Of all the people you could have fallen in love with, you chose someone who couldn’t love you back. That’s why dealing with romantic rejection can be devastating. You are grieving for a love that was never yours in the first place. There’s nobody to blame when you have broken your own heart. And it hurts to know that they will never look at you the way you look at them.
Romantic rejection doesn’t come alone. It is always accompanied by negative feelings related to self-worth, self-esteem, and pride. Your confidence takes a hit and you question your worth based on someone else’s acceptance of you. Is that right though? To which psychologist Aakhansha Varghese (MSc Psychology), who specializes in different forms of relationship counseling – from dating to breakups, and premarital to abusive relationships – says, “The first advice I give people is to not take rejection in love seriously.
“When a person goes through rejection after sleeping with someone or after going on a few dates with them, it may not be about them. It’s about the other person who chose to reject them. This could be because of a thousand reasons. But none of them have anything to do with your self-worth.”
What Are The Signs Of Romantic Rejection?
A study was conducted to find out how similar the experiences of physical pain and social rejection are. The social rejection instances include breakup, unrequited love, rejection in love, being stood up on a date, and when someone downplays your feelings. In this particular study, participants who had recently experienced an unwanted breakup were shown photos of their ex-partners.
It was found that some of the same regions of the brain that light up for physical pain also lit up for images that induced social pain. That’s why being rejected ACTUALLY hurts. With the help of psychologist Aakhansha, we have compiled a list that will help you figure out some of the signs of romantic rejection.
Related Reading: 19 Signs He Likes You But Is Afraid Of Rejection
1. Ghosting is one of the biggest signs of rejection in love
Aakhansha says, “One of the not-so-subtle signs of romantic rejection is ghosting. They will completely ice you out. They will block you from everywhere. This could happen right after the first date or after a few dates.” When people ghost you, they aren’t just disregarding your feelings. They are also disrespecting you.
You may not know how to respond to ghosting without losing your sanity and that’s why it is causing immense pain inside you. It’s a cruel way to reject someone’s love, and it can’t be overlooked. You don’t have to overthink about a ghoster. It’s one of the biggest relationship red flags and you should be grateful that they showed their true colors before things turned serious.
2. They will slowly take a step back
A person who doesn’t want you in their life will slowly take a step back. They will stop making plans with you. Their response to all your questions will always be drowning in ambiguity. They won’t be transparent with you. This is one of the signs they are losing interest in you and whenever you ask them out on a date or to just hang out, their response will be:
- “Oh, we’ll see. Let me check my schedule and get back to you” — they will never get back to you
- “I think I’ll have to take a rain check” — this is your cue to be dignified about this and not be persistent about going on a date with them
- “I am still getting over my ex. Give me some time and I’ll think about it” — they went on three dates with you and then realized that they’re still hung up on their ex? Red flag
3. They will be hesitant to commit to you
We asked Aakhansha, why would someone reject love after dating them for two months? She says, “That’s because they realized they weren’t serious about the relationship. Or they think something is missing and they can’t afford to be in a relationship with someone who is lacking in something. When someone does this to you, be smart about it and let them go. Avoid holding on to such people because it will only damage you in the end.”
This kind of rejection after sleeping with someone can cause a lot of pain. This is one of the sad signs they were using you for sex. The psychological effects of romantic rejection here are far greater because you have been dating a person for a long time but they refused to commit to you. This leaves you feeling worthless and incompetent, even though their rejection has no bearing on your identity.
4. You do all the work in the relationship
If you have been dating this person for a long time but you feel like you’re the only one giving their all, then it’s one of the signs of romantic rejection. They will slowly cut ties with you by participating less in the relationship. Right now, you are in a one-sided relationship where only one partner has to manage everything.
The relationship would collapse the minute you stop working on it. This rejection in love may make you think that they are taking advantage of you. They don’t really care if the relationship works or not. They are already done with you.
Related Reading: 5 Signs He Is Ignoring You For Someone Else
5. They would rather spend time with their friends than with you
One of the alarming signs of feeling spurned is when they would rather spend time alone or with their friends instead of taking you out for an occasional lunch. They will consciously choose to avoid you and not spend time with you. This behavior speaks volumes about their nature.
