What don't you learn from your first serious relationship?

I learned what love was. It started as a high school relationship, and for the first month I thought I was going to be dumped any second because she was outrageously gorgeous and smart and perfect and I was just some guy. But when that didn't happen--when we stopped making out for long enough to start to have serious conversations, that's when that lust becomes love. It's different for everyone, but it was when I stopped being fixated on how crazy hot she was and more on how we were partners, however temporary, in life, that I really started to grow up.

I learned how hard distance was. We both took long vacations that took a lot of time away from our relationship, but it also made our relationship stronger.

I learned how to survive a break up. This sounds melodramatic, I know, but those first few days and weeks after feeling like a part of you is ripped out and you'll just have to go on without are nigh impossible.

I learned how to move on. It took a lot longer than it should have, in part because of the delayed severing of the ties, but I stopped chasing her. Up to that point, our relationship, no matter the hurdle, seemed to me to be a part of something greater, of a story that would end happily even if there were bumps along the way. But I was so blinded by the idea of a romantic narrative that the fact that we were rapidly becoming different people didn't cross my mind until far too late. Finally, after we ceased all communication for a year, we could speak again, but as friends. We will never be best friends, or even good friends and we will never be romantically involved again. But the seventeen year old part of me will always love the experience and knowledge she gave me. I will always hold her in my heart, and go forward to find someone I truly belong with. And I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Your first serious relationship changes everything and then it ends, and you have to figure out where to go from there.

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