- The standard "I Wish You Love", recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Rod Stewart.My breaking heart and I agree
That you and I could never be
So with my best, my very best
I set you free
- The Arthur Alexander song (Covered Up by The Beatles) "Anna (Go To Him)" could be an example of this, with an engaged man breaking it off with his fiancée Anna because another man loves her more. However, it could simply be that he's used to every woman he loves leaving him.
- "You're in Love" by Wilson Phillips is definitely an example of this, though. The speaker's unrequited crush (who is stated to be an old friend) has moved on and she's willing to let them go to be with the one they love.But now I see that you're so happyAnd ooh, it just sets me free.And I'd like to seeUs as good of friendsAs we used to be
- "Diary" by Bread appears to be this, as well, though it could simply be a man giving in gracefully to the impending loss of his love to someone else.
- ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All".
- Frankie Valli's "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)" where the narrator tells his girlfriend to go ahead with that guy instead of loving him in sympathy yet he assures her he'll deal with it.
- Belle and Sebastian's song "Jonathan David" is an example of this, though the Biblical theme in the song ("I was Jonathan to your David") gives way to another interpretation.
- Ne-Yo's song "Fade Into The Background" is about the singer attending the wedding of the woman he loves, deciding he's just going to let her be happy with somebody else and "smile and fade into the background." Also Back to What You Know from the same album deals with this. He even sings in the bridge "I'd rather you be happy\Then you be miserable with me".
- Subverted in Mariah Carey's song "Butterfly" — she sings that she'll allow her lover to fly away and experience other things because if he's truly hers, he'll come back to her eventually.
- In Chiodos' "Lindsay Quit Lollygagging" the singer is coming from the second version of this perspective.Bite my tongue, right now the perfect time
Do anything to make her happy
Even if it means my being miserable
As long as she's loving life
- Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" subverts this trope with the opening lines: "I want you to know/I'm happy for you/I wish nothing but/The best for you both." followed by an extended F-U to the guy she's singing to.
- "Teardrops On My Guitar" by Taylor Swift. Inspired by a guy she knew in Real Life before she became famous.
- Almost Lovers by A Fine Frenzy. The narrator dumps her boyfriend because she believes he's un-happy.
- Thomas Rhett's Marry Me. It's the theme of the song and the music video. Maybe averted in the latter.
- The Frou Frou song "It's Good To Be In Love" is about the long, slow path toward this.
- Cat Stevens' "Wild World," though it is mainly about finding peace in such a crazy world.
- John Mayer has an unreleased song called "Man on the Side" that invokes this:I fell in love with the dream that I built of youPlaying the part of the queenTaking my own adviceI'm giving up tonightGood luck to you and the king
- Snow Patrol's "You Could Be Happy".
- This trope is implied in the chorus of Journey's "Separate Ways":Someday, love will find you
Break those chains that bind you
One night will remind you
How we touched and went our separate ways
If he ever hurts you
True love won't desert you
You know I still love you
Though we touched and went our separate ways
- "She Will Be Loved" by Maroon 5.
- "Say Good-bye" by Skillet is a man begging his girlfriend to put off "saying good-bye", but the bridge saysBut if it's overIt hurts but I'm giving you my wordI hope that you're alwaysHappy like we wereHappy like we were
- Robert Schumann's setting of Antonio von Chamisso's Frauenliebe und -leben, in the second song "Er, Der Herrlichste von Allen". Some of the lines translate as:Hear not my silent prayer, consecrated only to thy happiness,thou mays't not know me, lowly maid, lofty star of glory!Only the worthiest of all may make happy thy choice,and I will bless her, the lofty one, many thousand times.I will rejoice then and weep, blissful, blissful I'll be then;if my heart should also break, break, O heart, what of it?
- The pathetic thing here, though, is that at this point in the narrative, the Man of her Dreams has made NO indication that he was interested in, or involved with, anyone. The protagonist is merely assuming she's unworthy a priori.
- Sister Hazel's "Champagne High" both uses and subverts this trope. It's about a man who's realized that he still loves his ex-girlfriend, but he's realized this at her wedding to someone else. He says he'll "smile and remember" the good times they had, then turn and go. However, he also won't toast to the couple's future, suggesting that he may hope things won't work out for them.
