What if I’ve Met The Right Person At The Wrong Time?

He’s in a disaster of a relationship with a real wretch. She recently went through a rough breakup and isn’t ready to start something new. They work together for a “no fishing from the corporate pond” company. These are the plot lines that Hollywood rom-coms are made of. And if you’re Catholic, we can throw in a few more….

In the past, his faith and values didn’t line up with yours, but things might be starting to change. She’s declared her intention to discern a religious vocation. He’s a 1st year FOCUS missionary on the dating fast. (I’d buy a ticket to see that last scenario dramatized with virtue on the big screen.)

However it comes about, few people get excited about meeting the right person at the wrong time…yet here you are. So, you do your best to keep Mister/Miss Right in the friend zone, and you try to get to know them without things turning romantic—but time gets the best of your heart and you find yourself longing for something more. Now what?

Simply put, give it to God.

But I’ve done that,” you plead. Well, let me push you on this. Are you anxious about what the future holds? Are you afraid that you’re going to mess it up? Anxiety and fear are not of the Lord; if that’s where you are, I get it, but that means you haven’t really given it to God.

When you meet someone you’re attracted to, a sense of urgency often arises. You think if you don’t act now, then maybe you’ll miss your chance. But if there is a legitimate reason for you to hold off for now, then you’ve got to learn to trust in God’s plan for that potential relationship. 

1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to “Cast all [our] anxieties on Him, for he cares about [us].” Believe it. God does have a plan, and if you let him write your love story, it might not be what you were expecting, but it will be amazing. 

Waiting can be hard, but if you know that’s what needs to be done, then give it to God and focus on the duties that He is calling you to right now. Giving your best to your academic endeavors? Great. Growing in your faith life? Perfect. Striving to be a good friend, family member, and citizen? Winning. Couple this with prayer and frequenting the Sacraments, and you won’t need to fear that you will somehow mess it up. And you definitely don’t need to fear that God will mess it up:

God: “Great job trusting me with your love story and being faithful to me when I asked you to be patient. But while you were doing that, I introduced that amazing person to a real jerk and now you’ve missed your chance. Hilarious, I know!”

Yep, not gonna happen.

God’s not a jerk. He cares about you. He wants you to be happy even more than you want to be happy. Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to you. If this person is really the person that you are meant to be with, God’s plan will win—and He will reveal to you when the wrong time has become the right time. Give it to God.

And because I can hardly write a post with out a pragmatic section, here are three ways to get you through the wait:

Pray about it, but not obsessively.

If you’ve given it to God, sometimes the best thing you can do is to leave it with God. You don’t need to keep reminding Him about in prayer… every day, every hour, every minute. Now you’re obsessing. As odd as it sounds, sometimes passing the intention off and letting go of it is better than rehashing it every day. You’ve told Jesus your need; now move on. He won’t forget it.

Don’t mentally stalk them.

If your mind is filled with thoughts and dreams of this person whom you can’t pursue at this time, you will only set yourself up for failure in the waiting category. Focus on the here and now and live for today.

Be their brother or sister in Christ.

It would probably be awkward if you suddenly cut off all communication with this person and ignored them for the unforeseeable future. So in the meantime, treat them like you would any other male or female friend and do your best to stop seeing them as a potential date.

Finally, don’t rule out the idea that maybe the right time will never come along. Perhaps it is God’s Will for this person to enter a religious order. Maybe given time, you’ll realize that you are actually not a match made in heaven. Be open to that reality and thank God for revealing His Will to you, in His time and in His perfect way.

Be saints—it’s worth it!

P.S. Here’s a post on doing a dating fast for those who are considering one!


lisacotterLisa Cotter and her husband Kevin have been a FOCUS family for the past 5 years. Currently she serves as the Family Liaison, a position in which she strives to connect FOCUS’ over 100 wives across the country. She is a proud graduate of Benedictine College where she received degrees in Religious Studies and Youth Ministry and later served as a Resident Director while Kevin served as an on-campus missionary. She is a national speaker as well as a video presenter for YDisciple Leader. In reality, she spends most of her days playing with her young children and trying to avoid laundry. Lisa is not currently on Twitter and her Facebook account has been disabled. You can connect with her by telegraph or Pony Express.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this article, I think it provides really great advice for anyone who is currently in this situation. Although I do have one issue where you said “If this is really the person you are meant to be with, God’s plan will win.” You seem to be implying that there is only one person God intends for us to marry, which I don’t believe to be the case at all.

    The primary issue is with the use of the word “intend” which roughly means to plan, which is a detailed proposal to for doing or achieving something.
    Therefore the word intending something is essentially the act of developing a proposal for doing or achieving something. This means that if God were to intend for us to marry someone, he is would really be asking us to marry them, and we could choose to say yes or we could choose to say no. We can certainly take either path depending on our fancy, which is why we know that we have free will.

    How does this mesh with the idea that there is only one person we can ever marry? Certainly we would all like to believe we would say yes and marry them, but it’s a safe bet that at least some of us would say no as we are all at least somewhat concupiscent (ordered towards sin). We may very well be fine with the consequences of saying no, but where would that leave our would-be spouse? Would they be forced to live out the rest of our lives being unable to fulfill their calling? Is that how an all loving and merciful God would treat his children? Remember, if there is only one person each of us can ever marry we would in fact be their only chance at marriage. God could change his intentions and ask for them to marry someone else, he is omnipotent after all. Wouldn’t that make his plans subject to change and therefore fallible though? We know that can’t be the case, God is all knowing.

    I don’t think either scenario can possibly be the case, which is why I don’t believe that there is only one person that God intends for us to marry. God knows who the one person we are going to marry is, as an objective fact. God exists outside of time, and is therefore not subject to its limitations. He knows exactly how the entire life of the whole universe will play out, even before it has happened, down to every last detail. This includes our marriage. To describe this knowledge as an intention would be folly.

    What does this mean for us though? It probably means that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people we can conceivably have a happy and chaste marriage with. Of this pool of people we will only marry one (barring an untimely death) and only God knows who that is. Just because your most recent crush or attraction didn’t pan out the way you wanted doesn’t mean that it could have never ended in marriage, because it likely could have. The only thing it means is that it didn’t work out, and you’ll end up happily married to someone else.

    It’s a small distinction to make, but I think it is an important one.

    By John Lizzo | 5 years ago Reply
  2. God knows the choices we will make even before we do or before it happens. He’s not bound by time. He always has a plan for each one of us and it is perfect. Great post. Definitely needed to read this.

    By Janique | 5 years ago Reply
  3. I really like this and it is very true. I rushed/panicked/forced the relationship with my now husband and fifteen years in, we’re still spiritually paying for our haste and unwise choices. We both wish we’d gone slower in the beginning and now that we have kids, careers and just life to take care of, we know we missed a great opportunity to savor the dating part of the relationship.

    By Michelle T | 5 years ago Reply

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