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When it comes to solid, healthy relationships, things should work in a… well, in a solid, healthy way. If you find that your relationship is experiencing more confusion and lack of direction than you’d expected for how great everything else in the relationship seems to be, then you might be in a “right person wrong time” situation and should be looking for some right person, wrong time signs.
As much as most of us would love to believe that love is all you need and love will save the day and whatever other song lyric/love cliche pops into our heads, it’s just not completely true for most. A strong, sturdy, mature relationship should be healthy for both parties, and there are several things that can be happening within a person or at different life stages that can make a healthy relationship near impossible, even if everything else seems ideal.
If you’re wondering if you’re in a “right person wrong time” relationship, read on to see the top signs you’ve met the right person at the wrong time.
Right Person, Wrong Time Signs
They – or You – are Attached to Someone Else
This might seem like a no-brainer, but as anyone who has read romance novels or watched romantic comedies can attest, it is a common trope in romantic stories that the lead has fallen head over heels for the right person… but that person is with someone else. Oops. If it is meant to be, then it will be when the other relationship has finished. Great love stories don’t often begin with infidelity and betrayal, so if they (or you) are with someone else, then this is a right person, wrong time sign.
You are Physically Separated
As much as we all love to believe that our long-distance relationship will be different from all others that came before, the reality is that most long-distance relationships don’t last very long. If you and your love are thousands of miles apart for the foreseeable future, ie there are no immediate plans to move closer to each other, then it is not likely that this is the perfect relationship for either one of you. When it comes to signs you’ve met the right person at the wrong time, this is a big one.
Your Dreams aren’t Compatible
In a healthy relationship, both parties should be able to work towards their own individual dreams in addition to any shared couple dreams. If your dream requires you live and work in another country and your partner’s dream requires they stay where they are, then you might find that no matter how much you love each other, the only way to make your relationship work in the moment would be for someone to give up on their dream. If a relationship requires someone to give up their dream, then this is likely a sign they are the right person, wrong time.
There is Unresolved Trauma
Everyone has to do their own work when it comes to resolving trauma and pursuing mental health, so even in the most loving relationships, if there is unresolved trauma, it will likely cause Big Issues for the couple. For example, survivors of domestic violence often need a lot of therapy and self-work to clear the trauma of their abuse and move forward in healthy relationships. You could be absolutely perfect together, but if there is unresolved trauma that needs to be worked through, then it isn’t the right time and space should be given for the important work that needs to be done.
You Have Conflicting Goals
You could meet the person of your dreams, but if they are itching to start a family and you have no desire to have kids, then it’s not meant to be at the moment. This is one of the biggest signs you’ve met the right person at the wrong time because for most people, it is an insurmountable difference on both sides. Conflicting goals like this will require one person giving in to the other, and that is the perfect recipe for contempt, resentment, and eventual messy separation.
Major Life Events are Happening
This can be a right person wrong time sign because if one or both of you are experiencing major life events that are changing you and the life you lead in significant ways, then being able to focus on a relationship and creating a shared life together is going to be very, very difficult. Waiting until the dust settles allows you and them to gauge how you fit together without the dramatic life changes, and see if the relationship is still appealing without all the extra excitement.
There’s a Significant Age Gap
This can be one of the most obvious right person wrong time signs because it is often easily apparent to others looking from the outside in, too. For example, a 20 year old and a 40 year old will have very different life goals and interests, and this can often be a roadblock that is impassable. However, in 20 years when the age gap is between a 40 year old and a 60 year old, there may be less of a dramatic difference in life goals and interests, making a strong and sturdy relationship possible.
External Pressures are Strong
You might have met the right person at the wrong time if you find that one or both of you have strong external pressures affecting your life – like children from a previous relationship or caring for a sick parent – that hinder your ability to fully commit to a new relationship. You might be quickly falling for this new person, but if your life is full of pre-existing pressures and commitments that trump a new romance, it will not be the right time to develop a new relationship. In life, timing is often everything.
What to Do if You’ve Met the Right Person at the Wrong Time
The number one thing to remember if you’ve met the right person at the wrong time is that if you have to force a relationship, it is no longer “right.” So if any of these right person, wrong time signs apply to you and your relationship, ignoring them and moving ahead anyway is likely to only cause friction in the relationship.
The strongest, happiest relationships are ones that aren’t forced. If it feels like all of the odds are stacked against you and one or both of you will have to give up the things that mean the most to you to make the relationship work, then chances are that resentment and a fiery demise of the relationship is soon to follow.
Life is long and just because you’ve met the right person at the wrong time doesn’t mean that you won’t find your way to each other again. In fact, isn’t that a romantic tale in an and of itself? Lovers separated for years and years who never forgot each other, only to find themselves in each other’s paths again one day?
Don’t cut your own potential romantic love story short by trying to force a relationship with the right person at the wrong time. Let it go and if it’s meant to be, one day you’ll find the right person again… at the right time.
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Amy Hartle is the author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking and relationship anxiety. Both her book and this blog are born of personal experience; Amy shares expert relationship advice from the lessons learned during her own 10+ years with her husband, as well as couples travel tips and romantic getaway recommendations, all gleaned while traveling the world together.