1. She might not be ~actively~ looking for anyone new.
The thing about heartbreak is that it torpedoes into your life and you have no idea when it's going to leave. It's almost like a bad cold: You're still capable of doing things, but chances are you aren't out meeting hot singles in your area on a Friday night. You might get over it when you meet someone new you're excited about, or it might just disappear one day, and you won't even notice it's gone because you finally feel normal again. What I'm trying to say is when a lady is tending to her wounded heart, she might not be actively seeking another mate, but that doesn't mean you don't have a chance. (Unless she says no. If she says no, respect that. Thank you.)
2. She's probably won't trust you right away.
The thing about most men is they lie, and they do so all the time. JK, but also not! Because that's the mindset many women are in after an acrimonious split. You have to ~earn~ her trust; you can't expect for her to automatically grant it to you. Because that's what she did with the last guy she was with and look how that turned out...
3. She wants to believe there are still good guys out there.
MAKE HER BELIEVE. (Also make me believe. I absolutely want to believe!)
4. Be clear about what you're looking for.
If you're looking for something casual, she could be down, but don't insinuate you want a wifey when you're just looking for a fling. This is a rule that should be applied when you date anyone. Don't keep your girl in emotional purgatory by treating her like she's somewhere between a fuck buddy and a girlfriend. Clarity is compassionate! (CC: My exes.)
5. There might be places she doesn't want to go for dates.
Maybe her ex dumped her at an ice cream parlor and now the sight of a hot fudge sundae inspires tears instead of excitement.
6. If she doesn't want to talk about her last relationship, respect that.
Why drudge up all that pain at the beginning of your courtship?
7. Although it might come out in unexpected ways.
Sometimes there's nothing better than kvetching about your garbage ex to your new man. Sometimes there's nothing worse!
8. She might be a little down on herself.
Turns out having a shitty ex hits that ol' self-esteem pretty hard, so if your new girl is a little down on herself, take note. Maybe try to make her feel better or something. Again, compassion is key!
9. She might still be angry.
The thing about heartbreak is that it easily escalates from "my breakup was bad" to "my ex is bad" to "men are bad" so bear with her misandrist jokes. (And laugh at them because they're funny as hell.)
10. But for real, women aren't an enigma. Just ask what's going on.
When a woman expresses what she wants, she's often seen as crazy and demanding because of a little thing called the patriarchy or whatevz. So sometimes we don't speak up about what we want, and we're subsequently seen as withholding and bitchy. Since it's basically a lose-lose situation for us, just ask us what's going on if our behavior confuses you. Treat her like a fully formed human being and you'll be a-OK!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.