Maybe she grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father. Maybe she didn’t grow up with a father at all. Either way, you have to understand that her childhood wasn’t as happy as yours was, which is why she has a skeptic’s view on love and marriage. With that in mind, here’s how to love a woman with daddy issues:

Prove her wrong about men.

Don’t get pissed at her when she makes a comment about how all men are liars and cheaters. Instead, prove to her that the things she grew up believing are 100% false. Make her see that you’re nothing like her father, and that good men actually exist.

Don’t objectify her. 

Stop making jokes about how girls with daddy issues are always hot and horny. It’s not funny and it’s definitely not a compliment. It’s only going to make her feel worse if you poke fun at her family.

Never underestimate her.

Women with daddy issues can still throw a ball and fix a car, you know. She didn’t need a strong father figure in her life in order to grow up strong. Her mother taught her everything she needed to know, and she taught herself a few things, too.

Give her plenty of affection. 

She might not have gotten enough love as a child, but you can give her love now that she’s an adult. Shower her with hugs and kisses and impromptu presents. Most importantly, never forget to tell her how you feel about her.

Don’t take advantage of her. 

Since she’s never seen a healthy relationship, she might be willing to settle for less than she deserves, but that doesn’t mean you should treat her like crap. Show her what real love looks like. Let her see that healthy relationships don’t involve hours of fighting and years of crying.

Remind her you’re not going anywhere. 

Most of the time, daddy issues and abandonment issues go hand-in-hand. That’s why you have to show her she can trust you to stick around. Promise her that you’ll always be there for her, and never break that promise.

Don’t flip out during fights.

If you start tossing beer bottles around the room and cursing her out during arguments, she’s going to leave you. She knows red flags when she sees them.

Don’t defend her father.

You shouldn’t try to justify the fact that her father left her or cheated on her mother. Don’t tell her to get over it, either. It doesn’t matter how long ago he hurt her, because it’s always going to be a sore spot for her.

Don’t bash her father, either.

 A daughter-father relationship can be pretty complicated. Even if he screwed her over completely, she still loves him. You don’t want to say anything too harsh about him, because it’s still her family.

Don’t push her into anything.

Don’t be insulted if she refuses to marry you, because she’s worried about turning into her parents. You can still live long lives together, without the ceremony and marriage certificate.

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