Healthy ways to Handle Rejections in Relationships

From Kindergarten until you graduate and let out to the world to toil and try make ends meet, we are taught a lot of things careerwise but one crucial subject that is never taught; how to handle life after campus and being your own guardian and fairly, no one can ever be completely ready for the indifferent world that await them ahead. But being 50% ready is better than being completely naive of what awaits you out there!

As an adult allowed to finally roam the earth unchecked, unpampered, you are forced to give up many privileges that you enjoyed when you were under the guardianship of your parents and/or teachers. Not getting everything you think you deserve to get is one of those privileges. Rejection is one painful MOFO that unfortunately you’ll have to face countless times if you live long enough.

At some point in life, everyone will go through various kinds of rejections in different areas of their life. As a young person full of emotions and raging hormones, the worst kind of rejection sometimes will be rejection that relates to love, the kind of rejection that will seemingly at that moment shatter your world, dreams and everything you’ve ever believed in, leaving you depressed and emotionally broke, nothing in life will make sense at that very moment and maybe for several days thereafter. You’ll feel betrayed. This is when you hear couples killing each other or themselves. The media has been having a field of late reporting such cases. It’s just a matter of time before this become an everyday news, normalized.

But before we normalize killing each other or ourselves and excuse this case with “They were rejected” it’s important to face the fact that, as a generation, we have failed when it comes to handling rejection. Committing suicide or murder, falling into some kind of addiction or depression seem to be the only options at hand for millennials and youth in general when they have to handle some major rejection.

You’ll be forgiven to think that somehow, we are promoting these cases more than controlling them if you think about it. These tragedies are everyone’s hot topic, conversation starters, etc and to some point, some people don’t follow it up because they need to understand why/how but because it’s entertaining. How many times have you walked down the street or seated in a Matatu or scrolling through your favorite Social Media Timeline and you come across a joke about hacking someone with an axe?

The cliché bits of advice like “there is someone for everyone, he/she just wasn’t the one” or “it’s not the end of the world, chin up” rarely help. Also asking someone to sleep their pain away is wishful thinking because everyone who has been in the same situation knows that you’ll sleep to avoid pain but the same pain will wake you up . The person getting rejected is a victim but so is the person rejecting.

Related: Relationship Violence, a Campus Life Perspective

We know people handle their emotions differently, but I’ve come up with simple basic ways of handling rejection for both parties involved. Here is how reject someone’s advances and how to move on without them, to survive the betrayal and to reduce the pain to a point where it doesn’t destroy you.

For Rejectors: If you’re the one rejecting:

Be polite about it and use thoughtful, kind words– We know it’s your life and you get to decide who you hang out with, date and share your life with, but being considerate won’t cost you much. You don’t want to push anyone’s buttons. No one loves being disrespected or having their ego bruised. Be friendly about it and considerate, remember you are dealing with an emotionally invested human being. Demeaning remarks that belittle a person’s worth are uncalled for. It’s bad enough you’re rejecting them, don’t overdo it.

Face them -don’t ignore them. People need answers, they need closure, they need to understand why you’re saying no. If you can, give them that chance to view and understand where you’re coming from and why it won’t work between you two. If you don’t feel safe doing it alone, tag someone along or do it in an open public place. And while at it, remember point number 1 above.

Leave them with their dignity intact – don’t humiliate them. Again, they are already in pain you don’t need the whole world making it worse. Privacy means nothing anymore; people will do anything for clout nowadays, even if it means betraying those who trusted you enough to open up in your DMs. We get more and more insensitive and we feed off the attention we get from embarrassing others. Don’t post videos or screenshots to shame anyone because they might never get their self-esteem or confidence back. People are not kind on the internet, they hide behind their keyboard to tear each other down and crush each other’s spirits instead of uplifting each other. Be sure that when you put this person out there to be the joke, sadists will jump on the bandwagon. The rejected person will feel offended and betrayed, you don’t want to put anyone in such a situation.

Watch your words -Don’t point out someone’s insecurities as reasons to why you’re leaving a person. You can only point out things they can improve on but not things they can’t control. Don’t go ham on their insecurities. Someone once said, if they can’t change it in 10 seconds, don’t point it out, things like acne, weight, etc.

Quit the games -. Nobody loves their intelligence being insulted. Don’t overpromise. Don’t say maybe when you mean no. Some people are comfortable watching another put their love life on hold to follow an impossible love story with them. The world does not revolve around you, don’t waste their time and life altogether. Don’t selfishly tag them along to use them, especially for money, they have needs too and people to take care of. Reject them as soon as you can. Help them cut the losses early!

For Rejectees: If you’re the one being rejected:

Unfortunately, there’s no antidote for heartaches, and that’s what you’ll feel. You life will seemingly come to a halt for some hours, days or weeks. These are not magic tips but they are definitely worth considering

Have a sober, peaceful follow-up conversation – Sure, you’ll most probably not be okay with being rejected and you’ll feel like you need to try and win them back. If you have to, please do it soberly. You’re allowed to ask for a second chance to mend your ways or try to convince them why they should stay, but remember you’re not entitled to another chance. At this stage, consider the possibility that you might not get them back, ever. If their answer is still no, respect that. Don’t force your way into their life or try to “buy” their love. It never ends well.

Go back out there – Whenever you’re ready, get yourself out there. Don’t let one rejection define your love life. and Key phrase here is Whenever you’re readyDon’t go on a getting laid spree. That too never ends well. Consider your now fragile emotions and maybe ego, don’t expose it too much. There are several awesome souls out there waiting to be met, attend social events too if possible and meet people the old-fashioned way.

Give your heart a break – If your heart was broken way too bad, take a vacation from the dating scene. Focus all your energy somewhere else, maybe you’re still in Campus, focus on your Education, or Career, or a hobby. Get out of the dating scene for a while, the last thing you need is to hurt the same wound severally by trying to force more love stories to numb the pain. Some alone time can help you fix yourself or your life, If you knew why they left you, take this time to try and improve yourself for the next love adventure.

Involve another person & keep your distance – In some situations, you’ll feel extremely betrayed. You’ll feel robbed of everything, down to your soul and you can’t really tell what you can do from there. You don’t trust yourself to do the right thing. Here’s where you’ll really need a friend, family, just another sober mind. Avoid the rejector at all cost. They are your trigger right now and you don’t need them on your finger. Send someone to talk to them on your behalf, a friend or their friend, or even their parent if you have something to say. If it’s a serious offense, talk to the police and focus on getting your emotional stability back. Never trust yourself to fix anything when you’re hurting.

Get help– This is especially difficult for men since they have been raised to be strong even when falling apart, women often speak up. Brothers, if you’re hurt already, seeking further help or opening up to someone else won’t hurt you anymore compared to suppressing your emotions. More often than not the pain is beyond you. There are various free helplines if you cannot afford to get a therapist. Even better, your support systems can play the role of a therapist.

Rejection is part of life, the earlier you accept that, the easier it’ll be facing it when it shows it’s ugly face. No one is sewed to you for life, it’s actually creepy to consider a person your property and /or your soulmate for life because nobody belongs to anyone really, they can make a choice to leave and you should be prepared for that and to respect their choice when it comes. When you love someone, be prepared to also accept their choices.

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