1. They may not be looking for another serious relationship. Sure, this is an obvious realization, but we still manage to skirt over it. The rush of something new feels so good that it’s too easy to forget that they might not be able to handle a fully-fledged relationship yet.
2. Treating them like damaged goods is never okay. As with anyone new, you want to be appropriate, polite and kind. You shouldn’t, however, be over the top and exaggerate your sensitivity once you learn that they just got out of a serious relationship.
3. There’s a chance they just need to rebound, but if that is the case, they’ll be upfront about the fact that they aren’t looking for anything more.
4. It’s not a good idea to invite the comparison between you and their ex. It makes you look insecure and even if it seems like your flirtation is getting more serious, that’s still a line you don’t want to cross.
5. Don’t pry. When they want to talk about their last relationship and share with you, they will.
6. They know how to be a girlfriend or boyfriend and that instinct automatically kicks in. Being in a relationship is their default setting, even if they aren’t trying to fully commit to you.
7. Their ex might still be in their life and the only way to approach that is to trust them. If they say nothing is going on, assuming otherwise will just end up adding unnecessary strain.
8. Don’t try to rush into plans a couple would make. They aren’t ready to meet your parents just yet. “Dating” doesn’t imply a relationship and your plans together should reflect that. Spend time together one-on-one instead of rushing them out to meet all your friends at a crowded bar.
9. They’re a little behind on modern dating technology. They were in a committed relationship when Tinder and OKCupid were rolled out and aren’t quite up to speed.
10. They’ll have difficulty trusting you. Even if their breakup was mutual and generally positive, they’re still hurting and feeling incredibly vulnerable. Their first reaction to dating someone new is that there’s a huge chance it could end disastrously.
11. Be open to them needing to go slower, but make your expectations clear. It’s not fair to pressure them, but it’s also not fair to pretend you’re okay being casual if you’re actually not okay with that at all.
12. If things have been steady for a while, trust that it’s going better than you think it is. If they wanted to just rebound, they’d be done with you already. And if they didn’t care about you, they’d be fine rushing into a relationship just to hide from the pain that came with their breakup.
13. They are just starting to figure out their new routine (without their ex) and that can be a lonely process. They need to do that without someone new because a) they don’t want to use you as a crutch and b) they need to learn to be there for themselves.
14. Just because they have signs of their old relationship around their apartment doesn’t mean they’re still attached to their past. It takes a lot of time to separate two lives that have been connected for so long.
15. They don’t want to constantly chat because they don’t want to be connected to you every hour of every day. They still need time to collect themselves and don’t want to be connected to anyone 24/7 right now.
16. They’ve forgotten how to be single. They can be awkward while flirting or making plans and often come off as shy even if they’re the outgoing type. They aren’t sure about protocol and have forgotten how to express interest when they like someone.