When it comes to relationships, we have all been in violation of something: Hurting someone’s feelings, choosing the wrong partners, putting ourselves last, being selfish, having negative energy, being insecure and jealous … the list goes on. Some of us make mistakes and learn from them; others continue to repeat the same mistakes, although maybe with different people. I call this behavior the R.R.O. – which stands for Relationship Repeat Offenders. These are people who are in violation of unhealthy choices for themselves and those they are involved with romantically.

I know all too well what it’s like to be a R.R.O. In fact, by the age of 36, I had already married and divorced. My issue has never been that it’s hard to meet a man; instead, it’s about who I choose and why. I have often made life-altering decisions, like getting married, from an ultra-emotional space that was less than healthy and definitely for the wrong reasons.

For example, when I got married at 24 years old, I was coming directly out of college at Howard University. Graduation was in May, my 24th birthday was that August, and that September, I was getting married – against my better judgment. In my spirit, I knew it was the wrong move and the wrong time with the wrong man. A woman’s gut and intuition will always alert her in some way. We may not have all the pieces to the puzzle, but we can feel when something isn’t right. God will always send us warning signs. The biggest violation that we can commit is to ignore what’s right in front of us, starting with our own issues. We lie to ourselves. We rationalize the situation because we don’t want to face the truth. We don’t want to end the relationship; we don’t want to be alone, and we don’t want to start over yet again.

Sometimes what you need to know is right in front of you. We will not always get it right, but what’s for sure is that whether or not you make good decisions in your personal relationships or continue to repeat the same mistakes, your real girlfriends will always be there for you. They are ride-or-die. They don’t judge you, but they will tell you the truth when you need to hear it. These girlfriends are a constant ear when you need to vent, prayer partners when you’re barely holding on, party partners when you need to forget and constant shoulders when you need to cry.

When you have true friends, it’s almost like a marriage. They will love you for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and until death do you part. Sadly, our friendships often outlast our marriages.

Click here for my exclusive interview with Tammy Franklin (wife of Kirk Franklin) on relationships.

For these reasons, when I know it’s time for some real and straight talk, I call on my girls to give it to me like I need it. They are my personal police who will arrest me in my tracks before I make a mistake. That same girlfriend will metaphorically come visit me in prison without judgment. In other words, even though she warned me not to do it, I still did anyway. And while I’m suffering the consequences of my decisions, guess who’ll be right there to comfort me?

Once I get free from the prison of my mind or my circumstances, girlfriends are there with balloons, chocolate, and champagne to celebrate my release.

The good news is that you all know that when the table gets turned, you’ll return the favor.

As much as I love men – and wish they understood women better – the reality is that there are things that they will never understand, nor do they want to. Peace happens for us when we stop expecting them to “get it.” Personally, I don’t know how I’d make it without my girls. How about you?

I’d love to hear your stories about how your girlfriend(s) came through for you at a critical time in your life. E-mail me at Deyadirect@aol.com.

Deya “Direct” Smith is a producer on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and the ccreator and host of “Girlfriend FM.”

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