nd3000/Fotolia

Important Things Your Ex Teaches You In College That Prepare You For The Real World

Your college years are all about learning, so don't be surprised that you'll learn a lot about yourself outside of a lecture hall. A lot of the most important things that you'll take away from your time in school will be the things your relationships teach you, whether they're from a friendship or romantic connection. There are some crucial things your ex teaches you, as I've witnessed first hand.

While there is no such thing as an "easy relationship" to begin with, college couples are definitely in for a more difficult time. During your college years, you and your partner are learning about yourselves as much as you're learning about each other, so it's not unlikely that your values, interests, and desires will probably change. Whether or not you can stick it out is up to you, but should your relationship end, it won't be in vain.

When my high school boyfriend and I broke up toward the end of my second year in college, it felt like the end of the world. In a time when everything I know is constantly changing, losing a long time relationship felt like I was letting go of the last of the familiar. In a way, I totally was, but in the process, I learned to be my own constant. By the time I was ready to start dating again, I had learned a lot about myself and what it means to be an active citizen in this place they call "the real world."

1. Prioritize Wisely

The entire point of going to college is to learn about your field, get a degree, and start figuring out how to adult... not to spend every waking moment with your SO. If you're the type of person who values finding a potential parter for life at this age, more power to you, but mostly everyone who attends college isn't going to drop everything and get married today. I found that I prioritized my relationship over other aspects of my life as an individual, which I deeply regret. My ex prioritized things like video games and naps, so for me to be so invested in our relationship created a huge imbalance and led to hurt feelings.

2. You Can't Fix Each Other

berc/Fotolia

Sorry girls, but fairytales don't come true unless you make it happen for yourself. Your SO probably isn't going to sweep you off your feet and magically make everything all better, no matter how much they might want to. Unfortunately, not all of the problems in the world can be solved with love, but you can always stand by and support your partner through the hard times. As I experienced, though, a hard time for them might mean just as hard of a time for you. When your partner is struggling, it's hard to sit and wait when you'd rather be going out on date nights and enjoying life together.

3. You're Responsible For Yourself

You should be in a relationship that makes you happy, but you also should realize that you're the only one who can really control your happiness. I relied too much on my relationship for the reassurance and peace I wasn't providing myself, and I ended up resenting both my SO and myself for it. While you 100 percent should find yourself a lover who treats you like the queen you are, you need to treat yourself even better.

4. Communication Is Key

All sorts of problems in any type of relationship can be avoided with proper communication. I'll admit, it can be hard not to get petty when you're in the middle of an argument, but staying calm and fair will make a world of difference in nearly every situation. Even if worst comes to worst, a breakup will be a lot cleaner and friendlier when you know you can share your feelings and opinions.

5. People Can Be Two-Faced

DavidPrado/Fotolia

Even if you've been in a long-term relationship, you may not actually know the person you're dating. People act differently toward people depending on how they feel about the person, so your ex may have no reason to be hateful toward you until you breakup. If this happens to you, just be glad you're not still in a relationship with a person who would treat you like that, even if they said they never would.

6. Speak Up

If you don't speak up, how can you expect to get what you want or need? I learned this the hard way during an argument with my SO. I wasn't happy, but I hadn't expressed this before and given him the chance to give me what I wanted. A simple conversation, or even just a sentence, could have prevented an unnecessary fight. If you're not comfortable enough to speak up and be honest with your partner, it might be time to rethink things.