Photo: Frankie Shlain
When some relationships end, it’s hard not to wonder if the time you spent with that person was wasted. Especially “at this stage.” I hate that phrase, by the way. Apparently “this stage” is the late twenties, where only certain types of relationships should be considered; can’t be wasting time with someone who’s not ready to get serious. So they say.
I have been thinking a lot lately about that balance between the person you want to be with and the type of relationship you’re looking for. A wise, slightly older friend once warned me of a trap some women fall into. They hit a certain age and know they want a certain type of relationship – they are ready to settle down, get married, have kids. So they do just that with the next acceptable guy they date who is ready. Fast forward a few years, and on the surface they have the life they wanted, but on the inside the relationship falls short.
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum.
You find yourself with a guy you’re crazy about – it’s exciting, everything just feels right, you’re happy. So you stay in the moment. So much so that you don’t really think about what’s next, even though deep down you know he’s not ready to give you the more serious relationship you ultimately want. That situation has a fast forward button too. A few months later, you’ve stayed longer than you know you should, and end up frustrated, both with him for not giving you the relationship you want and with yourself for not accepting he’s not capable of it sooner.
I’m of the belief that the person always comes first – even at this stage, even if it doesn’t go your way in the end. Being with someone you truly care about, who makes you happy right now, is not a waste of time. The reality is that there are no short cuts, and everyone moves at their own pace. You learn something about yourself and what you need from every person you’re with, and I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.
Hopefully every misstep brings you closer to that charmed intersection, where you meet the guy you fall head over heels for who wants the same thing you do at that very moment. You don’t think about what comes next – not because you’re afraid to, but because you know you’re headed in the same direction.