Don't leave just yet. Besides these articles, sometimes I send out extra special stuff. Don't miss out. Sign up here.
people are love and respecting (now).
Join the movement.
Is the right thing at the wrong time actually the wrong thing?
The video below was part of, what I affectionately call, my Paddle Board Series, shot spontaneously by my brother while I was in Michigan. Now, weeks after the shoot, I can’t shake this question; the more I contemplate it, the more different scenarios play out in my mind.
Just a few that could fall under the “right thing, wrong time” umbrella include, the other person is: married; lives across the globe and doesn’t want to move; is in jail; has major emotional issues and isn’t seeking help; broke up with you and is dating someone else…
I want to cover as many of these ideas as possible without writing a novel, and would absolutely appreciate you jumping in with your insights, too.
I need all of you to hang with me, as we venture into algebra territory to use an analogy that helped the “right thing, wrong time” concept click in my brain.
Consider a multiplication RULE…
You tracking? I know, I got kicked out of math class, too.
But let’s run with this concept, with zero representing a person first, and then time. Consider these “formulas” occurring under the following premise of:
We’re talking about today, and today only.
If either zero is true today, then it cancels out the relationship, making the relationship…WRONG.
Now, stay with me as we look at the today’s zero, five years from now. Can the zero change?
In other words, could the zero someday be the right thing at the right time?
If we hold onto the possible “yes” for five years from now, how does that impact us TODAY? Two obstacles come to mind:
1) Fantasy – you decide to ignore or disobey today’s zero that makes the relationship wrong, on the hope or fantasy that the zero will change in the future.
2) Discontentment – you lose satisfaction with your current reality as you mull over the zero’s that could change down the road (i.e. thinking about someone else, even though you are in a committed relationship).
Beyond the maybe-things-will-change-in-five years thought, I can hear others of you with your heartfelt protests:
You can’t let go. You can’t move on. You truly believe that it IS the right person, but the timing is just off. I can understand this. I was in a relationship that I desperately wanted to be right because I loved him so deeply…but there were zeros.
And here, I must interject my opinion that there is not just “ONE” out there for you. Could this person you adore have worked out if circumstances or timing were different?
For whatever reason, it did not work out for the two of you today. That’s why I like the logical approach of just saying, “If it didn’t work out, it was the wrong thing. I can’t emotionally continue to stay here; it’s not healthy for me.” Staying from a loyalist’s perspective is so romantic, but from a realist’s perspective it is foolish.
So to be clear, on a non-emotional-logical-level, my conclusion is that the right thing at the wrong time is not possible because if it’s not the right time, it’s the wrong thing.
Watch the silly little video below and if you feel like this is something you need to honestly take a look at, I would invite you to ask yourself the hard questions below. Questions that will force you to honestly look at where you are TODAY. I know I have had to consider many of them myself…
Have you ever called something “bad timing” but proceeded anyway because you wanted it to be right?
Have you ever used timing – or another similar “reason” – as a smokescreen/justification for wanting to end a relationship?
Do you ever look back with regret on “The One Who Got Away” and attribute it to bad timing? Are you living in a fantasy world? What will it mean for you to let go, and how is it preventing you from moving forward with someone else?
How does this response change when “bad timing” has something to do with your person of interest going through a divorce? Or being in a relationship with another person and then falling for you?
Some of you may disagree with my conclusion…at least emotionally, if not logically. So what do you do with that? How can you hear this as “truth” and have it help you let go?
Married People: While this post is primarily for the context of dating, are you using this phrase as an excuse to get OUT of a marriage? Where is the logic in that?
Are you using this phrase to fantasize about a past love? Is it making you discontent with your current love? (More thoughts on that in THIS VIDEO.)
Don't leave just yet. Besides these articles, sometimes I send out extra special stuff. Don't miss out. Sign up here.
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.
I definitely think it is possible for something to be a good thing but the wrong timing. I can think of a few examples in my own life where I fell for a girl but she wasn’t in a place emotionally to enter into a relationship (often this had to do with hurts from a previous relationship that she needed to heal from). I don’t doubt that we could have formed a relationship that was good and right, but she wasn’t in the place to do that at that time.
In that moment, that totally sucks. But I share the belief that there is more than “the one” and I think eventually you just move on wishing her the best and knowing that your paths crossed at a time that just wasn’t right. You move on.
In cases where there is a deeper emotional attachment and where there is already a relationship formed, I think that can be tougher. I think that relationship can work through many issues, but I also know that sometimes there are external factors that make it pretty hard for a relationship to survive much less thrive. Depending on the depth and the growth of the relationship, a couple may not have reached the level of commitment necessary to overcome some of these external factors. Again, being transparent and using my own life, I was dating a girl younger than me when I was in university. When I graduated she still had two years left of university. While ideally I would have liked to have stayed in the same city, my student visa was set to retire and I couldn’t find a job and was forced to return to my home country. Could we have made it work? Maybe. But financially we weren’t ready to make a commitment, and though I could see myself eventually ending up with her and making that commitment, it’s not something you want to be rushed into if you both are not ready. In situations like this, it’s tough, because you almost feel like there were things beyond your control that at the very least made it exceptionally difficult to succeed. You kind of are left wondering “what if…” What if the timing had been different?
