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How to Respond to Rejection

Mar 18, 2015 | No Comments

by John Thomas

QUESTION

I am currently in college and can see myself getting married in a year or so. There’s a lady at my school that I met this past semester. We spent a great deal of time together the past few months with mutual friends (occasionally it was just us, but that was the exception, not the rule). She and I really hit it off. We enjoyed each other’s company, shared a common world view, and had similar visions for our families and futures. I liked her a lot.

Based on the time we’ve spent together and the conversations we’d had (some of them pretty deep), not to mention the counsel I’d received from other people I trust, and time spent in prayer, I decided to ask her if she would consider a relationship with me. She was flabbergasted and took the day to think it over before saying “no.” She didn’t see me as anything more than just a friend. I told her that was fine and that even though it would affect our friendship, I wasn’t willing to let it come between us. She agreed.

My feelings for her haven’t changed. My question is, would it be appropriate to approach her again later? If so, how long should I wait? (I know she had a fairly recent bad experience with a stalker, and I want to be sensitive to that as well.) Is it wrong to hold out hope that she’ll come around in time? She’s a rather cautious person and might just need more space to think about it. Or am I deluding myself? How does a marriage-minded man respond to rejection from a marriage-minded lady?

ANSWER

It depends on the “no” she gave you. If it was a “not now, but possibly later” no, then obviously the door remains open and it would be completely appropriate to pursue at a time when she might be in a better position to develop a relationship. If, on the other hand, it was an “I don’t ever see us being anything more than friends” kind of no, then you’re facing an uphill battle to say the least.

Here’s the evidence: She’s marriage-minded. She knows you fairly well. She was “flabbergasted” when you brought it up. And she took time to consider her answer before she responded to your invitation. All of that, and yet she still said “no.” That’s a pretty firm “no.” There’s not much wiggle room there. You run the risk of embarrassing her and yourself if you pursue her.

The problem this leaves you with is that you just can’t turn off your feelings for her like flipping a light switch, and the more you are around her, the stronger your feelings for her grow. That being the case, I think it’s unwise for you to keep spending as much time with her as you do. That will only make life more difficult for you (and probably her). She’s made it clear she’s not interested, so I would urge you to put some — no, much — distance between the two of you, close that chapter of romantic pursuit, and begin moving on.

It sounds noble not to let all of this disclosure affect your friendship, but it will, at least initially. To guard your heart, I’d sit down with her and let her know that your feelings for her just keep growing, and in the best interest of both of you, you’re going to have to move out of her orbit for the time being, at least until there is either a change in her feelings or yours. I know that will be inconvenient since you have mutual friends, but I think it’s the best thing for now. Gracefully close this chapter and see where God will lead you next.

Copyright © 2007 John Thomas. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

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