Ask Stef: If They Like Me, Does Timing Still Matter?


Stefanie Marshall

Dear Stef,

I recently went through a breakup with someone where timing was the main reason they gave for breaking it off. They were in a really serious relationship previously (about to get engaged) and the fiancé broke it off, leaving them completely heartbroken. I'm giving that context because I do empathize with their situation. That's the rational part of my brain. But then there's this other part of my brain that is so pissed. We really like each other. We like spending time together. It's been months since their breakup. If they really liked me (which they say they do), they would want to be with me. Timing wouldn't matter. Right?

If Not Now, Then When


Dear If Not Now, Then When, 

Oh, timing. Timing is such a beautiful and terrible thing. It’s either on our side or completely against us.  And at the end of the day, we can’t fight it.

You’re allowed to be a little angry. At timing. Try not to be angry at your ex. It’s hard, I know, but listening to that rational part of your brain - holding onto that empathy for them - is what is going to help you move forward. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the times I have met someone who felt really important or significant to me, but the timing was off. Being angry at them never helped anything. You have to trust the universe, or you will spend all your life fighting it.

Here’s the thing, you seem to get it. You empathize with this person. You understand they are going through something really difficult and painful. You care about them and their feelings. You even probably wish you could help. But just as you are beginning the mending process of this breakup, they are still in the process of their own. Sometimes we get caught up in something new before we are ready because it feels so good in the moment. Then we are whipped back into reality only to find we are pushing too hard or moving too fast.

So you’re saying if this person really cared for you, timing wouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, I have to disagree. I think you feel like you need something to blame for your heartbreak. You want a reason other than elusive “timing”. You want something palpable and final like “he’s just not that into you”. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t make it black and white. Love lives in the grey areas. Allow it to. That’s where the magic happens. My personal advice to you is this: let this one go. Work on your own mending process. Feel all the feelings and cry all you want. Let them finish healing as well. See where you both end up. What happens then will be the true testament to how you feel for each other. And then you can shake your head and laugh in the face of Time because you had the patience to know better.


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