I say this as someone who struggles with this, but I think it just comes down to trusting God and believing that He sees things you don’t or can’t. This may sound really lame, but do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? I kind of see life like that. We move through our life stories, making choices and getting to choose different scenarios and how they play out. If we miss out on “one”, the good news is there is another “one” in the next chapter, and that it is just as good. God is reading it with us, walking with us, sometimes altering the story… and the good news is that all scenarios have a happy ending. It’s kind of lame, probably, but it sometimes helps me.
@Jason, Thank you for being open and sharing. I almost didn’t post this whole thing because I realize it does come down to semantics for most of us.
Notice you said “Good thing but the wrong time.”
I am not saying the situations are always bad. But since this woman wasn’t in an emotional spot to enter a relationship – it then became wrong.
My hope through this post is to help people move on and not hang onto relationships that they either shouldn’t have been, couldn’t be in or chose to walk away from. I think too many of us hang onto the past. This can be obstructive to the future.
But really this is just my opinion…
Thanks again for your insight.
OK. I have an opinion! (What a surprise!)
If I had a dollar for every time I told one of my single girlfriends, “Right Person + Wrong Time= Wrong Thing” I would be shopping instead of sitting here on the computer.
I have seen this play out with so many friends and to a certain extent, in my life, often.
Just recently, I heard someone explain this better than I could have. Deion Sanders, in his Pro Football Hall of fame enshrinement speech, talked about how the game of football taught him timing- that there are things you can’t do prematurely. (in football it’s called offsides) Sometimes we have to wait for the right time.
In his example, you have a well-trained, focused, disciplined football player ready in peak position for the next opportunity. But if he jumps the gun, he gets penalized–not because of his talent, but because of his timing.
I think this theory is also applicable in other areas of life–not just relationships. Obviously there are work opportunities, passion opportunities (for me, my blog, for others, books etc) and so many other areas where we want to rush things.
Anywho. I hope that made sense. I think it’s an excellent conversation to have, so thanks for putting it out there!!!
Will you marry me? 😛 You make too much sense.
@JOY, darling, that makes “zero” sense, and this relationship is way past zero by now. 🙂 I’ll phone the limo, stat.
Meh, I ended up writing an album’s worth of sad songs about the Bad-Timing-One-That-Got-Away and that seem to get rid of most of that baggage.
Of course it took me a couple years to write those songs so…
Regardless, I let the fantasy die and eventually it stayed dead. 🙂
@JOY, Well here’s one of them anyway, although this was one written during the happier part of our relationship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rIneZJjIMg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Whoooa the math part totally threw me there! (Math isn’t really my thing) But this topic is GREAT. I have been thinking through this seriously SO much lately and the past couple months, I think you are so right.
I think sometimes we tell ourselves “Oh the timing wasn’t right for that relationship, maybe we’ll get together in the future” OR other people say that as a comfort, but honestly thinking that makes it reallllyyyy hard to let go and move on. I know this from personal experience.
I think I realized that by thinking that “the timing is off” I wasn’t putting my trust fully in God and HIS plan, I was too focused on MINE and what I wanted and thought was right. God’s timing is never off, he doesn’t make mistakes!
love this and you! 🙂
@JOY, I was planning on saying hi tomorrow with some nutella puppy chow 😉
Hmmm. Yeah, I was in a math class where the teacher played guitar when we took tests…so as to help us relax and be sooooothed. Far from an Algebra student here! None-the-less, I have not forgotten that 0 x (any number) = 0 . It does confirm how much I never did, nor do I now, love math.
I agree with your post. I know there are the “one percenters” where it does end up working out in the future when the “timing” IS right. I think that those of us who experienced the pain and disappointment of wrong timing are scared to admit that they hope that they will get to join the “1% club”. I know I do. I am also a realist though. I’ve moved on, been interested in another guy (was short lived, didn’t work out for other reasons) and I keep living my life.
Too bad Mr. Wrong Timing and I go to the same church. When I prayed and thought about leaving the church, I really didn’t feel it was the right thing to do. I don’t stay b/c of him; if I left it would only be b/c he is there. Well, yeah, THAT kinda stinks. Never awkward at all…never….nope! :-/
So, fine. It is what it is. I cannot deny that the emotions are still there, yet I move on. Now, I wouldn’t mind dating but my GOODNESS, I don’t know about you (Joy), or any of your single friends, but as a girl who prefers to be pursued and is def not a guy chaser (but who does know how to flirt when there is an interest and chemistry) — dates.are.hard.to.com.by. Darn near flippin’ impossible unless I mozy down to the nearest hip bar for a little drinky-drink which is SOnotME.
Is the internet the only solution to this!? Maybe you have some info on the underground Christian dating scene that I/we should know about? Oh I really hope so. Either way, this is a very good topic for discussion. You are a wise woman!