Remember that first crush you had as a kid? And remember that gut wrenching feeling when you discovered they didn’t actually like you the same way you liked them? It felt like your young heart was broken into a million pieces. And for a moment you wondered what the point of having feelings for anyone really was, especially when the heartache hurt so badly. The devastation of putting yourself out there for the first time, and not having the feelings reciprocated sticks with us. In our monogamous driving society we learn, to avoid or prevent those feelings. And we do so by putting up barriers, or learning to vet out a person before getting hurt. We rally our friends to feel out our next love interest, to spare us the face to face humiliation of a “just not interested”, being ignored or worse, laughter! And if you are anything like me, when you fell in love for the first time, and had that love finally returned you vowed that you would do whatever it took to make it work. Because you had a glimpse of what rejection felt like, and that was more than enough to make you realize that it should be avoided wherever possible.
There is just no denying that getting rejected sucks! But the reality is, that no one has the time, resources, attraction or even inclination to give every single person a chance. And thus, we reject people, avoid the whole situation outright, or the latest fad, we ghost a person. I could spend an entire post talking or rationalizing all the why’s a person rejects someone else, but the thing is, we have all done it at some point. It would be impossible to like every single human on the planet, so part of growing up is rejection trial and error. And for me, I had so many errors early on that I decided not to date until I was out of high school. Which I attributed to the understanding that no one marries their high school sweetheart and stays happy, so why even bother wasting my time. Let the e-mails from happily married high school sweethearts flood my inbox as I know there are a few of you out there. I’m just a realist by nature and figured the chances for me were slim!
Now once I actually started dating as an adult, I, like so many out there, had my fair share of total and absolute let downs that when that first guy that I could stand to both look at and talk to popped into my life, I clung on! I had serious illusions that I would be the first monogamous person to fall in love and never experience the pain of heartbreak or rejection. Blood, sweat and a lot of tears were shed in the quest to ensure that we were going to be married and live happily ever after. And it was a close call. A very, scary, close call to the I do’s. I was fearful of being alone, and I was competitively inclined to make that first relationship succeed. A life without heartbreak, was an opportunity too tantalizing to ignore. And then, we broke up. And I don’t have to relate to any of you just what that feels like. The tightness in your chest, the inability to get out of bed, and the hiding from the sunlight because that represents the whole world seeing your pain and your failures. It’s agonizing. But I survived day by day, and then got back together with the same man. Only to experience heartbreak again a few years later and finally walk away from him forever. I had failed. I couldn’t avoid rejection or a broken heart, no matter how hard I tried.
The thing was, back then, I would have done anything to avoid that pain. Hindsight shows me plainly that I was leaning eerily close to marring the devil I knew, rather than explore my options, to protect myself. And I know I am not alone. I guarantee that you know a person, perhaps even well, who got married to someone simply because they were tired and emotionally exhausted from getting their heartbroken. That person decided to make things work with the next person they dated, simply to prevent any more pain. It’s self preservation. We want to be with someone far more than we want to be hurt, so sometimes we sacrifice perfection, in exchange for our mental and emotional well being, and just take what’s there. Is the relationship perfect? Of course not, but compatible is the next best thing. And we humans have survived because once we experience pain we learn and adapt to avoid that same negative stimulus in the future.
And that is a huge benefit to living in the monogamous community and one that I never recognized until becoming non monogamous. For you see, pair bonding for life, within the comfort of monogamy gives you a real chance to never feel that pain again. We are told after our first heartache, not to fret, because someday, you will find someone amazing. And you will fall in love, live happily ever after and you will never feel that loneliness again. I bought into it, hook line and almost sinker. I desperately wanted rejection to be something of a trial of youth. But, here I am to tell you, that things are a little different on the non-monogamous side of the fence. For you see, rejection is unavoidable and in fact, becomes a necessary skill to hone…
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