The subject matter of a love affair is a touchy subject, especially if you were the one that was cheated on. But that’s why songs about secret love and affairs are so powerful—they can help get you through the tough days that you experience.
That’s why, in this article, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite songs about secret or taboo love affairs. Hopefully, you’ll discover a new song on this list that you can add to your playlist!
Songs About Secret Love Affairs
Let’s begin with the talented group Atlantic Starr.
Secret Lovers by Atlantic Starr
Is it corny to first suggest a song about secret lovers that is actually called “Secret Lovers?” Most likely, but this 1985 hit by Atlantic Starr tells the tale of a man and woman who are having an affair with one another while being married to other people.
“Secret Lovers” was recorded as a duet between Atlantic Starr members David Lewis and Barbara Weathers, and their R&B vocals accompany one another’s beautifully, despite its lyricism being about infidelity.
However, there is also a battle with morality throughout this song. They both know what they’re doing is wrong, but their love for one another is too strong to break up their affair.
You and me, are we fair?
Is this cruel or do we care?
Can they tell what’s in our minds?
Maybe they’ve had secret loves all of the time
Dilemma by Nelly Featuring Kelly Rowland
In what is perhaps one of the most popular hits to come from both Nelly and Kelly Rowland, “Dilemma” is a pop and R&B infidelity ballad about a man and woman who are in love with one another, though the woman is in a relationship.
After its release in 2002, “Dilemma” became Nelly’s first #1 and is, to this day, Kelly Rowland’s best selling single in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
No matter what I do
All I think about is you
Even when I’m with my boo
Boy, you know I’m crazy over you
You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
There is no way to curate a list of songs about secret love without including Taylor Swift! “You Belong With Me” is a pop song about a young woman who longs for one man to leave his seemingly unhealthy relationship for her.
Moreover, its lyricism perfectly captures that feeling of knowing you could be perfect with a particular person but are, instead, overshadowed by their more conventionally attractive counterpart.
Also, the music video for this song is one of the most memorable music videos of the 2000s and features Swift playing the roles of both the young woman in the relationship along with the woman who, essentially, wants her man.
And you’ve got a smile
That could light up this whole town
I haven’t seen in it in a while
Since she brought you down
Secret Love Song Pt. II by Little Mix
Though there technically is a version of this emotional ballad that features Jason Derulo, this version carries a raw vulnerability to it with Little Mix’s vocals alone that the feature almost takes away from it.
“Secret Love Song Pt. II” does not follow a “narrator” of any gender, and its themes of hiding one’s true feelings for another person is quite universal.
In addition, the song’s chorus dives into that desire to be loved in a profound and open way. Though, there is also that established understanding that said love is forbidden—that both individuals’ love for one another does exist but it cannot genuinely be acted upon.
Every piece of you, it just fits perfectly
Every second, every thought
I’m in so deep
But I’ll never show it on my face
Teardrops On My Guitar by Taylor Swift
Though this song was not initially intended to be on this list, Spotify’s shuffle feature is a reminder of why it is a notable addition. “Teardrops On My Guitar” was released in 2007, and it is based on a childhood crush that Taylor had on a former classmate, Drew.
However, Drew had a girlfriend, leaving Taylor to conceal her feelings for him and be left in the friend zone. Despite the latter relating closer to the theme of the song, it can be argued that “Teardrops On My Guitar” does express the wondering and reflection that we are left to do when a love goes unrequited.
So, to those who might say that this piece…strikes a chord, give it a listen, and remember to stream Taylor’s Version if it is out!
I’ll bet she’s beautiful
That girl he talks about
And she’s got everything
That I have to live without
Rewrite The Stars by Zac Efron Featuring Zendaya
This list would feel incomplete if there was not a musical feature included, and this duet from The Greatest Showman (2017) perfectly encapsulates the stigma of biracial relationships and how both Zac Efron and Zendaya’s characters’ romance is hidden within the film because they are being torn apart by their prejudiced society.
However, the lyrics are also easy to generalize into the idea of being secret lovers without having any other choice, but by the song’s bridge, it is evident that the characters no longer want their love to be restrained.
