Dealing with the “R" word is painful. No one likes getting dumped. But unfortunately, it comes with the territory of online dating (or courtship or whatever you’re calling it). Instead of dancing around the idea, or pretending it doesn’t happen, I think it’s best to face the “R” word face-to-face.
First, let’s acknowledge its existence. Go ahead and spell it out slowly… R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N. Very good. I believe it’s important to acknowledge the hurt and pain that comes with being rejected. Sometimes you meet people (strangers in cyberspace), and there’s a wonderful and amazing connection that leads to marriage. Other times, that same fluffy feeling results in nothing more than some screenshots of fun text moments.
But that’s just part of the journey. Once you accept the fact that in pursuit of love and marriage you will encounter rejection, unreciprocated feelings, then you have already won half the battle. So here are a few tips on how to deal with rejection:
Let me preface this section by saying, I’m not at all suggesting you should cry over people you talked to for five days before they ghosted you. No. Those folks aren’t worth your tears. I’m talking about the people you matched with, and then had a non-stop continuous conversation with for at least two weeks, including phone calls and possibly Facetimes; the matches that left you smiling for days, had you dreaming about your wedding, and tipping the Starbucks barista because you were so happy; the matches you met in person, nervously introduced to your parents, dared to mention to your best friends, and maybe even the few that made you think so this must be why God wanted me to suffer on the apps for all these years! I was supposed to meet you!
Those are the types of matches that deserve a big cry, or a catharsis of some sort. There should be some activity or action that allows you to release the emotion. Maybe you need to run off that bad energy at the gym, or binge watch Friends or Seinfeld to get lost in the noise of a 90’s laugh track. As long as you’re not engaging in self destructive behavior, I say do it. Do your best to get rid of the sadness, the anger, the regret, and resume normalcy. If you don’t acknowledge the pain that comes from that ending, you will make it harder to move on.
Once you have moved past the bulk of the sad and broken feelings, and are able to talk about that old person without wanting to throw up, take a moment to reflect. What went wrong? What went right? What could I have done better? What could they have done better? Are there any take-aways for the next one?
Sometimes assessing a failed attempt or a rejection can help us learn about ourselves and about what paths to avoid in the next relationship. Maybe the reason you met that person was so that they could prepare you for the relationship with your spouse. Maybe that first attempt was supposed to teach you patience, or spawn emotional maturity. Perhaps it taught you how to (or how not to) talk to the opposite sex. Maybe there were red flags that you ignored and could more easily avoid next time. Maybe that person lacked a certain quality that you thought you didn’t need, but now see you might.
After a few moments of reflection, journaling your thoughts, put that relationship in the trash bin in your mind. DO NOT RUMINATE. (Rumination is the process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark). Don’t let your mind keep you in the past. Move forward.
When the sting that comes from a rejection or the end of a relationship lingers, pray about it. Speaking from experience, my bad runs always led me back to God. I increased my dhikr and read/listened to more Quran. In the past, I would take the train to the mosque after work, sometimes in between prayer times, and just sit and make dua' asking for Allah to relieve the stress and bring new light and love into my life.
There are two verses that have helped me through those sad moments. The first one reminds me that I am stronger than I think:
“Allah Does DOES NOT BURDEN A SOUL BEYOND THAT IT CAN BEAR” (2:286)
This ayah shows me that the grief that comes from rejection is just another test I was destined to face, and will recover from.
The second one reminds me that Allah’s knowledge and foresight is vastly greater than my own:
“Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know. (2:216)”
When I think about this ayah in the context of marriage, I think about how Allah probably knows the person who left isn’t the best possible partner for me. Allah knows which person would be the best fit, and I must surrender to His will.
In short, don’t let rejection keep you down. You can always take a break, but certainly do not let it tempt you to give up.