Been in the dating game for a while now? Then you’ve probably enjoyed success, but also been rejected, too.

From getting swiped left on Tinder, to being ‘ghosted’ (where one suddenly ceases all contact with another party without any apparent warning or justification) by a date, the feeling of rejection sucks.

But it’s neither nice nor cool to take your frustrations out on the one who rejected you.

Instagrammer Melody Yap shared screenshots of her friend’s horror story on Tinder involving a Singaporean guy dubbed “W”.

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Yap’s friend “friendzoned” W after their first date, which took place over a lunch. The next day, a hysterical and vulgar W bombarded her with multiple WhatsApp messages. Although the messages started off as annoying but harmless, they quickly turned nasty – W insulted her and her family, accused her of ‘crossing the line’, and even threatened to lodge a complaint against her at her workplace and report her to the police.

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Even after Yap’s friend blocked him on WhatsApp, W continued harassing her through SMS and OKCupid.

As Yap shared the saga to her 60,000 followers, more drama was uncovered – it appeared that W was a regular Tinder antagonist who didn’t take kindly to rejection. From nuisance calls to hurling vulgarities at those who rejected him, he had allegedly insulted, stalked and harassed at least six other girls.

W’s entitled behaviour is not common, but there are others like him out there. Like this guy who, after his Tinder match failed to reply promptly, resorted to calling her names like “ugly”, “fat” and “pig”, and that she should “thank God” he swiped right on her.

All that, because a girl didn’t reply him.

Hopelessly devoted, or just creepy?

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The message from Hollywood’s rom-coms is simple: The more devoted you are, the better.

It could be writing to someone every day for a year (The Notebook) to grand gestures like transplanting an entire field of daffodils for an already engaged woman (Big Fish), to dangerous activities like climbing through a window late at night (High School Musical), and even to what is basically a crime, like locking up a princess and forcing her to fall in love with you (Beauty and the Beast). But while relationships have developed because of one party’s persistence, there is a huge difference between persistence and harassment.

The defining factor is whether or not the receiving party consents to the gestures.

And depending on the nature of the relationship – determined by factors such as how long both parties have known each other and how comfortable they feel in each other’s presence – what is considered acceptable behaviour may vary.

For example, some people, like one of my close friends, don’t mind being barraged by texts daily. It can be as mundane as, What are you up to right now? Have you eaten lunch yet? Drank enough water today? but it shows that her date is thinking of her constantly, she says.

However, being abused and disparaged the way Yap’s friend was by W is something different altogether.

In W’s situation, prior to going out with Yap’s friend that one time, their interaction was limited to text messages. She had also let him down quite gently, such that he could have easily ended the conversation on a respectful note – which would have been the decent and gentlemanly thing to do.

If he had felt too embarrassed at being rejected, it wouldn’t even have been so bad to just stop talking to her altogether.

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Instead, he thought it acceptable to bombard her with insulting and hurtful texts. What did he hope to achieve by doing that, exactly? Did he believe girls would swoon at that type of behaviour, and that it would make her change her mind?

Going back to basics in the age of speed dating

Online dating has progressed such that the days of “ai stead mai?” are long over. Today, finding romance is so much quicker and simpler – you can get a date without even having to step out of your room!

But technology has brought new problems. Instantaneous communication tools make us feel impatient when someone doesn’t respond to us within minutes. Furthermore, the rise of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where profiles are scrubbed, embellished and zealously curated to present only our best selves, makes it easy to hone in on aesthetics and material factors.

For those in the dating game, it gets tricky when we start to expect the same fast results and perfection to emerge from often delicate relationships.

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We all have that one friend who gets furious at their boyfriend or girlfriend for not replying them immediately. And when it comes to dating, it’s also now so much easier to harass someone without being held to the same accountability in a face-to-face conversation.

Here’s an idea: if someone leaves you on read, or doesn’t reply your multiple “Hello? Hello?? Hello???” messages, they probably don’t want to reply, and you should, perhaps, leave them alone.

It may seem superficial, but it’s not uncommon for people to pick OkCupid or Tinder dates based on how physically attractive they are. However, the problem is when it becomes more acceptable to reject or shame a romantic prospect on account of their appearance.

In February this year, Singaporean vlogger Preetipls tweeted about how one particularly tasteless acquaintance of hers posted her Tinder adventures on Insta Stories, yelling “Fat! Malay! Indian! No!”, while swiping ‘no’ on profiles and laughing hysterically.

Likewise, another woman hurled unprovoked insults at her Tinder match, a lawyer from India, whom she dubbed ‘ugly’ and ‘odorous’.

Not attracted to someone? Fine. Insulting them because of their appearance? Not fine. And being racist? Do we even need to go there?

While you have grounds to be concerned if your date ends up looking completely different from their pictures (Nigerian prince scams, anyone?), chances are that there is very little point in dreaming up specific attributes and fixating on them as our “type”, then holding our real-life dates to these expectations.

In fact, a study conducted by the University of Western Ontario shows you’ll probably end up marrying someone who isn’t your type, anyway.

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I thought I liked someone chubby and bearded, but my slender and clean-shaven boyfriend is nothing like that. Yet, he is one of the nicest, kindest people I know. Had I made my choice purely on outward appearance, I would have denied myself the relationship I now enjoy with him.

Finally, whoever your date is and no matter how it works out, the least you can do is to behave and treat each other with respect, even if it comes to rejecting that person for a future date or gracefully accepting the fact if you’re the one facing the rejection.