to, well, break free and expand your horizons is infectious. So put on your best clothes, and just have a fun night with friends at your favorite club.
9. When you’re finally back to regular programming
Cue: Someone New by Hozier
When you’re in the throes of a break-up, more often than not, it can feel a little hopeless. Will you ever forget them? Will music still sound the same? Will you ever not cringe when you see a bottle of ketchup and think, “Oh man, she loved ketchup”? The answer, is yes. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.