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If there was one thing I hated, and I mean HATED hearing when I was single it was this:

“Don’t worry, it will happen.”

That one little phrase, intended to encourage me with positivity, propelled me deeper into a belief there was something wrong with me.  Not only for being single but for being so upset about it.  Yeah, it bothered me.  So much that I wrote about it here.

But it wasn’t the only thing I hated hearing.

A very close second was, “maybe the timing just isn’t right.”

UGH!!!  No thank you, just no.  If I met someone and liked them and wanted it to turn into something real, then I needed it to happen now.  I didn’t want to hear about timing challenges!

Like the time I met someone who lived on the other side of the country, but we really clicked and decided to try to see where this could go.  One visit and a few weeks of constant texts and phone calls later I was about to book a flight back out to see him.  But then one of the MLB teams I was covering advanced in the playoffs and suddenly my schedule was no longer my own.  And I had no idea when it would be again.

A few days later he ended things over the phone.  I was devastated.  I kept telling myself, I didn’t see this coming!  How could he go from wanting me to fly out fo ra visit to deciding to stop speaking to me all together in the span of 24 hours? Was it my job?  Was it something I said?  Had he met someone else?

Because I truly believed that if we were “meant to be”, things like location or jobs or distractions wouldn’t matter.  We would be stronger than that.

That was eight years ago, and I still remember the deep pain I felt.  Because he was one of the “good guys”.  There were plenty of other men with whom I went on a few dates only for them to fall off the face of the earth.  But with a little distance from that heart break I would realize he wasn’t who I had wanted him to be.

But Long Distance Guy? He was caring and kind and exactly what I had been looking for.  And I think that when we met, he felt the same way about me.  Or at least saw it as a potential.

And then reality set in. Turns out, living 3,000 miles and a three-hour time difference away wasn’t easy.  And the fact that I had a crazy and unpredictable work schedule that was so far away from a regular 9-5 was very difficult for others to understand or navigate.  He was also at a crossroads in his career and unsure of what the future would hold.

All of this made a potential relationship that much harder.  And all of this was timing.

I have no idea if meeting Long Distance Guy at another time would have yielded a different result.  And I’ll never know if connecting again a few years later would have made a difference.

There are certain questions we’ll never have answered.  But there are other things that eventually become clear.

Almost three years after Long Distance Guy called it quits, I met my husband Marc.  I was 35 and a half and very aware that because of my age we’d probably need to get serious about commitment and starting a family sooner rather than later.  And that made me sad.  I wanted to spend as much carefree time as possible with him just enjoying being together. I mean, I waited this long to find him, why should we have to worry about such serious things so quickly?

One day when I was lamenting our situation, I said (read: whined) to him, “why couldn’t we have met 10 years earlier?”

I'll never forget what he said.

“If I had met you when I was 28, I wouldn’t have known how to treat you in the way you deserve to be treated.”

Which made me realize, you know what?  At 28 I wouldn’t have known to demand it.

Both of us had been through so much to get to the moment we met.  Those experiences shaped us into the people we were on that first date and beyond.

Not only had I worked through so much of my own baggage to finally find peace and acceptance with who I was as a single person, I also knew I was going into our relationship knowing I wanted to be with him instead of needing to be with him.

And that is a huge difference I had not been able to make ten years or even three years prior.

Timing isn’t always fair. It also can’t explain all of the reasons a relationship may or may not work out.  But it matters.

And timing isn’t your fault.

We can’t do anything about timing, but we can learn to accept and understand it better.  Even when it’s something we don’t want to hear.

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