Dealing With Rejection
"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned"
This was written by the restoration playwright William Congreve and it is as true today as it was in his time. The movie Fatal Attraction is based on this idea. Many former lovers become stalkers. The prisons are full of boyfriends and husbands who had trouble with dealing with rejection. Many who are not in jail, killed themselves after killing the woman they loved.
Throughout history the tragedy of rejection and its consequences have been the subject of stories. The opera Carmen tells the story of a soldier, Don Jose, who falls in love with a gypsy named Carmen. She leaves him for the Bullfighter Escamillo. Don Jose begs her to come back to him. She scorns Don Jose and he kills her and then himself.
There is a lesson from all these stories if you are the one doing the rejecting. If you are doing the rejecting try and be as kind as possible. Do not treat the person you are rejecting with scorn. Scorn besides hurting the other person may enrage him or her to the point where you become a victim.
Dealing with rejection isn't easy. I myself have had to struggle with the desire for revenge against the girl I loved. I was once told that the best revenge against the man who steals your girlfriend is that he winds up with her. I guess the idea is that if she would betray you she probably wasn't so great to begin with.
It's important to realize that your partner has the right to end a relationship with you however much you don't want that to happen and however much pain it may cause you. The law sees it that way and if you try and contact someone who doesn't want to be contacted the law views that as harassment and you become vulnerable to expensive lawsuits that you will lose. Contacting someone who doesn't want to be contacted is unlikely to improve things, on the contrary my experience has been that it made things worse and so I stopped. The other person won't respect you if you contact them after they rejected you and respect is a requirement for love.
After my fiancée started having sex with another man I started to feel anger every time I saw an attractive woman. I'd identify the attractive stranger with the woman who rejected me and view her as evil and feel hostility toward her. Of course other attractive women had absolutely nothing to do with my ex-fiancée and my hostility and anger hurt my chances of ever attracting an attractive women. I tried to hold on to the woman who rejected me by convincing myself that she owed me, that she was wrong to be with someone else and that it was her obligation to come back to me. This enraged me even more. What do we owe the person we dated? Do we owe them anything? This topic is discussed on the dating contract web page.
If your ex has ended a relationship then the emotions that are left with you only affect you. Your anger and hostility only hurt you they do not bring back your ex. I find that remembering that goes a long way to reducing my anger and hostility. Just because someone else was nasty doesn't mean I should suffer.
A friend of mine told me that the only cure for the loss of a girlfriend is finding another one. The following lyrics from "Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think", suggest that's the way to go.
Your heart of hearts, your dream of dreams,
Your ravishing brunette;
She's left you and she's now become somebody else's pet.
Lay down that gun, don't try, my friend,
to reach the great beyond;
You'll have more fun by reachin' for a readhead or a blonde.
It's important to recognize that if you are rejected it doesn't mean you are responsible. If your ex was unhappy with you it may have been her fault and she may eventually be unhappy with her new love.
It's important not to let rejection affect your self esteem as that can create a lot of pain. One way to reduce the pain is to boost your self esteem and self love with self help techniques. Another way is to seek the company of friends. Another way is to find a good therapist to talk to. It is important to be careful to find a good therapist as there are bad ones out there.
Rejection During a Relationship: When a relationship starts to fall apart and we start to feel rejected we may react with anger and that anger can fuel the destruction of the relationship. Making one's girlfriend feel guilty for betrayal is unlikely to convince her to stay in the relationship, on the contrary, she will find one's company unpleasant and feel all the more motivated to leave. People are rarely convinced that they are in the wrong and trying to convince them of that is more likely to convince them that you are in the wrong. This is human nature. People don't want to feel guilty. If one's girlfriend starts to engage in rejecting behavior it may be that the best thing to do is to stay pleasant, try and iron out problems in a loving way, and look for someone else. It may be best to give an ultimatum that if she's going to have a relationship with someone else you are going to stop having a relationship with her. Lashing out at her for treacherous behavior is unlikely to win her back. On the other hand if she is treacherous one may be better off if she doesn't come back.
If one can't convince one's loved one to change her mind and return to the relationship the best thing one can do is find someone else. For a long time it felt like there was no one else but dreams die and flowers wilt and that's the way life is. Yet one never knows when a new rose may bloom. In fact a lovely one did for me in the end.
So far I've discussed rejection from women who we are already in a relationship with. A lot of us don't get that far with most women. They reject us immediately. A common way to react to such rejection is with low self esteem and anger. One reason for reacting this way is believing that we are being rejected for who we are. It's important to remember that the woman doing the rejecting may have reasons that have little to do with who we are. How well can she know who we are if she just met us? We may be making dating mistakes, she may have unrealistic expectations, we may have unrealistic expectations and so on. If she is rejecting us for some bad quality we have and we don't know what it is, then it is important to find out so we can improve ourselves. It doesn't make sense to get angry at someone for rejecting us for a bad quality that we have.
Self Help Home Page
Social Skills Home Page
Table of Contents