the timing of love
by Evelyn Lauer
My entire life I’ve subscribed to the notion that when the time was right things would work out in terms of love.
I fell in love for the first time at 16, and since my boyfriend was a year older than I was, he went away to college first. For three months, we tried making a long-distance relationship work, but it didn’t last. He broke up me with over the phone right before Christmas. This was my first lesson in timing. It was not the right time for us. He was in college; I was in high school. We were not meant to be – not then. And even though we tried later in life to make it work, we couldn’t. There was a still a distance between us: I was in graduate school in Iowa City and he was working in Minneapolis. We let this distance and “time” of our lives control our love. After awhile we gave up trying. He met someone else and married her.
When I was 21, I fell in love again with my college boyfriend, who was two years older than I was and graduated a year and a half before I would. He was ready to get married – and I was not. I felt like the time wasn’t right again. I pushed him away because I was scared to make a commitment. We, too, tried to make our relationship work later in life – for ten years we tried and failed.
I was in love with both of these men. I wonder sometimes, now as I married mother of two in her late 30s, if I could have made it work despite the right time. As life continued in my 20s, my relationships seemed to be riddled with wrong times. I wasn’t ready; or he wasn’t. I dated men who were in their 30s who were ready to settle down when I still wasn’t ready. And when I was 28 – and finally felt ready – I dated a man who was 22 who was definitely not ready.
Is love really about the right time?
When I met my husband, I was 28. I had enough relationships behind me to know what and whom I wanted. I met him at the right time. He was the right person at the right time, but what if I would have met him five years earlier, would it not have lasted as my other relationships didn’t?
This is not to say that I wish to go back in time and redo my high-school romance (or others) and try to make it work. But I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I did. I wonder about people who have different relationship stories than I do – stories of falling in love at 16 or 19 or 22 and making it work with that person no matter what. I thought with my head more than my heart. I had life goals that I wanted to reach before I settled down, before I thought about having kids. Perhaps this is the wrong way to love.
As someone who has been working on a memoir about love, these are thoughts that consume me. I’d love to hear others’ opinions on this. How much of love is about the timing of it? What’s your love story? Did the right time come into play at all?