More and more I’m convinced the success of intimate relationship strongly depends on … timing.
I don’t mean perfect accidental timing, like where you just happen to be at the post office on the exact day, at the precise hour, minute, second that The One needs stamps.
I don’t mean bad circumstantial timing, like your co-worker crush finally confesses to their mutual crush a week before you’re leaving for a new job in Asia.
No, I mean internal developmental-stage timing, as in you are genuinely, deeply ready, no matter your external circumstances, to both receive the vast riches and lean into the intense rigors that come with any truly worthwhile intimate relationship.
Many people say they are ready … but they’re just … not.
I thought I was ready in my 20s. I thought I was ready in my 30s. But the disastrous results I repeatedly experienced as I tried again and again to do committed relationship with a human woman, revealed that I was in fact not ready.
From the perch I sit upon today, I see clearly that I was not genuinely, deeply, unwaveringly ready for a committed intimate relationship until my early 40s.
Even then, upon meeting the extraordinary woman I’d waited a lifetime for, I would soon face difficult challenges for which I did not feel prepared, and sometimes felt still unwilling to face, and so almost walked away from.
But I was finally, truly ready for intimacy with another human – and so was my partner – which is why we made it through.
For many people, this is what I’ve discovered “I’m ready” means:
“I’m ready for someone to give me everything I dream of having – all the love, sex, affection, validation, good times, and whatever else I want from romance. I am sooo ready (for all that)!”
That’s not “ready” for intimate relationship – not with another actual human person, anyway.
That’s adolescent fairy-tale fantasy refusing to grow up.
Being truly ready for intimate relationship means more than getting your needs and wants met. Surely certain needs and wants must get met to have a healthy experience.
But make no mistake:
Being “truly ready” also means being willing, now and forevermore, to stare down and best the ugly dragons that live inside you.
Because “the one you’ve been waiting for” will also likely be “the one with both the maps and the keys to the dark, dank dungeons where you keep those dragons hidden and locked away.”
They’ll also have the willingness, maybe even the desire, to unleash those dragons to wreak havoc within you, whenever you resist offering your love out of some ego-centric fear that doesn’t serve.
In other words, true intimacy will require of you the endless, and sometimes excruciating, inner work of removing obstacles that prevent you from more fully opening of your heart.
This is no quick journey for the faint of heart, but a lifetime adventure for the courageously willing.
No one outside you will ever “complete” you. No one is going to show up with giant palm fronds to fan you and silver trays filled for years with all those juicy, plump grapes you crave, despite the promises of your fantasy.
You’re already complete, with or without a partner.
You’re a living, breathing cosmic progeny of this infinite Universe, born at the leading edge of all creation! Whatever in creation’s name has caused you to believe the story that you need something outside yourself to be complete … has been lying to you.
Until you get that – at least intellectually, if not in your bones – you will endlessly, unconsciously, seek outside your own heart for a “bigger, better deal” than what you now have.
Which will be an ongoing nightmare for you and your partner – particularly if they, too, are endlessly seeking a “bigger, better deal” outside themselves (and if you are, they are).
In other words, you’ll just end up blaming your person for the havoc caused by your own dragons, and you’ll eventually have to replace them with a new person you (foolishly) hope won’t discover you have any.
So … consider that “good timing” just means you’re finally ready to make an outrageous, courageous stand for love.
Love is messy.
Love is challenging.
Yet how else can we expand our capacity to love if not for life’s messy challenges that force us to confront the limitations of our loving?
Until you are willing to fully face the challenges and embrace the messy, you won’t be truly ready for intimate relationship – your “timing” will somehow always just seem off.
What does this inspire in you? Please leave a comment below! (I read ’em all!)
NOTE: This is NOT advocacy for staying in abusive or unhealthy relationships in which your partner ain’t willing to grow. I’m a huge fan of learning (and teaching) how to keep your heart open even as you walk out the door to exit an unhealthy situation!