The loss of a future we imagined or hoped for is a real loss. We must allow ourselves and each other space to grieve. Whether it is a connection you were hoping would be a relationship or a job you hoped would become a career. When a dream dies, what we lose is real to us because we invested in it emotionally.
Don’t expect that, when someone learns a dream just isn’t to be, they can or will bounce back instantly. Don’t tell someone, or yourself, to move on or just let it go. Of course, we don’t want to wallow in our misery for too long either.
I’ve found ritualizing the situation helps me a lot. When we lose someone, we gather in the communal ritual of a funeral. There’s no reason not to do something similar, if perhaps smaller, to cope with this loss. For, in a way, you have lost someone. You’ve lost who you would have been if that dream had become a reality.