I wondered what was going on, because it seemed like everyone's relationship issues were coming to a head this week. Was Mercury in retrograde? According to the cosmic calendar, it isn't, but in the last week everyone seemed to have broken up or they were ready to talk, at least to me, about their recent breakup or relationship issues. Relationships are difficult, but breakups it seems, are even more so. And when we're in that headspace, it seems as though we'll never get over the pain. The good thing is that we all know that at some point, our pain will subside. It may seem like a long time coming, or even that it will never come, but rest assured, it will. You immediately know when that moment arrives because you welcome back the old "you," and if you're lucky, a stronger, more vibrant, new and improved you, because you have learned invaluable life lessons about yourself and life in general. The first and perhaps most valuable lesson we need to learn is: don't lose yourself in a relationship because you have a man in your life. I had a long conversation this week with a good friend who went through a recent and protracted breakup. She was still processing the pain, struggling with her feelings of knowing that it is over. My friend confessed that she had very few people to talk to because she lost her connection with many of her good friends during her relationship. Let's be honest, as women, we tend to jump in with both feet and give the relationship our all. We pour our heart and soul into the relationship, often to the detriment of ourselves, our other interests and relationships. We dedicate all of our free time and energy to this relationship and we look up, and like my friend, you have no one to talk to because you have focused all your time, effort and energy on this man, who has now faded into the ether of the universe. Good girlfriends are forever, yet statistically speaking, most of the boyfriends in our lives will be transitory, so act accordingly. Second lesson: always go with your gut. I once read something that stuck with me: the most famous euphemism for God is "Something told me." I had a conversation with another girlfriend this week and she confided to me that a man she dated had asked her to do something for him that was very outside of her character. Although it was nothing illegal or immoral, she said that she had very strong reservations about it, yet she did it anyway. She confessed that she did it because she liked him, and she thought, or better yet, hoped against hope, that the relationship would work out, despite the handwriting on the wall. One year and several buckets of tears later, she was still trying to unravel the process. She came to me for girlfriend advice after the fact, and told me that every fiber of her being advised her against it, yet she proceeded anyway. She said that she wished she had listened to her initial gut reaction. When you think about it, how many times has that inner voice steered you wrong? Probably not too many times, so always go with your first mind. Lastly, be that person that you want to attract. If you want honesty, be honest. You want a successful man, work on that for yourself. The universe always provides because nature abhors a vacuum. Just what it provides is up to you. So choose your thoughts and actions wisely, and act accordingly. I don't want to appear that I think I have it all together because I struggle on what seems like an hourly basis to keep my head on straight when it comes to guys. I am at a legal conference this week that conflicted with a trip that my Parisian guy was taking. When he told me that he had to go to Barcelona for work, I thought long and hard about nixing this legal conference and hopping on that plane for Spain for a long weekend of romance and tapas. There are several reasons why this would have been a horrible idea: first, and most important, is this is a legal conference that has informative panels and continuing legal education credits, both of which are important to my career. Second, this is the one annual conference where I get a chance to reconnect with colleagues and friends from across the country, and I look forward to seeing everyone. My brother and his wife also come every year from San Diego, so we make this a mini vacation of sorts. So, I had my work cut out for me: I had to check in with myself and put into practice all of the lessons that I've learned and consistently struggle with. The Parisian was going to Spain to handle his business and I needed to handle mine. I enjoy coming to the BESLA conference and reconnecting with friends and family, and I don't want to kick them to the curb because I have a blossoming romance. I instinctively thought ("something told me") that it was a bad idea to go to Barcelona because of every reason that I have mentioned in this paragraph and column. I decided to handle my business and stick to the plan to come to this conference. The irony of it all is, had I decided to go, I would have been stuck in New York while my colleagues and friends handled their business and enjoyed a bit of fun and in St. Maarten because the strikes in France have shut down planes, trains and there's rationing on gas for automobiles, so he wasn't able to travel. I narrowly dodged that bullet, but I recognize that I am a work in process. I know that I will stumble, and second and third guess myself along the way. But what I have learned to do is to check in with myself and use these life experiences to make better and wiser choices. I seem to be learning from my own mistakes, because experience is the best teacher. My hope is that I am inching closer to graduating from the school of hard knocks with high honors.