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How to Deal with Rejection

Updated on May 6, 2016

The cause behind most online dating disappointments is rejection. No one likes being rejected and depending upon your level of sensitivity and commitment to online dating, the regularity with which you are plagued by feelings of rejection may be occasional or quite often.

However, rejection is inevitable — both in online dating and “traditional” dating. It cannot be avoided. Even the most eligible matches have experienced rejection; it is part and parcel of leading any kind of life that doesn’t involve hiding in a cave, living a hermit-esque existence and cutting yourself off from the world.

With that in mind, your success in online dating is partly attributable to how well you handle rejection and how quickly you bounce back from it. In this post I want to explore why online dating rejection should be nothing but a minor road bump on the journey to finding your perfect match.

Why You Often Shouldn’t Even Feel Rejected

There are various stages at which one can be rejected in the online dating world. In my opinion, it is natural that some might provoke negative emotions, but many scenarios of “rejection” should be of little to no consequence to you.

For instance, consider the following examples:Someone views your profile but doesn’t get in touch

  • You view someone’s profile but they don’t get in touch
  • Someone is selected as an ideal match but doesn’t get in touch
  • You send a “wink” (or equivalent) to someone but they don’t respond
  • You send someone a message but they don’t respond
  • You get one or more replies from a match but then they stop responding

I group all of these scenarios into the “you shouldn’t even feel like you’ve been rejected” bracket. My reasoning is this: why waste negative energy on feelings of rejection when you don’t even know if you’ve been rejected? Not getting a response of some kind under any of the above circumstances does not necessarily mean rejection, because there are a number of alternative explanations.

The match:

  • May not have noticed your view/wink
  • May not have read your message
  • May not be active
  • May have no intention of actually engaging in online dating

The overruling message is this — don’t waste negative emotional energy on an assumption that may or may not be reflected in reality. Far better to assume nothing at all than to believe a fallacy.

Why Rejection Shouldn’t Bother You

There are however times when rejection is clear — when a match has essentially decided that you are not for them. It can be a bitter pill to swallow but it is inevitable and your negative feelings tend to grow in line with the level of interaction you have experienced with the match.

Rejection bothers everyone, if only a little. It’s only natural. But in reality the negative emotions provoked by rejection are of little practical use. In an ideal world, the effect that rejection has on you should be absolutely minimal. That’s the position you should assume from an objective viewpoint, but I appreciate that cancelling out feelings of rejection is not always that simple.

So let’s explore why we don’t like rejection. It can often feel like a personal attack — a judgment on our character and a sober reminder of our imperfections. Anyone’s going to find that tough to deal with. If you’re insecure about yourself then rejection is bound to have a notable impact but insecurity is certainly not a necessity for feeling bad about rejection.

However, it shouldn’t bother you for one simple reason: rejection is typically a good thing. It is a natural filtering process that prevents you from pairing up with someone who isn’t right for you.

Let me explain what I mean by way of a short story from my own dating life.

Third Date Rejection

I had a great connection with someone I met through Match.com. After a relatively brief message exchange we agreed to meet up.

The first date was fantastic; the best I’d ever been on. I had told her that I had a heart condition that meant I couldn’t drink alcohol or caffeine and she brought me a pack of organic decaffeinated tea — a very sweet gesture and surely a positive sign. We had a great time and agreed to meet again soon.

The second date went just as well and I even got a kiss at the end (as per my second date kiss rule). But then a week passed and I heard nothing. Finally I received the seemingly inevitable text message: a third date is never going to happen. She told me that she thought we were in different places in terms of what we wanted from a relationship and that it wouldn’t work.

The above story isn’t fictional — it happened to me. And while it sucked, I recognised that I didn’t really have any reason to feel rejected. Although it was a shame that it didn’t go any further and I was entitled to feel bad about that, I had no just cause to occupy myself with negative emotions connected with rejection. The fact is that a relationship with that girl wasn’t going to work — although we may have been well matched in terms of looks and personality, clearly there were some fundamental issues in terms of our relative positions on relationships. Why would I want to be in a doomed relationship? Isn’t it absurd to be bothered by feelings of rejection under such circumstances?

This way of thinking applies to just about any situation in which you are rejected. Consider an extreme example where you are rejected by someone who doesn’t consider you attractive enough. Would you really want to be with someone who didn’t think you attractive? Of course not — so why bother yourself with feelings of rejection from someone who you wouldn’t actually want to be with? Given that there are plenty of people out there who would like to be with you and would be far better suited, why waste any more than a moment’s reflection on someone who is clearly a poor match?

A New Outlook on Rejection

I appreciate that this way of thinking may not be intuitive but it is a healthy way to look at the world of online dating (and dating in general). It’s essentially a cyclical way of thinking that renders feelings of rejection redundant:

  • If someone isn’t interested in you then they’re not a good match.
  • If they’re not a good match then why feel bothered if they reject you?

We go through life experiencing rejection in many forms. The key is in how we react and deal with rejection. Take a stand against redundant ways of thinking and resolve instead to treat rejection with the indifference that it deserves. After all, you’re looking for someone who likes you for you, so why waste your time on anyone that is not able to offer that?

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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 16 months ago

      "Would you really want to be with someone who didn’t think you attractive? Of course not — so why bother yourself with feelings of rejection from someone who you wouldn’t actually want to be with? Given that there are plenty of people out there who would like to be with you and would be far better suited, why waste any more than a moment’s reflection on someone who is clearly a poor match." Excellent food for thought!

      One of the main reason why people get hurt from rejection online is because they become to "invested" with ONE person. Dating is a numbers game!

      I believe one should have a (mate selection process" similar to how a company seeks to fill a position. They place an ad (your profile) if you're a woman or if you're man (your profile) is more like a "resume" of a perspective employee. Men still do the majority of initiating contact on/off line.

      Either way you should be in various stages of conversations and going on dates with (multiple people) until you find the "right candidate" for the job.

      If you were looking for a job you wouldn't email just (one) resume to one company and wait to see if they contact you before sending out another resume to a different company. Even if they did contact you for an interview it doesn't mean you're going to be offered the job.

      Therefore you should always have more irons in the fire.

      Lastly you should assume anyone who has a profile online is either being contacted by others or they're reaching out to others. YOU are not the only one they are considering for a potential relationship.

      No one likes to feel as though they're in a "competition" but that is exactly what online dating is. Your picture is being viewed and your profile is being read and passed over for other profiles.

      This is called "indirect rejection". Imagine a guy in a nightclub approaches a table with 4 women. He asks one of them to dance. Essentially he "indirectly rejected" the other three women by not asking them. Now if that woman turns him down and he turned to another woman at the table odds are she would give him a "direct rejection" because she doesn't want her friends "rejects".

      Lastly the "wink" and "flirt" symbols used on online dating sites are viewed as cowardly approaches for breaking the ice. Anyone can fire off 200 "winks" in 15 minutes phishing for replies. If you're interested in someone put some time and effort into sending them an actual message even if it's simply to complement their profile's content or point out something you have in common with them.

      Don't {ask for rejection} by chasing the birds!

      If your site allows you to see who clicked on your profile but they didn't reach out to you after reading it then most likely there was something you said that eliminated you from their consideration.

      It makes no sense for you to turn around and reach out to them.

      Essentially it's the equivalent of a person calling you and realizing they dialed a wrong number. You wouldn't insist upon having a conversation anyway! Coming off desperate is the stink of death!