20 Songs About Being the Second Choice

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Musicians have long sung about love — and about heartbreak. Specifically, there are so many songs about being the second choice, or about being the other woman.

Below, we’ve listed 20 great songs that create a playlist for those who are always the second option!

1. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt released her song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as her second single on her 1991 album Luck of the Draw. After the song’s release, it became a huge hit. Today, it remains one of the most popular Raitt songs!

In this great song, Raitt sings about how her lover does not love her, even though she loves him. She sings the lyrics, “’Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t / You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t”.

While she doesn’t mention any other woman, it’s clear that Raitt isn’t the first choice in this song. Even if there isn’t another woman in her lover’s life, Raitt isn’t the first choice. Raitt sings that eventually, she will give up this fight — but she needs time.

2. “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift

In Taylor Swift’s 2008 song “You Belong With Me”, she sings about her friend who is in a toxic relationship with another girl. Swift believes that he belongs with her, instead. However, he doesn’t seem to recognize her in this way and continues to be in this other relationship.

As a result, Swift continues to long for him. She sings, “If you could see that I’m the one who understands you / Been here all along, so why can’t you see? / You belong with me”.

3. “Can’t Stay Away From You” by Gloria Estefan

“Can’t Stay Away From You” by Gloria Estefan became a huge hit song when it was released on her 1987 album Let It Loose. In this hit song, Estefan sings about her relationship that may be coming to an end.

She knows that her partner doesn’t love her anymore. However, she can’t seem to let him go. Rather than end the relationship, she holds on, hoping that things can eventually work out.

She sings the repeated lyrics throughout the song, “’Cause I can’t stay away from you

I don’t wanna let you go”.

4. “Like You” by Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara’s 2019 song “Like You” discusses being the second choice after her boyfriend leaves her for another girl. Throughout the song, we learn that at first, her boyfriend told her she was the only one for him. He would never find another.

But then later, he does find another woman. Cara tries to not let it sting too hard, refusing to be the second choice to anyone. She sings, “I am not a second choice if I’m not the first / So don’t hold your breath”.

5. “You Belong to Me” by Carly Simon

Carly Simon released her hit song “You Belong to Me” on her 1978 album Boys in the Trees. In this song, Simon sings about how the man she loves seems to either be in love with someone else, is thinking of leaving Simon for her, or has had a relationship with another woman.

Simon says that she knows that other women find him attractive. He doesn’t need to prove anything to her. No matter what, he will always belong to her. He will always be her man.

6. “The Other Woman” by Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey’s 2014 version of “The Other Woman” is a classic story of being the other woman with all its flaws and faults. Many people have covered this classic song, including Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, and Jeff Buckley. However, Lana Del Rey’s version remains the most popular today.

In this song, Del Rey expresses the sadness that comes from being “The Other Woman”. Towards the end of the song, she sings, “The other woman will always cry herself to sleep / The other woman will never have his love to keep / And as the years go by, the other woman will spend her life alone”.

7. “Other Woman” by Julia Fordham

Julia Fordham’s 1988 song “Other Woman” also discusses being the other woman. In this song, Fordham sings to her lover, waiting for him to call off his other relationship and tell the truth. However, he never does.

Fordham sings throughout the song, “It’s no fun being the other woman”. She later tries to lie and say she doesn’t love him anymore, as she feels that he doesn’t love her as he used to. However, she herself admits that she’s lying. She loves him, and she’ll stay the “Other Woman”.

8. “Second Best” by Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies released their song “Second Best” on their 2003 album Everything to Everyone. In this song, the band sings about what it’s like being “Second Best”.

Now, this song could be taken in a variety of different ways. Listeners could believe this song is about being “Second Best” in life. But listeners could also take more away from this song and think this song is about being “Second Best” in romance and relationships, as well!

9. “The Other Woman” by Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn’s 1963 hit song “The Other Woman” opens up with Lynn declaring that she is the other woman in a relationship. She sings, “I’d like to introduce myself, I’m the other woman / The other woman in your husband’s life”.

But there’s more to the story. Lynn sings that the lady’s husband only sought her out because he wasn’t getting the love he wanted at home. Plus, it seems as if the wife cheated on him first.

In the chorus, Lynn sings the lyrics, “But you gave him the right to seek that other woman / And you know who was first to cheat on who / I just accepted love from him you never wanted / The other woman didn’t steal from you”.

10. “Teardrops on My Guitar” by Taylor Swift

In the 2006 song “Teardrops on My Guitar”, Taylor Swift sings about wanting someone you can’t have. She’s in love with her friend Drew. However, Drew has a relationship that he’s very happy about. So, Swift keeps her feelings to herself.

She knows that she isn’t his first choice. She sings, “She’d better hold him tight / Give him all her love / Look in those beautiful eyes and know she’s lucky”.

