Surprisingly, one of the worst parts of modern dating is being pursued by people you’re not interested in. It’s not a nice feeling to have to reject someone. But even worse is the fear that said person is going to become aggressive and hostile. While anybody can turn aggressive—and women are guilty of this too—there seems to be a phenomenon of straight men lashing out at women when they’re turned down. No matter how polite or kind you are in your rejection, some guys will reach straight for the name-calling, threats, and abuse. So why is that?
He has a sense of entitlement.
This is one of the biggest reasons why some guys can get extremely hostile when you reject them. They believe they’re owed a chance at being with you, even if it is only for one night. And so they feel like some huge injustice has been done to them when you simply say no. The truth is nobody is owed anything. That goes for men and women. You don’t have to go out with or even talk to anybody you’re not feeling. The same goes for every single guy out there. This incredibly misogynistic attitude—which not all men have, luckily—might stem from society constantly reinforcing that women exist for the pleasure of men. It’s this same attitude behind women being told to smile and having to go to extreme lengths to appear attractive.
His feelings are hurt.
Rejection hurts, plain and simple. No one likes to be rejected and it’s never nice to have your advances turn down, especially when it comes to love. Hostile behavior can be the first reaction to hurt feelings. Guys can go on the offensive to distract themselves from the fact that they’re so upset at being rejected. This can be the case when they’re used to getting everything they want, or when they’ve been rejected over again and they’re sick of it. As hard as it is to be rejected, that’s still not a good enough reason to go out with someone you’re not interested in. We all face rejection sooner or later.
It’s easier than admitting hurt feelings.
When your feelings are hurt, it’s sometimes easier to lash out than admit you’re hurt. Think of a kid having a tantrum, which is essentially what’s happening when a guy calls you ugly or fat after you reject him. Obviously, if he was hitting on you, he doesn’t actually think those things. He’s just trying to hurt you because he’s hurt himself. Dealing with those sad feelings is hard and requires a lot of emotional intelligence.
They’re not allowed to have hurt feelings in society’s eyes.
Society often tells men that they’re not allowed to be sad. From childhood, men are conditioned not to cry or admit that they’re hurt, mentally or physically. Anger is one of the only emotions that many men feel they can actually experience and express, which is really sad. It’s definitely a good thing that we’re becoming more aware of this. We need to have more discussions around breaking gender stereotypes, for everyone.
Rage and aggression are more manly traits.
While men often feel like they’re not allowed to be sad, they are encouraged to possess more manly traits such as rage and aggression. Sometimes a rejection can result in men feeling like they’re been robbed of their manliness, and so they become aggressive thinking that’s how they get it back. According to psychotherapist Jaime Gleicher, LMSW (via Cosmopolitan), men tend to fight for their masculinity when they perceive it to be threatened by an outside source, such as a rejection.
Men are conditioned to believe women are weaker.
Sadly, society also conditions men to believe that women are weaker than them. Even worse, some men believe that women are inferior. So being rejected by a being they perceive to be weaker or inferior can make them especially mad. Again, it’s not all men who hold these beliefs. And the women’s rights movement is working every day to dismantle these false ideas. But we’ve still got a long way to go!
Appearing attractive to women can be a source of insecurity for some men.
It’s not only women who are under pressure to appear attractive to the opposite sex. Men are also held to unrealistic and unfair standards. Women finding them attractive can be a source of anxiety or concern for some men, so this can make them all the more sensitive about rejection. And that sensitivity can lead to hostile and aggressive behavior.
They have especially low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem makes rejection even more difficult to deal with. When you don’t feel great about yourself, getting turned down is a hard blow to take. Some men might be especially hostile because they have especially low self-esteem. They take the rejection personally and can’t brush it off and move on. Men who are more comfortable with themselves, by comparison, are less likely to be so thrown by the rejection that they lash out.
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