Handling rejection in dating and relationships
It’s likely that at some point in our lives that we’ll all experience being rejected. Whether that be related to relationships, dating, job interviews, a loan, a number of different things. It is thought that “coping mechanisms” are developed by ourselves to help us to move through these difficult situations, maybe learning our mistakes, perseverance to try again, trying a different method, or realising that we may need to re-assess our expectations and what we really want. However relationships, dating and love and all that goes with matchmaking can be very personal to ourselves and trying to be rational about something so close to our hearts can be really difficult to maintain a rational viewpoint, or put another way, to be able to see things clearly and know what is best for you.
Can rejection come at a good time?
Rejection can be made more difficult depending on how you might be rejected and the state of your life at the time. For example, if someone rejects you but is really nice about it, it might not feel so bad, but then maybe because they’ve done it so nicely it could instead be worse because they were really nice! As an alternative they could be unkind about rejecting you, make you feel really bad especially as they know you and might exploit your weak points, although afterwards you might decide you were better off without them if they are that unkind! As you can see situations and how you react to them can change depending on your perception, which is also likely to change as time goes on and you think of things from different angles, perspectives. I mentioned “the state of your life” at the time of rejection; for example if you have other issues and worries, maybe for example some money issues, since the rejection is in addition to the other problems in your life it could stretch your coping mechanisms.
A number of different emotions can be felt all at different times which can add to the difficulties with handling rejection. The first question that may go through our heads when we get rejected is "why?". You may get an adequate answer, no answer, something you think is not true, get told something you didn't know or you don't like. "Why, why, why? Why is this happening to me?" It may help to try and see this from the point of view of the person who rejected you. It may genuinely be in your both best interests, they may be trying to do the right thing, they may have changed over the time of knowing them and you want different things; any number of different reasons, but trying to understand their reasoning may help you.
What actually is rejection?
Understanding rejection and how you perceive it may help you to assess what you’re feeling and maybe help you move on. At its basic level, it may be obvious to state that being rejected is being stopped from having what you want. This may affect your ego, sense of being, the things that are important to you, your self-confidence to name but a few. You may question your past actions that has led to this situation and lose confidence in your abilities; “if only I’d done things differently” or “if only I could have another chance I would …” may be going through your head. But what can make it worse is the fact that you have no control over it, no control over being rejected! This feeling of lack of control over the situation. This can be the most difficult bit to deal with as you want or think you want something but it is out of your power to have it.
Moving on from a relationship
Realising and understanding the situation you are in can help with re-building confidence and getting over this lack of control over the situation can help you with handling rejection. In the short term, concentrate on looking after yourself, try and eat healthy meals, exercise, go for a walk to clear your mind, see friends; looking after you health and well-being, concentrating on the basics can have a good affect on how you view things. Chatting with friends can build your confidence, as they know you may have had a bit of a knock down but from a rational view point your friends can highlight to you that there's still lots of good things about you which you may be finding it difficult to acknowledge whilst handling being rejected. You might also be able to build confidence by doing things outside your "comfort zone" to help you realise that your still very capable. As perhaps an example of trying something outside of your comfort zone, if you've never tried speed dating this can be a nervous but exciting experience with the benefit of meeting people you may not normally come across in your current social circles. Getting over this the lack of control that you might have felt if you've been rejected may also be a case of accepting that life is difficult and we all want different things and unfortunately there are going to be people who do and do not get what they would like. Hopefully time to reflect on the situation may help you to accept occurrences and understand from the different points of view why it all happened.
This is never going to be easy and the fact you’re reading this article may indicate that you want to be sensitive to their feelings and emotions. I suppose the phrase “being cruel to be kind” may be relevant to your situation.
Preparing for rejection
It can help to try and be clear about what you want and what you don’t want, and maybe more importantly why. This is to help you to try to gain clarity and justification over your reasoning especially as having clear answers to “why?” may pre-empt the questions of the person you may reject. Trying to pre-empt what could be going through their head might be a help, so that you can think about your feelings beforehand and not have to try and give concise answers in the heat of the moment. What will they possibly be thinking? Has the relationship been “on the rocks”, been going through difficult times and will it not come as a complete surprise or alternatively will it come as a major bad surprise? Naturally they will probably want to know why, as I mentioned above. Are they likely to be angry, shout, cry, run away? Choosing your surroundings could help the process. If they quiz you, possibly beg you because it is such a shock, are you honestly still going to be able to give the same reasons for breaking up, the same answers you have decided upon earlier. This might sound a bit heavy, and over the top but it may help to be clear with the reasoning in your mind. You may find questioning under pressure will actually help you to what you really want, or don’t want which can sometimes have unexpected results especially as it can be common that we're not entirely sure what we actually really want!
Rejection can be a really difficult situation to deal with, whether you have been rejected or you are “doing the rejecting”. It may be wise not to expect too much from either of you or yourselves in this stressful situation and for a little time afterwards, so maybe being easy on yourself and not pushing things could be helpful to try to keep in the front of your mind.