How to Cope When It’s the Right Person at the Wrong Time

How to Cope When It’s the Right Person at the Wrong Time

Deciding to pursue the relationship despite obstacles can also affect your life, including missed opportunities. You might pass up on career advancements, experiences, relationships, and even personal goals if you make significant changes in your life for a relationship.

What It Feels Like

It’s normal to feel different emotions when you meet the right person at the wrong time. You might feel excited about meeting someone you really share a connection with, but also a sense of longing and frustration that you cannot be together.

Even after your window of opportunity has passed, you might find yourself holding on to hope that you’ll be able to one day work through the timing problems holding you back. You might think that eventually, you’ll meet again and be able to make it work.

Or you might find yourself questioning what might have happened if you’d done things differently. These feelings can linger for long after the potential for a relationship has passed.

Wondering what might have been is one common response. Aura De Los Santos, an educational psychologist, explains that she turned down one potential partner in her 20s because she didn’t feel ready. Years later, she looked back and wondered what might have happened if she had decided to pursue that ill-timed relationship.

And while the common “What if?” question still lingers, De Los Santos suggests she did what was right for her.

“I thought about what my life would have been like if I had given that person a chance, but at the same time, I have no regrets,” she says. “I have always thought that there are stages you have to live through in life before settling down and formalizing with someone.”

Instead of rushing through her own journey to maintain a connection with a potential partner, she chose to experience life at her own pace, a decision that was, ultimately, right for her.

Kaamna Bhojwani, MA

If you enter a relationship that is not right at that time in your life, it will likely not be right at all.

Meeting your dream partner only to be held back by personal or situational variables can be confusing. Your feelings might range from hopeful to heartbroken.

While the emotions you feel can be complex and challenging, there are strategies that can help you figure out what steps to take–whether that means pursuing a relationship despite the challenges or deciding to move forward without exploring the connection further.

Figure Out Your Priorities

The first thing you should do is take some time to yourself to evaluate your priorities, says therapist Daniel Rinaldi, MHC.

“I recommend journaling about this and taking time to reflect on what you’re looking for in a relationship and from the other person and what priorities are taking precedence in your life,” Rinaldi says.

This means looking at the trajectory you imagine for your life. Once you have a clearer picture of what you want, talk to the other person about their goals and consider whether you might be on the same page in the long-term.

Talk About It

“If you find yourself in a ‘right person, wrong time’ situation, one of the most important things you can do is talk openly and honestly about it,” Rinaldi says. To move forward with a decision that is right for you, it is essential to talk to the other person about why it might not be the right time to pursue a relationship.

Daniel Rinaldi, MHC

If you can’t talk openly about your feelings at that stage in the relationship, it means there is a lot of growth the two of you have to do to get to a place where you feel safe and comfortable discussing your honest feelings and relationship, even if you aren’t “together” at that moment.