Guest Columnist Evita Sawyers shares her best strategies for fielding rejection!
I'm a queer woman new to the polyamory scene, and I'm struggling with feelings of inadequacy. I'm fat and proud, and I have a long history of loving monogamous partnerships. I've been big since I was a kid, and I've been blessed with many validating and fulfilling partnerships. I'd always heard that the non-monogamous community was more body positive than the monogamous community, but ever since I dove in I've been fielding a LOT of rejection and it's been difficult to not internalize it. What are your best tips for taking care of yourself and moving forward from rejection without just throwing in the towel?
I am so glad this question came to me because do I have a LOT of experience with rejection! I often joke that I get rejected so much that it actually surprises me when someone returns my interest! (“Are you sure you want to say yes to this date?”) I also spent a large portion of my time being polyamorous as a big, beautiful woman (well over 300lbs). Kudos to you for being proud of your body. You absolutely should be! I’m sorry you’re having a hard time garnering interest. Rejection never feels good even when you’re an old pro like me with it. Here are some things that I tell myself when I get rejected.
One, once someone rejects me, they immediately become someone I don’t want. Maybe not consciously or right away, but ULTIMATELY what I want is someone who wants me back, someone who is just as excited about me as I am about them. No one likes to think that they are being settled for or just chosen because they are available. We want to have partners that are enthusiastic about us, right?
Secondly, I read a quote somewhere once that went something like “When someone rejects you, thank them. Thank them for knowing themselves well enough to know that you were not the right choice for them.” This resonated with me because I, too, reject people at times. People deserve to have people they want. That includes you and the people that are rejecting you.
Third, be kind to yourself and compassionate to them. Being rejected doesn’t make you a bad person or unattractive or undesirable and it doesn’t make them mean or shallow for not wanting to pursue you. It just means that you probably aren’t for each other.
Practice self love and self affirmation. I try to make sure that the person that I’m receiving the MOST validation and acceptance from is myself. That way, anything extra I get from others is just icing on the cake! Also, remember that it’s ok to feel a little crummy when it happens. Try not to judge yourself for feeling badly about it. It’s normal for rejection to sting, even if you’re a super confident person. The easiest way to help those icky feelings move on is by giving them their air time and then releasing them in love. If you resist them, they just stick around longer.
Remember that dating is just a game of numbers. The law of averages dictates that eventually, if you keep casting your net, someone will get “caught” in it. The only way you can guarantee that you won’t find someone is if you stop trying. Also, try joining some BBW friendly dating sites or appreciation pages on social media. Even if you don’t meet your next great love affair from those groups, just seeing that there is a community of people that appreciate plus-size women can be really affirming. And remember that you have found people that were attracted to you before, it stands to reason that you will find others again. Try not to lose heart, keep being proud, and eventually, someone will be drawn to your light!
Lavitaloca Sawyers is a pro-black, queer, non-monogamous, feminist speaker, vlogger, and educator on living non-monogamously from her perspective as a married woman of color. A mother of three, she enjoys helping others learn from her mistakes and epiphanies with her simple, straight-forward and transparent approach to love and relationships. She has appeared on several podcasts, a television interview, written articles for the "Black and Poly" online magazine, and is the subject of the polyamorous documentary, "Poly Love".