The Most Important Love Advice From ’90s Boy Bands

A tribute to the boys' commanding knowledge on relationships and heartbreaks.

The ’90s were full of teenage love, hate and heartbreak. No one understood pain more than the musicians influencing our lives. Boy bands became an authority on love — the first and final word on how to fall in love and survive the subsequent heartaches. Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter hung over our beds as a nightly reminder that soulmates do indeed exist, and true love is totally real.

In tribute to the boybands’ commanding knowledge on all things “love,” we present the most valuable advice they blessed us with in the ’90s:

From the very moment Jordan, Jonathan, Joey, Donnie and Danny declared they would love you forever, everything went down under. School dances would never be the same. Your pillow would never be dry again. NKOTB raised the bar for all of your potential future suitors, and that’s OK. Love should last forever.

It’s really not that hard to find a soulmate if you know your calculus. Take a “U” and a “Me,” add them together, and voila! Mock boyband 2Ge+her‘s claims are even supported by the Spice Girls, who can be quoted in their 1996 hit “Say You’ll Be There” as saying, “If you put two and two together you will see what our friendship is for.” Now get out there and start flexing some quadratic equations.

The New Kids have had your back since 1990, when they released a complete “Step by Step” guide on how to get the girl you’ve been pining for. This hook, line and sinker track is all you need — just remember, it’s “only a matter of time” until she’s yours.

After you find that special someone, Boyz II Men is right there to guide you in the dark. Candlelight romance is key. Wine and a fireplace are essential. And if you’re still unsure what to do after the mood has been set, Wanya and Shawn explain “It’s gonna be a long night. Throw your clothes on the floor. I’m gonna take my clothes off too. I made plans to be with you.”

Love is not a game. It’s a serious commitment with consequences for all parties involved, and the Backstreet Boys wanted you to know that. They wanted you to know that games tear people apart, and the heart is a fragile, fragile thing. If you’re not being true, stop leaving him or her hanging and just end it.

98 Degrees tackled cheating in the hardest way possible. One day you get feelings for someone else, but you’re already in a relationship. You’ve discovered it’s possible to be in love with two people at the same time. Holy crap. What do you do in this impossible situation? You don’t cheat.

‘NSYNC won’t take that drama. Instead of sitting around crying over broken hearts like a fool, they advise kicking that player out the door with a swift, “Bye, Bye, Bye.” They’r probably on to something here.

No one has every more-perfectly explained the pain of an unwanted, but imminent, breakup than Boyz II Men. (Ok, Whitney Houston also totally nailed it with “I Will Always Love You.”) If a person isn’t good to you, you have to walk away. Life sucks. The pain is real. It’s hard to let go.

No one is sure what the Backstreet Boys were actually singing about in their hit single, but we do know it spoke to us. “That” could be interpreted to whatever relationship issue you were dealing with at the time, whether it was “needing some space” or “missing you all the time always.”

Long before Beyonce preached the golden gospel, boy bands were advocating for vows and promises of “forever.” NSYNC promised their hearts to you, All-4-One swore by the moon, Boyz II Men got down on bended knee and 98 Degrees said “I Do.” These words stand the test of time.