You Don't Pick The Person You Love, You Pick The Time You Love Them

by Theresa Christine

Destiny does not exist -- neither does love at first sight. There isn’t “the one” person out there for anyone. These are all reinforcements we tell ourselves to explain the mundane and simple truth: The timing of successful relationships is what allowed them to work.

Sure, it’s romantic to believe that fate brings you and a significant other together. More realistically, however, you likely wake up one day and, whether or not you realize it, your heart tells your head that it’s ready to love. Once that happens, someone will unexpectedly walk into your life and he or she will become the person you decide you want.

When I moved across the country a few years ago, I didn’t want a serious relationship with any guy. After I had found a cool job, a kickass roommate and a great group of friends, though, I began to feel differently. Life was good, I was happy, and my heart decided it was time.

I met someone with whom I had a short, intense and unhealthy relationship. I was not happy dating him, but I wanted desperately to make it work. Why? I chose him when the time was right for me.

My heart might have been ready, but his wasn’t — even though he truly wanted it to be. I felt foolish. When I was finally ready to allow someone into my life, I happened to fall for someone who was terrible for me and who made it difficult for me to trust anyone for a long time following our relationship.

If I had met him at a different point in my life — when I wasn’t prepared to be so open with someone — things would have transpired quite differently. I certainly wouldn’t have attached myself to him. Even if he had, in fact, been a great fit for me, or if he felt like he was ready when I didn’t feel the same, love works best — and feels best — when both people are willing and excited to give and receive.

Admitting that you are at a point in your life to offer and accept love is a big deal; it doesn’t always happen when life is sunshine and rainbows.

My best friend started dating someone about one week before her own cross-country move; she was feeling vulnerable and scared and wanted to hang onto something or someone reminiscent of her hometown. She needed someone at that time, and it’s not that she needed the particular someone she chose — he could have been anyone, really — but he happened to walk into her life at the right moment.

Timing is funny like that; it’s a common reason why people stay in bad relationships. We want to believe our hearts are ready and we’ve found a person who is ready, too -- whether or not it’s actually the case. We try to make things work that just aren't meant to work.

One of my good friends did everything he could to make it work with a significant other. It was frustrating for me and for other friends to witness him try so hard only to have her jerk him around. Though, he felt prepared to let someone into his life and he did everything he could to salvage the relationship. Even after months of her hot-and-cold attitude, he wanted her because she was the one he’d decided to let in.

At some point, you’ve probably heard someone say, “It didn’t work out between us because the timing just wasn’t right.” Hell, you’ve probably even said it yourself. However, the timing isn’t “just” one part of it.

Timing is everything.

It’s totally possible that you’re able to recognize how amazing someone else is, or vice versa, but if the timing is off, giving or receiving love will be difficult. It really doesn’t matter how compatible two people are; if the time isn’t right in someone’s life, he or she won’t be able to love completely.

Immediately after graduation, I spent a summer in San Francisco for an arts program. I met someone who ended up being a great match for me — someone who challenged my thinking, opened up me up to new ideas and was equally interested in me. It was exciting, but not only were we both getting out of long-term relationships, he was also still in school on the West Coast and I was returning to New York in the fall.

Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t pursue someone if the timing is wrong. I still had a great time with the guy I met in San Francisco, but to pursue anything more than we did would have ended in a whole lot of sorrow for us both.

So, flirt, hang out and have sex, but don’t disillusion yourself into thinking that you’re going to be able to change another human being's wants, needs or personal circumstance. Be honest. Be honest with the other person and with yourself. You deserve to be involved with someone who is able to love you completely.

As much as timing can interfere with our desires and even keep us in bad relationships, timing is also why we feel so incredibly fortunate when we have wonderful, healthy relationships. Suddenly, you have found a person who loves and accepts how weird/funny/cool you are, and the timing is right for you both.

Timing makes you infinitely grateful to have found that person at exactly the moment you did.

Photo via Wiki Commons