Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

A quick Google search taught me that people going through a breakup typically experience the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As someone who has recently come out the other side of heartbreak, I’m sad to verify that these five stages are real, and yes… going through them causes quite a confusing series of emotions. Living through heartache can feel painfully isolating, but one thing that guided me through it all was music. I’m here to share my favorite songs that made me feel less alone as I navigated each grueling stage. 

Stage 1: Denial

In your head, you know it’s over, but your heart can’t seem to comprehend that just yet. All the love you have for this person overshadows every bad moment; you cling to everything good. You recognize that maybe things weren’t so perfect, but all the red flags suddenly aren’t as blaring. The delusion creeps in and makes you believe that you’ll never be able to love someone this much again. 

“Dancing with Your Ghost” – Sasha Alex Sloan: “I’m still your girl…how do I love again?” 

“The Cut That Always Bleeds” – Conan Gray: “Even though you’re killing me, I need you like the air I breathe.” 

“right where you left me” – Taylor Swift: “They expected me to find somewhere, some perspective, but I sat and stared right where you left me.” 

“The Heart Wants What It Wants” – Selena Gomez: “I can’t imagine a life without the breathless moments breaking me down.”

“Minefields” – Faouzia, John Legend: “Maybe I’m just a fool, I still belong with you, anywhere you are.” 

Stage 2: Anger

You’re pissed, and you’re feeling vengeful. You may even feel mad at yourself. The pain is red hot, and all you can think about is how badly you wish you could make this person hurt the way you do. The rage is slowly building up your confidence, and as you fantasize about revenge, you realize that you deserve so much more. And maybe, just maybe, your anger will guilt them into changing their mind.

“DO YOU LOVE HER” – Jessie Reyez: “And I’m sick with feeling like I deserved better.” 

“firearm” – Lizzy McAlpine: “What a joke, was it all just an act? I hate that it took me so long to react.” 

“u suck” – Emily Bear, Ariza: “I hate everything about you…if we were ever married I’d get divorced.” 

“You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette: “It’s not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave to me.” 

“i hope ur miserable until ur dead” – Nessa Barrett: “I hope you never fall in love again, I hope you be yourself and lose your friends.” 

Stage 3: Bargaining

You’ve reflected on what went wrong and thought about the things you could’ve done differently. This introspection leads you to believe that you know how to fix this, and you will do anything to undo the breakup. You’re totally open to the idea of being close friends; you have all these impossible solutions to every problem, and you’re willing to make enormous sacrifices for things to be how they used to be. Essentially, you’re grasping at straws, and when all your attempts at mending things fall apart, you’re prepared to settle for even one empty “I love you.” 

“A Little Bit Yours” – JP Saxe: “Maybe if I’d said the right things, it never would’ve gone this way.”

“None of Your Concern” – Jhené Aiko, Big Sean: “I want better for you moving forward, what’s better for you than me?”

“Better Than Feeling Lonely” – Olivia O’Brien: “Tell me pretty lies, tell me I’m the only, even if you don’t mean it, touching you is holy.”

“Lie To Me” – Five Seconds of Summer: “I know that you don’t but if I ask you if you love me, hope you lie to me.” 

“Don’t You Remember” – Adele: “I know I have a fickle heart and a bitterness…But don’t you remember the reason you loved me?” 

Stage 4: Depression

There’s nothing left to do besides sit in your sadness, and you are self-pitying to the max. Everything you encounter has an emotional attachment to this person, and you can’t believe everyone else’s world is still spinning when yours has crumbled to the ground. Happy things make you sad because they remind you of what you don’t have, and fond memories have dark casts over them. The pain has finally sunk in, and it’s demanding and undeniable. 

“I miss you, I’m sorry” – Gracie Abrams: “Everything I know leads me back to you.”

“evermore” – Taylor Swift, Bon Iver: “I had a feeling so peculiar that this pain would be for evermore.” 

“how many things” – Sabrina Carpenter: “You used a fork once, turns out forks are f**king everywhere.”

“Liability” – Lorde: “We slow dance in the living room but all that a stranger would see is one girl, swaying alone, stroking her cheek.”

“Special” – SZA: “I gave all my special away to a loser, now I’m just a loser.”

Stage 5: Acceptance

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible. You can think about your past relationship without experiencing physical chest pain, and you aren’t completely overtaken by outrage or despair. The other person is no longer the focus of your life, and you’re ready to face the future standing alone as scary as it seems. It had been easy to forget how much strength you hold, but it’s becoming clear that as hopeless as you may have felt, you had the power to pull yourself through all along. 

“Smile” – Rudi: “I guess all that I can do is smile, ’cause at least I loved you for a while.” 

“Hold No Grudge” – Lorde: “No I don’t keep a list, can’t hold a grudge, don’t you think that we both might’ve done some growing up?”

“What Happens Now?” – Olivia O’Brien: “I don’t hate you, I don’t love you, I’m not even thinking of you. Just woke up one day and you weren’t on my mind.”

“could cry just thinkin’ about you” – Troye Sivan: “I don’t know who I am with or without you, but I guess I’m ‘bout to find out.” 

“Hard Feelings/Loveless” – Lorde: “I care for myself the way I used to care about you.” 

Vivian Aviles

Northeastern '25

Vivian (She/her) is a Journalism major with a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Media and Screen Studies. She loves everything pop culture, and you can find her in spin class, sitting in her favorite coffee shop, or watching way too much reality TV.