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Timing is everything

Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2010 in dating, Happiness, love, Relationships, Singles

Once upon a time, there was a Nice Guy. He was attractive and fit, a loving dad and husband. His wife had other ideas, however, and one day she asked for a divorce. He wasn’t bitter, but he was very, very sad. With each day, the pain got a little less painful, and a little more joy found its way into his heart.

Because he was a nice, fit, attractive middle-aged man, a lot of women came on to him. It was weird for him; no one had paid him that much attention in years. It felt good.

One day, not too long after his divorce, he met someone really nice, too. Not only was she nice, but she was divorced, smart, pretty and a loving and devoted mom, so she “got” it. Plus the sex was great and they shared a lot of the same interests. They started spending more and more time together, and they went from dating to an exclusive relationship.

And then, the Nice Guy realized, whoa — I just got out of a long-time marriage. I haven’t had any time to just be, to experience life as a middle-aged single dad, to figure out what I want now that I’m not looking to have
babies with a woman.

Who am I now?

So the Nice Guy told that to his girlfriend, that although
he loves being with her, he’s not really sure he’s ready to settle down until he’s figured out a few things. It all happened so fast, so soon. His nice girlfriend tried to understand, but also felt somewhat pimped; why
didn’t he say anything
They split, both feeling as if they’d been

Months later, after experiencing life solo and meeting many more women and dating a lot, the Nice
Guy realized that although
he met a lot of interesting,
attractive and smart women, none had all the qualities that his nice former girlfriend had. He started to wonder if she was The One. Now, he panicked — did he make a mistake? Should he have said, “Well, I’m not really ready for this, but I’m going for it anyway!”

In another part town lived a Nice Gal, an attractive, fit woman, a loving mother and wife. Her husband had other ideas, however, and one day they divorced. She wasn’t bitter, but she was very sad. With each day, the pain got a little less painful, and a little more joy found its way into her heart.

Because she was a nice, fit, attractive middle-aged woman, she hoped she’d meet someone someday. Defying the odds for women her age, she meet a nice, smart, attractive divorced dad — quicker than she ever could have imagined. Although in many ways he was different than the kind of man she thought she’d be with, he charmed her and she liked being with him. Even though she thought that it was way too soon to get involved with someone, they started spending more time together and before she knew it, they were in an exclusive relationship.

But then she’d panic. “I can’t do this! It’s too soon!” she’d tell him, and they’d break up. But then she’d feel lonely and — realizing how much she missed him and how much about him she treasured — they’d get back together. And he was always there, waiting for her to come back; he wanted to be with her.

They’re still together, but every once and a while she wonders, is there a better match for me? How do you know if someone’s The One?

They say timing is everything — whoever “they” are. I don’t know if it’s everything, but it certainly plays a part in a lot of things — from how we develop as embryos to our careers to our love life. Not all of us have the big timing decisions — do we go for the multimillion dollar NBA contract or finish college? — but we all have smaller versions of that. And few distress us as much as the ones that involve love.

What if we meet The One when we’re not ready for him or her?

I can’t deny that timing has a lot to do with the complicated feelings of Nice Guy and Nice Gal.

I want desperately to believe that if two people are meant to be together that they will find each other when the timing is right. But, I’m smart enough to realize, hey, life offers no guarantees.

Not to say that everyone who stays in a relationship when he/she isn’t ready for it will forever be cross-examining it and wondering, “Is there something better out there?”

But I do believe this: unless we have the alone time to figure out who we are as middle-aged divorced moms and dads, it’s hard to give The One the attention and commitment he or she deserves and that we truly want to give.

If we can even figure out if he or she is The One, that is.

  • How has timing played a part in your love life?

Photo © petar Ishmeriev –

Bring on the comments

  1. brian says:

    One of my favorite sayings is Time Is Luck
    We are lucky to have time but we often don’t realize that until days or years later when we look back after the time and luck has run its course
    This becomes more apparent as one ages and confronts ones own mortality, the death of parents and schoolmates
    Do we choose to live in the moment recognizing a need to make the most of each day or night only to look back at a collection of memories?
    Do we seek to chart our life in accordance with some larger or greater plan or goal or values only to look back with regret later on of a life lacking in the joys of living and experiencing life spontaneously in the here and now?

    I didnt get out of college, grad school and law school until I was 29 and was totally out of sync with others my age. Spent my 30s living or trying to live my 20s and wisely didn’t marry
    In my 40s found most women divorced with kids I didnt want the responsibility for
    In my 50s found women my age looking for companionship or younger ones with a raging need to have babies. Sorry not enough. As Tina sang “Whats Love Got To Do With It?”
    I’d say not marrying and having kids was probably both the best thing and biggest thing I missed out on
    Was able to retire at 57 owning my home
    Before 36 I climbed pyramids in Cancun and Cairo as well as the Great Wall and swam with sharks in the lagoon in Bora Bora
    As Frank wouls sing “I Did It My Way..”
    As Van Halen would sing “Right Now…”

  2. BigLittleWolf
    Twitter: BigLittleWolf

    The notion of “the one” makes for great romance novels and movies, but I think it’s dangerous. What is more likely for most of us is that there are a variety of potential good partners, at various stages in life.

    To your point, timing is everything – including one’s readiness for an exclusive arrangement.

    And there’s wisdom to recognizing the “transitional relationship.” I learned long ago to expect nothing from it, and to steer clear.

