There Is No “Right Person, Wrong Time”
The real “right person” is timeless, and right regardless
You hear it so often, either from potential partners telling you why it won’t work, or friends talking about their relationships, or from your own mouth, to someone else.
Right person. Just the wrong time.
But in reality, there’s no such thing.
On the one hand: Yes, Context Is King
There are totally going to be people you date due to timing — people who represent what you need most at that point in your life; people who look and feel like living and breathing manifestations of what you want.
Like the flaky musician when we just need a little music, the person we have nothing in common with (including life goals and values) when we want to be brought out of our shell. The fuck boy, before we’re actually serious about settling down. These are people we date when we’re (consciously or subconsciously) prioritizing other things, or trying to get our needs met indirectly.
There are dudes I dated at different points in my life that I dated simply because they offered what I needed at the time. The high school sweetheart, the hippie slash bad-poet ski bum after him, who introduced me to Real Music from the 70s, the aspiring musician who made me laugh, the mechanic slash art director who smelled amazing, the dude I met while studying abroad in London, the midwestern banker, and a few engineers.
And I’d never date any of these dudes again — even the one or two I may have mourned by sighing: “if only we’d met in the future.”
Because fam, that’s all make believe. You’re lying to yourself, and worse: you’re selling yourself short.
There is really no such thing as “the right time,” and when you meet the actual right person, that will be apparent.
As Heidi Priebe wrote,
“Here’s a simple truth that I think we all need to face up to: the people we meet at the wrong time are actually just the wrong people.”
And to clarify:
“The truth about the timing being wrong is that it’s nothing more than the world’s flimsiest reason not to try. It’s the simplest excuse to pack it in. It’s a pre-designed reason to bow out. Saying that the timing is wrong is saying nothing more than ‘You aren’t worth any inconvenience.’”
The right person is always
Because good love is always.
There’s no such thing as, “I just wish I’d met them two years later/one year sooner/some indistinct other place in time and maybe space where the things I’ve made into blockers would magically make this meant to be.”
It’s not “time,” sweetie, and it’s not space. It’s us. We decide.
I never dropped everything to “make it work” with a dude. More fighter than lover, I’m the type of person who deliberately throws a monkey wrench into a perfectly good thing — and, looking back, this was always pure and obvious deliberate sabotage. Or, at best, gross negligence.
I let one boyfriend think I was moving across the country with him, and then didn’t follow him until a year later — and only after I laid the decision out in spreadsheet, careful to reassure myself that I was doing it for me and not for him.
I moved away from another boyfriend, jetting from the midwest to San Francisco, leaving him a bit bewildered for three months while he waited for me to decide if I was staying or coming back. (Eventually, it was neither: I dumped him and moved somewhere else altogether.)
I always thought this was partly due to personality. And the reason I tell you this is to illustrate that it wasn’t, and how it goes when it’s right…
Rather than excuses, you only see opportunity
Rather than blockers, explanations, gating items, walls, or other reasons “why not,” you only see options and open road and avenues and outlets; you see the wide open horizon where the river dumps into the sea.
Here’s how it went with The Boy I’m dating now: we knew each other for years and I’d always been into him (and, apparently, him me. But whatever.) He invited me to visit, finally made a move, and it was clear we could both be in for the long haul. Only kink in our love-groove? We lived on opposite sides of the country.
Here’s what you do when it’s right: you make it work.
You don’t even think about making it work, or how. You just do.
I moved across the country for the boy. And not only that, I rode my motorcycle. Across the country. In a day. In the middle of midwest winter. I shipped a bag ahead of me, and then got on my bike and went. I could have made all kinds of excuses — about the weather, in the least! — but I didn’t. I just went to him.
I did it without thinking about moving, and certainly without frenzy or mania or obsessive highs. I don’t even know what I thought about during that ride, and as far as I recall, I thought about nothing. It felt zen. The assured, quiet energy of knowing, and then simply doing— obvious, composed energy, like it had been the plan all along. Because in my head? It had.
As Priebe wrote,
“The right people are timeless. The right people make you want to throw away the plans you originally had for one and follow them into the hazy, unknown future without a glance backwards. The right people don’t make you hmm and haw about whether or not you want to be with them; you just know… That no matter what you thought you wanted before, this is better. Everything is better since they came along.”
They are “the plan.” The plan is them. You rewrite your story so that they are the spine.
And sure — sure — maybe it’s still timing and context. Maybe I was just at a point in my life where he made sense — maybe he just happened to be what I was looking for, but I doubt it.
Because if that were the case, I wouldn’t have had feelings for him for years prior. I wouldn’t have seen us making it work in the future. I wouldn’t, in other words, have made it work the minute he was ready, over the span of 30 years, forward and back. I didn’t care.
With him, I borrow the words of Priebe:
“When it comes to you, I’d wade through limitless eras and time zones and alternate realities and Universes trying to find you.
I’d wait for decades or ages or centuries or lifetimes. I’d wait through wars and resolutions and tsunamis and ice ages and apocalypses. I’d wait indefinitely. I’d wait forever.
But the brilliant thing is, I don’t have to do any of that. Because here we are, right now. At this time. In this Universe.
And as long as you’re alive here and I’m alive too,
the timing is right enough for me.”
Context still matters
But mostly? It’s our mindset.
