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Recovering from rejection in the dating world

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Are you afraid to jump back into the dating pool incase you get rejected? Do you handle rejection badly if someone decides not to take things further after the early dating/talking stage? Do you take it personal? Does it take you days, weeks or even months to recover if someone decides not to commit to you?

A photo of me (Cheri) hosting a Cheeky Events single mixers in Sydney.

Well imagine owning a dating business and being rubbish at dating! Well not the actual dating part I know I can hold an engaging conversation, suggest fun activities to do, use my body language to show I'm having a good time & put the other person at ease, I'm talking about the rejection part!

Why is it I've personally perfected politely turning down other people when they're not quite what I'm looking for but I let it rock me when it's the other way around? I'm not talking about asking someone on a date and them declining (that we can take in our stride right because that person doesn't even know how fab we are!). I'm talking about when you've been dating for a few weeks or months and they pull out the, "I'm just looking for something casual" card or worst still, "I think we'd be better off as friends."

I've looked into the Science behind it and turns out it's completely normal for rejection to trigger a panic response from humans (Phew we're not crazy). Once upon a time our Hunter Gatherer ancestors would have probably died if they were excluded from a tribe. Still to this day rejection can activate the same part of the brain responsible for experiencing actual physical pain. Now this explains why rejection at the end of 6 weeks of dating feels much like rejection at the end of 6 months of dating. I'm talking negative self talk, disturbed sleep pattern and withdrawing from planned social gatherings. This happened to me just last week and it happened to me last year when the guy I was seeing let me down ON MY BIRTHDAY. FYI, of course I've experienced rejection more than twice in my 33 years on planet Earth but these ones I couldn't understand why I was so bothered as I didn't even really know these men for very long and I wasn't even emotionally invested & yet them not wanting to "put a label on it" had well and truly knocked me sideways. I should probably point out that the female cycle made this worse too!

Going back to last year, I thought I had "cured" myself and had read enough self-help books and listened to enough relationship podcasts to never feel that vulnerable again. I thought I had equipped myself with the right tools to handle rejection with dignity and logic. I thought that if I controlled the pace of the dating and I was really clear from the beginning what I was looking for then no one could hurt me again. But that's just it. These two people weren't trying to hurt me. They had every right at any time to say they weren't ready for a relationship in the same way that I've turned down multiple offers from others. I should have respected their honesty! What if "It's not you it's me!" is actually true.

If another human has the courage and decency to openly communicate (as opposed to lead you on and play games) and state that they haven't got the time and energy to commit to a relationship then let's be grateful for the fun times, be grateful for the honesty and be grateful that we're now free to meet someone who does want the same things.

A photo of me (middle) with mind health life coach Nikki (left) and property expert James (right) at one of the Cheeky Events Sydney self development events earlier this year.

You can probably tell that I'm back to journaling in my gratitude journal and sought professional support. Earlier this week I met with Nikki, a mind health coach expert that some of you may remember from the Cheeky Events' wellbeing evening. I now know it's my responsibility to explore this trigger before I jump back into the dating pool.

Who wants to know some of the things @nikkiofficially from @mindhealthschool taught me?

A photo of Nikki, a mind health coach based in Sydney.

Here's a sneaky snippet of our chat:

Cheri: What are your quick tips for those wanting to get back into the dating scene but don’t know if they’re ready and are worried about being rejected? Nikki: Firstly, get super super clear on what you want right now, and what you are open to. Often, we skip this part which leads us to feeling confused and lacking clarity. Dating should be fun and enjoying! If you are dating with heavy energy, your date will see that from a mile away! Grab a pen and paper and answer these questions in depth. (No blasé answers allowed - get HONEST with yourself). ❤️‍ What is it about dating that is creating a heavy energy? 🔥 How can you bring back the fun? 💋What do you need to let go of in order for this to be fun and exciting? Dating comes with the territory of rejection. If you want to be able to handle rejection better, the key is in your relationship with yourself. The more love you have for yourself, the less impact you’ll feel when someone chooses to not see you again. Try answering these questions: 🤍 How can I be more okay with rejection? What do I need to accept about rejection & dating?

❤️ What part of myself do I often reject? How can I learn to accept this part of myself? (I.e. do you have a deep belief that you are not good enough? What makes you not good enough? Learning to accept THAT part of yourself is the 🔑 to you handling rejection better!) Cheri: Loved that! I'll definitely be doing that activity after this! Okay question 2, what are your tips for handling rejection during the talking/ early dating stage and should we see rejection as a personal reflection of our worth?

Nikki: It’s NEVER personal. I get why it is automatic to take these things personal, but you never know what anyone else is experiencing. There could be multiple reasons someone chooses not to continue dating you. I would encourage you to think of it like this. We all have our preferences in what we are looking for and everyone is entitled to have their own preferences. It doesn’t mean that those preferences are ‘good’ and anything out of that presences is ‘bad’, it's just their preference and that’s completely ok. A reminder that you have your own preferences and also ‘reject’ others, not because others are not good enough, they just aren’t right for you. Making this about you is a sign that there is something within YOU that needs healing. You are not going to be for everyone. Accepting this is VERY important.

I hope you all found Nikki's truth bombs as thought-proving and useful as I did! Remember if you don't feel ready to date just yet you don't have to. Dating should be fun!

You can see more tips from Nikki in next week's blog and can reach her directly through her socials @mindhealthschool, via her website: or meet her in person at the next Cheeky Events Sydney Wellbeing evening (date TBC

Have a lovely weekend you gorgeous lot! xx


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