The 4 Major Relationships You Have And What Each Teaches You About Love

by Niki McGloster

No amount of Nancy Meyers rom-coms can prepare you for love's laborious growing pains. It's breathtaking and frightening all at once.

Though you can't see it at the time, every messy breakup forces you to learn lessons that shape how you enter your next relationship.

Bumble dates (or fails) come and go, and you grasp fairly early that love can suck. Here are a few reasons every chink in your relationship armor makes you a better lover.

The Puppy Love

Your first love is both the purest and the roughest.

In the beginning, you and your partner re-enacted sequences of "Endless Love." Every emotion was sweet and raw. Eventually, you both matured in vastly different ways not even varsity jackets and prom pictures could mend your love.

That doesn't mean you don't remember it, though. Years after, you still replay the R&B CDs he burned for you. You still laugh at how fat he's gotten and tear up over his engagement photos on Facebook.

Either way, your first love is the most memorable of all.

Love lesson: Love doesn't always last forever. Sometimes it's better to let go than to hold on.

The Rebound

Back-to-back relationships are not usually condoned by therapists, but a broken heart requires a little attention, amiright?

While you're still licking wounds from your latest dissolution, your poor rebound is forced to fend off your ghosts, Mayweather style.

Though you strive to move on from your ex, you're still so obsessed with him your new semi-relationship can only harbor anger, neediness and eventual resentment.

All this rebound nonsense is clouding your ability to flaunt your single status. After a few breakups and breakdowns, you'll smarten up.

Love lesson: Love isn't codependency. It sometimes means being alone.

The Long Distance Relationship

Living miles away from your love is as painful as watching Jessica Alba dance in "Honey."

No matter if bae is overseas or a four-hour bus ride away, the lulls of alone time can feel stressful and exhausting, even if FaceTime makes it easier to keep your libido running hot.

Reasonable doses of communication curb loneliness and keeps LDRs from feeling like unrequited love.

Love lesson: Love is hard work. Being in-sync with your significant other is what keeps your relationship afloat, no matter where you are.

The Live-In Boyfriend

Netflix binge sessions on your laptop can grow into a shared cable bill if he plays his House of Cards right.

Trading laundry and dinner duties signifies your relationship is ready to endure the "Big Day." After all, you've matured enough to ignore his uncapped toothpaste and unfolded Polo boxers.

But on days when arguments stir over late rent payments and excessive guys' nights out, it's best to remember what really makes your relationship work: respect and understanding.

Love lesson: Being practical trumps being in love.