Six Tips for Surviving Rejection

Hey you! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and rejoin the living!

Muhammad Ali. Man the fuck up

By Kelly Bourdet

You just got dumped. Ouch. That looks like it hurt. Now take a deep breath and get over yourself. We've all been dumped — and we've all dumped someone else — and unless you and your ex count your relationship in decades or adopted a bunch of kids together, it's probably for the best.

When we date we tend to view our compatibility with others as obviously subjective: do we have similar lifestyles? senses of humor? are our schedules complimentary? But when we get rejected we perceive that rejection, irrationally, as objective. We think: I'm objectively less hot than his ex-girlfriend. I'm dumber. People end up reading rejection as an outright judgment of their worth.

But it's not. That's stupid. And you're not stupid, you're smart. So don't write a sonnet or lock yourself away to weep over your Häagen-Dazs. This isn't Sex and The City. Read this list of things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself rejected. Then get over it.

1) It really, actually, isn't about you. Or maybe it is.

I've broken it off with many cute, smart, interesting guys for reasons that had little to do with them as individuals. Often, I just didn't want a relationship. Some people are into serious, monogamous relationships; I never have been. It wasn't some judgment on their character, and, except for some colorful exceptions, I always thought the men I dated were great people. I just didn't want them for my boyfriend. So if someone rejects you, it really might not be about you. It really might be about circumstances, timing, etc.

Or, it might be about you. But who cares, really? I personally believe that in a good relationship both partners should feel super-lucky that they're with the other person. If someone doesn't want to be with you — doesn't feel really lucky to have you — then what's the point? It doesn't feel great, but there are millions of amazing people in the world. Go find another one.

2) Holy shit, he cheated? Get over it.

I obviously don't think it's a good idea to cheat on someone because, come on, that's a dick move. But it does happen. And when it does, it's not something to dwell on in a fit of self-pity. It's nothing unique.

Also, have you ever cheated on someone? No? Well, that's impressive. I have. And I didn't feel great about it. And I haven't done it again. But it also wasn't the most terrible, soulless thing I've ever done either.

I once had a boyfriend cheat on me. He was a musician and spent most of his time in L.A. and abroad. Eventually, my sneaking suspicions that his friendship with a Los Angeles lady wasn't entirely platonic were justified. Of course it hurt my feelings, and I felt especially dumb for sitting around waiting for him at home. But in the end it helped me see that our relationship hadn't been working, and, being honest, I understood why he was looking around. I broke it off, got over it, and we're friends to this day.

Sometimes our imperfections can be messy and hurtful. But none of us are fucking martyrs or victims because some guy or girl cheated on us. It's just a commonplace, if unfortunate, relationship issue. Get out of that situation, then get over it.

3) Stop obsessively replaying that time you did something "wrong."

Ever been on a date with some banker and dryly asked him if he had a soul, only to discover that he didn't find that very amusing? (I was only joking!) And then he didn't exactly ask you on a second date? Yeah. In that situation it's easy to replay that one moment you think you fucked it up, in a flushed, self-flagellating OCD fit. But!

A. That probably wasn't it. That guy probably didn't call me again for a variety of reasons, only one of which was my dry, hilarious sense of humor. So no reason to obsess. Seriously, he probably just didn't really like my personality in general.

B. Even if that was it, it's not a bad thing. I actually do have a dry, hilarious sense of humor. It's not for everyone. If it's not a good match, it's not a good match.

Commentarium (25 Comments)

Jan 24 11 - 11:14am

This is funny three months post breakup. But a month ago, I'd probably be kind of mad!

Jan 24 11 - 11:45am

This seems like it was written by a very young and inexperienced person. Also, perhaps the process of getting over a break up shouldn't be written by someone who doesn't believe in committed long-term relationships. I don't think the writer has a clue to the disruption of life it can cause when you have been with someone even a couple of years, nor does the writer have a real clue to how painful it is to discover that the person you trusted lied and cheated on you.

