How to handle and deal effectively with rejection from someone you love

Category: Better Endings | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 24-09-2010 | Modified: 16-07-2018

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Learn how to cope with rejection and move on

Knowing how to deal with rejection and what to do when it happens will help you to cope with rejection and recover more quickly. Rejection happens to us all in so many ways. It brings with it a whole host of what we’d generally consider to be negative feelings. I know, from personal and professional experience, that it can hurt like a physical pain.

But, I promise - you can learn to handle it, and I’m here to help you find out how. I know you're mentally strong enough to get through this, because you were born with all the skills you need!

So, if you were rejected and you're feeling crappy - hurt, disappointed, perhaps angry and maybe even a failure - hang on in there. These are all normal feelings under the circumstances.

Whatever the form of rejection you suffered, I’ll help you discover new ways of looking at the situation and specific strategies to help you feel better. Stick with me, and together we’ll get you through this difficult time.

For further information on your particular situation, be sure to also follow the relevant link(s) for even more help:

(By the way, this article is about rejection in a romantic relationship, but the advice applies to dealing with rejection in general too.)

If you've been rejected in love, I suspect that "disappointment" doesn't describe your feelings. You're devastated! Rejection of any kind though can be very painful indeed.

Constantly feeling rejected or has it happened out of the blue?

Either way, it’s going to hurt. If you’ve been feeling rejected for some time, you’ve probably been tying yourself in knots trying to figure out what’s gone wrong. And I’ll bet the strain of it all is making you feel pretty exhausted and low. If you’ve suddenly been rejected for no apparent reason, the primary emotion you’re likely to be dealing with right now is shock.

Maybe, in your heart of hearts, you’ve known for a little while that your relationship just isn’t right anymore. Deep down, you might have been expecting a major fall-out. Or perhaps you’ve felt like your partner’s been changing lately. Did you think s/he was just having a rough time… or have you even suspected an affair? Or are you automatically blaming yourself, and trying to identify what you’ve done wrong?

When you’re in the middle of such a confusing situation, it can be difficult to find the answers on your own. And there’s nothing more reassuring than some trustworthy advice from someone who’s not inside your own head! So, I encourage you to talk to a trusted friend or family member, to get their take on the situation. Alternatively, you can now very easily connect with an online licensed relationship expert (although please note: this is a paid service).

First, though, I’ve got plenty of advice to help you start finding your way through the maze of the feelings you’re going through right now...

Your article played the role of an Angel. Thanks a lot :"


Maitrayee
Content separator image. What science says about rejection, by prof Helen Fisher.

The utter pain of rejection

I cannot explain it any better than Prof Helen Fisher in this TED talk:

Not coping with a sudden rejection?

The way you feel will be part of your very personal response to bad news and/or being let down by someone important to you.

In other words, someone else in the same position might have felt worse than you do, or might not have been upset in the slightest. There is no right or wrong reaction here!

Your reaction will depend on the way you are naturally as a person, your specific circumstances and, of course, your relationship history. The way in which you found out or were told that you’re no longer wanted or loved will also have a bearing.

The following reactions are what I’d generally expect to see in anyone who has just been given really bad news:

  • feeling unable to speak during the first few minutes
  • feeling shaky
  • feeling dizzy or faint, with difficulty breathing 
  • feeling rooted to the ground
  • or fighting the urge to run away
  • awareness of a faster and harder heart beat
  • constantly feeling sick
  • difficulty eating anything
  • reduced ability to sleep, concentrate, remember and think
  • feeling anxious about all sorts of things

Most of these symptoms are likely to slowly disappear in the following days, possibly being replaced by a sense of gloom, sadness and lack of interest in anything. 

After a couple of weeks you should begin to see some light again. Very slowly, the periods that you feel a little better will become more frequent and last longer.

After 4 - 6 weeks, you’ll be getting on with things again, and feeling like you’re beginning to recover. Good days may still be intermingled with really lousy days, but you can expect to be on the right track.

