Coping with rejection in dating
When our spouse leaves us, when we get fired from our jobs, snubbed by our friends, or ostracized by our families and communities for our lifestyle choices, the pain we feel can be absolutely paralyzing.Whether the rejection we experience is large or small, one thing remains constant — it always hurts, and it usually hurts more than we expect it to. Why are we so bothered by a good friend failing to “like” the family holiday picture we posted on Facebook? Why would something so seemingly insignificant make us feel angry at our friend, moody, and bad about ourselves?Here are just some of them: Tempting as it might be to list all your faults in the aftermath of a rejection, and natural as it might seem to chastise yourself for what you did “wrong” — don’t!By all means review what happened and consider what you should do differently in the future, but there is absolutely no good reason to be punitive and self-critical while doing so. Another common mistake we make is to assume a rejection is personal when it’s not.And when a first date doesn’t return your texts, call your grandparents and remind yourself that your voice alone brings joy to others.Rejection is never easy but knowing how to limit the psychological damage it inflicts, and how to rebuild your self-esteem when it happens, will help you recover sooner and move on with confidence when it is time for your next date or social event.The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain.That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal (albeit, emotional) pain. Evolutionary psychologists believe it all started when we were hunter gatherers who lived in tribes.
In our distant past, ancient humans needed to work as a social group in order to survive: if someone wasn’t part of the group, they wouldn’t have anyone to help them hunt for food or fend off predators.
The answer is — our brains are wired to respond that way.
When scientists placed people in functional MRI machines and asked them to recall a recent rejection, they discovered something amazing.
Since we could not survive alone, being ostracized from our tribe was basically a death sentence.
As a result, we developed an early warning mechanism to alert us when we were at danger of being “kicked off the island” by our tribemates — and that was rejection.