If we are to be truly honest it was the kind of rejection - that in a sort of way - cut to the bone.
It was at least at little dagger through the heart. If, perchance, somewhere down a very long road, we were to come together, she would simply up and leave.
It made us wonder could we be all that bad? Have we so little to offer? How could we be so objectionable? Is the Republic of Ireland so unattractive a place to live, there are those who would up sticks, and leave the island of Ireland altogether.
DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said she would probably emigrate, if a most unlikely ‘united Ireland’ ever came to pass.
She is of course perfectly entitled to her views - and indeed her candour and honesty is to be admired. And she jolted us into realising just how unappealing life south of the border is for many unionists.
However, the absolutism ingrained in some unionist thinking, is being challenged by shifting sands, beyond the control of any party or politician. A remarkable series of polls for the BBC programme ‘Spotlight’ should be a wake-up call for a cohort wedded to a never changing link with the British mainland’.
On the one hand the findings offer comfort for those who wish to see off a border poll in the near future. In Northern Ireland 49pc wish to stay in the UK and 43pc would like to join the Republic.
And in the Republic only 51pc back Irish unity - while over one in four of the population wish to leave things as they are.
On these figures a poll promulgating Irish unity - as currently proposed by Sinn Fein - would fail to win a comfortable majority north or south. They also also tell another grim story. Any drive to end partition - simply based on numbers - would be bitterly divisive; it risks opening festering wounds that will take decades to heal.
But neither should these latest polling figures console unionists that deeply cherished certainties will endure. The upcoming census - on the basis of the traditional sectarian headcount - may show a majority of Catholics over Protestants.
What is especially clear is that the support base for old style ‘not an inch’ unionism is shifting surreptitiously. Slowly but surely a middle ground - no longer ultra-fixated with the extremes of Orange and Green politics - is emerging.
It’s significant that while 40pc of those living in the north consider Northern Ireland’s centenary year something to celebrate, 45pc have the opposite view.
And there is a setback for the unionist argument the post Brexit trading ‘protocol’ is hugely unpopular and has to go. In fact those for and against it are practically neck and neck.
Overall the polls suggest there is much underlying change afoot. Various trends suggest those who wish to maintain the UK link, need a new way of interacting with middle ground, non-violent nationalism.
The more attractive and inclusive Northern Ireland is as a place to live, the less likely will be agitation for unity, by those whose nationalism is more practical than emotional. Unionism should engage with ‘soft nationalists’ with less of the belligerence of old.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson was at his risible best on the programme. He verbally waved away unionist concerns over the Protocol. He will be getting ‘barnacles‘ off it and ‘sandpapering’ it into shape. And unnecessary ‘protuberances’ will be dispensed with.
From a unionist perspective it was irrelevant knockabout stuff - and a reminder of how low they now rank in the Westminster pecking order.
The realpolitik of the Johnson government is that it it is desperate to land a post Brexit trade deal with the US. That means not upsetting President Joe Biden and Congress, on the ‘Irish Question’. So the essence of the Protocal will stay. David Trimble once said Northern Ireland used to be a “cold house” for Catholics. Now is the time for unionists to try and make it ‘a warm home’ for some of those with differing political desires. The ultimate security for unionism is to acknowledge those outside their tribe who hold a range of non-violent aspirations.A greater understanding of the moderates should help keep the numbers game in their favour. And from the perspective of Arlene Foster and the DUP that is surely what it’s all about.