Why Dating Rejection Can Be More Painful Than a Breakup, According to Experts

Why Dating Rejection Can Feel Even Worse Than a Breakup

We all know that going through a breakup can be incredibly tough. But what some people may find surprising is that getting rejected while dating can sometimes hurt just as much, if not more. So the next time you find yourself feeling confused, hurt, or blindsided by someone ghosting you or leaving you on read, it may be helpful to understand why dating rejection can be so emotionally challenging.

The Complexity of Dating Rejection

Unlike a long-term relationship that may end with a clear explanation or closure, dating rejection is often vague and confusing. As Jonathan Bennett, a relationship and dating expert, explains, “Rejection in dating can often be ambiguous or even nonexistent, leaving you wondering what really happened.” It could be as simple as a promising conversation on a dating app suddenly fizzling out for no apparent reason, or making plans to meet up with someone who doesn’t show up, leaving you to wonder what went wrong. This lack of explanation can cause a lot of anguish and anxiety.

The Rollercoaster of Emotions in Dating

Dating is filled with hope and excitement, which means that when things are going well, the emotional highs can be exhilarating. However, this also means that the emotional lows can hit harder. Cherlyn Chong, a breakup recovery and dating specialist, explains that when you start dating someone, you start daydreaming about the possibilities of the future together. If the dating relationship abruptly ends, you may long for those highs and feel the sting of losing something that was still in its early stages. This unique type of pain can be more intense than the rejection of a long-term partner, where the love is more comforting than passionate.

Taking Rejection Personally

Rejection is tough for anyone, but several factors can amplify its impact. For example, if the rejection happens soon after a breakup or if you have low self-esteem, you may internalize the rejection and feel like there is something wrong with you. As Chong explains, rejection tends to reinforce negative beliefs about yourself, especially if they are already deeply ingrained. This can leave you feeling hopeless about finding love again, making even minor rejections excruciatingly painful.

The Accumulative Effect of Dating Rejection

Unlike a breakup, dating rejection often involves repeated letdowns. As Bennett puts it, most people don’t instantly meet their next partner while dating. “Facing rejection from one partner is bad enough. If you constantly face rejection while dating, it can be emotionally deflating,” he says. This constant rejection can lead to feelings of burnout and self-doubt, making you question if the rejections are somehow a reflection of your worth.

Coping with Dating Rejection

Dealing with dating rejection can be challenging, but there are ways to manage the pain and enjoy the dating process. One crucial step is ensuring that you have fully recovered from a previous breakup before seeking a new partner. Rushing into dating after a breakup to fill a void can be more damaging to your emotional well-being. Chong advises focusing on self-care and personal growth before diving back into the dating scene.

Furthermore, it’s important to approach each date with zero expectations. Chong suggests focusing on the present moment rather than anticipating a future with a potential partner. This mindset can help manage emotions and anxiety throughout the date. And whether the date goes well or not, it’s essential to reward yourself afterward. This could mean spending time with friends, treating yourself to something nice, or indulging in your favorite activities. Celebrating the fact that you went on a date, regardless of the outcome, can create a positive association and make the experience more enjoyable.

Embracing the Journey of Dating

Rejection is a natural part of life, especially in the world of dating. However, by keeping these strategies in mind and treating yourself with kindness as you meet new people, dating can be a positive experience. Remember that each rejection is not a reflection of your worth or your ability to find love. With the right mindset and self-care, dating can lead to exciting possibilities and open doors to new connections in the future.