Right Person, Wrong Time: Surely One of Life’s Cruelest Ironies

It’s one thing to meet the right person, to be struck by Cupid’s arrow, to tingle all over just at the thought of them and to begin planning the rest of your lives together. Endless songs have been written about the moment two hearts become one. But it’s something completely different to meet the right person at the wrong time. Then true love twists into something much more abhorrent and soul crushing. It transforms into unrequited love. I’ve been there and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies.

A common factor in these experiences is immaturity. It’s often the case that you’re young when you meet someone you end up describing to friends in gushing terms – everything from your “significant other” to “the one.” Although I was only 18 when I fell head over heels for a girl I’d met at a party, there were no cautionary voices, internally or externally, advising me we were too young to go the distance. When you’re that age and desperate to experience your first serious relationship, cynicism is easily trumped by sentimentality. Believe me, although our social life amounted to little else than listening to loud rock music at raucous parties where the drink was flowing, I was already focused on the long-term outlook. I visualized the house, the car, the places we’d go on holiday. I’d even chosen the décor for our kids’ bedrooms.

But people at that age are, essentially, still kids. And kids can be extremely fickle. It can be just as easy for them to fall out of love as to fall into it. Some other guy came along and swept her off her feet. For months afterwards the intensity of my feelings hovered between regret and seething jealousy. I harbored all sorts of negative thoughts about this new couple that I saw as having risen, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of our original relationship. It didn’t occur to me for one minute that what had actually been proven was that she had not been the right person for me. But she was certainly the right person for this other guy.

I consoled myself with the certain knowledge that if we’d met ten years further down the line, when we would have been far more emotionally mature, then things might well have worked out very differently.

This was perhaps the most positive outcome of my first experience of being ‘in love.’ I was able to place the experience in its proper perspective rather than merely carrying around unwelcome emotional baggage for months. If you do meet the right person at the wrong time, for whatever reason, you need to accept this truth. You can learn from it, but most importantly of all, you must move on. The time will inevitably come when you do meet the right person at the right time.