Instead of directly telling it to your face that they don’t want to be involved with you, they keep you hanging. This is one of the spiteful ways of rejecting someone. It’s one of the signs they are toying with your heart. When someone downplays your feelings by ignoring you and spending time with others, just know that you deserve to be attended to, loved, and cared for.
10 Tips To Move On From Romantic Rejection
Aakhansha says, “Romantic rejection is quite common and happens to all of us at some point in our lives. The first step to moving on from romantic rejection is accepting that you have been rejected. Stop thinking that something is wrong with you and that if you fix it, they will accept you. Love doesn’t work that way.” Listed below are 10 tips on how to move on and how to respond to romantic rejection.
1. Don’t internalize the rejection
Aakhansha says, “One of the best ways of dealing with romantic rejection is by not indulging in the self-hating phase. Many people think that rejecting a relationship is the same as rejecting a person. They fail to comprehend that they have declined your offer for a date/commitment. They haven’t declined you as a person.”
When you come to a certain age, you need to accept that you will get into many romantic relationships. Only one (or few, if you’re polyamorous) will survive and the rest will crash and burn. This includes the dates you got stood up on, rejection after sleeping with someone else, or feeling spurned because you fell for a person who isn’t emotionally available.
2. Don’t associate your worth with rejection
When someone downplays your feelings, your mind goes through a lot of self-criticisms. It will make you question your physical appearance, your mannerisms, your behavior, and even your earnings. Some of the things you will think about include:
- “They would have loved me back if I were taller/curvier/just more beautiful.” — Your physical appearance has nothing to do with this rejection. The more you hate your body, the more trapped you will feel in it
- “There is something wrong with me. That’s why I am so unlovable.” — You are loved. If you keep living with this mindset that you are unlovable, you will create more problems for yourself. This self-hatred will ruin your future relationships as well
- “I am not good enough to be loved.” — Aakhansha says that childhood trauma is one of the reasons that we have so many insecurities inside us. Once we learn how to be more confident, all these insecurities vanish
The minute you realize how illogical and flawed your thinking is, you will laugh at your own thoughts and shrug these negative thoughts away.
3. Don’t insult them
This is one of the common ways of dealing with romantic rejection. But is it virtuous? No. The entire concept behind badmouthing an ex is in bad taste. It shows a lot more about you than about the person who dumped you. Insulting them for rejecting you will show your insecurities. Aakhansha says, “Yes, insecure people always criticize and insult other people to make themselves feel better.” The person who rejected you owes you nothing. If you can’t be dignified about this rejection, then you will never grow emotionally.
Related Reading: What To Expect When You Love A Man With Low Self-Esteem
4. It will hurt for a while
How to respond to romantic rejection? Know that it will hurt. You poured your heart out to someone. You imagined a life with them. Maybe even wanted to have kids with them. However, your fairy tale came to an abrupt end because they don’t love you back. When that entire vision of your future falls apart, you are bound to get hurt. The breakup healing process is long but it’s not never-ending.
It will sting. It will burn your heart. And it will make you question the purpose of love. But you have to deal with it. Accept that it will hurt for some time. Friends and family will meet you and ask you to “forget about it and move on”. It’s easy for them to say. They are not the ones going through this heartbreak. You take your time and grieve the loss of your love.
5. Ask yourself how you want to handle this rejection
Some of the common yet harmful ways of dealing with romantic rejection that many people luxuriate in:
- Excessive drinking
- Substance abuse
- Becoming a serial dater
- Hooking up with a new person every night
- Badmouthing and trash-talking the person who broke your heart
- Exposing their secrets
Aakhansha advises, “Ask yourself what you want to do while you are feeling spurned. Tap into your core values. Do you want to cry for a while? Go ahead. Jot it down in your journal. Watch sappy rom-coms all night. You can turn this into a slumber party with friends. Find healthy ways to deal with this denial instead of getting addicted to alcohol and drugs. They may bring you momentary relief but they will destroy you down the road.”
