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The Ultimate Playlist for Any Stage of a Breakup

Breakups are a necessary evil. Think about them the same way you do that uncomfortable phase during puberty: without your “ugly” stage, you’d have a tough time recognizing your newfound beauty. Without breakups, you could end up settling for the wrong person forever. But before you can realize that ‘everything happens for a (sometimes stupid) reason,’ you must experience the breakup postmortem.

Whether you’re in shock, holding back tears, relieved you recognized ‘Not the One’, or just trying to move on, one thing is for sure: music can lift you up on your darkest days.

So we took a break from the empowered love jams and created a playlist to take you through all the stages of the breakup grieving process. Get ready for some real AF feels with our favorite songs that require a full box of Kleenex.

The “Breakup with the Bad” playlist is for anyone wondering, “Why me,” but also for people who want to appreciate the battles they’ve won. The songs in this playlist pair well with sobbing into stale pizza, but also vibe with an overall sense of “I never needed you anyway.” From songs 1 to 30, you’ll experience a full range of emotions and a journey meant for holistic healing.

Stage I: Devastation Station

In the first stage, your life is a ‘90’s music video and it’s raining the entire time. You’re still trying to process what the f*ck just happened, while waiting for fries and a milkshake in the drive-thru lane. None of this helps, but you’re going to eat your feelings for a while anyway. Every song may trigger you to incessantly ugly-sob as you put a metaphorical ice pack on your throbbing heart. Let these moments happen. It needs to get worse before it can get better. These are the songs for when you want to cry your face off in the shower or hide under the sheets in a dark room. Songs 1 through 12 are devastating, mostly because Sam Smith and Adele refuse to let us have it any other way.

Stage II: Everything But the Wrecking Ball

This stage is every bit as dramatic as this title. A few weeks may have passed, and you begin to realize the loss isn’t yours at all. The cloud is lifted, but sun refuses to shine just yet. You replay all the moments you overlooked when you should have seen so clearly that they weren’t The One. Almost every Dua Lipa song belongs in this phase.

Did they try to control you? BYE.
Did they cheat on you? HELL NO, BYE.
Did they only think about themselves? NSYNC BYE, BYE, BYE.
Are they trying to get back with you but not actually be with you? ….BYE.

If singing along to ‘IDGAF’ always feels iconic, then you know you’re ready for the next big step in the breakup: the tech purge.

Delete the pictures. Block their number until you’re confident you’re not drunk-texting them anymore. Slowly start to feel whole.

These songs are meant to be blasted on your commute as you yell/cry/sing out the lyrics.

Stage III: Love Yourself First

You go an entire week without thinking of them. You return to the ol’ stomping grounds and re-claim them as your own. Things didn’t work out and that’s okay. You might not be fully happy yet, but you made it through the toughest part in one piece. You don’t have to hate the people who are no longer in your life. Reserve your energy for building up love where it counts the most: in yourself.

The last 8 songs are for you to appreciate your ex as a life lesson  — and to fall in love with your newly discovered strength. These jams leave you feeling empowered and ready to take back your whole heart. If finishing off with Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ brings a pep back in your step, then it might be time to get on Bumble Date to find your own BDE.

Sometimes, things don’t work. Both partners can come to accept that, even if it’s difficult for one or the other at first. We hope that this playlist brings you forgiveness, healing, and self-love. As the legendary RuPaul would say, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

And guess who f*cking survived? You. Now onto the next journey!