I’ve had an interesting start to 2011. In the last month, I’ve had three male friends tell me that they are not ready to settle down until they are in their late 30's. They have all the qualities to find a good partner now, but they have too many things on their minds and too many goals to chase. They meet girls who are potentially the right one, but they say “hold up, I’m not ready yet, maybe in a few years time,” and then they let them go. What will happen will happen, they say, no need to rush things when the feeling isn’t right.
To this, I say kudos to them. While I do see why many girls would lament this situation – there is, after all, nothing wrong with having a girlfriend and going after a quality career at the same time – I know how it feels when “it just doesn’t seem right.” I felt the same way when I was in my mid 20's and went about setting my own priorities in life based on that gut feeling. I wanted to live overseas and find a new home base more than anything else in the world. As a result, I let relationships take a back seat. At different points in our life, some things just seem more important than others.
The trickiness of this situation arises when it is the person you like who tells you they are not ready.
This is when crunch time sets in and you decide to let go or hold on. I have my two cents worth on this situation – and friends seem to think I can offer good expertise on this – so, I am writing it down here.
As a rule of thumb, I say: let go.
This is because there’s already reason enough to think that Mr. Right has become Mr. Wrong, at least at this point in time.
In my view, there are three things that will govern whether your relationship with someone will blossom and bear fruit (and this information applies to both men and women, so just replace the gender pronouns in the paragraphs that follow).
First, the fit. How good a fit you are with your partner is usually the first thing that attracts you to him and the one thing that will sustain a relationship for the long term. Over time, you might realize that you connect on so many levels that it blows your mind, or you become aware of certain traits that you can’t grow to like. Either that, or you discover that the connection you felt was just a novelty and that there really aren't any real similarities or intriguing differences to keep you interested. Check the box only if there is a genuinely good fit.
Second, the timing. It is all about the timing, some people say. If he feels that he’s not ready to settle down with one person now, then he isn’t ready. Sure, it may be an excuse to tell you he’s not that into you, you never know. But if he genuinely has a bazillion things on his mind he wants to get done, then you may have to be content with being a back-up for quite a long while. Not surprisingly, taking on that role isn’t going to be healthy for your self-esteem; you might be better off just accepting the fact that you are at different points in your life.
Third, and most importantly, the wisdom. I say this is the most important thing because an individual who does not recognize a great connection when he feels one, is a fool. And interestingly, there are many people out there who don’t have that wisdom – yet. Some people don’t have many meaningful dating experiences (one night stands don’t count) and have no clue that they’ve chanced upon a gem. Others feel like they want to date around some more so they can be sure. Either way, these people don’t have the wisdom to know that the best one is this one and the time is now. Without this wisdom, everything turns to dust.
And so, if you lift the veil over your eyes and see things for what they are, the truth reveals itself to you. Having just one or two of the above three qualities is pointless. All three stars need to be aligned for something meaningful to happen. For these stars to align, however, there might be a wait. And you never know, when the wait is over, you might not even be the first in line. The key is to ask yourself if queuing up is even worth it in the first place.