They say timing is everything. And “they” are right.
We live our lives striving to make perfect decisions. We are bombarded with information that tells us we are imperfect and that we must strive to attain success. Whether it’s how our bodies and faces look and how we must retain our youth, despite the natural process of aging; how we dress; how much money we earn; where we live; what commodities and material possessions we can accumulate.
Popular culture tells us that we need to work very hard and use all the resources available to us to make sure we reach our fullest potential, the pinnacle of success and superiority. Nobody strives for being average, for doing just OK, or for simply being. So, when we think we have made the wrong decision, or missed out on something we believe we are entitled to, we feel a sense of loss that is hard to shake. This can apply to a job opportunity, or promotion, a property or commodity purchase, and even relationships. Meeting the right person at the wrong time can be life changing when it doesn’t work out the way we desire. It can impact us for a long time to come, resurfacing 1 when we least expect it and preventing us from moving on.
When we meet the right person at the wrong time, we feel like missing out the good.
Psychologists refer to the grief of missing out, or “Fear Of Missing Out” most recently and commonly known as “FOMO”, as dealing with ”unfinished business”. 2 When all the factors don’t come together to create the outcome we desire, for one reason or another, we don’t get what we want and this creates feelings of loss, grief, regret and even hostility. Holding onto these feelings are the only connection we have to the elusive thing that has slipped through our fingers and so we focus on the negative feelings as a security blanket instead of letting go and moving on with our lives.
When we meet somebody who seems ideal, it is only natural to want to make that connection and to manifest a relationship with that person. Those feelings may even be reciprocated and we may even begin an intimate relationship. But if that seemingly right person comes along at the wrong time, for us or for them, the relationship is doomed to fail. Although all the other boxes are ticked; attraction, values, life goals, geography; if the timing is off, neither party has any power over the course of the situation and the reality needs to be accepted.
It’s harsh to accept, but meeting someone at the wrong time means he/she is the wrong person.
If you meet the right person at the wrong time, chances are they are in fact, the wrong person. The right person doesn’t only need to fulfill the criteria of your desires and vice versa, if two people are heading in the wrong direction from each other, if one person is more ready than the other to settle down, or is dealing with their own unfinished business and hasn’t got the capacity to maintain the needs of the relationship at that time, then it is inevitable that the relationship will end and resistance will make it end badly. Timing is everything, it is the one ingredient that ensures a relationship’s longevity, prosperity and success.
Dealing with unfinished business when you think you have met the right person at the wrong time, in fact making them the wrong person, can be confronting and painful. The struggle3 is real and you will experience a number of emotions that could leave you confused and depressed.
To move on and meet the right person, learn from the relationship with this wrong person.
The key to coping and moving forward involves not only communicating4 with the person, to resolve the issues between you both and deal with the deterioration and cessation of the relationship, it also requires you both to do your own individual purging of feelings by confronting your grief, extracting the lessons and moving forward. Writing a letter5 to the person, regardless of whether they every read it or not, is one useful exercise to consider.
Here are some other ways to address unfinished business when we meet the right person at the wrong time:
Cherish the good memories, you don’t have to forget them.
Like any great experience, good relationships are sometimes fleeting and just because they are not forever, doesn’t mean they were any less meaningful. Sometimes having to let go of someone, makes your time with them even more significant, specifically because it was so short lived. Use your time reflecting on the good times instead of dwelling on the negatives and the fact that it had to end.
Don’t lose your ideals, stay true with what you want.
When you meet the one you think may be the right person at the wrong time, it is tempting to change yourself and your goals, in order to fit into the criteria that you believe will preserve the relationship. You are setting yourself up to fail and eventually, the real you and your truest needs will re emerge and you will have done nothing except waste yours and the other person’s time. The best thing you can do for yourself is to be true to yourself; your desires, your life goals and where you are at in your life. Despite what you think you are missing out on, if you remain authentic, you can’t go wrong.
Feel the bitterness, this helps you to recover faster.
It is OK to be sad, angry, resentful, confused, even bitter. All feelings are valid and denying them only intensifies them. Life is all about ups and downs and the idea that it will always be smooth sailing is false and fabricated by the aforementioned manufactured ideals we get from popular culture. The times we feel most alive and connect deeply with our humanity is when we experience loss, which by the way is inevitable. It is the human condition to know and to feel and therefore to grieve. We want to protect ourselves from this pain and disappointment and to make the best possible decisions to avoid unnecessary hurt, but sometimes not everything is in our control and we only gain this information and the tools to make better decisions through bitter experience. Embrace it.
Be determined to walk away from what doesn’t serve you.
Being willing and determined to walk away from something that we really want but can’t have takes strength of character and emotional maturity. Unless you’re a toddler, you need to develop the understanding that you can’t have everything you want in life. Where’s the challenge in that? It is simply counterproductive and in fact destructive to try to force a situation or a relationship when it isn’t working out.
Meeting the right person at the wrong time is an opportunity to gain these life lessons and in time, most people tend to look back with hindsight and are able to appreciate the reasons why things evolved in the way they did. We can look back and see that although things didn’t work out how we wanted them to at the time, they were better for us in the long run.