top of page

Oh the humanity! Navigating breakups and rejection humanely

~Tips for the Rejector and the Rejectee.~

self-love, setting boundaries, changing careers, letting go

Let's face it rejection is a B.

Especially when it comes to dating and relationships.

Whether you are the rejector or rejectee, it's gonna happen. Either you or they are going to experience rejection.

How we navigate rejection, both as the receiver or the giver, is such a telling sign of our humanity.

And whether people believe in karma or not, personal growth and where an individual is in their love of humanity definitely is exemplified in their chosen way of saying their goodbyes.

Nothing lasts forever. All experiences are temporary. Change is the only constant.

So, rejection in dating is going to happen. And how we do it makes a difference. And how we experience it when it happens also makes a difference.

So let's break it down ..

As the rejector, know that it's ok to say "no" to anyone at any time for any reason.

Let yourself off the hook and don't feel guilty for walking or even sprinting away from someone or from a relationship that is not working.

meditation class Raleigh

We all too often stay in situations and with individuals way longer than is healthy for us. Whether it's because we're too nice to cut it off or we feel unjustified in leaving, we find reasons to stay.

Guilt can make us stay. We feel "bad" for leaving a relationship or "bad" for rejecting a person. We ourselves have been rejected, we know what it feels like and we vowed to not put anyone through that ever. But this is not a realistic promise. And we know it. We cannot make an absolute promise to never reject a person or break up with them or eventually leave.

So many compelling factors come into play when we decide to stop dating someone or end a relationship. Those reasons matter. We are not choosing to hurt the person by leaving. It is not a choice to see them hurt or suffer by our decision to say no.

The person may inevitably get hurt but you have not "done" that to them. There is not a victim in this scenario. They may make you feel as though you intentionally hurt them by choosing to leave or choosing to stop dating them, but that is their convoluted pain. Don't take on their pain by agreeing with them.

You are at all times free to stay, or free to go. You are in your power to choose. And by choosing what makes you happy, you are also simultaneously empowering yourself and empowering them.

You empower them by showing what it looks like to walk away with kindness. You are empowering them to find someone who wants to be with them. You are doing them a favor by freeing them up for someone who is a better match for them.

Sure, unraveling from someone after years in a relationship is wrought with grief, emotional heartbreak, financial issues - and that can not only be stressful but also emotionally taxing, but it is still not a situation where guilt is warranted.

No relationship is guaranteed forever. We all know hearts change. We all know that to remain in a happy, healthy, fulfilling relationship, in line with our values, both partners need to do their part to grow alongside each other.

How this applies directly to dating and shorter-term relationships, is our values and our choice guide the experience.

We have a right in either context, short term or long term, to say "no thanks" "this isn’t working for me".

But too often we stay when we know we should go. We either continue dating people despite red flags, or stay in long-term relationships way past the expiry date. We've all done it at some point and some of us have a pattern of doing it.

So, what's this all about?

Sometimes we do not know ourselves well enough to know what we want in a relationship. So, we try things out and once we figure out it's not the best match whether that takes hours or years- instead of justifying our reasons to leave we justify our reason stay. We invalidate and ignore that nagging voice in the back our head that says, this isn't it.

Sometimes even if we know ourselves well, we ignore the signs or invalidate our reasons for leaving. Fear of being alone, fear of the guilt, fear of uncertainty- can make us stay.

At times, we may be the person in the relationship who brings up the issues or the unhappiness. We make changes, compromise our values, water down what’s important to us. So that what remains is a watered-down version of ourselves that's barely recognizable. Small, quiet, lack-luster, disempowered. All in the name of staying in the relationship because we need a "better" reason to leave.

I want to say, YOU are that better reason.

Your voice, truly being heard and listened to -matters.

Your shine matters.

Your sense of empowerment matters.

In all areas of your life.

So, if you are the rejector, embrace that rejection is a part of life.

You cannot avoid it because of guilt or fear. That invalidates you, your life, and your happiness.

You cannot avoid rejecting someone you're dating because you want to avoid hurting their feelings. People's feelings are going to get hurt.

You can't remain in situations where you know it’s not a good fit, it's not fair to you or them.

All we can do when we are doing the rejecting is do it with love, kindness, and compassion.

Treat the person you are rejecting with dignity and respect. Remember, just like you, they have fears, and hopes, and dreams. Just like you they experience emotional hurt when being rejected. Just like you, they also at one point or another hoped the relationship would last or if dating hoped the connection would grow into something special.

When rejecting, reject in the way you would want to be rejected.

Blame is not part of it.

Take 100% ownership of your choice.

Remember that you've done all you can to communicate, repair, and heal the relationship (if it's long-term), and walk away knowing you are making space for both of you to find a better match. And it's ok.


mindfulness class Raleigh

As the rejectee, rejection is painful no matter how you shake it.

If you're dating, there may be someone you especially like. You may hope for a future together or even just hope for continued time together. You may begin to have feelings for them. You've invested time, energy, attention into this person.

Whether it's been one conversation, one date, or many months, getting rejected is not easy.

If you're in a long-term relationship, you have built a life together. And unraveling from your life together and each other may feel unbearable.

Rejection can sometimes feel out of the blue. You may feel there must have been signs but somehow you missed them. Rejection can certainly kick up old wounds and in some of us, trigger trauma

For longer relationships, your head may be reeling from overanalyzing "when did things go wrong or off track?". And the grief and pain and heartbreak may be an undeniable part of that rejection.

