I know – from the title of this post you’d think that this is going to be one big denial record, but I assure you: This is real. Although people don’t necessarily talk about it, there are actually benefits to things like rejection and unrequited love. I know these things sting, but – like much of life – it’s all a matter of perspective.
That said, I want to shine a light on some of the good things that actually come out of going through such an experience and coming out on the other end (in no particular order).
(If you want to skip the preamble and get right to the benefits – CLICK HERE)
Quiet as It’s Kept…
Rejection: The outright “no” from someone when you shoot your shot.
Unrequited Love: Someone not sharing the same romantic vibe about you as you feel about them.
Both rejection and unrequited love happen more often than people care to admit, and it stings. From a mathematical perspective – I want you to think about dating apps.
According to Statista, back in March of 2020, “As of the fourth quarter of 2020, 39 percent of internet users who were single, divorced or widowed had used online dating services or apps in the past month. The share of male respondents was significantly higher than female ones, at 43 percent and 33 percent respectively.”
The same site points out that North America accounts for 29% of worldwide dating app users — and that was based on Q4 numbers in 2019.
A February 2020 article from Pew Research Center points out even more interesting numbers for the United States alone (based on a representative sample of 4,860 respondents)…
30% of U.S. Adults said they had used a dating site or app before.
About 1 in 10 U.S. Adults say they have U.S. Adults say “they have been in a committed relationship with or married someone they met through a dating site or app.”
About 60% of online users say they’ve had “an overall positive experience with these platforms.”
But, “45% of current or recent [U.S.] users of dating sites or apps say using these platfoms made them feel frustrated.”
While those numbers are interesting, I bring them up because what’s not being said – but does come up quite often in conversation is that a lot of people are on these apps sincerely looking for love. Sure, many of them are just on there for dates, socialization, free meals, and sex – but a lot of them are really out in these streets trying to win when they hop on Tinder or Bumble.
For all of the people who successfully get a second date, there is a massive number of people who don’t. So, the act of experiencing and accepting rejection, at the very least, has become a bit of a sport and regular occurrence for the tons of dating app or site users in the world. I mean… “39% of internet users who are single, divorced or widowed” (calling back to how many people had used online dating services worldwide) is a HUGE number of people — and it’s growing.
And that’s just rejection.
When it comes to unrequited love – just as a quick example – let’s look at a potentially ultimate form of the subject in “U.S. divorce statistics”.
Yes, some splits are mutual- but I imagine a lot aren’t. According to 2019 numbers from the CDC, 746,971 divorces were reported in 45 reporting States and D.C. And while the divorce rate in the U.S. fell to a 50-year low in the same year (14.9%) — that’s still about ~15% of marriages ending in a case of at least one party being like, “I’m not feeling this anymore.” Again – this isn’t true for all divorces, but it is the case for many.
So, in that – you have a nice chunk of people — nearly 0.75 million people at a minimum — dealing with unrequited love each year. That’s some fudgy math, but it’s just an example – and that’s not even trying to talk about people who are just in relationships that didn’t work out (as opposed to marriages) or people who never even got to the relationship phase because someone just wasn’t feeling them off jump. I don’t have numbers for that, but I’d imagine if it were tracked reliably – the numbers would be startling.
All of the above just points to the fact that although we don’t talk about it often, many people navigate rejection and unrequited love fairly often.
But, There Are Benefits to the Two
If you successfully get to the other end of the potential sting that comes along with rejection and unrequited love, you learn a lot and pick up a few positives along the way…
You have the satisfaction that you actually went after something you wanted. A lot of people don’t even have the bravery to stand up for what they want out of life in many cases. You actually took that risk and put yourself out there exercising a little vulnerability along the way. Good job.
Every other rejection, by comparison, can feel small and easier to take. Matters of the heart, in my eyes, mean a little something more to people than other things. I just think that primal. Sure, jobs and all that are important — but people pass on careers for the people they love sometimes — so I figure Love > Careers (when you really care). That said, if you can take a “No” here, any other “No” you hear may feel small by comparison. Not getting that dream job you wanted won’t be the biggest hit you take anymore (when you think about it) and that can help some people adjust a little better in life. Sort of a hardcore crash course in the art of moving on with your life. Speaking of “No”…
You learn how to hear the word “No” in some form or fashion. A lot of us can’t take the word “No”. It is ALWAYS personal in some people’s eyes, and in a few cases – sadly – that inability to take a rejection properly can result in dire consequences. EVERYONE (not just picking on men here) needs to learn how to properly take a “No” in their life — it’s actually pretty healthy for you. Try to get your “Yes” – sure – but learn to take a “no” every once in a while, too. Which brings me to my last “No” point…
Realizing “No” isn’t the end of the world. If you try and fail enough at anything in life, you learn that failure isn’t the end of anything. In fact, in a lot of cases – failures tend to make us better at things. Think about ANY professional or master you know of in their craft. I guarantee you that they have tried and failed more times than ANYONE ELSE has even attempted to do what they’ve done. Take that same line of thinking, and apply it to whenever you put yourself out there emotionally and are met with some degree of the word “No”.
Grit becomes the name of the game. You learn to persevere through all of the rejection, and you find out how badly you really want something. I have friends who use dating apps all of the time, and they’re looking for something serious – but they crap out often on there. Sometimes its with people they aren’t interested in, but other times its with people who they were really into. Still, I don’t see them quit. I don’t think it’s addiction – LOL – I think it’s actually them refusing to stop pursuing some form of the love they want simply because of a case of rejection or unrequited emotions.
You may come out kinder. The last big benefit I want to point out is that, while rejection can make some people put up walls around their hearts – it can also make many people a lot kinder. Especially in cases of unrequited love. When a relationship ends that you didn’t want to end, you sometimes come out of that entire affair with a whole new perspective on something painful, and you try to ensure that YOU don’t hurt anyone in a similar fashion (because you know it sucks).
I am positive there are other benefits, but those are the ones that jump right to the front of my mind. I don’t think this is just me being an Optimist either — I really do view these as solid positive payoffs to these otherwise negative moments.
Everyone will deal with cases of rejection in one form or another in their life. Some may avoid it romantically their entire life — but many of us don’t. Just comes with the territory. Even still, a luckier few (and I mean that) will deal with cases of unrequited love – and it’ll hurt the first few times you feel it for sure (may even hurt beyond that).
But… If you process the emotions these moments bring up in you in a healthy way, you come out a more mature, considerate, and stronger version of yourself. And, it’s a balancing act. Some people go full cynic after a certain number of these events occur in their life — but I encourage you to hold on (90s kids will laugh at that link). Hang in there and try to learn a bit more with each experience.
“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best,” and all that jazz.