Rejection is a powerful experience and emotion and it seems to sneak into relationships without any notice. Have you ever heard or found yourself saying “I don’t feel like my partner hears me”, “I don’t think she/he gets who I am” or “I don’t feel understood?” These beliefs about yourself or partner can be directly related to some experience of rejection. Below are a few different ways couples may experience rejection.
Ways Couples Experience Rejection
Some of the most common and most noticeable rejections are played out by one wanting to spend time together; have sex; go out on a date; or make future plans, and the other doesn’t. Thus leading to a lack of understanding for each other; decreasing their intimate connection; and paralyzing listening. Most of the time, your partner doesn’t even know they’re making these rejecting mistakes.
So…let’s talk about the minor ways rejection can creep into a relationship. I call this unconscious or silent rejection. This form of rejection is probably the most overlooked and under talked about but also the most damaging. Couples face this silent rejection numerous times a day – consisting of the many unnoticed act of kindness, attention and going out of the way for the other. Because relationships tend to become routine, things once noticed by your partner overtime become unnoticed. The sweet hugs; doing a favor; sweet text message; love notes; taking care of a sick partner; gentle touches; etc…turn into forgotten practices or ignored.
Rejecting your Partner’s efforts
Another not so talked about form of rejection is when one offers to do something nice for the other and the offer is rejected. The feeling of being a trouble or inconvenience can be a barrier to doing something nice or a favor for your loved one. When denying their service attempts, you’re taking away their hero or provider complex and in turn they feel useless to you.
Oversight or not recognizing the changes your spouse makes is another rejection that tends to be one of the deepest hurts of rejection. Change is inevitable in relationships both positive and negative, but when positive change is neglected, feelings of painful rejection follows. I’m not talking about hair styles or beards, I’m talking about internal changes one does to improve their relationship. This could be increased physical connection; wanting to find a new hobby together; talking nicer; being available; listening closer; understanding, etc. If you’re rejecting these changes in your partner you’re hurting their core.
Tips to Not Reject your Partner
1. Take time to break routine. Stop and enjoy those moments of connection and the meaning of your partner’s actions or attempts to engage you.
2. Look for changes. seek them out and discover how your significant other has expanded in your relationship and affirm them. Celebrate the growth you’ve had together.
3. Reciprocate Take notice of the little things your partner does…appreciate them; let them know you see them and their kindness.
Lots of people feel rejected in their relationship and don’t know where to start. If this is you and you want to improve your relationship getting help is the next step. Seek out professional help; a marriage and family therapist is helpful for breaking the barrier of rejection and disconnect.