You send a message to a match that goes unanswered. You swipe right and never have it reciprocated. You go on a date, only to be “ghosted” afterward.
Rejection hurts, and not just metaphorically. Being turned down stimulates the same part of the brain that processes physical pain, according to a 2011 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Social rejection and physical pain are similar not only in that they are both distressing, they share a common representation in somatosensory brain systems as well,” the study’s authors wrote. Basically, our brains can’t tell the difference between a broken heart and a broken bone.
Instead of one rejection at a bar on a Saturday night, the popularity of online dating gives users many more opportunities to feel rejected faster.