How to Handle Rejection in Relationships: 5 Ways to Cope


As you well know, dating can be difficult. Dry spells, disappointment, and  obstacles are the name of the game. Rejection, though, is probably the worst of them all.

Whether you have felt rejected because someone broke off your relationship or you were never asked for a second date, most of us can clearly remember this painful feeling. Often these kinds of experiences can leave you afraid of pursuing another relationship.

None of us can escape hurt feelings and disappointment. But being afraid of rejection can sabotage relationships. You might become overly sensitive to rejection. Or your fear could drive you to reject him before he dumps you. Maybe you think looking for a partner isn’t worth the pain involved.  You may wonder how to get over rejection. How can you relax and have fun if you’re always worried about getting hurt?

If you were rejected years ago, you might think you “should be over it” by now. However, feelings of rejection can be very intense and long-lasting. In fact, rejection can make your old wounds sting like they were new.  If you’re avoiding dating or getting close to someone new, you might be trying to avoid the fear of getting rejected again. You might not even be fully aware that you are afraid.

Ideally, rejection doesn’t have to shake your confidence or make you fear dating. Rejection is not a critique of your worth. It may just be a signal that a problem needs to be addressed or that you and your date are not a match. When you try to understand what the problem may be, rejection can help you.

Learning how to deal with rejection can help you prepare for your next relationship. Believe it or not, you may even feel like it was worth the heartbreak when facing the pain leads you to a better relationship in the future.

Here are some tips to show you how to move on from rejection and to learn something useful from it.

1. Feel your pain.

Admit you’re hurting rather than pretending it’s no big deal. It’s normal to feel some kind of grief when you’ve been rejected or experienced a loss. In fact, the pain of being rejected in a relationship and breaking up is akin to the grief felt after a loved one dies. Trying to hide your pain will only delay the healing process. Getting over rejection involves facing your feelings.

2. Be good to yourself.

Women often react to rejection by telling themselves they aren’t pretty or thin enough. They may feel an intense desire to change themselves. Don’t kick yourself when you’re down by being overly critical. Understand that this is a hard time for you and treat yourself the way you would a good friend who’s in pain. Look for support from friends and family. Try to do things you enjoy, whether it’s being in nature, taking walks, or just making time to relax.

3. Appreciate your growth.

Pain is part of the growing process. Sometimes experiencing relationship rejection is just a sign of needing more dating practice. Give yourself credit for going for it, putting yourself out there, and taking a risk. It’s true that staying in your comfort zone keeps you safe from getting rejected, but it also makes it almost impossible to move toward your goals. Staying at home and watching TV, for example, may feel safe, but it won’t allow you to meet anyone to date. Try to be proud of yourself for whatever progress you do make.

4. See the silver lining. 

One of the secrets to how to get over being rejected is to see it as a positive experience, even when it hurts. Rejection prevents you from wasting time in the wrong relationships. It points you in the right direction, leading you to the relationship of your dreams.

Facing your problems helps you to grow as a person. Avoiding problems only makes them disappear in the short run. They will come back to haunt you.

Do you know that something isn’t working in your love life, but you’re not quite sure what the problem is? Are you missing any warning signs with the men you date? Maybe it’s time to figure out whether you are repeating any patterns in your love life that might be stopping you from getting the kind of relationship you want. Learning from your past experiences, viewing the situation objectively, and consciously deciding to remain committed to your relationship goals are just some of the ways you can use your experience to improve your love life.

5. Get help if you need it.

Overcoming rejection issues can be complicated. If you can’t face your fears or don’t understand your problems with dating and relationships, you would benefit from getting help from a mental health professional. Many people fear getting the help they need because they see it as a sign of weakness, but getting help is actually a sign of strength. It takes courage to recognize a problem and seek help.

Sometimes we just can’t be objective about ourselves. You may have some blind spots. If so, it can be very helpful to have a therapist point them out to you. If you think you would like to speak with someone, these resources can help you decide who to see.

Bottom line:

Rejection can be your teacher. It may be teaching you that you need to take steps to improve your life.  Maybe you need to take better care of yourself by making better dating decisions. Or its lesson might be that you need to take better care of others by being a better listener and partner. Rejection may even be doing you a favor, revealing to you that he’s just not the right man for you.

The question is: Are you willing to learn from it?

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  • Kirsten says:

    I feel like you wrote this just for me. Thank you & it made me feel a lot better. I’ll definitely think about getting back out there!

  • christiangreypua says:


  • Idie says:

    This is a mind blowing, I was in a deep relationship ( I thought) 1 year after losing my spouse of over 30 years. Rejection has been so difficult that I felt guilty for feeling more pain for rejection then the death of a long loving marriage. I suppose with death we know they cannot come back, but rejection gives you hope ( that’s pretty sick).. I’m very afraid to go out searching again, the pain remains. I’ve learned ” I’m just was not ready”! It’s not that I failed, simply it’s not “my time”. Thank you for your beautiful writing. It was “wright” on!

    • Dr. Susan says:

      Hi Idie,

      It was very nice to hear from you.

      I’m so sorry for your losses. Emotions and grief are very complicated.

      Sometimes people experience losses more deeply after losing a spouse.

      Be kind to yourself. It’s a difficult process and can take time.

      Please keep in touch.

      Dr. Susan

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