You’ve been dating him for a few months now and things are going well. Or so you thought until one morning, out of the blue, you get a text message saying he doesn’t want to see you any more. When you call him, the only reason he gives is because he can’t see a future with you. You manage to keep the disappointment under control until you hang up — and then you dissolve into tears. Tears that last for weeks.
This isn’t the first time you’ve been rejected. Sometimes an online flirtation ends in uncomfortable silence. Sometimes he doesn’t contact you again after the first date.
But the worst is when you’ve been dating for months or years, and rejection comes out of nowhere, like icy fingers grabbing you from behind.
It is difficult not to think that somehow you are at fault, that you possess some entirely repulsive personality trait — that when it comes to love, you are one of the unlovable.
Rejection hurts in any circumstances — when you don’t get the job you want, or a friendship ends — but it is doubly cruel when it comes to matters of the heart.
How to Survive Rejection without Losing Your Mind
Allow the other person the right to change. Although you two might have been perfect for each other at one point in time, people change. If your lover has re-calibrated his preferences, it isn’t usually a direct result of anything you’ve said or done. Growth and change can be painful, but are a necessary part of the human experience.
Think fondly of the time you shared. Just because a relationship doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. Reflect on the good times you had together and the joy that person brought into your life.
Don’t anesthetize yourself. It is easy and almost instinctive to shut down emotionally to try to keep the pain away. But the healing process is over more quickly if you just allow yourself to feel all the hurt, anger, sadness and disappointment. Difficult emotions are just as valid as positive ones. Allow yourself to wallow for as long as you like.
Don’t put up with dickhead behaviour. Let’s face it — sometimes people can be dicks. If your ex is being obnoxious, manipulative or dishonest, put a stop to it. Set boundaries, even if you have to cut all contact in order to stay sane.
Spend time with people who love you. That girlfriend you’ve had since primary school, your crazy Aunty who always makes your favourite cheesecake, your neighbour’s six-year-old kid — hang out with these people. If you look around you will find someone who loves you unconditionally and will have your back no matter what.
Learn the lessons. While I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, sometimes there are lessons to be learnt. Maybe you didn’t listen to your gut, maybe you forgave too often, or maybe you put up with too much. Explore the idea that there might be something you could do differently in the future. Or maybe not. You might not want to change anything at all — except of course the person you go out with.
Be thankful for a lucky escape. It is better to know sooner rather than later that your partner no longer loves you. As months turn into years, it becomes harder and harder to dissolve a dysfunctional relationship, especially if you have children and are financially dependent on your partner. Thank the Universe that you get another chance to fall in love with someone who will love you the way you deserve to be loved.
There is nothing wrong with you. You might be the sweetest, juiciest most perfect peach in the entire world, suitable only for a Queen’s banquet, and there will still be people who don’t like peaches. Or in this case, who liked peaches once but then went off them. Not everyone is going to love you or even like you. They may not like you at all, or they may not love you forever. It’s just the way life goes.
There is no denying that rejection sucks, but don’t let it make you go crazy. You are a wonderful, beautiful, delicious creature, and there are people who will find you entirely mesmerizing and fascinating. Don’t let the knocks and bruises of past relationships dim your sparkle. Shine through the cracks in your heart and I can guarantee you won’t be alone for long.
How do you handle rejection? What are your strategies?