Valentine’s Day is for lovers, but it’s also for the rejected and lovelorn, some of whom will mope, gripe and commiserate the day away because they’re convinced they are Valentine’s Box Office Poison — unlucky in love forever, or at least today.
But resist the urge to pout, especially online. Not just because bitterness is always a bad look, but because a new survey offers proof that you’re looking at rejection all wrong.
First though: I’m not sad-shaming. No one would blame you for being mopey today. While most people are knocking themselves out to broadcast to the world that they are so, so loved (on a Hallmark holiday invented by capitalism using trite symbols of romance to convey complex affection) you’re justifiably tempted — if you’re out of a date tonight or recently dumped/ignored/strung along by the person you wish you had a date with — to burn it all down, so to speak, and let everyone know.
Well, today is also your chance to reframe the pain: Match.com’s annual survey Singles in America, where they poll their users on the perks and pitfalls of dating in the digital world, found something curious: Folks who have been ghosted, zombie’d or breadcrumbed have a 64 percent better chance of getting laid this year than other singles, and a 125 percent better chance of going on a date.
Yes, that sounds counterintuitive. Doesn’t rejection mean you suck? That people don’t want to hang out with you, much less fuck you? That your banter wasn’t banter-y? That your wit wasn’t sparkly? How could being unceremoniously dumped, even via unexpected silence, mean that you are more likely to get some tail this year?
It’s actually pretty simple: In order to get rejected, you have to be participating in the race. Which means, bare minimum, you’re out there trying. Walking the walk, talking the talk, and drinking the drink. One of the single most common pieces of dating advice is to quite literally keep yourself in circulation, whether that’s online, or going to a gym or a bar or any place where there are other people who will like you enough to eventually dump you too. (I’m joking, sorta.) In order to be dumped, you had to be, at one point, found desirable by someone you met, who you talked to, and liked your face and general presentation enough to do more than that. That’s not nothing. That’s something — a huge something.
In order to be ghosted, for example, it means someone at least initially found you appealing enough to talk to, even if it meant to eventually ignore. In order to be breadcrumbed, it means you’re alluring enough to never ghost completely, but at least to maintain some kind of connection with over the long haul, even if it’s just one inexplicable maddening little digital crumb at a time that never adds up to the whole pastry. In order to be zombie’d, someone liked you enough to hook up or be with you at one point, then leave you, but then — hey, think about it! — show back up because they thought of you again.
And if someone liked you enough once, someone else will like you enough again. That is a basic statement that sounds like a tidy little pat on the head. But it’s fundamentally true. It’s true for you, and it’s true of every person online bragging today about their perfect love.
Everyone in relationship, barring people who are still with their first loves (gag), was in a different relationship before. And that relationship crashed and burned, baby. It crashed and burned. Every story of a past relationship is a story of failure. Yes, every relationship teaches us something deep and meaningful about ourselves yadda yadda, but most of that learning comes after someone gets fucking dumped.
I know what you’re thinking now! No, there is no such thing as a truly mutual split either; which means the person you’re pining over today has absolutely been dumped by someone else. And yes, some people claim they have literally never been dumped. Those people are lying, too! They are either preemptive dumpers who knew they were about to get dumped and dumped first (You can’t fire me because I quit!), or they are people who want to dump you but can’t, so they sabotage the relationship so that you will dump them.
Any of these people above might actually also be you. That’s right, before you get too mopey today, consider that someone else somewhere is actually moping right now because of you. Guess what happens if you post online about how sad you are today?
Some other reasons to rethink rejection as all bad: Lots of people break up around Valentine’s Day, and it’s actually people who were in bad relationships, not good ones. In other words, Valentine’s Day is kind of like the romantic purge. In other words, a lot of those people bragging online today? They’re about to get dumped.
Also, the person who ghosted you could very well appear today trying to get back in there.
Also, you could spend today being hilariously shitty to everyone who ghosted you, which will be a far more enjoyable way to spend the day than being sad:
While none of this means that you should still want to be with any of the people who treated you badly, it does serve as a reminder that if you had enough juice for those experiences, you have more juice for a better one. Whatever you do, don’t let all this prevent you from doing what must be done: picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and getting the hell back out there.