Being rejected is
We all know that being
broken up after a serious relationship is earth-shattering. It's no coincidence
that the world's greatest music, literature and art have all been inspired by
such epic tragedy.
But the consolation
with being broken up with after a long-term relationship is that you can walk
away safe in the knowledge that the person you were really into was into you
too, at least for a time (though I concede this is a small comfort in the short
But it's exactly this
that makes rejection in the dating world utterly devastating. Whether its
imagining thousands of people seeing your face on their phone screen and
literally SWIPING it away, or plucking up the courage to message someone, only
to be met with silence, or, the worst, meeting someone in real life for a
drink, them seeing what you look like in the flesh, seeing your character
outside the codes of carefully scripted WhatsApps, and THEN thinking 'nah'.
I suspect this kind of
rapid rejection talks to our deepest insecurities.
It's why, after a good
three years of recovery from anorexia, my first thought whenever someone
rejects me is: 'I wonder if they'd like me if I were thinner.'
It's when this happens
that I remind myself how relatively short the timeframe of my recovery has
I started having
unhealthy thoughts about my body from the age of 10. For the next decade, my
obsessive tendencies around food and exercise crystallised at different points
and to different severities, but the overarching narrative of a deep discomfort
in myself persisted.
So really, the time
I've spent thinking more healthily about myself is a mere third of the time I
spent defining myself by my waistline. It's no surprise I've defaulted to old
If this sort of 'but
what if I were thinner' scenario is ringing true for anyone else, it's this
deeper level ('how long have I been recovered?') analytical thinking I'd
encourage you to do, rather than the instinctive dredging up of bad habits.
Secondly, I'd ask you
to consider all the amazing things you've achieved since your recovery.
It might be physical,
like you've learnt to fuel your body, not punish it, or maybe emotional, like
being more in touch with friends and family because you're not all consumed by
your illness. Whatever it is, it's a force for good and it's because of your
Your recovery is not
the cause of your rejection. One million and one unknowable factors are. Think
how many times you've not liked someone. And it's at this point that I'd also
like to remind you that obviously anyone not interested in the recovered you
isn't worth your time. Any romances I pursued during the years of my ED tended
to be ones that satisfied an ill-conceived need for validation.
A therapist once said
to me that during years of denial, your brain becomes malnourished. It's why
eating disorders are so hard to 'fix'. Your brain is literally broken and your
thought paths are following twisted synapses.
And it's this that I'm
remembering today. When I'm feeling a little blue and bruised from the
battleground of dating in 2019.
Right now, I'm just
enjoying the fact that my brain has gotten to a place where I can have these
deep level thoughts.
So if you've caught
yourself wondering if they'd like you if you were thinner, think again.