Nov 24 11 - 7:03am

perhaps she's young, but I wouldn't say she's inexperienced, at least in the department of regaining self-worth after a "disruption of life". We have all been there: dumped, cheated on or lied to, but the writer is not telling you to nurture your resentment towards the person who does all those horrible things to you. Her best point is that you should respect that person's choice, since there's no way we can pop into their head to see/change what is going on that pushes them to break up with you. This is always a painful experience, but since you all are reading her article (and comment on it), I assume to be reminded of how painful it is is the last thing you want, so there's no point for the writer to lament on about it. Everyone wants a committed relationship, that is why we blindly hand out our heart like leaflets to people who, unfortunately, are not able to take it. We should not blame them, nevertheless. I think the article is spot-on here because it tells you how to come out as best as you can of an unworking relationship, not why it doesn't work, and how you can make it work.

Jan 24 11 - 12:04pm

i agree, this sounds like it was written by a very young person.

Jan 24 11 - 12:06pm

True- those things are painful and can feel like someone kicked you in the teeth with hobnail boots covered in shit. But the goal of the piece was to help people get over themselves- and considering the positive wave of non monogamy and the divorce rate- no matter how old you are, you may still be dating. So the same rules apply- get over it, recognize that it may just be a bad match and don't take yourself so seriously. You are no special snowflake that was the only one who ever got hurt.

Jan 24 11 - 12:08pm

this seems like it's more about dating rejection rather than actually having a relationship and getting dumped.

Jan 24 11 - 12:46pm

This article just seems trite. Because when you're really legitimately heartbroken, when the person who told you he or she would always be there and goes out of their way for years to make you believe it all of a sudden renegs with no warning, it turns your world upside down. And flippantly saying "get over it!" doesn't actually help a person to get over it. Everyone wants to get over it. And if it were as easy as just deciding to, then there wouldn't be so many sad people in the world.

Jan 24 11 - 1:36pm

Nah I think you gusy are just being bitches. The author isnt saying getting over it should be easy, she is saying stop making it harder than it needs to be by feeling sorry for yourself. Some of you commenters are essentially saying "no but I WANT to and DESERVE to feel sorry for myself" Trust me, your friends woudl love it if you stopped complaining about "your world being turned upside down". You keep picking at the wound and then pointing at it like "Look, its still bleeding!"

Jan 24 11 - 2:00pm

I don't think you should be looking for puff articles on the Internet to un-break your heart. It's a decent piece of writing.

Jan 24 11 - 6:38pm

so what if it's written by a young person? must all articles related to break ups be directed to the a specific target market?

Jan 24 11 - 7:32pm

I thought the article was humorous and helpful actually. Too many of my girlfriends can't get over their ex-boyfriends or not-even-ex-boyfriends because they always think "what if I did..."
As for myself, I'm not very good at rejection so I don't put myself out there as often. I think that if I keep these tips in mind (even if they appear trite to other people) I may remember that I'm a strong, intelligent, and confident woman rather than a self-conscious teenager.

Jan 25 11 - 1:18am

useful stuff, and strong.

but only slightly less destructive than the (rightly criticised) insipid articles it's opposing.

Jan 27 11 - 1:40pm

This article has such a low moral value it makes me cringe. Cheating is only commonplace among insecure people, as is the practice of non-monogamy. Why can't people just be by themselves until they get straightened out? The one thing you should've covered but didn't is when a person forgets to tell you they don't want to see you any longer and just stops calling. Would've fit in perfectly with the rest of the shite.

Jan 28 11 - 4:00am

sometimes people cheat because every time they try to break up with a long-term partner, the person talks them out of it or cries and begs like a stabbed baby, and so the next day, you're still together because you don't want to hurt them. it's cowardly, but also compassionate. Cheating is ugly and hurts people, but sometimes you don't plan to do it and you can't deal with how the other person is going to react. Shit is complicated. Also: "Straightened out"?!! i know lots of people who are non-monogamous and in happy, functioning, open-relationships. nobody has to be be "by themselves" if everyone involved is ok with the arrangement. jeez. narrow-minded much?

Jan 28 11 - 4:03am

also, i thought this was awesome advice. maybe a little hard-to-hear, tough-love kind of advice, but totally brilliant. and although i am not 45, going through a divorce with a cheating spouse who i have loved my whole life, i think i have experienced enough rejection and rejecting to justify seeing some merit in this article.

