Trina couldn’t wait for us to meet her new man. “He’s so sexy, and always tells me I’m his baby. He called me last night after he got home from work. It was late, but we still got together.” She winked and smiled.

The ladies around the table shook their heads. The trouble with this scenario is they had heard this before.

“You don’t realize you were a late night booty call?” One of them asked.

“No, he’s working hard, making things happen. He told me right up front that his hours were crazy,” Roxie replied.  She looked around the table at her friends. “Oh no, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

They all nodded.

“Why do I do this?” Trina stomped her foot. “I’m so stupid.”

Swept up in the excitement of the new man in your life, it’s easy to swing between extreme caution (I’m not making that mistake again) and extreme optimism (It’s really different this time). 

It’s easy to recognize a mistake after it happens. It’s also easy to kick ourselves over and over rather than stop and consider the lesson the mistake holds for us.

One of the steps on my Breakup Bucket List is to forgive yourself and all parties involved. Instead of kicking yourself for doing it again, take a step back and forgive yourself for your past mistakes. If you lost yourself in order to be the person you thought he wanted, if you jumped every time he called or told him it was okay that he didn’t pick you up when he promised, forgive yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “I did the best I could.”

Now look ahead; remember you’re a beautiful, unique, shining star. Treat yourself that way and hold out for the man that realizes your value. Keep your eyes open for those red flags, and bring them up right away. Speak up for yourself, you are just as valuable in the relationship as he is.

If you don’t like the answer, then it’s time to put yourself first. If you can’t talk it out, if he says he will never change or discounts your feelings then recognize it for what it is a red flag!

You can find the strength to turn this into a defining moment when you realize that you can face the future with a clearer understanding of your boundaries, strengths and instincts and walk away.