One of the hardest lessons to learn and accept is that we don’t always get what we want. In fact, we frequently don’t get what we want. As children, we have to be taught, and taught again, that sometimes the answer is “no”. We are not always going to get our way. indeed, that can be a bitter pill to swallow.
By adulthood, in theory, we should be better equipped to deal with being told no and not always getting what we want…but theory can be wildly different from practice. No matter our age or experience, “no” stings. It can burrow deep and cause years of distress, pain, and self-doubt. How do we learn to deal with rejection?
Today’s column comes courtesy of a reader who is caught in a rejection cycle that is becoming ever more painful. How does one get out of such an unhappy headspace? The Dirty Talk Advice Column has answers!
“I am honestly at the breaking point and I can’t take any more rejection. It’s destroying me. It’s been going on for years now. I see someone I find myself captivated by online, try to get to know them better in the hopes of getting into a relationship, pour everything into it, and every time they turn me down! Every time. This constant rejection is really taking a toll on my self esteem. Am I just so unlikable that I will never get to be in a relationship?”–Rejection Unfortunately Is Negatively Effecting Dreams
The old saying goes that misery loves company RUINED, and if it helps any, the situation you find yourself in is actually not all that uncommon. The internet has changed the course of humanity in countless ways, both for the positive and for the negative. One of the undeniable changes is in our wider access to other humans. At any other point in human history, we never would have encountered the infinite abundance of people we now get to see on a daily basis.
The Internet Is Not A Relationship Vending Machine
The internet is tricky because it can come across like a vending machine: That’s the one I want. I pick that one! And then we are left baffled and hurt when what we picked doesn’t tumble immediately into our desirous little hands.
How amazing and magical all this instant, convenient connection is! You can see all sorts of people you are attracted to and find fascinating. People you are certain, if the two of you just started talking, you would hit it off. Become friends. Hook up. Start dating. Maybe even get married! Lord knows I receive a fair amount of marriage proposals on the regular as someone’s very first message to me.
It is so obvious, after seeing someone’s photos, their interests, their style, that the two of you would be perfect together, isn’t it? And I get it. I see people online all of the time I’d like to hang out with and spend time with. I am bone-deep certain we would mesh. However, these fascinating folks? They aren’t interested in the slightest. Total pass! I have been rejected time and time again by people I’d love to get to know better. It literally happens to all of us.
The Key Is How You Accept Rejection
The key lies in how you accept this. Do you take the rejection with grace and dignity? Or do you spiral into negative self-doubt and hatred? The further the spiral into self-hatred and pity, the more one wears their layers of rejection like a spiky coat of angst. The more frustrated we become by repeated rejection, the more we drive people further away.
As it turns out, what we desire isn’t just a thing we select off the internet, but a fully functioning human living their own lives. And just because we desire THEM doesn’t mean they feel the same way back. It is a bitter pill, I know. It is sharp and sticks in the throat like a burr.
It’s Easy To Fall Into Artificial Intimacy Online
Because of how much detail and information people freely share about themselves on the internet, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling instant, artificial intimacy with someone. You know them so well! The two of you would be perfect together! You start creating plans and dreams in your head. In doing so, you set both of you up for pain and distress.
Friendships and relationships happen naturally and organically. They need time to grow and flourish and there is never a guarantee that the plant is going to take root. Would you walk up to a complete stranger on the street and say: “You seem really cool, will you be my friend please?” Probably not, as it creates a rather awkward situation for the person you just put on the spot. Has someone attempted to get friends in this manner? No doubt, but it has a very low overall success rate. Most likely the potential “friend” is going to mumble excuses and flee for the hills.
There Is No Shield From Rejection Online
Online, there is not the face-to-face awkwardness of stopping a stranger on the street and asking if they will be your new friend/partner, and as a result, people seem to do it more frequently. But even through the shield of your keyboard, it is the same situation: You have decided there is a connection and are baffled and deeply hurt when the person on the other side of the equation doesn’t feel the same.
In your case, it seems like you have a preconceived notion of the partner you want. You scour the internet until you find someone that checks your boxes, and then you try and make a relationship happen. This gives the person on the other end of your equation no agency. Because you didn’t meet them in a natural and organic way but rather preselected them like a toy you want to win out of a claw machine, you are creating the very situation that is causing you so much pain.
I would go so far as to guess that there is even a reason for your continued selection of potential partners online as opposed to in-person interactions, despite the pain you are reporting it causes you. Rejection happens. It happens all the time. By discovering the “perfect” partner online and then trying to convince them to enter into a relationship with you, if rejection happens, it won’t sting as much as an in-person rejection. Or at least that is what you have convinced yourself of.
Don’t Bet On The Relationship Lottery
The truth of the matter is that you have actually set yourself up for more rejection with this technique, not less. Hoping to win the relationship lottery by finding the perfect person online, them being immediately dazzled and available, and cheerfully entering a relationship with you is of course a great fantasy. No work, all reward, and dopamine. I call such a situation winning the relationship lottery because it is about as realistic as purchasing a winning ticket at your local corner store.
You can keep engaging in a destructive cycle that you admit is causing you great distress, or you can think about trying different actions and see if you get different results. I would recommend trying different actions and keeping in mind the internet is not always the relationship vending machine we want it to be. Amazon spoiled us and set up unrealistic expectations! As it turns out, not everything we desire is conveniently delivered to our front door in a timely fashion.
Keep it Kinky My Friends,
Want to add your own insight to the conversation? Leave a comment below.
Have a question that you want answered in the Dirty Talk Advice Column? Contact Rain here.
Keep these columns coming.
Support Rain on Patreon