Jan 30 11 - 9:01am

I have to say, this is one of the least insightful articles I've ever read. It's basically six bullet points that all say "Who cares? Get over it" several different ways. Much better advice would be to focus on how to be (as in become or demonstrate yourself as) a more desirable partner, or how to focus on finding someone whose romantic ambitions line up with yours.

Jan 31 11 - 3:39am

This was shitty. Love is not a joke. I will laugh when the author of this piece first has an actual relationship.

Feb 02 11 - 8:30pm

The article was interesting and in some respects very true however, when heartache strikes it's a b* to get over. As human beings we have a difficult time controlling our emotions.

Love isn't a switch.

Feb 08 11 - 3:19pm

haha, a billion people are literally starving to death, war murder and rape are commonplace, and you commenty folks are talking-up how truly devastating a break-up can be. BULL. SHIT.

if somebody cheating on you or a shitty breakup is the worst thing that you're dealing with, your life is awesome

Feb 22 11 - 4:29am

this was a useful article in terms of understanding why people cheat/reject others and how we shouldn't take it personally.
but to all the people saying just 'get over it' - well i hope you never go through a bad episode of cheating but trust me, if you do or if you have, you'll have to be a really strong person to not let it knock you. someone you loved and would do anything for and think is wonderful doesn't want to be with you, and what's more, was a dick about it and made you suffer so much in the process and question whether you were stupid/idealistic/naive etc...that's not easy. it makes you question anything you ever believed in.
also if you are someone who would never cheat, it's incredibly hard to understand the POV of a cheater.
I know it is important to get over these things and move on with life but we are human! and unfortunately sometimes things fuck up massively and its hard to get out...

May 14 12 - 4:05am
Miss Write

Definitely food for thought and I think everyone can take something from this article. It's often a little harder to ante up than the author suggests; if you never wanted a long term relationship in the first place, a break-up just gives you an opportunity to meet someone new. If you adored them and thought thet adored you, you just have to feel crap until you don't anymore.

May 14 12 - 6:06pm

"you just have to feel crap until you don't anymore." -- Sad, but true.

Dealing with an incredibly painful break up (was lied to, cheated on, used and dumped). It's a little later in my life, I thought this person was the one I'd marry. After a few months I am still in a lot of pain, but realizing 1) there is nothing I can do to change anything 2) their life will go on (it probably already is with someone else) so mine has to as well.

I'm keeping busy, working out (lost 10-15lbs) and doing things to make me a better, happier person.

When we broke up, I blamed myself, was angry at them - lots of mixed emotions. I'm working on getting back to the person I used to be - happy, fun-loving and positive. You have to love yourself before you can expect someone else to love you.

May 23 12 - 4:34pm

I had an amazing boyfriend and we became best friends. Then out of the blue he told me he didn't like me anymore. Now it's about a month later and we're still really close and he even told me he likes me again and that he was going to ask me out but wanted to wait a bit longer. I still really like him. But I actually just got off the phone with him because I wanted to see where we could go and he said he likes me kind of but wants to wait and see. He also so that he's not sure if he likes me but he does get jealous when I talk to other guys. I hate being rejected and I don't know if this is rejection or not! Help! Someone... ANYONE!!!

Aug 07 12 - 1:45pm

...and then there was me.
There is NOTHING anyone can say, No golden nugget of advice is going to somehow magically and rationally make things better. Nothing smoked, popped, drank or injected is miraculously going to soothe and heal Pain . It's simply has to run its course; And that is all dependent on The personality type of the individual and on how deeply the individual is affected. For some the pain subsides in just a few weeks or months; For others it may plague them the rest of their lives. Forgive and forget? I think not. Forgetting only exposes your vulnerabilities yet again . Love is an ugly game Especially in regards to the scars of the loser . Because of it so many good people are ruined as are potentially good relationships. One constant is true : The one who cares the least bears the most power ; The one who cares the most stands to suffer the most. Said most concisely by the infamous rock group Nazareth: "Love HURTS".

Sep 19 12 - 1:55pm

I think this article is one of the worsts I have ever read. And actually it won't help. At all. It may make you angry even. And in a part she says she was mad at being cheated on and next page she says she's ok with being non-monogamous.