When you’re dating and putting your heart on the line, you can expect a certain amount of rejection at every level of the process. In most cases, it’s obvious: He doesn’t return an email, or she dodges an end-of-the-evening kiss. But there are cases when it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. We expect to be rejected, and if we try hard enough, we can pretty much guarantee that we will.
Perhaps the rejection script in your head doesn’t start until after the third date or third month. “This isn’t going to go well,” you tell yourself. Or if you’re extra masochistic, you can use this version: “It’s only a matter of time before she loses interest.”
Maybe you assume history will repeat itself. Your college boyfriend blew off your birthday? Surely your new love interest will do the same. After all, your birthday is in a week, and he hasn’t even mentioned it.
Yep, romantic disappointment is headed your way. What’s challenging is that this kind of “rejection expectation” is hard to see with a clear head. Maybe you experience it as a series of defeating thoughts or tight shoulders. Still, it usually comes from a wounded dark place – you know, the one that says you’re unlovable and don’t deserve love anyway. It doesn’t operate in the present moment, but judges from the past and assumes awful things about the future.
If you don’t recognize this dynamic and get it under control, it will wreck a promising romance.
Here are some tips on how to get back your best self – quickly!
1) Stop looking for evidence
If you’re convinced someone is pushing you away, you can find evidence to support your theory nearly everywhere you look. He didn’t ask for extra salad dressing with your takeout order like he usually does. She didn’t come outside to meet you when you arrived late to the party. Or in the ground zero of potential hurt feelings – your sweetie rolled to the other side of the bed in the middle of the night.
When you’re feeling confident and self-assured, you can weather these alleged slights – or at least speak up about them. But when you’re feeling fragile and defensive, you don’t have the perspective to judge what’s acceptable along the spectrum of human behavior and what’s absolutely not okay.