We can’t talk about dating without the ‘R’ word - rejection. Could it be a step forward?
We can’t talk about dating without mentioning the ‘R’ word: Rejection. It’s a basic fear that prevents many people from putting themselves out there. No one wants to feel rejected, unloved, or worse, unlovable.
It’s easy to feel stung, or rejected, when we reach out to someone to invite a deeper connection and they do not share our desire. Sometimes it’s easier to simply protect ourselves, and not expose our hearts to the humiliation of having our advances spurned or not embraced.
But it’s also true that not everyone resonates equally with everyone else, and sometimes even though we are quite attracted to someone, it isn’t a healthy situation for either person to be in. So being “rejected” is often a blessing in disguise — it removes a potentially unhealthy situation and allows us to move forward into a world rich with people better suited to our needs and desires.
So if we reframe it, rejection can be a step forward, says friend and colleague, Lisa Steadman. It can challenge us to look at the way we go about dating and evaluate how our choices contribute to the experience of “rejection.”
Many of my clients come to see me when they are lost in a sea of what feels like rejection. They’ve been in and out of relationships for years; none of which has stuck. No one they’ve been dating has been ‘The One.’ They walk in my office with an imaginary basket filled to the brim with “rejection.” They show it to me, “See! No one likes me. There’s no one out there for me. All the good men are taken. I’m doomed to a life of singlehood; I’ll be the Old Maid.”
Of course I have compassion for how they are feeling and what they have been through. I listen to their stories of heartache and loss, loneliness and hopelessness.
But here’s the truth: they’ve been dating inappropriate men all along. Do you want to know the secret for not feeling rejected and not being rejected? Only date men that are right for you, good for you – in other words, men who meet your wants, needs and requirements in relationship.
Most people jump into relationship within the first few weeks (or days) of getting to know someone. Hormones are raging. The partners are totally infatuated with one another. They speed past the red flags waving goodbye, and dive right in to the deep waters. Having sex releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and the next thing they know, these two people who barely know each other are in relationship! Fast forward a few weeks or months (if you’re lucky, for some it takes a few years), and the relationship is thrown into the basket of rejection. Over time, that basket fills up and soon it’s overflowing with rejection and failed relationships.
So, how do you date differently and not waste time in relationship with men who don’t meet your needs? How do you stop adding to the basket of rejection, but instead put it down and move forward towards what you truly want?
David Steele, of Relationship Coaching Institute, coined the term: “conscious dating.” That term means just the way it sounds – to date with a balance between your heart and your head; to know before you even start dating what you want and need in order to be in relationship. To feel attracted and infatuated, but not speed past those red flags and wave as they pass you by; but to take things slowly, not rush into sex. To take your time getting to know the object of your desire, hold off on diving in, until you are both sure.
This isn’t to say that if you do all of these things that the one you choose to move forward with will surely be one you’ll spend the rest of your life with, but I can guarantee your basket of rejection will be empty. What you’ll have instead – if the relationship ends – is wisdom. Wisdom of what worked in that relationship and what didn’t, so that when you put yourself out into the dating world again, you’ll have even more information about what you need to feel loved and happy, emotionally connected and cared for.
So instead of feeling depressed that you’ve been “rejected,” you can turn that around and realize that you are freed up and available to meet someone who is truly right for you!
Robyn Vogel, MA, LMHC, is a Relationship and Intimacy Coach. For 20+ years, she has been supporting women in creating more love in their lives. Blending the self-empowerment tools of coaching with powerful and effective body-oriented techniques, Robyn’s clients are able to easily let go of obstacles that are in the way of living a deeply connected and intimate life. Robyn works with people of all sexual orientations; and welcomes those who choose alternative relationship paths. She is particularly skilled when it comes to matters of the heart. Most people that meet Robyn appreciate her warmth, compassion, open heart, and the way she holds sacred space for the depth of the human experience. For a free 30 minute consultation, click here.