“You can’t meet someone until you’ve become what you’re becoming.”
In a touching tribute to the late Nora Ephron, Lena Dunham shared this tidbit of relationship advice given to her by the Hollywood Legend.
Ms. Ephron, who was married to her third (and final) husband for 25 years, explained that she met him when she was already “totally notorious” and believes that to be the reason why they were able to have a successful marriage. She insinuated that if she had met “Nick” (Nicholas Pileggi) when she was trying to get her career off the ground, he may have not understood or been supportive.
I understand what she’s saying, but I also wonder if her ending up with a man who was supportive of her powerful career had less to do with timing and more to do with the type of man her husband is. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.
I don’t believe there is a right time to get into a relationship because there will always be a reason to meet someone now or wait until later. There is no such thing as perfect circumstances. There certainly are better circumstances than others, but there is no perfect time to do anything…especially meet someone.
When I was younger, I wanted a relationship like Cory and Topanga. I thought (and still think!) it was just fantastic that they’d grown up together and eventually got married. (Even better is that this fictional couple is apparently still going strong and they have at least one daughter.)
Of course, Boy Meets World doesn’t feature a real marriage, but there are certainly countless stories of married couples that have been together forever. How nice must it be to be in a relationship with someone who knows you? Someone whom you don’t have to explain every little thing about your past to because he already knows because he was there. Someone who loved you before you “became who you were becoming”. Someone who you can look back over your life and see him with you every step of the way. Those types of relationships cannot be replaced. And I fear that advising people to wait until they get where they’re going before meeting a special someone robs them of that irreplaceable opportunity of building a life with another person.
Granted, there are definitely benefits of waiting until you’ve achieved whatever successes in life you want to achieve before “settling down” with someone else. When you’re single, you can be as selfish, unpredictable, and as unstable as you want to be without affecting another person with your ways. When you’re in a relationship – that you want to preserve – you have to consider another person before you decide to hop on a plane with nothing but a backpack and fulfill your lifelong dream of living on the street in Paris. Even less drastic career goals can be heavy. Time sucks and demands the majority of your attention leaving you little energy to start or maintain a romantic relationship. Focusing in on what you want to accomplish and not being sidetracked by relationships can be the difference between achieving those goals and not achieving those goals. So, someone like Nora Ephron would advise you to work at your career first, and only after you’ve reached a set place should you accept a new guy into your life.
Still, I believe that the notion that there is a better time to meet someone than another is absurd. There are all sorts of successful real life relationships that seem to favor one scenario over another. I look at President and Michelle Obama and believe that Barack wouldn’t be president if he didn’t have Michelle supporting him for all of these years. Then I think of Beyonce & Jay-Z and think that Beyonce may not be the successful superstar that she is now if she were still fooling around with some guy she dated in high school.
Some have chosen both scenarios. There are the Dwayne Wade-types who had a good woman while he was coming up only to abandon her once he got where he was going. The “Starter Wife” and “Starter Husband” phenomena is real and is all about finding someone who will support you for now, then upgrading to someone else later. That morally bankrupt mentality is another story though.
Ultimately, choosing when to get into a serious relationship is an intensely personal choice and there is no universal “right time” for everyone. Everything in life doesn’t always go according to plan. The best thing to do is to know what you want and what your plans are, that way, whether or not you’ve gotten where you’re going when you meet the lucky guy, he can at least know upfront where you’re headed.
What do you think? Would you rather meet a guy early on in the pursuit of your career goals or after you’ve already had major successes?