Relationship Real Talk: Timing is Everything

I was struck by lightning this year. Well, not literally, but that’s what it felt like when I met Erik* (name has been changed). I’ve been skeptical of relationships and dating since my divorce three years ago, and was beginning to think that I’d never find anyone with whom I’d have THAT kind of electric connection. So when Erik and I met through a dating site and began communicating, I wasn’t sure how it would go when we met in person. But our conversations were incredible, and we’d text for hours at a time. We even joked that the first thing we’d do once we finally met was kiss. And that’s exactly what happened. He kissed me on the sidewalk after the first “hello.” And with that, lightning struck and I was in… deep. It’s incredible the kind of connection you can feel with someone minutes after meeting them. I thought that only existed in fairy tales. I was wrong.

He was EVERYTHING I was looking for: smart, funny, tall, handsome and he just GOT me in a way that not many others had. We share similar political views, have the same sense of humor, are both music lovers, runners and huge sports fans. The possibilities seemed endless and I honestly thought he was the one I’d been waiting so long for. I’d been on so many mediocre dates that I was pretty sure I knew what I was looking for in a man, and he was it. And he seemed to feel the same. He was as into me as I was into him.

Things were great for a while, but about a month into our short-lived romance, I noticed him pulling away. We didn’t have quite as many lengthy conversations, and when we did, they were more superficial. I knew something was up. So I guess I wasn’t too surprised when, after a night full of laughs, music and passion, he dropped the bomb that I had an inkling was coming. You know it’s never a good thing when someone begins the conversation with “we have to talk.”

As it turns out, his feelings for me hadn’t changed. He explained that he still needed to date others because he wanted to have a family… and soon. I already have three kids, and knew I didn’t want more. We’d never discussed my kids before, and I was just waiting for the day when it came up. I’d hoped that maybe he’d be okay with just having mine (if our relationship ever got that far). With tears in his eyes (and in mine) he explained his confusion… how he’d never met anyone like me, didn’t want to stop seeing me but wanted me to know that he would be dating other people. My heart sank. I thought that maybe I could continue with our relationship, despite him dating other girls. But deep down, I wasn’t okay with him seeing other girls. As we held each other while listening to Adele’s “All I Ask,” and Something Corporate’s “Konstantine,” I knew that was it.  It would be the last time I ever saw him.

I spent the next few days crying and listening to every sappy break up song I could think of. He still texted me, but our conversations were short and generic. When one person wants kids and the other doesn’t, there really isn’t any sort of compromising or negotiating that can be done to save the relationship. That’s the definition of a “deal-breaker.” In the end, timing is everything.

The timing for us to have a relationship was just wrong. It’s not that we didn’t have the feelings; it’s just that our stages in life were too different for things to work out. So everything else might be perfect, and this person could be your soul mate… but if the time isn’t right for you to be together, it’s not going to work. The reason for the bad timing doesn’t matter; perhaps one of you isn’t ready for a serious commitment (or marriage, or a family), or one of you has different career aspirations, or one of you takes a job across the country… whatever it may be. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever be together in the future, but it does mean that when you do realize the timing is wrong, you need to move on.

So if the timing isn’t right, what is the best way to move on? Well, in my story, Erik and I stopped communicating completely. He said when we had “the talk” that he always wanted to be my friend, no matter how our story ends. But my feelings for him went way beyond friendship and I knew I couldn’t be friends with him. Not now, anyway.

The best way I know how to move on is to basically erase the person from my life. That means putting the books and CDs he gave me out of sight. Deleting his phone number and having absolutely no contact on social media. I even stopped listening to songs that reminded me of him. I had to completely let Erik go. Of course I still thought of him, and my heart still hurt, but I knew that it was time to move on. Sure, I would’ve like to have heard his thoughts on this situation and had the “closure talk”… but really, what’s the point? It wouldn’t change anything. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) easy not having him in my life. It sucks, actually, and I miss him every day. But, in my experience, dragging things out will only make it much harder in the long run.

The up side? By completely letting go of someone, no matter how much you want to hold on, you’ll really see who they are as a person. Actions speak louder than words, so pay attention to that. Maybe you’ll find that they’re not worth the all the pain and emotional energy you’re spending on them.

As for me now? Well, I am dating other men, but it isn’t the same as it was with Erik. I haven’t forgotten him. I’m honestly not sure I’ll ever find that kind of electric connection with anyone else. I’m hoping I will, and in my experience, time does heal heartbreak. One day, I want to be able to listen to “Konstantine” again, and smile when thinking about him and remembering the incredible moments we shared.

Oddly enough, these words from Tyler Perry’s Madea have actually helped me move on. Yes, it’s a little strange, but if you ever find yourself in heartbreak, maybe they’ll help you too.

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A 16 year old fangirl trapped in the body of a 39 year old 1D AF single mom of three. Probably the only person in the world with Metallica, One Direction, Tiesto and the Beatles all in the same playlist. Loves Zayn Malik, heavy metal music, running and the Indiana University Hoosiers. Big fan of Louis CK and all things sarcastic. Freelance writer and university instructor based in the Chicago area.

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