Fear of Rejection in a Relationship: How to Fight with It?


What is the perfect portrait of a modern person? It is definitely about high self-esteem, the presence of own opinion, the lack of need for deep emotional connections, and complete independence in everything. Such a person does not need other people - they start a relationship solely for a pleasant pastime and devote the rest of their time to self-development. What is it: an ideal or a fake, behind which lies the desire to protect oneself from another mental wound?

Each of us is afraid of something, but we don’t realize how much fear affects life and decisions. And while you can relatively easily deal with conscious fears, for example, fear of heights or roaches, then unconscious innermost fears can be extremely destructive and control your life. One of the strongest is the fear of rejection. And your social connections, success, self-esteem, independence from the opinions of others are affected by it. The need to be accepted is inherent in everyone. Your brain tries to protect you from stress and unpleasant moments in every possible way, so it fixes your statements like, “She broke my heart and left me high and dry. I will not survive anything like that once again.” And when you face a situation that can potentially lead to previous experience, for example, when you meet single ladies for dating, your brain creates a distorted reality to avoid it in any possible way.

fear of rejection in relationships signs

Fear of Rejection in Relationships: What Is This?

You are not mistaken; the story about “independent and happy” was invented by people with traumatic experience who wanted to protect themselves from pain so much that they unconsciously preferred to stay single. They thought something like, “Why do I need to get attached to unreliable partners who might reject me and leave?” Deep feelings are a risk and a dangerous share of addiction. That is why some men prefer to stay a "lone wolf" to eliminate attachments and abandon any form of responsibility. They began to repeat, "You are not obliged to meet someone’s expectations and needs as well as make a woman fall in love with you.” “You shouldn’t listen to the opinion of the majority!” However, they forgot to clarify that people have a social nature, and therefore, they cannot exist without friendships and love. Any type of close relationship requires a certain degree of responsibility. However, since a person becomes very vulnerable in one way or another, being in a close relationship with someone, some people try to avoid it to protect themselves from potential and imagined sufferings. It’s just a part of the fear of rejection psychology. So, what is it? It is a destructive and irrational fear that makes you believe that a person will not accept you and love the way you are because of your worldview, appearance, values, beliefs, and stuff. This fear affects your choices, decisions, and actions here and there, making you behave in a way that is so completely out of character for you.

Thus, an independent person seems to be the standard of success. Nonetheless, often people with burned wings hide behind a spectacular mask of self-sufficiency. They try to overpower the inner loneliness with the help of excessive social activity and ostentatious perfectionism.

It is difficult for them to express their feelings, and they do not know how to ask for support because of fear of rejection phobia. They replace happiness in their personal lives with high professional achievements. And it all happens because the fear makes them suppress the need for intimacy and replace the depth of feelings with non-binding flirting. Why do people fear rejection?

If you dig a little deeper, it turns out that avoiding a committed relationship is the flip side of addiction. Its root causes come from childhood when the process of the natural formation of attachments is disrupted for some reason. For example, a child faced the death of a dear person, and they've bond affection to the source of mental pain on the subconscious level. Or everything could be even worse – a kid faced domestic violence, abuse, and rejection on the part of parents. In this case, the child’s brain turns on a defense mechanism that convinces them that the relationship is unsafe, bringing frustration, problems, and unpleasant emotions. Thus, a person suffers from a fear of rejection in relationships when grows up.

Fear of Rejection in Relationships Signs

Some enter a relationship “on tiptoe;” others live under the yoke of jealousy; still, others hardly breathe so as not to scare away their significant other. Some intense fears that overtake us can be almost imperceptible. These fears show you how important the relationship is to you. People vitally need close connections with significant others. You enter a romantic relationship with a set of expectations, fantasies, and hopes aimed at a partner. You are waiting for acceptance and understanding, intimacy and appreciation, love, and care. You need to get confirmation of your value and uniqueness in the eyes of the one whom you consider close. And to the same extent, you are afraid to not get what you want most of all. Therefore, the fear of being rejected or abandoned, unnecessary or insignificant, unloved, or controlled, not meeting the expectations of the partner or being a failure in their eyes always goes hand in hand with your expectations.

1. You are afraid to share your opinion

One of the most common fear of rejection symptoms is incapability or a strong unwillingness to express your thoughts and prove your point of view. You prefer to stay silent about certain things or keep your opinion to yourself because you fear that your interlocutor will not agree or mock you. This fear can be so grueling that you can be literally in a daze, being not able to contradict your partner. In other words, you choose such a pattern of behavior when it is better to agree with someone's opinion just to reduce the probability of being rejected by them.

