Unless you’re the luckiest person in the world, you know what it’s like to feel the sting of rejection.
Some of us have healthy ways of dealing with that pain and disappointment. But many of us are still developing the emotional resources necessary to cope with being rebuffed.
This is a story about a time in my life when I did something desperate in response to being rejected. Unfortunately, my poor choice of coping mechanism ultimately made me feel worse.
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I’m not proud of this story, but I share it in the hope that others may learn from my mistakes.
When my boyfriend Joel broke up with me in the autumn of 2013, I took it hard.
Throughout our brief relationship, I’d respected him, admired him, and put him on a pedestal. My adoration bordered on hero-worship. I aspired to be like him in almost every way.
While I was stuck in a dead-end job, Joel was more financially successful and well-travelled than me. He got up earlier than I did, exercised more often, and ate healthier foods. He read more books, listened to more podcasts, and always had something interesting to say.
So when he put an end to our three-month tryst, his rejection seemed to confirm my relative inadequacy.
I felt even more worthless because Joel had a very specific reason for breaking up with me. On our first date, I lied to him about my history of infidelity.
I lied because I desperately wanted him to like me. But when Joel found out, he told me he couldn’t forgive deceit.
He was looking for a “high-value woman”, he explained, and my dishonesty proved I wasn’t high-value.
As crushed as I was, I didn’t know how to argue with that.
That evening, I stalked his Facebook profile
The day Joel dumped me, I drove back to my place in a daze and slumped on the couch with a glass of chardonnay.
I decided I’d spend the evening stalking his Facebook profile. By poring over his albums and ogling his pictures, I hoped to feel close to him for just a little longer before I let him go.
I was flicking through an album of his scuba diving trip to Thailand when the photos stopped loading.
I tried to refresh the page, staring confusedly at a limited view of his profile. Then I understood. He’d just unfriended me!