This is the eighth in a series about handling rejection.

Q: What are some of the reasons people reject one another in romantic relationships?

A: In an article by Tyler Duncan, she reiterates the top five reasons women reject men. Beginning with the fifth most common reason, she names poor presentation and poor hygiene. Hygiene is significant in the beginning of a relationship and a woman won’t bother taking time to get to know a man with poor hygiene. Cleanliness, neatness and tastefulness in dress are important to women.

The fourth most frequent cause for rejection of men is self-absorbed behavior and bravado. Women reject men who brag about material possessions, income and status because it seems as though their personalities are not interesting. Real confidence is when a man does not need to impress a woman with wealth and possessions because that man has good self-esteem.

Furthermore, the more men try to impress women, the more they are advertising their weaknesses and insecurities. The most successful way to impress a woman is to listen, to be interested in her, rather than trying to be interesting to her. Self-absorbed behavior occurs when men don’t wait on their turns to talk or interrupt others.

The third most common complaint that women have about men is their complaints about former girlfriends. That complaining behavior communicates to women that men have a lot of emotional baggage, that they cannot manage relationships, and that they focus on the negative. Moaning about past relationships demonstrates a lack of confidence. Not taking responsibility for one’s current relationship risks that relationship by wallowing in the past.

The second most frequent complaint about men from women is indecisiveness and a lack of self-confidence. Women prefer men who are assertive and take the lead in a relationship. Men who try to get women to express their opinions and preferences first before men do appear insecure and lacking in confidence and weak. Neither men nor women should hesitate to speak their mind, as differing opinions help to keep romantic relationships interesting.

The top reason that women reject men is their neediness and smothering behavior. Men need to show women they have lives of their own and other interests. When men revolve their relationships solely around women, that habit shows an over-dependency on women. Women need time with their friends and families, and time to pursue their own hobbies and interests. When men drop everything whenever women call, they appear needy and non-assertive. These are qualities women do not desire in their relationships with men.

Conversely men also find neediness and smothering unattractive in women. Neither gender, in healthy relationships, seeks out neediness and smothering behavior in the other person. No one in a romantic relationship can meet all the other person’s needs. Then if that relationship ends, the one who is rejected is left with nothing but emptiness.

On a website entitled “Relationships Uncovered,” there is an article called “How To Deal With Rejection From A Man.” Because everybody is different, a woman might like a man and he doesn’t reciprocate, or a man might like a woman and she doesn’t care for him. Many times the other person isn’t one’s type and vice versa. Sometimes a man already has a partner.

Women should not stop talking to other men. The prettiest and most personable women get rejected sometimes. Both genders need to remember that everyone has the right to say no. Everyone is looking for different things in life. Those reasons alone account for many causes of men and women rejecting potential suitors.

Knowing why a person rejects you is an important dynamic because knowing why tells a person what to change. Sometimes there is no change that will influence outcome because the reasons are things about two people such as their personalities, their family backgrounds, their interests, and their life experiences that do not change. When one person changes to please the other person, there often comes a time when that other person resents making such changes. Then the relationship might be in danger and could become dysfunctional.

In “Dating Don’ts: How To Handle Rejection in Dating,” written by Megan Reynolds, she emphasizes the reason a lot of people do not date is because of a fear of rejection. Avoiding dating relieves people of emotional commitment and the effort it takes to engage in and maintain a close romantic relationship. When a person puts himself/herself out by investing energy and emotion in a new potential romance, the risk is rejection.

Sometimes the other person says something superficial and trite about not continuing the relationship. Trying to sustain a relationship with someone who keeps backing up is pointless. Everyone wants to be desired or loved, even if that person doesn’t like the rejecting person. Being the object of admiration is flattering, and rejection is a blow to one’s ego.

Wallowing in rejection is acceptable only on a short-term basis. Self-pity is the enemy of coping well with a problem. When a person is consumed with self-pity, that person loses some of the capacity to reason and to see all the options that are available. Generalizing a situation of rejection to a feeling that a person is always going to be rejected is very destructive to a person’s self-esteem. The longer someone remains in an impassive, depressed funk, the more difficulty that person has regaining his/her emotional equilibrium.

Next week’s discussion will be how to handle rejection in dating relationships.

Judy Caprez is professor emeritus at Fort Hays State University.