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Six Tips for Surviving Rejection
Hey you! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and rejoin the living!
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.