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DIGITAL DATING: 4 Ways to Deal With Online Rejection

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Written by Malyka Cardwell, MFT

Originally published on PhiladelphiaMFT

Rejection is one of life’s many constants. Whether we’re passing on an outfit, a dinner option, or an invitation, rejection is a part of our day-to-day life. Handing out rejection is a natural task for most but accepting it can be difficult, especially when it happens in the world of online dating. Initial messages go unanswered, dates end before they begin, and ghosting becomes a common occurrence. Online dating can be hard to navigate and being turned down doesn’t make things easier. Here are some tips that can help you push through the inevitable rejection you receive when dating online:

1. You are not alone. Rejection is painful. No seriously, research shows that the brain processes physical pain and emotional pain in a similar way. It hurts and has the tendency to make you feel very isolated. Realize that you’re not the only person to experience this. It is an inevitable part of life. Resist beating yourself up about it. It may feel personal but it’s not. There are many reasons a person may pass on you and a lot of them have nothing to do with something you’ve done.  Remember that everyone isn’t for everybody. I’m sure there are people that you’ve passed on because they just didn’t fit what you were looking for.
2. Avoid retaliation. Rejection isn’t a personal attack against you, but the two-page profanity-laced/snarky/passive-aggressive response you send out is very personal. Telling a person you’ve never met that they’re unworthy of love or stupid for passing you up, typically doesn’t ignite yearning. What does sending out a negative message achieve? Does it make you feel better? Not really. Does it reinforce the person’s decision to reject you? Definitely. Does it increase your chances of seeing a screenshot of your message floating around the internet? Absolutely. Will that screenshot increase your chances of getting rejected? Likely.

3. Stay grounded in reality. If you’ve already dreamt up a scenario that involves marriage and a picket fence, rejection can feel even worse. Come back to reality and remember that this person is still a stranger. A great profile doesn’t necessarily equate to a great person. Remember that the scenario that you created is just a fantasy. Although it may feel like you’ve lost out on something, you actually haven’t.

4. Utilize the website’s features. Many sites have features that allow you to avoid seeing who viewed your profile, hide certain users, or block them all together. If knowing that a person viewed your profile but didn’t respond is something that you can’t get over then consider turning this feature off. If you keep seeing the person that ghosted you online then hide or block them. These tools are there to help you detach. Use them if you need them.

Online dating is not for the faint of heart. Rejection comes with the territory. The pain can be jarring but it will eventually pass. Don’t let this feeling discourage you from taking any more chances. The digital field is vast and you’re bound to encounter someone who fits what you’re looking for and reciprocates your advances.

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