1. She’s more resilient than you can fathom, which means she won’t put up with your bullshit for too long. People who have been through hell know that they are capable of moving on.
2. If she seems like she’s over-analyzing what you say, it’s because in the past, those offhand comments were warning signs that she brushed off too easily.
3. If it seems like she’s overthinking your relationship, it’s because in the past, she learned not to always trust what she feels.
4. She doesn’t tell you about her past because she’s broken or because it still bothers her. She tells you because doing so is a form of intimacy.
5. If you feel the urge to call her “crazy,” consider how you would have responded had you been put in the same circumstances that she was. Chances are, she reacted as any human being with the capacity to feel would. If she weren’t “crazy,” she’d be an emotionless psychopath. She would have been okay with how she was treated.
6. Be glad she wasn’t okay with how she was treated.
7. There will be some things that trigger her, or at least remind her of past experiences. Let those be moments in which you reassure her that this is different. If it doesn’t bring you closer, it will push you farther apart.
8. Know what you want before you ask her out. Don’t win her trust, open her heart and spend time with her only to tell her it’s “not the right time.” All she will hear is: “You are not the right person.”
9. Be consistently straightforward. It’s different from being blunt, and it’s even more different from being honest once in a while.
10. The fine line between being honest and being hurtful is taking a pause to ask yourself: “Is this something that she needs to know? What benefit is there in telling her this very honest thing?”
11. Don’t confuse silence for acceptance. Sometimes battles have to be chosen, that doesn’t mean she isn’t noticing everything.
12. Don’t confuse forgiveness for forgetting. People who have been through a lot do not forget when someone gives them a glimpse at their true character.
13. Remind her that the only way to see whether or not relationship will work is by being it. The quality of love is not the median of all the thoughts you have about it; you can’t think your way into partnership. You either do or don’t. Actions are everything.
14. You do not need to be the idea of a “perfect partner.” You don’t have to be perfect at all. What she’s looking for is genuine connection, and the kind of person who will protect and nurture that connection when they find it.
15. Understand that she is the person she is because of what she went through. Don’t see her as a victim with baggage, see her as a survivor who still – miraculously – has the capacity to love.