How To Deal With Rejection By Someone You Care For

Some people can hurt us more than others

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been rejected in my life: for jobs, opportunities, and relationships.

Every time it hurts, but if I don’t have a lot invested in the outcome I can usually shake it off pretty quickly.

But sometimes, when we care for someone, the rejection cuts to the bone.

It’s those that we care about deeply that can hurt us the most. It’s their indifference and coldness that keeps us awake at night; their casting off of our affection that makes us dwell on what we’ve done wrong.

In my case, I had just gotten to know a person when I found myself falling for them.

Maybe it was because the start was so promising.

The first time we hung out, we threw a frisbee on a big grass field, did somersaults and round offs, then did a quick track workout. There was something so casual and fun about our dynamic that I instantly fell for her.

Suddenly I was giddy with excitement with the possibility of this person.

It wasn’t just that. It was the way she leaned on the bike rack when I was unlocking my bike, how she laughed at all my corny jokes, and how comfortable I felt around her.

To be honest, I fell for her almost immediately. She didn’t know it, but my heart was already hers.

That’s why it hurt so much when she started pulling away.

The last time we saw each other couldn’t have been any different from those first few times.

It was a brewery bike tour with college friends that she had invited me on. I hadn’t seen her in nearly a month, which was probably a result of her distancing herself a bit from me.

The bike tour seemed like a fever dream. I had already entered that state of frustration-attraction that has been identified by love researchers, one where the barriers to your crush only make you more stubbornly search for ways to make it work. I desperately sought her attention, overthought every little interaction between us, and drank way too much.

Nothing in particular happened that night, but the next day she texted me to say that she wanted to be clear: she didn’t want to be anything more than friends.

Suddenly all my hopes were dashed. I had fallen completely for someone and been rejected in the process.

In your case this could be a lover or a partner, or maybe even a friend that has distanced themselves from you.

What do we do when we’re rejected by those we care for most?

Tell Them How You Feel

If your gut instinct says you have something more to express to this person, then go ahead and tell them how this situation makes you feel.

It probably won’t turn out how you’d like it to, but at least you’ll leave knowing you’ve been honest and upfront with them.

Personally, I don’t like to leave things half-said. When we do finally talk, I would like to express what I enjoy about our dynamic together and how that makes me feel. I want her to know that I felt a connection, that I care for her and want to have some sort of relationship in the future.

The right person will appreciate the honesty and the affection, even if they can’t love you how you hope to be loved.

Distance Yourself For As Long As You Need

This part is so hard, especially when you like being around this particular person so much.

This means cutting off social media ties, not texting them to hang out, and maybe even getting away for a while.

Plan a trip out of town and get yourself involved in some different activities. Do something out of the ordinary and see if it turns into a new hobby or pastime. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself when you find new ways of living your life.

You don’t have to cut all contact off forever, but taking a break can give you some perspective on the situation.

You can also take this time to deal with stress levels, something of which I’ve written about:

It’s hard to know when the right time to reestablish contact is. This is probably different for everyone. Just remember to be honest with yourself and that other person about when that time is.

Write About The Experience

This is literally what I’m doing right now. I don’t know how much it helps in the long run, but I can tell you that it feels good to let the words come out. It feels beneficial to allow the emotions that revolve around the situation to take form.

Keeping a journal or writing poems can get to the heart of what your desires for the situation were. This could be as free-form or structured as you choose. Maybe you want to list out your life goals and identify new things you want to try. Or maybe you just want to let your thoughts flow freely.

Whatever it is, write it out in any way you can.

If you want, you could also share your writing with a friend and see what their perspective on your thoughts are. Friends can often help us see things in ways we hadn’t even considered before.

In the movies every love story comes to a well-formed conclusion. In real life love isn’t always that way.

Sometimes we find ourselves awake at 5 am thinking of that person again. Sometimes we hear their name and feel a shudder travel through our whole body, as if they had physically shook us to the core.

Sometimes there’s no clear answer to why we felt the way we felt, and why they didn’t return our affection.

Sometimes life just is. Accepting that is part of the journey.

All the best to you.

Helping myself and others in life and love.

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