15 Of The Best Songs About Divorce For Tough Times

Written by Dan Farrant

Divorce is tough. Going through it is one of the most painful and exhausting events of your life. It comes with all sorts of emotions, from pain to anger, to denial. Navigating the emotional terrain of a divorce can often feel overwhelming.

In times like this, music can help us get through it. Songs capture the challenges of leaving a spouse and help voice our deepest emotions. Thankfully, there are countless songs that touch on this delicate subject.

Today, we’re giving you 15 of the best songs about divorce, consisting of melancholic ballads and uplifting anthems. Read on to know more.

1. “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” By Tammy Wynette

First on our list is a song with “divorce” in the title. The country song “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” was popularized by Tammy Wynette and became a hit in 1968.

The song captures the pain of dealing with divorce and its aftermath. It hurts not just the couple but the people around them, particularly children.

In this song, the lyrics describe the pain of a woman whose husband is leaving her and their four-year-old son. She has to spell out the word divorce and pretend everything is okay to avoid upsetting their child.

2. “The Winner Takes It All” By ABBA

If there’s a heartbreaking breakup song that sums up divorce, it’s ABBA‘s “The Winner Takes It All.” The song works on the premise that in divorce, the “winner” who emerges is the narrator’s ex.

The song is believed to be about the divorce of ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog. The narrator finds it difficult to separate from her ex and clings to their marriage.

At the same time, she sarcastically congratulates him as he moves on from their divorce. At the same time, she is still reeling from the aftermath of their divorce and has to deal with the raw emotions that come with it.

3. “Family Portrait” By Pink

Up next on our list is a very personal song for singer-songwriter Pink. “Family Portrait” is based on the poem she wrote when she was 9 when her parents divorced.

The song is a closer look at the family dynamics when the parents decide to part ways for good. As this is from the perspective of a child, it shows the impact of divorce on children.

In this song, Pink pleas for her family to stay together and work things out, as she promises to be a better daughter. The song also reflects how family dysfunction can affect one’s self-esteem and relationships.

4. “Divorce Song” By Liz Phair

The indie rock song “Divorce Song” by Liz Phair was released in 1993, a year after her own divorce. Through this song, with “divorce” in the lyrics, she expresses her emotions and feelings at a difficult time in her life.

“Divorce Song” explores the themes of betrayal, resentment, and regret, as well as the difficulty of letting go and moving on. Phair shows how challenging and difficult it is to maintain a friendship after the breakdown of a marriage.

It’s mainly because, for her, her husband has “never been a waste of my time.” Whereas for him, she “wasn’t worth talking to.” Nevertheless, she still wishes that things would be all right for him.

5. “Divorce Separation Blues” By The Avett Brothers

The lead vocalist of The Avett Brothers band, Seth Avett, is into sad songs that are somewhat presented in a bright way. One of those is their 2016 single, “Divorce Separation Blues.”

The lyrics portray a man who is going through a tough divorce and how it affects his life and emotions. The song expresses his grief, bitterness, and resignation as he tries to cope with the separation and the changes it brings.

Despite the challenges he’s going through, he tries to assume a positive disposition as he faces a new chapter in life. He acknowledges that life goes on and he must continue living.

6. “Since U Been Gone” By Kelly Clarkson

The power-pop song “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson celebrates breaking free from a toxic relationship. Although this is not one of those songs that mention “divorce,” it might as well be.

The lyrics express the narrator’s relief and satisfaction at being able to breathe, move on, and get what she wants since her ex left. We can tell that it isn’t a healthy relationship from the start.

And when she’s finally free of him, she finds that independence is empowering. Although separation is painful, here, the narrator is more than relieved to rid herself of someone who should not be in her life.

7. “A Good Year For The Roses” By Elvis Costello & The Attractions

The heart-wrenching ballad “A Good Year for the Roses” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions is up next. This song perfectly captures the narrator’s disillusion at the failure of his marriage.

Theirs is a three-year marriage that is now on its end. He watches as his wife packs her bags and leaves him while he notices the irony of how his roses are blooming despite his misery.

The song captures the narrator’s sadness, bitterness, and resignation as he realizes that his marriage is over and nothing can save it.

8. “Alimony” By “Weird Al” Yankovic

Not only is divorce tough, it is also messy. “Weird Al” Yankovic presents a humorous parody in “Alimony” about divorce and alimony.

The lyrics are simple and straightforward. The narrator laments his ex’s demands for alimony payments. He does everything to satisfy those demands, allowing her to get his car, shoes, and, funny enough, even his toothbrush. She gets all that she can squeeze out of him, bleeding him dry.

