“We cannot change the actions of others, but we can change how we let it affect us”
In the last post we talked about how rejection affects us all and how, sometimes, the rejection we experience may not be personal but instead an outcome of what someone else is going through. In order to help us understand the difference, we suggested splitting an experience into 2 lists to distinguish what really happened – and what we felt happened. This enables us to separate feelings from fact; ultimately, allowing us to realise these experiences had nothing to do with us at all.
This month we decided to ask a few people* about their stories of rejection and the decisions they made from the experience. This is to illustrate to our readers that everyone experiences what is perceived as rejection and how we let it affect us.
Anna | 36 | London
I was in a relationship with this guy for about 4 years. We got along really well in the beginning and I knew that he liked me. However, his work (he was a doctor) meant that he had a hectic lifestyle and looking back, I don’t think he had time for a proper relationship. Due to his work schedule, and the fact he lived quite a distance away from me, I was always having to plan my life around his and I felt I was the one making all the effort.
What did you decide? I felt that I was second best to his work, family and social life and that his lack of effort was a reflection on me. He preferred the situation the way it was because it was best for him. Since that relationship I’ve found that I don’t make enough effort with guys and I get put off really easily. I’m so adamant that I won’t get myself in a situation like that again so I won’t entertain someone who doesn’t seem like they have enough time for me.
Jess | 24 | London
I dated someone last year, who on paper was my perfect guy. He ticked all my boxes and it seemed that it would work well with my family…he was basically my ideal guy. However, as we got to know each other and went on more dates I found that he would take longer and longer to reply to my messages and he would keep coming up with excuses about why he’s been so distance. It went round in a circle a few times before I eventually stepped away from that relationship.
What did you decide? I decided that, if the next person I date, isn’t consistent with his communication then I won’t put up with it. I felt that his lack of attention was personal to me as he always seemed to be on his phone. It made me feel insecure, so I decided that I’m going to set my rules and hope to not experience something like that again!
Bhavini | 28 | London
I met a guy online and we were dating for a few months but then out of the blue he said he couldn’t date me anymore because he had too much going on (but I think this was just an excuse because he had been acting distant before then). I didn’t hear from him soon after that.
What did you decide? At the time I felt used and annoyed at him and the situation, so I decided that I would be more laid back about meeting someone and not be so active because I didn’t want to feel used like that again.
Rochelle | 26 |London
I was in a relationship for about a year and a half (on and off) and found out during the last 6 months of the relationship that he had cheated. We talked about it and I decided I could deal with it and we could move forward. However, I eventually found out he was talking to another girl and decided to no longer continue that relationship.
What did you decide? I decided that I wasn’t pretty enough or I was missing something because why else would someone cheat, right? I also think I decided that this was something that men would always do and it left me with a lot of trust issues. I decided to keep my guard up more next time and not be so vulnerable and open with someone as I once was.
So…what can we take away from these stories? It’s safe to say an experience of rejection has happened to most of us, in some form or another. The decisions we make after that experience can stay with us for years, sometimes without us even realising it. But, what does this mean? It means we might enter a new relationship with thoughts we decided from our past still lingering. The presumptions that ‘he’s too busy, therefore, he doesn’t care’ or ‘she’s not replying to me fast enough so she isn’t that interested’ are created before we’ve even given someone a chance!
Without belittling our experiences, why not change the way we view them? See them as learning curves, as experiences that have shaped the way we are in the world but that do not define us. We cannot change the actions of others, but we can change how we let it affect us. Do we really want to be letting one bad experience in a relationship affect how we view the next?
Look out for our next blog post, we’ll be discussing ‘Men & Vulnerability’…
*Names have been changed due to confidentiality.