So, if you’re here today because you’ve suddenly been rejected, my very best advice for you right now is to give yourself time to heal. Don’t expect an overnight recovery, and know that the way you’re feeling is likely to be very, very normal.

And always remember: rejection hurts everyone and you're mentally much stronger than you think you are. The pain you experience does NOT say anything about your strength of character!

Content separator image. Rejection can fuel insecurity - if you'll let it. Remember: you are unique!

Dealing with rejection and insecurity

As human beings we have a strong need to feel secure. But when you’re rejected, your sense of security is threatened. You may feel abandoned, scared or hopeless. 

Depending on the form of rejection and its duration, you can feel anything from temporarily overwhelmed to constantly being at the mercy of low self-esteem.

The hard reality is, unfortunately, that criticism and rejection are very much part of life. Everyone experiences rejection and criticism - and normally more than just once! 

But the good news is that you get to decide how it makes you feel: will you let it beat you, or will you seize it as an opportunity to grow, develop and become mentally stronger? You can decide how to cope with rejection.

I don't want anyone who doesn't want me. Oprah Winfrey

Is rejection fuelling your insecurity?

If you’ve felt badly let down in previous relationships - however old you were and for whatever reason - rejection may now ‘prove’ your belief in the fact that you’re not worthy of being loved and cherished.

If that sense of worthlessness doesn’t pass - or indeed grows stronger - please promise me that you'll find some professional help. You need to believe that you are worthy of love - and that’s a really difficult thing to achieve on your own. Let a professional help you to cope with rejection and move on.

Is counselling absolutely no option for you?

No worries! In that case, self-hypnosis can bring immediate relief. It will help you get over your heart-ache and regain your sense of self, confidence - simply by listening daily to a professionally developed download. Learn all about how that works in my article Hypnosis Online FAQ and Downloads.

Feeling rejected because of your partner's infidelity?

If your partner / spouse is having or has had an affair, it is understandable that you worry about what might be wrong with you. Perhaps the affair has suddenly made you become acutely aware of your perceived 'shortcomings'.

Trust me, I really get that. Each and every one of my clients in your position who came to me to find out how to deal with rejection has gone through the same turmoil.

However, right now I want you to stop focusing on your faults by knowing that:

  • You are unlikely to find the real reason your partner has cheated
  • he or she may not even be entirely sure themselves and may just give you half-reasons
  • when you’re feeling down, you’ll have a negative bias towards yourself – not the best time to review your attributes or characteristics!
  • being very emotional locks your attention on all the negativity which is also not very helpful in this situation
  • you are likely to misuse your imagination by going over all the things you might have done wrong and how much better, more attractive and desirable the other woman / man must be.
  • I have seen men and women reject the most beautiful, thoughtful and fantastic partners

I have written extensively about infidelity and the best thing you can do now is to discover what to do and what not starting with my article: Surviving Infidelity.

You may also want to consider getting my All-inclusive Relationship Test to discover what's going wrong in your relationship - other than the affair, of course.  You'll also discover what's going right and worth fighting for!

Content separator image. 10 Tips on how to deal with your feelings when you've suffered a rejection.

How to handle rejection - dealing with your feelings

Get over the initial shock first. See yourself through the initial couple of weeks as best you can – ideally with the help of friends and family, and by treating yourself kindly.

When you are over the initial shock the following suggestions may help...

