Getting rejected by a potential love interest is never a fun experience, but with a little space and time to heal, most of us bounce back pretty fast—that is, unless it happens four times in a row. This quadruple-whammy of rejection led me to some pretty intense reflection, and while I can’t say I’d want to do it again, I’m grateful for the lessons it taught me.
My best friend got over his crush on me.
Earlier this year I had an incredibly connecting experience with my best friend. We’d both harbored crushes on each other for a long time and we finally got the chance to explore the romantic and sexual facets of our connection. We no longer live in the same city, so when I booked a week’s vacation to go visit him, I was full of high hopes. I arrived ready to pick up where we left off, but in the interim, he’d moved on from that dynamic. While he still loved and cared for me as a friend, the sexual chemistry just wasn’t there for him the way it was for me.
My new flame was snuffed out before it got started.
On the way back from that trip, I made a stopover to visit some other friends for a weekend-long party. It was there I met this new dude – someone I immediately found myself attracted to and intrigued by. I was so drawn to him that I decided, mid-conversation, to just kiss him. We spent a night together just talking and cuddling, and I knew I wanted to keep in touch to see where that connection might lead. Turns out the answer is nowhere—as soon as we were back in our respective cities, he made it clear he wasn’t interested in pursuing anything with me and then just dropped off the face of the earth. So much for that one.
I got jilted by my long-distance girlfriend.
After I got back home, my long-distance girlfriend came to visit for a few days. We haven’t seen each other in almost six months and I was so excited to finally reconnect in person. I’d missed physical intimacy with her and was so eager to make the most of our limited time together. Unfortunately, the distance had made it difficult for her to remain connected to me and the first few days she was really uncomfortable with any physical affection. We had a long talk about it and I understood why she needed time to adjust to our relationship again. Still, the rejection was starting to get to me.
Finally, my partner pulled away.
After this whirlwind of other connections, my partner found it challenging to maintain closeness with me. Free love has its difficult moments and this was one of them. In the aftermath of my trip away, we both struggled to reconnect, rebuild trust, and work through the insecurities and discomforts that sometimes accompany forays into the unknown. I felt like even my most stable relationship was in jeopardy.
The trick is in reframing.
In all of this, I felt incredibly alone and the sense of rejection that pervaded all these experiences threatened to unbalance me. I recognized though, that rejection is just one way of seeing it. In each interaction, I could completely empathize with the other person’s feelings and it was this that helped get me out of the rut of self-pity. Rather than seeing it as a rejection of me, I chose to see it as a difference in needs. That helped keep me out of the crazy-making spiral.
It’s been a mirror to my own mindset.
Every challenge is an opportunity to stop and take stock of my own perspective on life, and this was no different. Rather than getting caught up in what other people are doing (or not doing, in this case), I can focus on the one thing I can change: myself! Rather than put all my time and energy into obsessing over people who aren’t open to me, I’d rather spend those resources in focusing on myself. It’s helped me understand my motivations for seeking connection and the underlying issues that are playing themselves out with other people.
I’m learning to let go.
I have a terrible tendency to hang on too tight to relationships, even after they’re long gone. This whole debacle is a great lesson in learning to live life with an open palm. Sometimes it’s only when I’m forced to deal with loss that I remember the importance of letting things go. So really, it’s a blessing in disguise, right? At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself…
Seeking solace in friends is helping.
All this interaction with potential lovers has been doing my head in. I’ve been so caught up in love interests that I’ve forgotten there are other ways of connecting without sex coming into the picture. Imagine that! Hanging out with friends and taking the opportunity to spill has been a good way of processing all these pesky feelings, as well as giving me something else to focus on. I’m reminded of how valuable my friends are and how many amazing people I already have in my life, relationships be damned.
It’s a chance to reconnect with myself.
Being alone can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. I’ve been choosing the former and have started taking the opportunity to invest more in my self-love routine. Pursuing other projects, spending time in meditation, and doing things just for me have been great ways to celebrate my independence in the face of all this. I’m a badass independent woman and no dude (or lady) should make me forget that.
I’ve learned a lot about expectation.
Expectation is the birthplace of all disappointment, am I right? I notice that the moments I’ve been most happy are those in which I take life as it comes. When I allow myself to be surprised, no matter the outcome, I’m way more likely to be grateful for what is rather than what I think should be. Seems pretty simple when you look at it that way. So here’s to more surprise and less expectation!
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