Bad timing. We’ve all heard this being pinned as the reason why a relationship didn’t work or couldn’t get off the ground. However, is timing really a b*tch when trying to find love? Or is it just another excuse we use when we’re not up to the task of building a relationship?
When I posed this question to my friends, I received a range of responses:
“There are no absolutes. Timing isn’t everything, but it is important.”
“Timing is key. Two people have to be on the same page, head space, place in life or want similar things for a relationship to work… you can’t have it together and be with someone who in a mess (mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, etc); the relationship won’t be balanced and most likely will fail. ”
I expected these responses, but I was pleasantly surprised when a few of my guy friends admitted that timing was sometimes used as a cop out. A male friend summed it up by saying: “We tell ourselves that to justify our inability to make decisions because we are all consumed by fear. We sometimes miss the best thing that could probably happen to us, but blame it on bad timing”.
My own personal views lie closer to this. The more time I have to reflect on my singleness, and life’s missed opportunities, the more I sense that timing is not so much a b*tch, but an inconvenient truth.
Ever been in a place for six months to a year, maybe two and spent every possible spare moment with someone, but never bothered to date because you knew you had to go back to school, or you graduated and they didn’t, or your job moved you to another city? Maybe you met someone, but they had a kid so you automatically put them in the friend category. Maybe you know someone who doesn’t live in the same city or country as you, but you talk all the time, and you’re practically counting down the months to his or her next visit. In fact, you’ll even admit that if things were somehow different in any of these circumstances, you would have seriously dated that person and or could have seen yourself married to them.
Life happens and none of these situations are ideal, but sometimes you have to take a chance. I have a newlywed cousin who recently got married after being in a long-distance relationship for over five years. You’re thinking that’s just crazy, right? I mean… who would knowingly walk into a situation like that? There’s too much temptation, not enough together time, and, it has to be mentioned, the personal and financial sacrifices that have to be made.
As I brainstormed this article with her, she asked me, “Can you take it when someone comes in and turns your 20-plus years of planning upside down? Can you make adjustments to your five-year plan, or are you so set in your ways that you have to stay on your path?”
Four years ago, the answer to both of these questions would have been “uuuhh hell no”. I had just graduated, was settling into a new job and had a long list of life goals that needed to be checked off. My career is still a priority to me, and I most certainly haven’t checked off all of my life goals, but I’m more willing than I’ve ever been to make adjustments if I meet someone I care about. In fact, for a ‘hot minute’, it looked like my cousin would be joining me in the ranks of single, ready-to-mingle sistahs, during her relationship, so I don’t doubt that there will be rough patches when navigating a less-than-ideal situation.
Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but I truly believe that relationships can blossom under less than ideal circumstances, like long distances, demanding careers and even children from previous relationships. What matters most in these situations is that both parties are fully aware of the odds that are seemingly stacked against them, and are still willing to take the risk involved in forming a relationship.
It’s hard to say which sex is more risk averse in these situations, but either way, it’s a bad strategy – waiting for the stars to be perfectly aligned before deciding to pursue a relationship. If you know what you’re trying to create, and don’t consider a current suitor to be worthy of your time or attention, don’t lose any sleep over ‘nexting’ him or her. I certainly don’t. If I meet someone with Mr. Right potential, who is willing to work with me around those pesky things that can get in the way of creating a relationship, you won’t hear me saying “wrong timing”.
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (25/04/11; Issue 54):
- Akosua: An Activist for Entrepreneurship
- Marriage: Attractive, Archaic or Irrelevant?
- Is Your Granny Healthier than You?
- When is the best time to apply for your US visa?
- Depression doesn’t Discriminate: Why Men feel it Too