We have to be emotionally and mentally ready; be well-equipped with good standards — and mostly that means framing up a partner as a human being, not a physical manifestation of our ideals.
We make the timing forever when we are the sort of people who are open to forever, who ready ourselves by not waiting on the universe to hand us things, by getting our shit straight and our heads right, for seeing people in healthy ways and not using people to fill gaps in our hearts.
But after that, yeah, when we’re ready, we’ll find someone that doesn’t even make us wonder whether “now” is right. It just will be.
And Heidi Priebe wrote something beautiful when she captured what we forget when we say the timing was wrong:
“Let’s talk about how our timing’s off.
You see, we couldn’t have planned this out worse.
It would have been infinitely easier to meet you two years earlier or three years later or in a different space or place or country or time zone.
It would have been simpler to meet you in a world where I could wake up nestled tightly in beside you and you could join in each adventure I took on.
It would be marvelous to have all our fates aligned and to see the timing play itself out flawlessly.
But I’m inclined to say we ought to count our blessings.
Because here’s the absolute miracle that we cannot allow ourselves to ignore: out of the billions of years that earth has existed for, you and I ended up alive at the exact same time.
I wasn’t born on your 90th birthday. You didn’t die an untimely death at age 3.”
We were both here now, and the right two people get that.
For people that truly want to be together, they don’t waste another of the few precious moments we’re given to coexist.
So you meet someone and they’re amazing—you connect instantly, you can’t stop smiling, you can’t stop giggling—and no, it’s not because you’ve had 7 tequila shots. It’s because this person sparks something in you that you forgot was there. They make you feel alive, and suddenly, all the lyrics to every stupid love song start to make sense.
There are SO many signs that you two were meant to be together, from your horoscope that said you might meet someone special in the next 20 years, to the fact that your menstrual cycle is totally in sync with your recently married BFF’s. ALL THE SIGNS ARE THERE.
And then bam! Almost every time, something happens outside your control to shatter your dreams about this perfect person. Whether it’s that things are moving too fast or that they started a new job or that they were just sentenced to life in prison for murder, whatever it may be, THE TIMING IS JUST WRONG.
Or so you tell yourself.
You call your friends and they give you the same old shitty advice: “He’s just not ready for everything you have to offer”…“He’s not calling because he doesn’t want you to know how obsessed he is with you”…“It’s only been 12 years since he got out of that bad relationship, he still needs time to heal”… UGH ENOUGH WITH THE LIES.
What your friends are actually too afraid to tell you is that, the person you can’t stop thinking about is just NOT THAT INTO YOU.
When someone passes you up because the timing is wrong, what they’re really saying is, “Hey, I think you’re great and I like you… but just not enough to date you. I would love it if you could hang around while I keep my options open, just in case I can’t find anything better.”
The truth is: When you meet the right person at the wrong time, they’re actually just the wrong person. When the right person will come into your life, it will always be the right time because the right people are timeless.
Awhile back, I met a boy and things immediately felt right. We had an instant connection, I adored him, and I let my guard down, sharing things I hadn’t shared with anyone else before. It felt like I had known him my whole life even though we had just met. The only explanation I had for this was that he was obviously my soulmate (a phenomenon I never believed in until I met him).
And then bam! He put the brakes on, telling me that the timing wasn’t right since he was starting a new job that would be super time-consuming. He suggested that we slow it down and work on our friendship (which also conveniently gave him the space he needed to bang a bunch of girls).
At first, I thought to myself, If only we’d met a year from now…Just my luck… I meet the perfect guy (mind you, I barley knew him) and the timing is all wrong. It didn’t even occur to me that he JUST WASN’T THAT INTO ME.
Fast forward a few months after Mr. Soulmate friend zoned me while I felt like I was ready for something serious, a man I’ll call Prince Charming swooped into my life. He was perfect and everything was going smoothly….
And then bam! Two weeks in, I suddenly felt like I wasn’t ready—that things were getting way too serious way too fast (mind you, we hadn’t even kissed), and omg why was he texting me ALL the time, didn’t he know I was busy hanging out with my cat?!
I told him we should slow down, work on our friendship, and that I needed some time to work on myself before I could focus on anyone else (sounds familiar eh).
That’s when it finally dawned on me: It wasn’t about timing, it was just that I wasn’t that into Prince Charming and that I never would be for whatever reason. The way I felt about Prince Charming was the same way Mr. Soulmate had felt about me.
The saddest part about meeting someone you believe will be in your future is realizing that they don’t see you in their future. It’s much easier to accept the bad timing excuse than it is to admit that just because you love someone, it doesn’t mean they have to love you back.
How sad is it to chase someone who doesn’t see how wonderful you are—someone who takes your beautiful smile for granted, who doesn’t adore your flaws, who doesn’t hold you and love you the way you deserve to be loved?
Love should never be so painful that you find yourself lying awake at night wondering if you’re enough, feeling too scared to say how you really feel, wanting to hear their voice but being afraid to call because you don’t want to come off needy, or crying yourself to sleep wondering why he hasn’t called and if he’s out with someone else.
With the right person, you’ll never have to question their love, because you’ll just know. You’ll know that no matter what you thought you wanted before, this is better. Everything is better since they came along.
Because the truth is, my dear, that there is no such thing as wrong timing; you’re just meeting all the wrong people.
This story originally appeared on Daddy Issues LA.