11. “My Other Woman” by Huey Lewis & The News

Huey Lewis & The News released the song “My Other Woman” on the 2001 album Plan B. In this song, the singer discusses how much he loves his wife — and his other woman. Over the years, he’s given both his wife and his other woman much of his time and his money.

Now, however, things have changed — and he’s not happy. He sings, “My other woman’s got another man”.

12. “Other Woman” by Ferlin Husky

In Ferlin Husky’s 1967 song, he sings to his romantic partner why he found himself in another woman’s arms. He blames his partner, saying she was careless. She drove him to another woman.

Now that he’s found this other woman, he has realized that he wants to be with her! He sings, “I feel wanted again / I can’t give up the other woman in my life”.

13. “In the Morning” by Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin released her song “In the Morning” on her 1998 album A Rose Is Still a Rose. In this song, Franklin sings about how much she loves her man. However, she does have some worries.

She’s ready to be with him fully, but she feels that he’s not as committed. She sings, “I don’t want you to play with my life / I don’t want to be the other woman / I want us to matter and mean something”.

Later in the song, she questions if he has another woman in his life. She’s worried that she could be the other woman in a relationship. But she’s committed to him and pressures him to do the right thing! She doesn’t want to end up being someone’s backup plan!

14. “I’m Through (Trying to Prove My Love to You)” by Bobby Womack


In Bobby Womack’s song “I’m Through (Trying to Prove My Love to You)”, Womack discusses how his “other woman” convinced him to finally end his relationship. He tells his partner that she’s treated him badly, and now he’s leaving.

When he found his “other woman”, she told him that she wasn’t going to stay in this relationship if he didn’t end his other relationship. She wouldn’t be the “other woman”. This caused Womack to realize that she’s better for him than his partner — and this song shows his real feelings about it.

15. “Picking Up the Pieces” by Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith released her hit song “Picking Up the Pieces” on her 2012 album Fall to Grace. In this song, Faith sings about her insecurities in a new relationship. She’s worried that her partner is still thinking about his ex-girlfriend.

Therefore, his ex becomes worrisome for Faith. She feels that maybe her partner wishes he was still with his ex. Maybe he was happier with her than he is with Faith. She sings about his ex, “She’s the other woman shining in her splendor”.

16. “Bring Me Some Water” by Melissa Etheridge

In Melissa Etheridge’s 1988 hit song “Bring Me Some Water”, she sings about her feelings about being in an open relationship. She doesn’t like that her lover has another woman, yet she doesn’t know what to do about this. Etheridge compares her feelings to being set on fire.

She sings the lyrics, “Somebody bring me some water / Can’t you see I’m burning alive? / Can’t you see my baby’s / Got another lover? / I don’t know how I’m gonna survive”.

17. “Triple 7” by Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast’s 2016 song “Triple 7” discusses being in a relationship, as well as her thoughts about her place in relationships in general. She feels that she is always the other woman. The singer doesn’t have faith that she will ever be anything more than that.

She sings, “And I know the role I’m meant to play / The role of the other woman who will spend her life longing”.

18. “Tears Dry On Their Own” by Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse released her song “Tears Dry On Their Own” on her 2006 album Back to Black. Winehouse herself said this song is about being with someone she knew she couldn’t be with for long. So, because she knew this relationship wouldn’t last, she also knew that she would work to get over it quickly.

Winehouse knows her “Tears Dry On Their Own”. In this song, she also thinks about the future when she leaves her current partner. She sings, “Even if I stop wanting you and perspective pushes through / I’ll be some next man’s other woman soon / I cannot play myself again / I should just be my own best friend”.

So, even though she knows she’ll end this relationship, she thinks she’ll go right back to being another man’s other woman. However, she does know she shouldn’t do this, as she thinks she should try to focus on herself and be her own best friend!

19. “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge’s 1993 hit song “I’m the Only One” follows Etheridge as she sings about her partner saying that he wants to leave her for someone new. She sings, “Tonight you told me / That you ache for something new / And some other woman is looking like somethin’ / That might be good for you”.

Etheridge tells him to go ahead and find someone else. However, she also says that he’ll never find another woman who will walk through fire for him as she does. She’s the only one for him, and she says that he’ll soon realize that!

20. “The Uninvited Guest” by Carpenters

Finally, let’s talk about “The Uninvited Guest” by Carpenters! This 1989 song discusses an affair. The singer knows that her man is with another girl, as she can see how they act with each other. She knows they’re having an affair.

She sings, “She’s the uninvited guest / Who lives in our house / She’s the other woman / Who’s on your mind / Who’s in your life”.

However, even though she sees this with her own eyes, she cannot seem to leave him. After all, she loves him and still wants to be with him, even if she’s no longer his first choice.

Listen to the full playlist on YouTube here!