AdviceHey, Bonita!

Facing Rejection and Missed Opportunity

Hi Bonita,

I was dating two people, and I picked the wrong one. I broke up with them and tried to start dating the other. They rejected me hard, and I can’t get over making the wrong choice and then being rejected. I’ve been dating new people, but can’t seem to get over this. Mostly I feel stupid for picking the person who looked better on paper and not the person my intuition told me was right for me. I also feel stupid for being vulnerable and then getting rejected. I know it’s the whole human experience thing, but do you have any advice on how to cope? It’s been months, and nothing has changed for me. How can I move on? 


Hey Anon,

Oof. I’ve been there, exactly there, and in the long run you’re just going to have to eat crow and learn from this. There is never a good reason to choose what seems proper over what you know you want for yourself. The person you chose did not end up choosing you in return, and that can really hurt when you remember that they weren’t even your first choice. I assume you’ve reached out to your first choice since then and got a similar result, and now you’re sitting in a miasma of self doubt and distrust.  

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but right now you are indeed in the best place that you could possibly be. You’re not currently attached to anyone, and you’re free to go out and create new relationships if you want. Sitting and stewing over a missed opportunity will not help your goal of finding a romantic attachment, and I don’t think that the mental state it creates is helpful, either.  You are either begrudging someone for rejecting you, or beating yourself down for making a choice that didn’t give you the result you wanted. But you made the choice, and it’s done now.  There’s nothing you can do to change the outcome, and you can only salvage the situation by taking what you can from it.

You have learned that people are free, and they’ll do what they want regardless of your own personal desires for them. You can’t force anyone to adore you or to change their minds about trying. Maybe you actually didn’t hit up your first choice, and you’re wondering if you should after so long, and if so, why not? The worst thing they can say is no, and that would leave you in the exact same state you are now—single and ready to mingle.  

I get it, though. “No” hurts. Sometimes it can sound like “you’re not good enough,” and it’s very difficult not to take that kind of judgment to heart. It’s also really difficult to hear when there’s someone else out there who might not respond in that way, and you just can’t let go of the idea that maybe you’d be coupled up and in love right now if you’d chosen differently. The truth is this: You have no idea. You don’t know if your first choice would have been an awful partner, or maybe they would have said no, too. Maybe they already did say no, and you’re chalking it up to them knowing that you’d chosen someone else before them. If that’s the case, then I don’t think you need to live up to this person’s judgments or expectations of you. Who are they in the grand scheme of things? Don’t let this “missed opportunity” or an outright rejection convince you that there’s something wrong with you. Obviously there’s not, since you’ve been dating since all this happened anyway. You’ve got plenty of potential, and there are too many people in this world for your person to not be here in it. 

It’s OK. You’ll be OK. You will find love because you’re looking for love. There’s so much of it out there, and you are actively seeking out your share. Stop eyeballing what you’ve already passed, and focus on yourself.

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