6. Practice self-care
Caring for yourself and tending to your needs should become your top priority while dealing with romantic rejection. You need to know how to love yourself if you want to move on. Here are some basic self-care tips you need to follow if you are feeling spurned:
- Stay active. Avoid sitting in the room and binge-watching shows. Go for a walk and spend time with nature
- Are you getting enough sleep or are you sleeping too much? You need at least 6 hours of sleep
- Eat healthy. Nourish your body. Avoid emotional eating and avoid starving yourself
- Get back to your old hobbies. Painting, journaling, collecting stamps, reading, or knitting. Start doing whatever makes you happy
- Try to stay away from social media. The more you look at happy couples posing online, the more you will feel alone
7. Avoid rebounds and rushing into the dating pool
Aakhansha says, “Many people don’t know healthy ways to handle rejection. They end up in the dating pool again, just to numb their emotions. Time is crucial here. Give yourself a break. Don’t go back into the dating scene as soon as someone rejects you. Respond to romantic rejection by giving yourself the time you need to heal from this.”
There is no set or recommended time here. Some people get over people very quickly and some can’t get over someone even after years. You are the one who gets to decide how long you wish to stay single or how quickly you want a rebound to fall in love with you. The former will inculcate a strong sense of self-worth, whereas, the latter will tend to your bruised ego temporarily.
8. Don’t beg them to love you back
Aakhansha shares, “You love them, adore them, and can’t stand to imagine a life without them. But nobody should ever beg to be loved even if they truly loved you once. That love has vanished now. So, what’s the point of begging for love from them? That love will not come back again just because of your persistence.”
Don’t waste your time trying to change someone’s mind and heart. You can use your time more creatively by focusing on yourself and your personal growth. Your well-being is more important than their lack of willingness toward you.
Related Reading: 15 Worrying Signs You Are Begging For Love
9. Meet new people
Respond to romantic rejection by meeting new people. Not just new people, you can meet your friends and family members too. Sign up on the best dating apps when you feel like you have healed and are ready to move on. Some other things you can do are:
- Go on a solo trip
- Straighten other relationships in your life
- Focus on building your career
- Delete their number
- Seek professional help. If you feel like you can’t manage your emotions, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists is here to guide you through the process and paint a path to recovery
10. Remember that their loss is your gain
Don’t sulk over the fact that you have been rejected. Use this as an opportunity to learn new things about yourself. Think of it as their loss. They lost someone who would have adored them, loved them, and cared for them through all their ups and downs. Don’t give up on love. You will find someone who will love you for who you are. As they say, what you seek is seeking you. The one you are looking for is also looking for you. Don’t lose hope.
How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Romantic Relationship?
Aakhansha says, “There is no recommended time for something like heartbreak. The psychological effects of romantic rejection can be traumatic for people as well. It affects your mental and physical well-being. Your self-esteem has taken a hit. It’s crucial to understand that you don’t have to associate your self-regard with their opinion.”
Our brain is hardwired to negativity after a rejection. Here are some things to avoid while dealing with romantic rejection:
- Avoid self-loathing and assuming things like “I am a loser” or “I won’t ever find love again”
- Avoid thinking that you are not good enough to be loved
- Steer clear of negative thoughts that include any kind of self-sabotaging behaviors like substance abuse and self-harm
- Avoid isolating yourself for longer periods of time
- Ghosting is not just a red flag. It is also one of the biggest indicators of rejection in love
- Some of the ways you can heal from this heartbreak is by practicing self-care and by not internalizing the rejection
- Never associate your worth with someone else’s acceptance or rejection of you. Meet new people and don’t ever beg them to love you back
Mourning is normal when a long relationship has terminated. It’s even more natural to mourn the love that was overlooked and wasn’t reciprocated in the form of unrequited love. But don’t you think self-love is also unrequited here? Fall in love with yourself because relationships may come and go. You are your only constant. The person who rejected you will wake up one day and regret losing you, but you can’t afford to lose yourself.
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