Earlier this week, the news reported that a man in China got rejected after proposing to his girlfriend with 99 iPhone 6s. While most of us haven’t experienced the misfortune of being turned down in public (and losing almost $100,000 in the process), being rejected by someone we really like feels especially bad each time, regardless of the circumstances. One minute you’re riding high on the tides of hope, and the next, you’re floundering beneath the weight of disappointment. It’s a complicated process. In fact, it goes something like this:
STAGE 1, DENIAL: “IS THIS A JOKE?”
We’ve all seen those romantic comedies where girl jokingly responds “Umm….let me think about it,” after the guy proposes, only to say, “OF COURSE, YOU IDIOT” after his jaw drops to the floor.
Yeah, that’s probably what’s happening here.
STAGE 2, PANIC: “WHAT DO I DO, WHAT DO I DO”
You’ve just made your intentions known, but it looks like the object of your affection ain’t feeling it. Should you ask why? Should you make a case for yourself? Should you scream “APRIL FOOL’S” and run away? For now, all you can do is mouth a half-hearted “oh” as they stammer out an apology.
STAGE 3, ANGER: “HOW COULD YOU?”
Now you’re pissed. How could this happen? How could you plan for so long, only to be rejected? Your friends all say you’re a catch. How could this person not see how awesome you would be together? WHY, CRUEL WORLD? WHY?
STAGE 4, PARANOIA: “IS EVERYONE LAUGHING AT ME?”
Well, great. They’ve probably told their friends what happened, and now all of them are reveling in the hilarity of your botched confession. Why did that person reject you, anyway? Do they have someone else? You badger your friends for the inside scoop on this person, while obsessing over their Facebook account to see if there’s something you missed. Maybe this was all a big mistake and they really do like you, but would feel bad ending their long-term relationship! Right? Right?
STAGE 5, DEPRESSION
You’re sad. So sad, your Taylor Swift play count on iTunes has reached the triple digits. So sad, you completely bought out the MRT tissue aunty’s supply while crying over your lost love. So sad, you can’t help sympathising with YouTube “proposal fails”, regardless of how ridiculous or staged they look.
STAGE 6, DESPAIR: “I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE”
Now that you’re certain that you will die surrounded by cats, you’ve regressed from looping Taylor Swift to singing Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” throughout the day. People are jerks. You will never love again.
STAGE 7: REVENGE: “HE/SHE WILL REGRET THIS”
Inexplicably, you wake up one morning determined to reclaim your life, your heart, and your reputation – namely, by making sure the person who rejected you regrets it with every fibre of his being. As revenge, you will make yourself so desirable, that he will rue the day he or she turned you down. You cut your hair, sign up for a gym membership, make every effort to look as hot and successful as possible in case you see him.
STAGE 8: REGRET: “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?”
Eventually, you do run into that person. And hurrah, you didn’t look like a total mess. If anything, you seemed totally unaffected by what had happened. But the high of sweet, sweet revenge quickly dissipates when you realise that this incident has basically taken over your life. Since when did love have the power to turn you into a crazy person? Shouldn’t you be over it by now?
STAGE 9: MOVING ON
Slowly, but surely, you emerge from your cocoon of sadness and self-loathing to conclude that this person wasn’t right for you – and no amount of wheedling, waiting, or manipulation will ever change that. As for the act of rejection, people will forget about it eventually, even if you pulled all the stops to include balloons, flowers, and yes, iPhones.
STAGE 10, STAKING OUT INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN
Also known as that awesome moment you fall for someone else, despite how badly you were hurt. Your next grand gesture of love will be bigger, better, and more bombastic than before (and this time, you WILL succeed).