Because we’re able to be
Just you and me within these walls
But when we go out outside
You’re gonna wake up and see that it was hopeless after all
One Promise Too Late by Reba McEntire
Released in 1987, “One Promise Too Late” depicts the story of a woman who meets and falls in love with a man, though she is in a committed relationship with her husband.
Shortly after its release, the song peaked at #1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs Billboard, and its lyricism provides that sinking feeling of being glad that someone is in your life, despite them not “playing the role” that you initially wanted them to.
Furthermore, “One Promise Too Late” feels cathartic in its presentation, essentially conveying the idea that this person that the narrator is enamored with was just at the tips of her fingers, and her love must remain in the shadows because it is now too late.
It’s definitely a memorable country song about secret love.
I won’t say that
I’m sorry I met you
I can’t have you
But I never will forget you
(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Wanna Be Right by Luther Ingram
In this Luther Ingram track from 1972, the lyrics follow the tale of a married man who is in love with another woman and the guilt he carries with him because he contemplates infidelity.
The song’s namesake also leaves room for interpretation, as it implies that the narrator is willing to forgo his sense of morality if it grants him the chance to be with this other woman.
Your friends tell you it’s not future
In loving a married man
If I can’t see you when I want to
I’ll see you when I can.”
Undercover by Kehlani
In what might be one of my favorite selections throughout this list, Kehlani’s “Undercover” can be categorized as a record talking about secret loverswho desire to not be judged by others while also presenting the idea that the narrator is willing to overcome any obstacles to profess their love for another.
“Undercover” utilizes a fun, catchy R&B beat to push that message forward and it also belongs to a phenomenal album, Sweet Sexy Savage.
One way or another
Imma love you
Slidin’ under covers
In The Closet by Michael Jackson
Released in 1992, Michael Jackson’s “In The Closet” recounts the connection that the narrator has with another woman, but the demands of his personal life prevent him from ever exhibiting his feelings in a public and vulnerable way.
Essentially, he seeks to keep that love closeted because of stigma, yet the lyrics implicate that allowing the narrator to feel that love at its purest extent will set him free.
It’s just desire
You cannot waste it
Then, if you want it
Then, won’t you taste it?
He Wasn’t Man Enough for Men by Toni Braxton
I think this is an interesting addition to the list, in part because it doesn’t quite fit nicely into the “secret love” box—and yet it is absolutely related to the topic of this article.
In this song, Toni sings of a wife that appears to be taking pity on Toni. This woman now has a husband, but she strongly believes Toni maintains feelings for her husband and is harboring sense of jealousy.
But this woman doesn’t know the half of it. Because Toni and this woman’s husband have a past themselves. They were lovers before this other woman (now wife) came into the picture.
Turns out, Toni isn’t jealous to see this man find love elsewhere—she’s relieved.
So while the wife is pitying Toni (and likely feeling a bit self righteous), Toni is getting the last laugh. She knows where the bones on this man are buried, and she doesn’t want any part of it. Their previous love affair—a secret love that clearly this wife wasn’t entirely clued in on prior to marrying her husband—gave Toni enough clues to exit stage left.
And perhaps Toni dodged a bullet (or at least a messy divorce) in the process.
What are you thinkin’?
Did you know about us back then?
Do you know I dumped your husband, girlfriend?
I’m not thinkin’ ’bout him
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How’s It Goin’ Down by DMX
It’s not too often that you hear a man, let alone a man from the world of hip hop, speak pretty responsibly about having a secret affair.
On this song, DMX raps of having a sexual relationship with a woman. But this relationship is immensely complex.
Not only does this woman already have a man, she also has two kids by this man. It’s messy, and as the song goes along, X begins to realize that the juice isn’t really worth the squeeze.
But it’s bigger than that, really. Because on this track, you hear DMX is maturing as a person. He enjoys the “friends with benefits” setup he’s getting from this woman, but he knows deep down that this situation is “wrong for me.”
By the end of the song, X decides that he and this woman are better off as friends. He realizes that this woman, who is still tied to her husband, will never be able to give him her whole heart.
And in the end, DMX does’t want to be responsible for breaking up a family.
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