Jun 23, 2023, 05:55AM

Clouds in My Coffee

A breakup playlist so good it’ll make you wish for someone to break your heart.

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Every time I go through a breakup of a longtime relationship with someone I trusted and thought would be in my life forever—well, let’s pause there. First, cue the Taylor Swift for two reasons: one, it's me, I’m the problem, it's me (you can cue the other Swiftie breakup songs, I'm not really a fan)I have Borderline Personality Disorder, a crippling fear of abandonment and an unfortunate tendency to choose relationships in the “anxious-avoidant” range of attachment theory with emotionally unavailable avoidant individuals who trigger anxious tendencies in me, when a secure attachment would be preferred.. if only they were willing to do the work.


I end up feeling like I’m not enough or too much and there’s a breakup, which leads me to the second Taylor Swift reference—something one of my daughters observed: “Don’t break up with Taylor Swift and expect her not to write breakup songs about you.” I haven't even started writing about a recent breakup because I'm still in too much pain, but I'll get around to it.


I have a well-curated breakup playlist on Spotify. It’s called “Clouds in My Coffee” in reference to the Carly Simon song “You’re So Vain” because of the lyric “you gave away the things you loved... and one of them was me…”


The playlist goes through the full range of emotions and stages of grief that comprise a breakup. So if you’re ready to blast Separate Ways by Journey (“Promises we made were in VAIN, in VAAAIIINNNN, in vaaaaiiinnn…”…) pair up your bluetooth, pour a stiff drink, and let’s dive in to the deep end.




In this stage you’re in shock that your partner would end something you thought would last forever, and you assume it’s a break, not a breakup and hope they’ll be back.


You’ll Be Back” (Jonathan Groff, Hamilton). (You'll be back, time will tell,You'll remember that I served you well/Oceans rise, empires fall, We have seen each other through it all/And when push comes to shove/I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”)


Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (Deep Blue Something). (“I see you, the only one who knew me/And now your eyes see through me/I guess I was wrong.”)




This is where the music industry comes through for you. Feeling ragey about being betrayed by the person you did nothing but care for and love? Cue up the entire album Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrissette, and 95% of country songs if you listen to that genre, which I fortunately do not. 


You Give Love a Bad Name,” Bon Jovi. (Your very first kiss was your first kiss goodbye/Whoa-oh-oh, you're a loaded gun/Whoa-oh-oh, there's nowhere to run/No one can save me, the damage is done.”)


Survivor,”Destiny’s Child. (“Now that you're out of my life/I'm so much better/You thought that I'd be weak without you/But I'm stronger.”)


"No Gettin’ Over Me," Ronnie Milsap. (“You can tell everyone that we're through/And you might even believe it too/But darling, there ain't no gettin' over me.”)




So you’re about to write a bunch of breakup texts and letters, box up the items that are making you cry around the house and you’re waffling on the breakup? Yacht Rock and at least three other genres will fit.


Can’t We Try,” Dan Hill. (Can't we try to understand/That it's love we're fighting for?”) 


Say Something,” A Great Big World, Christina Aguilera. (Anywhere, I would've followed you/Say something, I'm giving up on you.”)


If You Leave,” OMD (“Promise me just one more night, then we’ll go our separate ways.”)


Don’t Give Up On Us Baby,” David Soul. (“It’s written in the moonlight, and painted in the stars; we can’t change ours/Don’t give up on us baby, we can still come through.”




This is the stage where you’ll spend the most time. Healing is non-linear, so you’ll return to the stages at different times but you’ll settle into this one time and again like a comfy but melancholy old armchair. Pass the Ben & Jerry's, but hot tip: whatever you do, skip “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by
Bonnie Raitt, it’s just too fucking much, I mean “Here in the dark, in these final hours… I'll close my eyes, then I won't see/The love you don't feel when you're holdin' me…” JESUS, this is a song you should only play when you’re on the way to the bridge for fuck’s sake.


And So It Goes,” Billy Joel. (But if my silence made you leave/Then that would be my worst mistake/So I will share this room with you/And you can have this heart to break.”)


Broken-Hearted Me,” England Dan John Ford Coley. (I don't think time is gonna heal this broken heart/No, I don't see how it can, if it's broken all apart/A million miracles could never stop the pain/Or put all the pieces together again.”)


Just When I Needed You Most,” Randy Van Warmer. (“Now, I miss you more than I missed you before and now where I'll find comfort, God knows 'Cause you left me just when I needed you most.”)


Unbreak My Heart,” Toni Braxton. (Bring back those nights when I held you beside me/Un-break my heart, Say you'll love me again/Undo this hurt you caused, When you walked out the door…”)


You don’t want to be an idiot begging someone to take you back, especially if you gave your all to a relationship, and you can’t let denial, anger or depression take over your life because your ex seemed to be fine going on without you, so you'll have to figure this out. Get your shit together, lower your expectations about people because apparently most of them will let you down, and move on.

For Good,” Kristin Chenowith, Idina Menzel, Wicked. (“Let me say before we part: So much of me is made of what I learned from you/You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.”)

Since U Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson. (“But since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time/I'm so moving on, yeah, yeah/Thanks to you, Now I get what I want.”)

Almost Over You,” Sheena Easton. (“’Time heals all wounds’, they say, and I should know/'Cause it seems like forever, but I'm letting you go/Now I'm almost over you, I’ve almost shook these blues.”)

When She Loved Me,” Sarah McLachlan. (“When somebody loved me/Everything was beautiful/Every hour we spent together/Lives within my heart/When she loved me.”)


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