1) They have few if any bad habits.
You know all those things that men stereotypically complain about? Taking too long to get ready to go somewhere, hair left in the shower drain, dinner late on the table? Your PAW has had all these habits beaten out of her. Literally. If any remain, probably a one time mention of it will be all it takes for the behavior to instantly disappear.
2) They will always, always be grateful.
Women who complain about silly little things their wonderful adoring boyfriend or husband do drive PAWs insane. Don't worry, there are no expectations of flowers all the time or huge gestures of love or affection. If you are a decently good guy that will be enough to keep a PAW in constant and intense gratitude. You don't appreciate how amazing it is to NOT be physically, mentally, or emotionally abused unless you have been there. Every time you DON'T hit her, DON'T throw a fit over a lost board game or at a family function, and for every single kind word and simple hug a PAW will be over the moon. If this ever starts to wear off, don't worry, sooner rather than later something will remind her of the daily torture that used to be her life and she will be back to saying thank you every chance she gets.
3) You don't have to worry about competing with her memory of her exes.
Most women (and men) have that occasional trip down memory lane about the good things of past relationships, especially when their current one gets rocky. Not a PAW. The strength, courage, and effort it took her to get out of her abusive relationship pretty much guarantees that she will never think about that time fondly. Too much cognitive dissonance involved. If you are dealing with this, watch out - she has not really left his clutches!
4) You might not have to deal with the ex at all.
If you are really lucky, there is a PPO in place, or the bastard is serving time for what he did to her. If not, this might end up being a liability.
5) She will always be thinking about how to please you.
Being used to please her man as a pure survival tactic, this will carry on into the new relationship. Hopefully as you prove to her that you really are a good guy she will do it purely for you, and not out of fear. Keep being awesome and you will get there. Try not to think about why she considers your every whim and just be grateful.
Lest you head down to the local women's shelter right now to start looking for dates, it seems only fair to warn you that there are some downsides to a relationship with a PAW.
1) She will become anxious for seemingly no reason, sometimes going into a full blown panic attack.
Driving down a certain street, smelling a certain food, even you wearing a particular color shirt may trigger intense fear and panic. During these times try to remain patient. She may or may not be able to tell you why she feels the way she does. If she does tell you, your response will probably be to get very angry at the person who did this to the woman you love. Try to repress expression of that anger as she will probably feel it is being directed at her and it will make everything a million times worse. If she doesn't tell you it probably will be incredibly frustrating. Know that she is trying to be normal, but trauma is a powerful thing. The best thing you can do is offer her your love and support fully and let her work through it.
2) She may be a little OCD.
Remember that no bad habits thing? The downside to this is that she may be compulsive about it. Try to ignore her furtive glances while she "fixes" things that seem just fine to you.
3) She probably has baggage - a lot of it.
Getting out of an abusive relationship takes a toll - not just emotionally, but physically, financially, and socially. Expect her to have family issues, friend issues, and probably money problems she is working through. Beware the woman that is looking for a man to fix all these for her. The sign that she is ready for a healthy relationship now is that she is taking steps to fix this. Let her. She needs love more than anything else.
4) The ex may be a nightmare.
Remember that ideal situation where the ex is gone for good? That may not be the case. Especially if there are children involved be prepared for crying and terror when she has to talk to him or see him, irrational demands being placed on her, and children with a lot of pain and trauma to work through too. The only question you need to ask yourself here is - is she worth it?
5) It will take time for things to be normal.
Trust takes a long time to build, especially for a PAW. She may question the relationship all the time, ask what she is doing wrong that she can fix (since you aren't telling her constantly), flinch when you go to brush hair out of her eyes, or freak out that you are breaking up with her if there are any problems in the relationship. She may be clingy sometimes. She will definitely question why on earth you, a good and decent man, want anything to do with her. If you can get through this period you will have the most amazing relationship ever. But you have to have the patience of a saint.
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