1. The girl before you has been bruised, beaten, and broken in every emotional way. She is strong but guarded. Tread lightly, for she protects her heart with everything she has, but she wants you to make that move. Make her believe that she hasn’t witnessed all that love has to offer for her. Make her believe that the love she dreams about actually exists.
2. The curiosity is practically exploding from her ears. She is a great listener. She wants to know your story. Who are you? What struggles have turned you into the man you are today? Don’t ask her what her favorite music genre is or what she does for a living. Dive deeper into who she is. What is her passion? What drives her to get up in the morning? Ask her questions that nobody else knows about her, because your connection potentially will be the strongest in her life… and the only one that matters.
3. She’s a loner. She has lots of friends and a great family relationship, but she craves alone time. She enjoys hours spent at the coffee shop engulfed in a good book, even though she doesn’t drink coffee — she seeks the atmosphere. You might see her taking a solo walk on the beach for no other reason other than it’s her happy place. Don’t be alarmed if she occasionally cancels plans on a Sunday afternoon with you. It’s not because she is avoiding you. She’s just used to being on her own and takes comfort in not always needing people around her to feel whole.
4. She believes her independence is often a turnoff to men. Many men take pride in taking care of their partners, but she takes pride in taking care of herself. Fancy dinners and financial security is not as important to her. She cooks and cleans up after herself. She assembles furniture and replaces broken bulbs without assistance. Her bills are always paid on time and the trash is always taken out in time for pickup. She’s not looking for someone to help her when she has car trouble. She’s looking for a companion, a partner, a lover, someone who listens to her and understands her in ways that no one else can. Who fills a void that no one else can. The kind of partner that she deserves.
5. Don’t expect her to take over for your mom. She will always be there for you and rub your head after a rough day. She will clean up your scrapes and kiss your scars. She will make you soup when you’re sick and threaten to tell off your boss who passed you up for that big promotion you’ve been vying for. She will show you how much she cares with impromptu date nights and surprise you with tickets to see your favorite band just to see you smile. But she will not take over from where you mom left off. Don’t expect your laundry folded neatly for you and laid out for work each day. Don’t expect dinner on the table each night and messes to magically disappear. As much as she cares, she considers you her equal, and together you are a team. Never expect anything from her but her unconditional support, and love her for who she is and how she makes you feel, not because of how good she takes care of you.
6. Her friends and family mean the world to her. She will pretend that their opinions don’t cut deep, but they are what matters. If her family or her gals aren’t 100% on board, she will have a hard time looking the other way. She will struggle with the tug-o-war between them and you, but you will have to be a special kind of man to win the fight. Bond with her girls. Show them that your relationship with them means just as much to you as your relationship with her. Have a drink with her dad. Respect him and make him find comfort that his daughter is giving her heart to a sincere and trusting man. She will love you more for the effort that you put into getting to know the others in her life.
7. Know she will be honest. She is not being mean. She is not trying to hurt your feelings or test you in any way. She believes that a true relationship is built on honesty. Sometimes she may be too honest and you can tell her to tone it down. If you ask her how she feels about the new colleague of yours you just had drinks with, don’t expect her to answer in a specific way. She will tell you what she thought even if the news is not lighthearted and positive. This is not just special behavior towards you. She acts with this truth towards everyone and expects the same respect in return.
8. Share your interests with her. If you are a diehard hockey fan, let her know and she will gladly go to a Devils game with you. She’ll cheer even though she has no idea what is going on, because she is happy to share the experience with you. If there’s a great acoustic artist playing at the coffee shop downtown, tell her the date and time and she will be there because it is something you can enjoy doing together. Put the same effort in for her. Learn her favorite band or attend that poetry reading that you may not be that eager to go to with her. It may be a snooze fest or you could have the time of your life. Either way, do something together and she’ll appreciate you for it, and vice versa.
9. Learn what scares her the most. Ask her why she gets so nervous every time she doesn’t hear from you in a few days. Ask her why she secretly freaks out when you are in an off mood, not giving her your full attention. Ask her why her palms start to sweat when you cancel plans with her, or why she continues to ask you what you’re thinking even after a perfect day spent together. Her thoughts may not be clear, but she will provide you with hints that she is afraid that any day could be your final day together. Make her feel comfortable. Constantly remind her and reassure her that you are not going to leave. Make sure she knows that you are as happy in the relationship as she is. She’ll do the same for you, because she knows that you can never hear it enough.
10. Understand that she may not tell you everything, at least in the beginning. Forgive her that it may take some time for her to feel fully comfortable sharing certain details of her past with you. It’s not because she doesn’t trust you. Don’t be jealous if others know more intimate news about her than you do. They all learned at different times. Some she is close to may know even less. She may be afraid of your response, or it may be difficult for her to talk about. Don’t be offended, but also don’t push her. When she is ready, she will tell you anything you want to know. Be patient. Be kind. Accept her faults. And most importantly, show her you love her no matter what.