    Excellent post.

  3. Steve says:

    “The One” is a masochistic concept, IMHO. Instead of just finding someone who works for you, you have to hold out for “The One”. If things don’t work out, you don’t just part ways with person who had many good qualities. You have lost “The One”.

    Hope everything with the BF is working out. 🙂

  4. Mike says:

    The biggest thing is to be in the right frame of mind when dating. I’m a big proponent of taking time after a divorce. 1-2 years. If dating then half the time you were together. The mind takes time to process everything and even though we may want to be back out there. Rarely are we ready and then we are unable to see what’s there for us.

  5. jim
    Twitter: mobilene

    I avoided this problem post divorce by deliberately avoiding anything that might get me involved. I recognized right away that I needed time to get back to myself and stabilize my life. It got a little lonely sometimes but I do not regret this choice for a minute. Now I’m open to relationships again and am quite ready for whatever is in store.

  6. Eathan
    Twitter: iswirls

    So true.. so true ..Time is everthing. I’ve always said that. At different times in your life you are looking for different things, relationship wise. And there are times you meet someone when you’re just not emotionally and/or mentally ready.

    I’ve compared timing of relationships to people who cross paths in life. There are times we cross paths with someone who is going the opposite or different directions. And then there’s times when 2 people are on parallel paths and travel together.

  7. dadshouse
    Twitter: dadshouseblog

    Your single dad meeting a woman story is sort of what happened to me with my first girlfriend post-divorce. Things were great. But then I realized I needed to explore my freedom. For her part, though, she was scared of settling down, so we both hit the panic button.

    Years later, she’s married and settled down, and I’m wishing she and I had stayed together. (Oh, and yes, the sex with her was great! Ha)

  8. Jenni
    Twitter: msjennixo

    I’m not a middle aged single woman, but I can totally relate to what you’re saying. This is why I’ve taken my time when it comes to dating.

    There have been a few men where I’ve thought, “He’s so incredible! I have to be ready to commit as soon as he is!” But that usually only lasted a short while, before I pulled the reins back, and told myself to chill the hell out.

    Do I think any of the guys I went out with were “The One?” Absolutely not. But because I’ve gone slow and taken my time, I think when I feel like I’ve found “the one” I’ll be ready.

    Great post Kat!

  9. Kat Wilder says:

    What is the right person comes along at the wrong time?

  10. Jack
    Twitter: thejackb

    There has to be more than one- but yes timing has smacked more than once.

  11. amy says:

    i don’t even know where to begin in answering this question. timing is EVERYTHING. i read somewhere, in one of the dozens of self-help books i’ve devoured in the past months, that the “right person at the wrong time” is actually just the wrong person.

    i have found this to be true…and very, very painful.

    i’m only hoping that it is also true that there is more than one “right person” out there. and that i’ll connect with one of them at the exact right time. for a change.

  12. Kat Wilder says:

    Brian — Interesting. It sounds as if you are an independent soul. I think many of us would have let the “loneliness” factor guide our choices, especially as we age. Because on our deathbed, maybe memories of all the sights we’ve seen and adventures we’ve had are wonderful, but I think most of us measure our lives in that moment by how much we’ve loved and have been loved.

    BLW — ah, yes, the transitional relationship. If we try to turn them into what they’re not — a lifelong partner — trouble! Of course, many of us do.

    Steve — I agree. “The One” is a bad concept and even worse reality. But, I’m using it as shorthand for the great person. As for the BF, he’s a great person so things are very nice. 😉

  13. Kat Wilder says:

    Mike — Wow; a guy using the word “process.”I thought we gals had that locked up!

    Jim — you are smart (I think, anyway). Yeah, there can be loneliness, but living in that gray area is healthy. We always want to rush through things to make us feel “better,” not realizing that the uncomfortable times are the times of growth.

    Eathan — sometimes when we cross paths, it’s not meant to linger and hang round; it’s meant to pass. That’s a hard one…

    Dads — you have regrets? Is that only because you haven’t met someone and want a relationship, or because you really believe you were meant to be together?

    Jenni — Thanks, Jenni. Taking time getting to know people is really important; taking time to know ourselves first (and loving/accepting ourselves) is essential!

    Jack — Sorry about that; life is rarely what we think it’s going to be, is it?

  14. Kat Wilder says:

    Amy — yeah, you know, that’s probably true. A reader on reddit calls me to task on that:

    Shit just happens and you have to deal with it in real time… or you don’t — you instead blame “bad timing” on your personal inability to commit to someone who knocks your socks off. It’s a clever excuse to cover up your own insecurity and secret self-hatred. You’re not asking yourself if there might be a better fit for you out there, you are asking if you’re good enough to keep this perfect person happy. Deep down, you know that you are not, so you sabotage it.

    What do y’all think about that?

  15. Sara says:

    God this could not be more timely right now. I’m sitting in tears at my desk as the nice guy just called from the airport with an expired passport…thus canning our weekend plans that have been underway for months. We’ve known each other for 7 years..and I finally thought the timing was right….but maybe it never is and you have to grab life by the balls and go for it when you have the chance. UGH.

  16. T
    Twitter: tsquest


    That is all.

  17. Kat Wilder says:

    Reader says bad timing is really inability to commit to someone who knocks your socks off; true?

  18. payaxo says:

    RT @KatWilder: Reader says bad timing is really inability to commit to someone who knocks your socks off; true?