It's a fact of life - you're not the first man that your lady friend has been involved with. In many cases, she may have even considered marriage with a past beau, taken his engagement ring and headed for the altar before realizing that he wasn't The One. If so, you may be feeling a little insecure, wondering if that man was truly the love of her life and if she's really ready to make a commitment to you now. The truth is, you stand a much better chance of having a happy relationship with a woman who's been serious with someone else before you.
There are things about being in a relationship that people can only know from experience - both good and bad. How to compromise, for example, and how much actual work has to go into a long-term relationship to make it thrive If she's headed toward marriage once but changed her mind, she probably had a very good reason. So ask her why it didn't work out - rather than sulk and feel jealous, use this as an opportunity to find out what she learned from the experience. She may have felt that her previous fiancé was too clingy, or maybe he was bad with money. Her reasons for not marrying someone else will reveal not only what she wants from a marriage, but what she doesn't want from you - things she may be nervous about saying outright, for fear of hurting your feelings. If the broken engagement wasn't her idea, she'll very likely be skittish about you, and about how serious you are regarding the relationship.
"Once bitten, twice shy" is a fact of life, and she might be harboring fears that you'll leave her at some point, too. She may have self-esteem issues related to the event, and feel that's she's not good looking enough or lovable enough to earn a lifetime commitment. If this is the case, you'll need to be extremely supportive, loving, affectionate and complimentary. Whether she was the one who terminated her previous engagement or not, she's going to want to be very sure that you're someone she wants to spend the rest of her life with before she commits. So you'll want to take a good, long look at yourself and your behavior to ensure that you're trustworthy. Part of that means keeping your word - showing up on time for dates, telling her the truth about who you see and what you do when you're not with her, and staying faithful during the length of your relationship.
Women give honesty a high priority, especially when considering a mate. Be someone she knows she can trust - and that means really being trustworthy, not just putting on a convincing act - and you're halfway home. But being trustworthy is also about her allowing herself to entrust you with her emotions.
Don't play jealousy games, talking about other women that you find attractive just to feel more "loved" when she gets jealous. Listen to what she tells you, really listen, and make sure she knows you care about what she has to say. Examine the way you talk to her, and note if you ever talk down to her as if she's less intelligent than you are, or if you criticize appearance or her behavior all the time. If so, she's not going to feel safe with you - add that to the feelings she may still harbor over her failed engagement, and you're not making yourself a very appealing prospect.
On the plus side, a woman who has been serious enough about a man to consider marriage has experience in developing a long-term relationship. What you'll gain from this is a partner who knows what she wants, and probably has no problem expressing it. If she deems you worthy of her trust, she'll give you her entire heart and be a faithful, loving spouse if you two tie the knot.
The key, as mentioned above, is to talk about what went wrong the first time - whether it was money problems, disagreements over whether to have children, family issues, a substance abuse problem or simply a realization that they weren't right for each other, understanding the reason for the break-up will be educational, allowing you to judge whether you and she are a better fit, and what she expects from a serious relationship. She'll appreciate the fact that you want to understand her better, and you'll gain from the insight into her past.
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