Children of the '90s were treated to a whole bunch of iconic television. From ABC's TGIF line-up to classic sitcoms, '90s television were highly educational, but these 11 lessons '90s TV couples taught us are the most precious of lessons many of us ever received. '90s television was crucial in teaching us how to survive the last decade of the millennium, or at least how to deal with a cheating boyfriend and make the audience laugh at the same time. But what did '90s television really teach us about relationships?
It's easy to dismiss '90s TV relationships as of a different era. Couples in Friends or Fresh Prince of Bel Air didn't have cell phones. There was no sexting, and certainly no online dating. Times were simpler, right? Wrong. The basic relationship problems you experience today were still just as traumatic and prevalent in the '90s — smart phone or no smart phone. Sure, if you're looking for advice on how to choose your next Tinder date, you're going to need to look beyond Ross and Rachel for love guidance. But, if you want to learn about some of love's universal truths, look no further than these 11 lessons '90s TV couples taught us.
1Define "Break" Before You Take One
If there's one thing we learned from Friends, it was that if you're going to take a break from a relationship, you need to define the terms first. Talking to your partner about, for example, whether or not you are allowed to sleep with other people during your "break" can be the deciding factor in whether or not you waste 10 years of your life dating (and sometimes marrying) other people.
2Check Strange Men For Fangs
Buffy and Angel are the best Buffy the Vampire Slayer ship (don't @ me), but they weren't without their problems. Don't be like Buffy, check for fangs before you invite your mysterious boyfriend into your house. A surprise vampire boyfriend is a sad vampire boyfriend.
3Don't Cheat With Your Best Friend's Boyfriend
What didn't we learn from the chaotic love lives of the rich teenagers on Beverly Hills 90210? Throughout the many twists and turns, one of the main lessons learned was never cheat on your girlfriend with her best friend (or never sleep with your best friend's boyfriend). It's a lot more trouble than it's worth, just ask Kelly.
4Honesty Is The Best Policy
OK, Tia and Tamera weren't the nicest to Roger, the puppy-like next door neighbor in Sister Sister, but at least they were honest in telling him they weren't interested. Leading people on might seem like the nicest thing to do, but it's really not.
5Don't Use Too Much Magic On Your Boyfriend
All you witches out there, be warned, if you use too much magic on your mortal boyfriend, like Sabrina did to Harvey on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you won't be able to put him under your spells anymore.
6Know Your Worth
My So Called Life's Jordan Catalano has earned a spot in pop culture history as one of the most iconic emo/bad boy/hottie almost boyfriends on television. However, if there's anything to learn by his relationship with Angela Chase, it's that he is not worthy of her love or attention.
7Don't Get Married Too Young
The downfall of many '90s television relationships: marriage. In Party of Five, Julia learned that getting married young doesn't make a relationship perfect.
8Everyone Gets Hurt
One of the more destructive lessons taught by '90s television: anyone can get hurt by their boyfriends' actions. Case in point: Donna and David from Beverly Hills 90210. He cheated on her and blamed his poor choices on her decision to wait to have sex. Classy.
9Don't Take Love For Granted
Everything I learned about love, I learned from Boy Meets World's Cory and Topanga. And the most important thing they ever taught me was that you can't take love for granted, like Cory did when he briefly entertained the thought of dating another woman, causing him and Topanga to break up.
10Common Interests Aren't Everything
Take it from Sam and Diane of Cheers: opposites attract. What's wrong can be very, very right, and you shouldn't be too quick to dismiss a romantic partner just because you don't share a lot in common.
11You Don't Have To Believe The Same Things As Your Partner
Finally, you can't talk about '90s TV couples without Mulder and Scully. The duo from X-Files didn't really ever get together (at least, not enough to quash the will-they-won't-they dynamic), but, let's face it, they're basically an old married couple. And, as a couple, they taught us that it's OK to have some fundamental disagreements with your partner, like, say, if one of you believes in aliens and the other does not.
Just as classic '90s television shows will stand the test of time, as will the love lessons they taught us. So, go forth, millennials, and remember, don't be afraid to look to the past for lessons on the future.