How to Deal With Being Rejected when Dating

woman on her smartphone looking sad after being rejected

Is there anything worse than feeling rejected? Whether it’s at work or on dating apps, one thing is for sure — it sucks.

However, rejection is, unfortunately, part of life. And facing it (or even being ghosted) on dating apps is among the most potent and painful forms of it due to how personal it is.

Learning how to respond to being rejected is an important skill that will help you in the long term, especially in your romantic life.

Though there’s no overnight fix, there are many helpful expert tips on how to deal with a sudden turndown. We’ve put together the top pointers here to lend a helping hand.

Being Rejected whilst Dating is Normal

We need to start normalising rejection in all its various forms, but especially in dating.

There are so many ways to meet your potential match. Hundreds of dating apps allow you to meet singles from all over the globe. It’s a lot of choice.

Most of the time this is a great thing. It means you have more opportunities to find someone who aligns best with your goals, values, and interests.

But the maths here is simple. With more people comes more chances of disappointment.

You’re not going to perfectly align with everyone you meet, match, or date for a huge variety of reasons. The important thing to remember is this: being rejected on dating apps is not a reflection of your worth.

Why Rejection Hurts

Humans need to bond. Even the most introverted person craves social interaction. That’s why the lockdowns in 2020 were so hard on everyone.

It’s a fundamental human need. Without it, we feel emotional pain. This ranges from feeling lonely or isolated all the way through to feeling unloved or inferior.

The part of our brains that processes rejection is the same area that processes physical pain. So although the stimulus isn’t physical, the reaction can be.

This is because social rejection can overstimulate the vagus nerve. In turn, this can lead to symptoms like chest pain, tightness, nausea, headaches, and more.

So for some people, it brings about a physically painful reaction. When we understand this it’s easy to understand why so many people fear it and are unable to deal with it well.

Being rejected on dating apps can reveal our deepest insecurities about ourselves. This can lead to intense feelings like humiliation, inferiority, and even shame.

When we understand how deeply dating rejection can hurt someone, the extreme reactions, while still inexcusable, make more sense. If you struggle with this, the following tips might help you.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Bad breakup excuses aside, it often has nothing to do with the person being rejected.

It’s impossible to know how someone is feeling. Even when things are going great, you don’t know what’s going on in another person’s head.

So try to remember that it may have nothing to do with you. It could be someone else’s insecurities or baggage that causes it.

Of course, you need a balanced approach here. After any kind of break with someone you initially liked, try to reflect and evaluate what caused the split from a logical, calm perspective.

Most often, it is equal contributions from both parties. It’s rare that one person is completely absolved of any fault.

Without this critical reflection, people tend to fall into negative thinking. This could be in the form of always blaming yourself and assuming you are the problem. But it could also be in the form of refusing to take any responsibility and always blaming the other party.

Both are toxic behaviours that will cause you to struggle. Not only with the initial rejection, but in your dating life in general.

All this to say, this self-examination can help you achieve a more logical and balanced view of the situation. This can help with dealing with the emotional pain surrounding it, as well as help with your romantic life going forward.

Don’t Dwell

We’ve all been guilty of obsessing over something at one point or another. Rejection is easy to dwell on because we often don’t know the reasons behind it.

But getting stuck on the same thought can cause us to relive the same negative feelings. This can make recovering and moving on from someone who’s let you down much harder than it would have been in the first place.

If all else fails, keep yourself busy and preoccupied as much as possible. Our subconscious can work wonders healing itself when it’s given the chance to.

Take the Time You Need

Not all rejections are equal.

By this we mean, recovery is a personal process. Though we’ve just said don’t dwell on it, some people need more time than others.

Much of this is to do with the context. If you’ve been in a relationship longer, of course, the rejection will hurt more than from someone you’ve just met who doesn’t know you. Similar to this, if it was an unkind and unforeseen event, this is going to hurt much more than a thoughtful turndown.

So give yourself the time you need to go through your process.

Are You Burnt Out?

Modern dating can be harsh on our mental health. The endless expectations to be in constant contact through text, the value society puts on having a romantic relationship and hookup culture, in general, has made dating a metaphorical minefield. Even for those with great mental health otherwise, it’s a lot.

We don’t really think about burnout outside of our workplace, but it absolutely happens. People can absolutely get burnt out dating.

If you’re on lots of dating apps and you’ve been doing it for some time, you’re bound to feel disenchanted. This can lead to things upsetting you that wouldn’t have gotten to you.

Give yourself a break. Uninstall or deactivate the apps and put your phone down. Take some time to do a little self-care, whatever that might look like for you.

Date When You’re Ready

Because of the pressure society puts on single people to hurry up and find someone already, a lot of the time, we’re dating when we’re not ready to.

The worst example of this is revenge dating. You know the kind where you see your ex is dating on social media. So you throw yourself full force into dating because God forbid they get over you first.

It’s a recipe for disaster. You’ll find it much harder to deal with rejection in a healthy way. Not only this, but you may also hurt more people because you aren’t ready to be dating again.

Give yourself whatever time you need to mourn your relationship. This can help bring emotional stability when you do.

Seek Professional Help

Our past experiences shape who we are. So when it comes to rejection, a lot of our response comes from previous experiences.

These experiences might not even have to do with dating. For example, childhood trauma that left someone feeling unloved may make dealing with this feeling of failure a much more difficult experience.

If you’ve tried everything above and you still feel significant emotional pain that you can’t handle well, it might be wise to seek professional help in the form of a therapist.

They can help you work through past experiences that may be influencing your reaction. They can also help you come up with unique coping techniques for when you are rejected.

How to Respond to Being Rejected

All of the above tips should help you deal with the emotional response to being rejected. But you might still be wondering how to respond to someone who’s turning you down. What’s appropriate and what’s not?

You should always, always be civil. This means no harsh or unkind words. Even if the other person isn’t giving you the same respect, you don’t have to stoop to their level.

You aren’t obliged to respond by any means. If it suits you, you can simply read the message and let that be the end of it.

You can, if you wish, ask what caused them to not be interested in you anymore. Bear in mind if you do this, you may not like the answer. So don’t ask and then get upset because it touched upon an insecurity of yours.

However, this question can help some people get closure. It may reveal that it had nothing to do with you. It can also help you evaluate yourself and improve on any issues for the next time you are ready to date.

If you do respond, our best advice is to be kind and honest. If it hurts you then it’s okay to say so, but it’s not okay to place blame on the other person. Thank them for letting you know and wish them the best in the future.

Don’t continue to contact someone after they have rejected you. No one is obligated to give you their time or see you again. If you struggle to let go, remove their details, or block them.

Though being rejected on dating apps is painful, it is a common experience. Being logical and level-headed can help you manage your response.

We have loads more helpful dating tips on our site, so make sure to check them out and see if they can help you!

About the author: EliteSingles Editor

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