And now he’s broke and in debt, with lawyers calling him for more demands. He laments how he promised to be with her for better or worse. In the end, she takes everything from him.

9. “I Cried All The Way To The Bank” By Norma Jean

The country ballad “I Cried All the Way to the Bank” by Norma Jean explores the aftermath of a divorce. The song was released in 1965 from her album Pretty Miss Norma Jean.

From the song’s opening, we find out that the narrator’s divorce is made final. It gets her to think about the financial aspect of her separation from her ex. The lyrics suggest that he gave her a lot of money in exchange for his freedom, but this is not what she wants.

It seems that she still loves him, choosing to have him instead of his money. She longs for the warmth he provides on dark and cold nights. She may have money now to buy what she wants, but there is a void in her heart that the money cannot fill.

10. “Stay Together For The Kids” By blink-182

The song “Stay Together for the Kids” by Blink-182 gives voice to a heart-wrenching perspective of a child of divorced parents. It’s biographical in nature, written by the band’s guitarist Tom DeLonge based on his parent’s divorce.

The lyrics depict the helplessness of a child who can only watch as his parents’ marriage disintegrates. The song portrays the emotional turmoil and confusion that he experiences following his parents’ divorce.

This song is a reminder of the effect divorce has on children. They are in a vulnerable position when marriages end, and it’s important to consider their well-being during this difficult time.

11. “Highway 20 Ride” by Zac Brown Band

When a couple divorces, it can be tough for their children. It’s up to the parents to maintain a relationship with their kids even after their divorce. The narrator in Zac Brown Band‘s “Highway 20 Ride” does the right thing by regularly seeing his son.

Despite the divorce, he looks forward to his every-other-Friday trip along Highway 20 on his way to see his son. He misses his child, whose custody is with his ex-wife following the divorce.

The song captures the narrator’s pain, guilt, and hope as he reflects on his failed marriage and his love for his child. He couldn’t wait for the next Friday to come around, and he’d be back on the road to see his child again.

12. “Hello” By Adele

While Adele‘s “Hello” is not explicitly about divorce, it’s a breakup song that brings out the same raw emotions that come with separation. In this song, the narrator reflects on her heartbreak and longs for a connection with a past lover.

The lyrics are a contemplation of a relationship that went wrong and the narrator’s attempt to reconcile with him. She wonders whether time has healed him because it certainly hasn’t healed her. However, she expresses her longing to see him, apologize, and make peace with their past.

This song is not simply about the pain that comes with heartbreak. It’s a journey to self-acceptance and change. It’s an attempt to reconnect not just with an ex but with herself as well.

13. “Starting Over Again” By Dolly Parton

What happens when a couple married for about 30 years decides to divorce? According to Dolly Parton‘s 1980 song, they are “Starting Over Again.”

Now with grownup children, the wife moves out, and the husband sells the house. The lines “Where should they begin? ‘Cause they’ve never been out on their own” means that they have gone from their parent’s house to their marriage. They have not experienced being on their own because they were together for many years.

After the divorce, the couple has gone on their own ways. The song reflects their lives post-divorce, which can be frightening. After all, it can be confusing to know where to begin.

14. “Give It Away” By George Strait

The heartfelt country song “Give It Away” by George Strait deserves a spot on our list. The song tells the story of a man whose wife is fed up and decides to leave him.

The lyrics capture the raw emotions that come with the end of a marriage. Although he has accepted that there is nothing worth fighting for in their marriage, he still finds it hard to give away the mementos that remind him of his marriage.

In the end, he finds himself having all the things he could ever wish for. A house and the diamond ring that she returned to him. And along with these is his broken heart.

15. “Got My Name Changed Back” By Pistol Annies

The honky tonker “Got My Name Changed Back” by Pistol Annies is about divorce, where the narrator reverts to her maiden name.

The song celebrates independence and freedom after the narrator’s marriage falls apart. She has done everything to make her marriage work, adoring her ex-husband until she finds out what he does behind her back.

Cheating on her is the worst thing he can do. It takes a few years to go in and out of court, but she finally gets what she wants: her maiden name. It seems to be the ultimate celebration after the end of her marriage.

Summing Up Our List Of Divorce Songs

It’s not easy going through this very difficult topic. But with these songs, we were able to see the many facets of divorce. These effectively capture the rollercoaster of emotions that divorce brings.

We hope you liked our choice of songs that talk about divorce and its effects. May they be a reminder that individuals who have gone or are going through such a challenging time have the strength to start anew.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.