2. You copy someone’s behavior

If you look at the fear of rejection quotes, you will see that most of them are somehow connected with the level of self-esteem and the necessity to love yourself first. Thus, a man who suffers from a fear of rejection is afraid to be himself. So, he prefers to copy other people, for example, their way of speaking or even values. However, it’s one thing to adopt something because you like it (and want to become the best version of yourself), and it’s another thing to do that because you fear being rejected, so you pretend that you are on the same page with that person.

3. You take your partner’s mood swings personally

One of the fear of rejection in relationships signs is a habit to take personally any changes in people’s mood and feelings. Your emotional state is based on some’s comments, criticism, or, on the contrary, praise. In other words, your happiness and satisfaction from life depend on externalities, and your mood can change depending on what someone thinks or says about you. Thus, you ride an emotional roller coaster whenever you communicate with someone. You cannot take a step back from their behavior, actions, or words because you take every little trifle too personally.

4. You can be easily manipulatedgetting over fear of rejection

If you believe that your fear of rejection remains invisible for others, then you are wrong. People see that you constantly seek their approval and praise. Unfortunately, there are two possible scenarios – they will either start taking you for granted, or they will use you to their benefits. It is very easy to manipulate a person who doesn’t know how to overcome the fear of rejection but looks for happiness in the outside world.

5. You have low self-esteem

In most cases, you can suffer from fear of rejection in dating because of low self-esteem and lack of social skills that are of crucial importance for interaction with other people. You neither love nor value yourself enough to put yourself first no matter what. So, you want others to help you feel better about your personality and show your value. Usually, low self-esteem is the result of an unpleasant and even painful experience that made you doubt your self-worth.

Dangers of Ignoring Fear of Rejection Phobia

The fear of rejection is fixed in the unconscious. That’s why you may be afraid of everything in the world: to buy the wrong gift (what if the girl doesn’t like it?), put on wrong clothes (what if they mock me?), talk about your needs (what if they refuse me or even get angry for my “impudence”?).

Fear reduces your self-confidence, killing it slowly and fundamentally. You do not dare to say “no” in situations that you don’t like. Thus, you become compliant and helpful because you believe that if you don’t meet their needs and expectations, they will stop communicating with you. This fear stays with you 24/7, and it doesn’t matter who you are talking to.

Over time, it may lead to disappointment in life, procrastination, panic attacks, stress, and depression. Many people might wonder what prevents you from succeeding. And that notorious fear can be the root cause of it as well, “If I succeed, people will not like me,” “I will lose all my friends,” “They will envy me,” “The partner will feel inferior to me.” These thoughts may encourage you to avoid success.

Men who don’t know how to get over a fear of rejection sabotage their plans as well, “I want to approach this girl, but what if she rejects me? I won’t even try.” It is easier for such guys not to realize plans than to fail. In a stressful situation, your brain is occupied with problematic thoughts, “I will better not do this anymore, then I will not have to go through it again.” But the problem is not fear itself but your attitude towards it, which is formed by thoughts. And to cope with fear, you must first deal with your thoughts that are transformed into this fear.

A man may fear that if he decides to have a serious relationship, he will open up to his partner, and she will quickly lose interest in him. It is for this reason that men who are afraid to become rejected try to avoid exchanging opinions and constructive conversations about life, as well as disagreements and disputes. In the end, they can hardly tolerate it and break off relationships that really haven’t even begun. If one of the partners hides their thoughts, then this torments both. Happy couples also have conflicts, but they find ways to solve them and talk everything through.

Overcoming Fear of Rejection: 7 Essential Steps for Men

Perhaps, you are afraid of being rejected by others more than anything. This type of fear is widespread. The constant search for recognition from other people is a dead end. You can become happy only if you learn how to cherish this feeling inside yourself. Why? Because any gaze, word, or reaction of another person may be distorted or misinterpreted by you as an upcoming refusal when it is not. If you are interested in getting over a fear of rejection because you are ready to move on and get rid of any boundaries, then look at the following tips that will help you meet this challenge and feel more confident over time.

