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Dating is the means to achieving what you ultimately want: to be loved and valued by someone you also love and value.

Unfortunately, along the way to meeting this special person, there is enormous potential for rejection, making dating a vulnerable process.

To put the odds in your favor of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, ideally you will date a lot and keep an open mind about potential matches. It also means that you will have to take necessary emotional risks and learn how to handle rejection without giving up on love.

Regardless of how intelligent, attractive, funny or kind you may be, it is inevitable that not everyone you meet or date will want you in the way you want them. There are plenty of potential partners that will want to date you and pursue something amazing with you and there are also some who won’t.

To date more successfully, it is important to understand that not everyone has to pick you and vice versa.  Part of dating is exploring what you want and don’t want; you and your dates will be doing this at the same time.  Whether you are blonde and he likes brunettes or he is a great catch but his smoking is a deal breaker, rejection is unavoidable at some point on the path to love.

Although rejection is a part of everyday life, it can be the most distressing when it comes from a crush or someone who interests you.  The feeling of rejection is often accompanied by humiliation, shame, embarrassment, sadness and discomfort.  It is completely understandable that being rejected makes dating and meeting new people feel frightening.

After an unwanted rejection, it is natural to go into protective mode to shield yourself from further hurt.  Rejection bruises the ego and commonly triggers self-blame and insecurity.  The thought of one person rejecting you can temporarily feel as devastating as the end of the world, but managing rejection in healthy ways is vital to your health and happiness.

So how can you handle rejection while staying committed to your goal of finding love?

1. Don’t take it so personally

The more you are attached to the person who rejected you, the more hurtful it will be. When someone rejects you, it can feel as though one person holds the key to your self-worth and happiness, but really the rejection may have little to do with you.

He or she may just be too busy, not looking for long-term commitment or have some other reason for not wanting to move forward that is greater than you.  Knowing at your core that it is not personal will naturally help you leave behind the men and women who do not ultimately want to be yours and aid you in opening yourself up for the men and women who value the person that you are.

2. We are hardwired to feel rejection in an emotionally painful way, so allow yourself to feel it

You are allowed to feel hurt and insecure and you can also take healthy steps to manage your reaction and stay motivated to date.   Commit to taking care of yourself, gaining support from others, focusing on your positive qualities and doing what makes you happy.  Visualizing yourself moving forward also helps.

3. Give yourself credit for going after what you want

It is a brave move to give your number to someone of interest, approach a woman while she is with her friends or assertively introduce yourself in a new surrounding.  Although your actions may not have been well received by one particular person, focus on the confidence it takes to be open to love.

Remember that the right person will appreciate you for making your interest known.

4. Commit to introducing yourself

Giving out your number, calling someone you are interested in or asking someone else out even if that very action has gotten you rejected by someone in the past.

Refuse to let a rejection (or several) color all of your future actions in dating and relationship.  Do not adapt a cynical attitude about dating; go out there and try again.

5. Trust that there is someone out there for you

This goes along with knowing what you deserve and being confident that you can have it.  It can be difficult to see the silver lining in the moment, but trust that the rejection happened for a reason. Maybe it happened to free you up for the right person or teach you something valuable about yourself.

Although rejection can create an emotional wound, know that the hurt is temporary and resist dwelling on it for too long.  While always learning and growing, keep your heart open and ready for the man or woman who loves and accepts all of you.

Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (L.C.P.C.) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) who provides psychotherapy and relationship coaching to individuals and couples in her Bethesda, MD office and over the phone. Rachel specializes in dating and relationships, anxiety, self-esteem, mindfulness and personal growth.  Rachel helps her clients value themselves and find happiness within, leading to healthier relationships with others.  To connect with Rachel or to learn more about her psychotherapy and relationship coaching services, please visit www.RachelDack.com.  For daily inspiration, relationship guidance and mental health tips, follow her on Twitter (@DackCounseling).

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