How we manage rejection and our resilience is so important to minimizing our stress and whether or not we internalize the rejection.

Here are a few tips..

  • Remember that you have also been the rejector at one time. It's so important to remember this so we step into a place of compassion for the person rejecting us. Rather than vilifying them for being honest about their choice to say goodbye.

  • Remember that it’s not personal. Their choice to move on, is valid from their perspective even if you don’t understand it.

  • Remember, even if they have shared the reasons, and you did your best to change, it is ultimately not about you, but about their preferences.

  • Remember you and only you know if there are changes that you need to make and only you can make those changes so you can be the best partner for the next relationship.

  • Remember that with one ending there is a new beginning around the corner. For longer relationships, it may take time to heal before you're ready to date again but in time, you will, when you're ready.

  • Remember to offer yourself grace and not also break up with yourself during a break up. Don't give into shame or feeling like something is wrong with you. Stay connected to yourself.



Above all, whether we are the one saying goodbye or experiencing the goodbye, release the guilt, shame, and fear.

Who we spend our time with is a choice. Who we decide NOT to spend our time with is also a choice.

We can say goodbye with kindness and compassion. We can do it humanely. We can offer everyone dignity and respect.

We can receive goodbyes with grace. We can navigate rejection in a resilient way. We can do it by staying connected with ourselves and saying yes to ourselves.

Ultimately, we all deserve to be with someone who wants to be with us, who chooses us. And to be free to find the person we want to be with, who we choose. Choice matters.

Every day we are with someone is a choice both people have made.

Nothings guaranteed. Nothings permanent. Change is inevitable. Goodbyes are part of the deal.

My wish for you is to stay deeply connected to yourself and what is right for you at all times, both in and out of relationship.


Here is some guidance for your journey this week...

Intention: To navigate change and rejection in relationships with love, kindness, grace, and resilience.

Reflection: I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on the following. Ask yourself...

  • What are my values in a relationship? What's important to me?

  • Am I currently in a relationship that is no longer aligned with who I am?

  • Have I done all I can do to repair the relationship and to communicate with my partner what needs to change?

  • Is it time to move on?

  • What is holding me back (emotions, thoughts, beliefs)?

  • How will I navigate the goodbye conversation with love, kindness, and grace for myself and the other person?

  • If dating, are there red flags that I am compromising on in order to continue dating someone?

  • Am I willing to be true to myself and say goodbye when I realize this person is not the right fit?

  • What holds me back from rejecting others?

  • What holds me back from making choices that are in my best interest?

  • Does the word rejection feel emotionally charged?

  • If you have recently experienced rejection, in what ways are you staying deeply connected to yourself so that you do not also break up with yourself during the breakup process?

  • How can you navigate this rejection with grace and resilience?

  • How will you offer yourself kindness and tenderness through this experience?

  • What can you do to avoid vilifying or blaming the person who has rejected you?

  • How can you shift your perception about this rejection to the idea of choice, freedom, empowerment for both you and the other person?

  • How have you navigated being rejected in the past?

  • How have you navigated moving on from a breakup in the past?

Practice: For this week,

  • Practice expressing specifically what you want in a relationship with your partner or those you date.

  • Practice saying "no thanks" if the relationship is not what you want for yourself and not aligned with your values.

  • Practice saying "this isn’t working for me".

  • Practice rejecting with kindness and compassion.

  • Practice experiencing rejection with grace and resilience, and staying connected with yourself.

  • Practice releasing guilt and shame about a breakup.

  • Practice meditating on the concept of impermanence.

Resolve: Breathing in, I am aware that everything is temporary. Breathing out, I offer a sunflower to the part of me that wanted it to last.


Has this article helped you in some way? Do you have anything you'd like to share? I’d love to hear below.

Rebecca Cooley

Dear Wonderful Person,

I hope this message helps support you on your path of personal liberation, connection, and peace-filled compassion. Need more guidance on this topic or looking for a coach to partner with you on this part of your journey? Check out my private coaching programs.

Be Free.

Wishing you much peace and joy,


Top Coaches Raleigh
Top Coaches Raleigh

Customized. Personalized. Just for You.

Looking for a personable, heart-felt, caring coach to partner with you and help you achieve your personal and professional goals?

Rebecca's transformational whole-person coaching has helped her partners build confidence, self-awareness, self-acceptance, and connect authentically with themselves and others. She has partnered with executives, managers, and teams for over 15 years offering private coaching as well as Workshops in Public Speaking, and Worksite Wellness Classes in Stress-reduction, Work/Life Balance, and Time-management.

  • Over 15 years as an Executive Coach and Trainer for leaders in Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, Top-tier Universities, Government, NGOs, Small Businesses helping leaders and their teams achieve superior results

  • Results: Strengthened relationships and communication, Increased confidence and happiness, Reduced stress, Improved quality of life and employee wellness, Enhanced performance, Increased job satisfaction

  • 1500+ hours of formal training and certifications in stress-reduction, mindfulness, and communication strategies

  • Certified Master Coach

  • MPA in Managerial Leadership, graduated with honors

  • BA with a concentration in Speech Communication, Magna Cum Laude

  • Named Top 16 Coaches in Raleigh for 2022 by Influence Digest


bottom of page