1. Realize that fear is your enemy

Have you ever noticed that sometimes we accept the false belief that motivates us to perform actions that will make this belief come true? This way of thinking kills opportunities and destroys all potential relationships. For example, you may mistakenly believe that a girl will reject you, and you begin to behave rudely towards her in advance. In the end, such behavior leads to the very rejection that you were afraid of, even though you could easily succeed at the beginning. As a result, you start convincing yourself that you knew everything beforehand, "I knew that she would reject me. I am out of her league." Do you see how it works? Look carefully at what your fear leads to and how your beliefs about a possible rejection affect your behavior toward others.

2. Notice the pattern

If you have an unsafe attachment, you can constantly return to childhood experiences. Moreover, you may not realize the fear of rejection fully. You can respond to the danger of rejection by defense feelings – shame, anger, or resentment directed at the partner. The familiar pattern gives a feeling of painful predictability. It is the root cause of the repeating situations of mutual misunderstanding in couples. Unsolved issues will appear all the time until you deal with them. You should pay attention to your childhood and parents’ relationships to notice what is repeated in your adult life if you reflect on possible ways of overcoming fear of rejection.

3. Face rejectionovercoming fear of rejection

When you experience fear of rejection – you fear the unknown. Train yourself in situations when you can potentially face rejection. Yes, it can be painful, and you may get upset, but you already faced rejection earlier, after which you continued to live your life and feel happiness again. Facing rejection doesn’t mean the end of the world. You shouldn’t be afraid of the consequences. In fact, it is inevitable and sometimes even useful to face rejection. One of the most useful strategies is to play different scenarios in your head and come up with the worst one. Reality is rarely as frightening as the unknown.

4. Don’t take someone’s opinion personally

If you attach too much importance to the opinions of other people, you become dependent. Therefore, never let anyone's opinion change your reality. Don’t neglect yourself or who you want to be just because someone has a problem with it. Love yourself the way you are inside and out and keep moving forward. No one can make you feel helpless unless you give this person power and allow to manipulate you. And when someone rejects you for one reason or another, you shouldn’t immediately conclude that this is because you are unworthy or unattractive. We are all different, and the fact that someone doesn’t like your point of view or rejects to go on a date with you means only that you are on different waves.

5. Allow your confidence to overcome your fear

Have you ever noticed that people who struggle with emotional issues tend to tell you how they would not like to feel? This is fairly honest, but at some point, you should focus solely on how you want to feel. When you are in a situation that makes you worry and feel anxiety, forget about how you don't want to feel at that moment. Think about how you would like to feel right now. You should get used to catching the moment and living here and now, neither regretting anything nor fearing possible rejection. This is your choice. You can change the way you think.

6. Enjoy your personality

The constant search for approval means that you worry that other people may think negatively of you. It takes away pleasure, fun, and spontaneity from your life. Get rid of this habit. If you are lucky enough to have something that distinguishes you from the rest, then in no case be ashamed of it and do not change. Uniqueness is priceless. In this crazy world that is trying to make you like the rest, find the courage to remain a different person. And if someone laughs at you for being different from them, then mock them for the same thing. It takes a lot of courage, but it is worth it. Be uncompromising. Over time, you will meet people who will truly love you.

7. Use rejection as a chance to become better

As soon as someone starts criticizing you or rejects you, you can catch yourself thinking, “Well, this proves once again that I am not enough.” In fact, rejection is sometimes a necessary medicine. It teaches how to avoid relationships and opportunities that don't work for you, and how to quickly find others that suit you perfectly. This does not mean that you are not good enough. This means that someone has not seen what you can offer. And it means that you have more time to study your abilities and become better.

Start Small

Ignoring natural needs strengthens the fear and leads to destructive distortions of the person. Things that you suppress in yourself, in fact, do not disappear, they accumulate inside, controlling your behavior at the subconscious level. What does it mean? It seems to the rejected person that the avoidance of the relationship will protect them from possible pain in the future, but it turns out exactly the opposite. Avoiding relationships, you experience extreme emotional stress, there is a fear of loneliness, longing for the warmth of the human body, inner anxiety. At some point, hunger becomes so strong that you can give up and agree to any relationship just to fill the spiritual void. Lowered standards for people will push you into yet another unsuccessful relationship that will injure the psyche, exacerbating the wound and fear of rejection.

That is why the essence of the fear of rejection is dangerous. A person needs close relationships, approval, love, and support. You need healthy relationships. Want to protect yourself from sufferings? Try to overcome a fear of rejection, starting with the smallest steps.

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