The '90s were a diverse decade for music — top hits included everything from boy bands to grunge bands to edgy singer/songwriters. And even though the Spice Girls may not seem like a go-to resource for relationship advice, wise insights can be found in even the most sugary of pop songs. The Discman days may be over, but we're revisiting our favorite '90s hits to remember the best lessons in love.
No one's gonna drag you up
To get into the light where you belong
Lesson learned: Be independent. You can't just rely on someone else to make you feel content or to make all your happily-ever-after dreams come true. In relationships, don't place your hopes in the other person. Finding joy and success? It's all on you.
So what now?
It's plain to see we're over
And I hate when things are over
When so much is left undone
Lesson learned: Most relationships don't end neatly. Usually the end is abrupt and you're left with confusing, tangled loose ends. Resist the temptation to reach out and tie them, though, because not every relationship is meant to be tied up with a big pretty bow.
I know what you're thinking
I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me cause it hurts
Lesson learned: Sometimes there's a tendency to explain exactly how we feel and why, but brutal honesty can sometimes do more harm than good. Look into your motivation: are you sharing information for their benefit, or to relieve yourself of guilt? In some cases, the kindest thing you can do is keep it to yourself.
Turns out it's not where
But who you're with
That really matters
Lesson learned: If you're feeling unsatisfied, don't blame the city you live in or the tough phase of life you're facing. Instead, take stock of the company you keep. Happy, healthy relationships can do more for you than just about anything else.
I don't know why you're not there
I give you my love but you don't care
So what is right and what is wrong?
Give me a sign
Lesson learned: For one thing, you probably shouldn't turn to "signs" or astrology for answers in your relationship. More importantly, though, if you give of yourself and it's not returned, move on and look elsewhere. It's not worth your time or effort.
And well, life has a funny way
Of sneaking up on you
And life has a funny, funny way
Of helping you out
Lesson learned: There will be bad and there will be good. In love and life and friendship, things eventually balance out.
Maybe I don't want to take advice from fools
I'll just figure everything is cool
Until I hear it from you
Lesson learned: Gossip can be dangerous when it comes to relationships. Communication is key, and buying into rumors is the quickest way to lose trust in a relationship.
Lately I have desperately pondered
Spent my nights awake and I wonder
What I could have done in another way
To make you stay
Lesson learned: After a breakup, it's natural to look back and wonder what you could have done differently, but it's not worth beating yourself up over the "what ifs" because you can't change the past. Give yourself a break and keeping looking forward.
I should've known from the start
You know you've got to stop
You're tearin' us apart
Quit playin' games with my heart
Lesson learned: In romantic relationships, games can be fun. There's drama, excitement, and the challenge can seem attractive. Be careful, though — there's a fine line between someone who's hard to get and someone who's not worth getting.
It's hard to say I'm sorry
It's hard to make the things I did undone
A lesson I've learned too well for sure
Lesson learned: You can't make up for every mistake — some are too big to fix, and forgiveness can only stretch so far. Be kind, be honest, and treat people with respect.
You've got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin' your worries pass you by —
Don't you think it's worth your time
To change your mind?
Lesson learned: You're in control of you, and no one can make you stay in a relationship that doesn't fulfill you. Let yourself reevaluate and reconsider, and don't be afraid to change your mind — it doesn't mean you were wrong, it just means that it's time to move on.
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead, release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don't be ashamed to cry
Lesson learned: Almost everyone has experienced a bad relationship, so don't be embarrassed by heartbreak. In fact, talk about it — bad breakups bond people in that "You have a memory box for your ex too?!" kind of way.
How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh outweigh the bad
Lesson learned: Breakups are hard. Letting go is hard. Just remember that when you look back on a relationship, only the good will come to mind. Those nights spent crying on your closet floor? Yeah, you've blocked those out. Besides, if the good really did outweigh the bad, you probably wouldn't have broken up in the first place.
Don't you know it's going too fast?
Racing so hard you know it won't last?
Slow it down, read the sign
So you know just where you're going
Lesson learned: When you first fall in love, everything feels thrilling and exciting and there's a tendency to rush the relationship. In order to keep things on track — and not drive each other crazy — it's smart to stop rushing and ease into your roles instead.
If it makes you happy
It can't be that bad
If it makes you happy
Then why the hell are you so sad?
Lesson learned: Love can be painful, yes, and sometimes relationships will be tough. But they shouldn't be devastating and you shouldn't feel miserable. Be honest with yourself and know when it's time to walk away.
You pretend you're anything
Just to be adored . . .
You stupid girl
All you have you wasted
Lesson learned: Once and for all, just be yourself. Guys are attracted to sincere, genuine girls. Plus, the real you is way better than any fake version you could ever create.
And you say, "Stay"
And you say, "I only hear what I want to"
Lesson learned: Be realistic and read the signs — if someone says that they're over you one day and that they love you the next, don't ignore their first impulse. Chances are they said it for a reason, so it's important to speak up and find out where their feelings really stand.
I don't want to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what will it be
I don't want to wait for our lives to be over
Will it be yes or will it be sorry?
Lesson learned: Sometimes it's good to be impatient. No one should expect you to wait around for them — and vice versa. Don't let anyone put you on the back burner while they wait to see if something better comes along.
And some things are over
Some things go on
And part of me you carry
And part of me is gone
Lesson learned: You will leave pieces of yourself with your ex, just as you'll hang on to certain pieces of them, too. That doesn't mean that you aren't whole anymore or that something is missing — it just means that you've added to each other's lives.
When the night falls on you
You don't know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less
Lesson learned: One of the clearest signs of a strong relationship is unconditional love. If you're afraid to share a certain side of yourself with the person you care about, try stepping back to see what you're afraid of and whether it's worth revealing.