If I learnt one thing from my high school relationship, it’s that it was easy. We had classes together, would share hot chips at lunch and he’d be there for me when I was having my tenth breakdown for the week about my English exam.

We held hands, had sex, argued over stupid shit and then would show up for English on a Friday afternoon for a class together.

But after high school, things change and shit gets real. The real world hits you like a brick in the face and suddenly your relationship isn’t as easy anymore–it seems to become a lot of work.

Fear not–if you’re committed to your person then it’s totally possible to keep a relationship going after high school.

1. Know that it will take more effort

The first thing you need to realise is that it’s going to get a little harder from here on it. Things will change, and the relationship might not be as easy as it once was (but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth keeping it together).

When you’re in school, you have scheduled times to see each other so even if you have a hectic week of assignments and extra shifts at work, you know you’re going to see their cute face smilin’ at you in Science on a Friday arvo.

These allocated time slots don’t happen in the real world, so you need to make the effort to see each other, regardless of how hectic everything seems to get.

2. Don’t overdo your time together

This is for the time period directly after high school.

When graduation and formal is done, uni offers are out and apprenticeships are lined up but nothing is really happening yet. Uni hasn’t started for the year, your mum isn’t forcing you to work more hours and you’ve got a heap of free time on your hands.

Just because you can spend all your time together at this point, it certainly doesn’t mean you should. To preserve that feeling of wanting to see with each other, sometimes you have to resist it.

3. Arguing is inevitable

There are always going to be arguments. Fighting in the early parts of any relationship is really just boundary pushing; testing to see where your feelings lead in combative conversation.

But you come back from an argument! One disagreement doesn’t mean the end of the relationship and as you put high school further and further behind you you’ll learn what will and won’t push your partner’s buttons.

(Side note: if you’re constantly feeling like shit, or it seems like arguing is all you ever do, re-evaluate the situation. There’s no point sticking around if someone isn’t making you feel good anymore.)

4. Don’t try and predict what will and won’t change

While you can’t change the person you’re with, they will change in ways that you could never anticipate after high school.

The person they were in school will change: their self-esteem might grow or shrink drastically, their passions may alter or wither away to nothing, maybe one day they won’t love you anymore.

Or, maybe you’ll change and decide that the person you were in high school just isn’t who you are any more. That’s totally cool. Just don’t try and predict how things will end up.

You can’t prepare for these changes but most of them you’ll be able to work through if the person you’re with is worth it. Remember that you’re going to be changing too and you need to be figure out how you fit with your partner as you both grow up.

5. Don’t get a dog

Don’t get a dog straight out of high school. At least wait until you’re living together so you don’t have to deal with a custody battle over your fur child. Please trust me on this one.