Every romantic relationship ends in one of two ways: you break up, or you get married. Absorb that for a few seconds. You either spend the rest of your life with someone, or you don't... isn't that terrifying?

It doesn't have to be.

I've heard marriage is great, but I can't say much about it because, well, I've never been married. All I know is that breakups SUCK. In my experience, a breakup has the power to take a piece of your heart and remind you over and over again that it's missing. Especially if you were in love. It's an intangible pain that can't really be pointed to and treated. It hurts.

The one serious relationship I've ever been in started in high school. Two years of my life have been spent gazing into the eyes of my Skype screen, planning airport reunions, and wishing I wasn't 1,000 miles from home. He was my first love.

I was head-over-heels for him before I had even begun to fall in love with myself. I had grown so accustomed to worrying about, caring for, and affirming another person, that I simply neglected to do these things for myself. I think the same happened on his side, too. But our high school selves needed that relationship. He taught me what love is. He taught me that it is OK to feel. He showed me the impact I can have on another mind, body, and soul. He helped me grow into the woman I am today. But, eventually, we found ourselves unable to support one another as we set forth on our own paths to self-improvement.

A lot changes in college.

Academically, you find your passions. Socially, you discover new outlets of expression. Individually, you mature. Your priorities shift, you discover independence, and you enter the world of "adulting." And, ladies, college men are a whole other species than high school boys. You get the chance to experiment, adventure, and date around, all while finding what you do and don't like. And the best part is, the only person you need to please is yourself. Try not to get frustrated. Try to see this as a learning experience.

Try not to see breakups as bad experiences.

Like I said, they suck. But again, chances are if you don't break up, you'll get married. How can you be sure you've met the perfect guy without getting a chance to see what's out there? Chad might have the best body you've EVER seen, but he's also the douchiest frat douche EVER. Brad has the sweetest personality but doesn't value his family as much as you'd like your future husband to. Through trial and error, you'll begin to learn what your true "type" is. You'll avoid those qualities you absolutely hate, and you'll look for the traits you absolutely can't live without. I'm not gonna lie to you, you'll probably never find the absolute Ken to your Barbie. But, hey, you'll fall in love with those little un-planned quirks if he's truly "The One."

My favorite quote by the one and only Rupi Kaur says it perfectly:

"i do not want to have you

to fill the empty parts of me

i want to be full on my own

I want to fill so complete

i could light a whole city

and then

i want to have you

cause the two of us combined

could set it on fire"

Maybe your high school sweetheart will eventually find his way back to you. Maybe not. Maybe you and Chad are meant to be. Maybe not. Regardless, stop searching for "the one." Search for yourself first. Have some fun, make some memories... this is college, after all! Find what makes you grow, and love will find its way to you. Put yourself first. Never settle, and never forget: you are a badass woman.

You don't need a partner to be complete.