- Blue October's "Hate Me" is this in spades. The whole song is the speaker leaving his girlfriend, asking her to hate him because he recognizes that he's a terrible person, and he'd rather her be happy than let him drag her down. In fairness, it sounds like he's right.
- "She's in Love" by Mark Wills, as indicated in the second verse:Told everyone I'm doing fineLearned to get on with my lifeI just want what's best for her, so I lied...
- Chuck Berry's "Have Mercy, Judge" is about a guy who knows his girlfriend will cheat on him while he's in jail; he's okay with it, and says he'll love her all the more once he gets out.
- "Smile" by Lonestar:I'm gonna smile 'cause I wanna make you happyLaugh, so you can't see me cryI'm gonna let you go in style'And even if it kills me, I'm gonna smile''
- Death Cab for Cutie's "Someday You Will Be Loved".
- Adele's "Someone Like You". The whole song is heartbreaking—how much she wants her love back—then includes these lines at the start of the chorus:Never mind I'll find someone like youI wish nothing but the best for you two
- "I'll Be Around", by The Spinners:This is our fork in the road. Love's last episode
There's nowhere to go
You made your choice. Now it's up to me
To bow out gracefully
- David Cassidy's "I Think I Love You" mentions this toward the end of the song:I only want to make you happy
And if you say, "Hey, go away," I will
But I think better still
I'd better stay around and love you
- "Good Life" by Francis Dunnery. The first verse is about how he cares about her but the relationship clearly isn't working out. The second is about how she's now married, and that's great even though how he feels hasn't changed.
- "I Will Always Love You," originally by Dolly Parton and covered by Whitney Houston.
- "Your New Beloved" by Lovelife implies this. The singer seems resigned to the fact that they can't be together anymore, and seems selflessly, helplessly in love rather than outright depressed or angry.And one day we will meet after everything
And we will drink and make amends
Raise a toast to your old beloved
- A-Hole by Bowling for Soup, while mostly being about a guy reminiscing about how he messed up his relationship, features this.And I cant help but think of how things could be (how things could be)
And I hope shes happy, happy without me
And please dont think I'm complaining
I was just happy to have her for a time
And if you see her tell her I said
"hello" and that I'm doing just fine
- "Anything for You" by Gloria Estefan ("I'd do anything for you/I'll give you up/if that's what I should do/to make you happy"). She also hopes her ex-lover finds someone new, and pretends to be over them in order to spare their feelings.
- "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars ends this way, with the singer hoping that his girl's new lover treats her the way he never did, but should have.I hope he buys you flowers
I hope he holds your hand [...]
Do all the things I should have done
When I was your man
- Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby" is mostly this, mixed with a slight hope for the situation to change.So, take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me
- The dying man in Johnny Cash's "Give My Love to Rose" tells the narrator to tell the man's wife to go find another man after he dies since it wouldn't be fair to her to force her to live alone after he's gone.
- Tim McGraw, "Just To See You Smile":And yesterday I knew just what you wanted
When you came walkin' up to me with him
So I told you that I was happy for you
And given the chance I'd lie again
Just to see you smile
I'd do anything
That you wanted me to
When I can't hurt you anymore
- And "Please Remember Me", which can be summarized as "I want my beloved to be happy, so I'll Break His Heart to Save Him from myself."
You'll find better love
- Freddie Fender:, "Before the Last Teardrop Falls" (Similar to Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care Of My Baby", it includes an implication that he doesn't expect to ever love anyone else.)If he brings you happiness
Then I wish you all the best
It's your happiness that matters most of all...
I'll be there anytime
You need me by your side
- "Happier" by Bastille and Marshmello. Notably, this isn't a situation where the speaker's love interest has already moved on and he is giving his blessing; he's proactively recognizing that their relationship has run its course and she'd be better off without him. It's an unusually sad and mature message for such an upbeat pop song. (The music video about a teenage girl and her beloved dog is even more of a punch to the gut!)I wanna raise your spiritsI want to see you smile butKnow that means I'll have to leave.Lately, I've been, I've been thinkingI want you to be happier, I want you to be happier.
- "Let Me Go" by Hailee Steinfeld, Alesso, and Florida Georgia Line:I've been hoping somebody loves you in the ways I couldn'tSomebody's taking care of all of the mess I madeSomeone you don't have to changeI've been hoping someone will love you, let me go.
I Want My Beloved To Be Happy / Music