Let’s be frank, dating is not all rainbows and puppy dogs. It takes time and patience and there can be disappointments and rejections along the way. And it’s those rejections we’d like to address to help you navigate them more easily.
Don’t take it personally
You have no idea what reasons the other person has for not getting back in touch, so fretting about it does more harm than good. We know it’s not always that simple, especially if you have dated the person for a while. Think about it this way, if they don’t share your feelings about the relationship, isn’t it best if you move on?
No one likes to be rejected and it’s perfectly normal to feel upset and hurt at first. And if you’ve been dropped without any explanation it can hit you especially hard. It’s important, however, to practice self-kindness, as blaming yourself will only hurt you further. Unless you’ve been given a very clear reason why it’s not worked out, avoid jumping to conclusions as to why it didn’t last. There may be many reasons why he/she decided to break it off and they don’t have to be your fault.
Avoid a victim mindset
On the flip side of blaming yourself is blaming the other party. After a rejection, it can be very easy to slip into a victim mentality by generalising behaviour (ie. all men/woman are…). This may feel good at first, and it certainly feels easier than looking in the mirror, but in the long-term, this mindset will sabotage any real chances at finding new love and keep you feeling stuck and powerless. Again, acknowledge your feelings but don’t dwell.
After a rejection, especially when we listen to our critical inner voice, it’s easy for self-doubt and insecurities to raise their ugly heads and can leave us feeling less sure of ourselves. When we’ve been left by someone, we may find ourselves feeling out of place. It may become difficult to visit certain places, see certain people, or partake in activities for a while. However, this situation presents an opportunity to really connect with our individuality, your own needs. What is it that you enjoy doing? Who are you outside of a relationship? Focussing on defining yourself anew again, can get you out of heartbreak-mode much faster. Realising that you have a whole life outside of whatever rejection you’ve experienced, and that life will go on.
It’s true that breaking up with someone is hard to do. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys telling someone it’s time to call quits on a relationship. Gone are the days it seems when you would meet up face to face and tell each other over dinner or coffee (as weird as that now seems looking back) that your relationship was over. Now it is all about being dumped by text, or even worse by social media.
And that is exactly what happened to a friend of mine this weekend. She phoned me in a state of disarray saying that her latest online dating match had texted her saying ‘that on reflection his life was too chaotic to add a relationship into the mix’. Whilst sympathetic to her tears, I did mention that they’d only just moved off WhatsApp messaging and gone on two physical dates, so surely he was just sparing them some social awkwardness in person. Alas, she didn’t quite see it in the same way.
But in reality is it THAT bad to dump someone by text? Surely there are times when it’s socially ok to spare each other the embarrassment of tears in public.
In an attempt to offer some impartial advice here are some instances it could be considered ok to dump someone by text.
It’s a new relationship – if you and your date are still relatively new, and have only been out three or four times then dumping by text is totally acceptable. You barely know each other and so there is nothing to be gained by a long drawn out letter (you probably don’t even know addresses yet) or a face to face meeting. In fact, if the relationship is that new you could probably just get away with disappearing off the face of the earth rather than an official break up text. No big drama.
Your date is avoiding you / you suspect they are cheating – let’s face it if the person you’ve been dating isn’t returning calls or texts or you have suspicions that they are playing the field then frankly they don’t deserve the courtesy of a break-up text. Just move on.
Your relationship is purely a digital one – if so far your relationship has been purely screen-based and conducted by social media then putting the brakes on it in the same way won’t come as out of the ordinary either.
The relationship is toxic – so you’ve been on a few dates that seemed ok, but then came a turning point and your date’s behaviour has become unstable, unhealthy and overall a little bit toxic. In this case breaking up by text message is absolutely the safest thing to do. Don’t put yourself in a 1:1 situation with them where you might get hurt. Distance is safest.
You are in a long distance relationship – if your location was poles apart and you rarely saw each other and your relationship was all done by Skype and text then it is obviously more logical (and friendly on the bank balance) to break up in this way. Seriously, though if you’ve spent months writing heartfelt essays to each other then that someone deserves a little more than your standard digital breakup.
Whilst this post is a lighthearted jest about digital breakups, if you’ve got to a point of emotional closeness, or been dating for longer than three months, seen each regularly, slept together and been mutually exclusive to each other then you really owe it to the other person in the relationship to give them your time and honesty face to face.
Have you ever dumped someone by text message or social media or had it done to you? How did you feel? Would you ever end a relationship in this way?
Last weekend, I spent an afternoon with a friend who has been single for a while and inevitably the conversation turned to her love life. She is a member of an online dating site and she regularly goes on dates. (Great start.) She told me about this guy, who according to her, was ticking all the boxes. I was ecstatic and urged her to tell me more. “So,” I said, “when are you meeting him again?” She started fidgeting and explained she’d texted him and was waiting for his response. Three days had already passed and yet, no answer. She couldn’t understand why, as things had been going really well and there was obvious chemistry between them.
This was an all too common scenario in her dating world, so I asked her to show me her text message. After reading it, I couldn’t help but think that it was written rather dismissively and not very open-ended. He had no reason to respond to it. I told her how I felt it came across and she admitted she had been a bit dismissive during their dates, but ONLY – she said – to see if he was still interested and ONLY because she didn’t want to come across as desperate.
My friend is anything but desperate, I thought. No, the reason she was behaving this way was all down to having been hurt in the past. And I bet the poor guy felt exactly the same anxieties and worries she was feeling. He was probably just as afraid of being hurt. Why is it then, that we can’t overcome these hurdles and simply be honest and open with our feelings when we have met someone we like? Dating should be fun!
Is the fear of heartbreak so much more powerful than potentially losing the chance of finding a loving relationship? How can people find love again without opening their hearts, without taking a risk?
I find this problem rather frustrating, so I’m turning to you lovely readers to help me find answers. How do we overcome this perpetual cycle? What advice would you give to someone, perhaps a friend, in this situation?