The mystery of love is dwarfed by the far greater mystery of how to get the hell over being dumped. Here’s how to begin.
Most functional adults have experienced rejection in some aspects of their lives, from apartment applications to jobs to being chosen last for dodge ball. Hearing “no” is far more common than hearing “yes”, so we mostly get used to it. Being rejected romantically, however, is a whole other can of worms. Whether you’re in love or just in like, someone not being into you can feel far more painful than missing out on a promotion.
Let yourself grieve
The loss of a relationship is like a small death — the death of a future you, whom you pictured alongside a specific person. It’s normal to feel sad about it the way you would about any loss. Take some time to feel your feelings; there’s no rush to get back out there. It will gradually get better, though there will be good days and bad days.
Days when you stay in bed and eat ice cream; days when you cry at an insurance commercial. Try to balance them out with days spent outside and days doing the stuff that makes life fun. Which could also include staying in bed eating ice cream.
It’s not as personal as it feels
When you ask someone out and get turned down, or worse, someone dumps you, it feels like a wholesale rejection of your soul. And also your body. And your style?! So much is encompassed in someone not liking you back, which is why it’s so upsetting.
Try to remember that everyone is exactly as complicated as you are. There’s no way to parse the reasons they’re not into you. Some of those reasons are entirely outside your control. Maybe you remind them of someone who hurt them in the past; maybe they’re not really ready for a relationship (it’s true sometimes!); maybe they’re not even attracted to your gender.
A rejection has as much to do with the person doing the rejecting. As personal as it may feel, there are a lot of factors you will never know.
Hide their number
This is a clever trick someone recommended to me when I was falling prey to the temptation to text someone who ghosted me: Delete their number. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, so instead I labelled their name as Don’t Text. It’s not a fail-safe, but it does make you pause before you hit Send. During your better moments, you know you shouldn’t text or call them. Leave a clue for when you’re in a worse moment.
Try something new
It’s hard to get over someone when everything about your routine reminds you of the hole they left. Disrupt your pattern by trying something different: a new hobby, a new class, a new restaurant, a new park. Anything to shake things up. Not only will it give you something else to think about, you’ll be more likely to hang out with other people with the same interests. There’s nothing like a new prospect to help clear the clouds away.
Strengthen your other relationships
True friends are there for you through thick and thin. You’re also allowed to have as many of them as you want — unlike romantic relationships, which usually have far less wiggle room. Invest in your friendships, be social, talk through your feelings.
The caveat here is that you have to invest in your friendships when you’re in a relationship, too. If you’re the type to neglect friends whenever you’re dating someone, you’ll be in for a rough time. Luckily, building up those friendships again is a great project, and one that will sustain you in future.
Get out there again
After the grieving has subsided, after you’ve built up your self-esteem, you’ll need to get back out there. I know, dating is often horrible, but the longer you avoid it, the harder it will be to start — sort of like going to the gym. Even if you’re not ready to commit to someone new, getting a coffee with somebody cute is a good exercise. Romantic rejection sucks, but don’t be fooled into thinking that one rejection is a life sentence.