5 Reasons You Shouldn't Blame Yourself After Being Blindsided By Rejection

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It's 10:30 pm. You're in bed doing your nightly scroll through Instagram, and that's when you see it: a picture of the guy you've been dating with another girl. Before your indignant anger sets in about what an idiot he is, a wave of dread and humiliation washes over you.

I always hear my friends say, “I just feel so stupid!” I'm also familiar with this feeling. It's a sense that your naïvité to a situation somehow reflects your own competence. Why should we feel bad, stupid or ashamed for someone else's actions? How is it your fault he stopped caring and broke up with you? Or, how is it your fault you didn't know he was cheating?

We should never have to feel the fog of shame that comes when you admit you've been dumped or cheated on. Never should we be ashamed or say, “I'm dumb,” for not realizing our romantic entanglements were not what we thought them to be.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Your true friends will never fault you.

When you lament to your friends about your latest heartache, never will it even cross their minds that you're “stupid” or “dumb” for not having seen the end coming. Their immediate response to someone who hurts you will either be a) to buy you your own personal pint of Ben & Jerry's, b) to kick the ass of whomever dared to hurt their beautiful best friend or c) all of the above.

2. Constant suspicion will drive you crazy.

Let's say you feel naïve for not recognizing the signs someone is cheating on you, or is simply “not that into you." Why should you? Would it have been better to spend the entirety of your time with that person paranoid they didn't actually like you, or that they have someone else on the side?

Yes, maybe you will get hurt and feel like you “should have known better," but at least while you were involved with someone, you were being genuine and living in the moment. You weren't fearing an ending before it even arrived.

3. You can't expect the unexpected.

One of the hardest parts about dating and relationships is the other person. No matter if you are in a happy, healthy relationship with a wonderful person, or in a dreadful one with an assh*le, the person you are dating is a unique individual.

That individual has his or her own life, feelings, emotions, baggage, etc. You cannot anticipate what may or may not effect someone else and his or her actions. With time, you may get to know your SO well enough that the persons's behavior can be better interpreted. But no matter your level of empathy, you can never be in someone else's mind and know how the person will react to a particular situation.

It also isn't your responsibility to do so. Part of the fun of relationships is not knowing someone's every thought. While it would be boring if there were never any surprises, our own shock to the unexpected should not be taken as the inability to "see it coming."

4. You'll learn from every relationship (and almost-relationship).

No matter how hurt, broken, wronged, sorrowful, angry or shocked you are when things fall apart with someone you're dating, you will walk away from that relationship having learned something. It may be hard, but finding out someone is cheating on you could lead to you learning just how resilient you are.

Or, it could help you learn you have the capacity to forgive someone for your own sake, even when you know you can never let the person back into your life. There is no point in feeling “stupid” for being duped. You will walk away much wiser than when you began.

5. You should never apologize for caring too much.

It's important to recognize the difference between our actions and our feelings, but you should allow your heart to be full with every emotion you feel. If you really like someone, there is no apology for that.

I have literally apologized for caring too much before. I've said, “I just really like you and think you're great. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. It's lame."

It's not “lame” to care. It is not “stupid” to have feelings for someone, only to realize they're not reciprocated. While it's important not to push your feelings too strongly on someone, feeling them is not a fault. Let the warmth in and care. Fall in love. Be genuine and kind.

Is it better to find out someone doesn't care and brush it off with the nonchalance of, “Eh, I didn't really like him, anyway. Whatever. It's fine?" I've been there, and trust me, it's not.

Being aloof will only choke your own emotional capacity. If you're lying and actually do care, pretending like you don't will only leave you crying quietly alone, rather than with the best friends you love (aka the ones who supply the ice cream).

It's 10:30 pm. You're in bed doing your nightly scroll through Instagram, and that's when you see it: a picture of the guy you've been dating with another girl. Before the wave of indignant anger sets in, you allow yourself to cry.

You allow yourself to really feel your emotions because you cared, and it's OK to feel grief for that affection not being returned. Call up your best friend, and state your feelings in a way that's fair and kind to yourself. Say, “I feel so sad. I really liked him,” or “It hurts because he seemed sweet, and I thought things were going to work.”

Train yourself to think in honest statements that don't degrade your own intelligence for being strong and caring enough to feel for another person. You are not “stupid." You are human.