Rejection is a part of life as a man, Mark Radcliffe explains, but women don’t deserve men’s anger as a result.
It’s as common a part of the heterosexual male experience as there is: sooner or later, a woman rejects you. She turns down your offer for a date. Declines the drink you want to buy her. Side-steps the kiss you go for at the end of the night. Isn’t receptive to your invite to your bedroom. Or she just plain wants to not see you any more. Possibly even divorce you. And it’s never easy.
Sometimes we damn well deserve it. Sometimes we don’t. But either way, we have a moral responsibility of dealing with it better. Because let’s face it: male rage is a very real problem for women in today’s world. There are too many Elliot Rodger types in our midst, so incapable of dealing with rejection that their skewed perspective leads to needless tragedy – on a small or large scale. So before the next one of us says, “It’s not fair, I don’t deserve this rejection. I’m going to make her pay,” it’s time we all got the fuck over ourselves, and help our fellow men understand that part of being a man is accepting what we can’t change. Here’s a few reasons to get us started:
1) We’re not entitled to her acceptance.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you dressed up real nice. Put on cologne. Opened the doors for her, had great conversation and maybe bought her dinner. Even learned swing-dancing last fall so you could charm her on the dance floor. (Which she loved!) But, hey, for whatever, in the end, she opted out. Declined the kiss, the next date, the whatever. She said, “No thanks.” and maybe never even gave you a reason (which she has no obligation to offer).
You might be tempted to be pissed. Unfortunately, that’s the romantic casino you chose to roll the dice in. You gambled and lost. But don’t worry, you can gamble again. What you can’t do is make it your life’s mission to “get even” with her. You’re going to be a man about it. And being a man isn’t about not feeling hurt: sure, you can feel hurt, bummed out, whatever. Hell, you can even tell her that. The show of vulnerability is important. But you shouldn’t try to make sure she’s hurting, too, by lashing out emotionally (and certainly not physically).
2) She doesn’t deserve our anger.
She’s just living her life. And while the burden of initiation still appears to rest mostly on the shoulders of men, that burden doesn’t entitle us to expect compliance for putting our necks out there. We have no more right to a woman’s time & affection that we do to Harvard granting us unconditional admission. We can knock on the door, but it’s up to them who they allow into their world. Not us.
3) Want to impress a woman? Show her how you handle resistance.
A strong man doesn’t fly into a rage when things don’t go as planned. He handles it with maturity. With grace. With a smirk, and a nod of understanding. And adjusts his approach accordingly. This doesn’t mean “trying again” so many times until you wear her down (although a little persistence has been known to make a good impression.) It’s about knowing when your sights are best set elsewhere. And if you do want to change her mind, start by showing you respect her decisions.
4) Becoming a disgruntled “rejectee” makes you one step closer to a stalker.
Or an abusive boyfriend. Or a rapist. Or a murderer. Think I’m stretching? 1500 women are murdered by intimate partners every year. And they all started out somewhere–often just with getting overly upset at a casual dismissal. You letting yourself getting too wounded by her disapproval means you could be on your way to some ridiculous pattern of over-reacting, and at its worst, possibly physical abuse.
5) Getting upset at her isn’t exactly going to change her mind.
If she already was leaning away from you, you’re not exactly making her change her impression of you by freaking out and getting angry. Do you think she’s going to hear you call her a stuck-up bitch and say, “Oh, maybe I was wrong about him. Maybe he is the kind of charming, considerate, affectionate man I’ve been looking for after all!” We need to earn our place in their lives through love and respect, not intimidation.
6) It might not be about you at all.
Maybe she’s just exhausted. Or just got out of a relationship. Or is just getting over a cold. Or one of her parents is gravely ill. Or you remind her too much of her ex. Or her father. Or she’s in the middle of a job change. But to assume it’s always because she deems you unworthy is not only often inaccurate, but smacks of insecurity and self-pity–two characteristics that will make sure she’s not interested.
7) You’re screwing it up for the rest of us.
If your over-reacting fills her with a heightened fear of men, then she’ll be less likely to open her heart to the next guy. So not only will she miss out on possible romance, but so will your fellow men whom she’s too gun shy now to even consider.
You’re also screwing it up for all the boys and young men out there in your life who are watching you, observing you are learning from your behavior when you get rebuffed by a woman. And you can change those abuse numbers. Those rape numbers. Those homicide numbers. Even if just a little, by simply starting to take the everyday reaction of “Sorry, I’m not interested” with more maturity and aplomb.
Start today: go ask a woman out. Have her say no thanks. Than smile and love along. And don’t complain about her, don’t call her stuck up or a “bitch,” don’t over-think it and assume she thinks she’s better than you. And don’t be surprised if she comes tracking you down later wondering why you moved on so easily.
8) If you can’t handle rejection from women, how will you handle it elsewhere?
Any life spent chasing goals is going to run into some resistance–romantic pursuits aside. If we can’t handle when a woman says she’s not interested, how will be handle it when an employer says the same thing? Or when a bank says they won’t approve our loan? When we get injured and can no longer run the marathon we’ve trained months for? Or when we fall prey to layoffs during a bad economy and find ourselves unexpectedly unemployed?
How we handle rejection in our romantic lives is a good barometer of how well we’ll adapt when our personal or professional goals meet resistance, too. Making our romantic dreams come to fruition isn’t so different from doing so with any other goal. Sometimes you don’t get the result you want. But it doesn’t mean some other wonderful result isn’t still possible for us. We just need to accept the things we can’t change, yet have the courage to change the ones we can.
And often that “thing” that needs to be changed is simply our attitude.
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