13 Tips to help you deal with being rejected

  1. Learn to divert your attention away from negative thoughts. Remind yourself of what you do have and the things you enjoy, however small or insignificant they may seem. 
  2. Postpone your processing of what happened to particular times in the day, and set a time-limit (approx. 20 minutes). Stick to those times to mull over what’s happened. If you find your thoughts straying to the troubles at other times of the day, stop them in their tracks. Don’t let your thoughts get stuck in a negative loop. This is just about the best advice on how to deal with rejection I could give you.
  3. Face up to your feelings during that set time. They're normal! Whilst I'd like you to limit the time you're moping, I do want you to learn to deal with difficult feelings too. Rejection means you've suffered a loss and it's important and necessary that you grieve, accept your feelings and learn how to deal with them.
  4. Begin to re-engage with all the things you used to enjoy, even if it feels like an effort.
  5. Do not isolate yourself for too long, even if that was helpful initially. When you’re feeling lost and rejected, you ideally need to have familiar and supportive people around you.
  6. Don't ask for antidepressants - your feelings are normal! (See useful links below.)
  7. Accept that you’re grieving for the loss of your relationship – which is very normal after a significant loss of any kind.
  8. Speed up healing with the help of the hypnosis download: Dealing with rejection or Unrequited love. See my article: Online Hypnosis FAQ and Downloads
  9. Get in touch with nature - go for walks, sit with your back against a tree, or lie on the grass or the beach. Make an effort to notice flowers and wildlife, and feel connected with the wider world around us. The soothing powers of the natural world shouldn’t be underestimated!
  10. Write 'never-to-be-sent' letters - forget about capitals, spelling and grammar - just write! It can help to get things in perspective when you get them out of your head and onto paper. (Just be sure to destroy the letters or keep them in a safe, inaccessible place to avoid accidentally sending them!)
  11. Talk - to trusted friends or family. Or find a professional - you can  connect with a Better Help therapist right now if you’re ready to get started today. You'll find it a huge relief! Or… if you can't constantly stop talking about it after several weeks - stop talking and start living!
  12. Be kind to yourself - know that you're far stronger than you think you are. Once those intense emotions wane, you'll be in a much better position to come up with solutions. So, promise me you won't beat yourself up!
  13. Don't unleash your hurt and anger on social media. You’re very likely to regret having done so when you've calmed down, and your friends may not make it easy for you to forget and move on.

When you’re feeling a little stronger, it’ll be time to take action. Without judging yourself, aim to discover, face up to and and get a grip on precisely why you’ve been rejected. You may find my article on problem solving strategies helpful for this exercise.

Once you’ve understood and accepted what’s happened, it’s time to start planning your next steps for recovery. Planning will help you look to the future and move forward.

Your plan, then, should include positive things you’ll do every day to move you towards healing the hurt you’re feeling right now. Remember to be specific about exactly what you’re going to do and when. Having clear steps to follow will help you successfully make changes that can lead to a happier you. Read my article on how to get over someone for tips and advice on this.

Content separator image. How to mend your broken heart with effective self-help.

Are there opportunities to be found when someone rejects you?

I know you might find it hard to believe, but it may actually be a blessing that someone rejected you, let you down, abandoned or replaced you. It can be a huge opportunity for personal growth.

Stick with me!

Perhaps, if you looked deep into your heart, you knew you were in the wrong relationship but you were too scared to leave. Or maybe you felt that you were gradually losing your real self, no matter how much you loved your (ex)partner. Over time you may have been re-shaping bits of yourself to fit in with whatever you thought you partner wanted from you.

Even if you’re adamant that this is/was the right relationship for you, your partner’s rejection does signal that there’s trouble somewhere along the line. Two things on this one: firstly, I’d like you to check that you're not in an abusive relationship - read my article: Signs of emotional abuse. Secondly, if your partner has had (or is having) an affair, it shows that they don’t feel the same way about the relationship as you do. And unless you're both on the same page, or at least in the same chapter, the relationship won’t be healthy and fulfilling.

So what on earth is the opportunity that’s come from this rejection? Well, staying in a relationship that’s not right for one or both partners is never a recipe for long-term happiness. So, if you choose to look at it from a positive perspective, you’re now in a position to find the relationship that is healthy and right for you. 

And when you recover from the heartbreak, you’ll have learnt that you’re more resilient that you might have previously believed. Also, if you take the time to figure out what went wrong, you’ll be in a position to avoid the same pitfalls in the future.

Feeling rejected? Have a group hug.Reach out and hug, and allow yourself to be hugged.

And finally...

You now know a little more about how to deal with rejection. And remember this: unhappiness is not caused by what happens to you in life but how you react to and deal with what happens to you.

In other words, you’re in control of yourself and your feelings, so take action today to overcome your distress. You won't only survive, you'll thrive! I'm rooting for you.

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