By Talayah G. Stovall
We’ve all been there. We’ve spent time with someone who we knew was “temporary” until the “right one” comes along. Sometimes, we even fool ourselves into thinking that that someone is the right one. We have all tried to shave the edges off some square pegs in order to fit them into round holes. There is something about “Mr. In the Meantime” that keeps you engaged in the relationship. It might be his kindness, his looks, his personality or his bank account (or, it might be just our own desire not to be alone). But, there is also something about him that you know is a “deal breaker.” While it is sometimes very difficult to let go of a relationship, we should never hold on to a relationship just to be in one.
Meantime relationships help pass the time while you are still searching. Unfortunately, while you are spending valuable time with someone who clearly lacks the qualities you desire, just to have someone with whom to spend time, you might be unavailable or unaware when Mr. Right knocks on the door. Meantime relationships are often merely filling in the emotional, and sometimes physical, gaps that are present when we seek the temporary elimination of feelings of loneliness.
Sometimes we use “Mr. In the Meantime” to help us recover from a relationship whose ending was either abrupt or particularly painful. A girlfriend of mine once remarked, “The best way to get over one man is another man.” This thinking perpetuates into rebound relationships that are often more painful when they end – and they will end – than the one from which you are trying to heal. Whenever we say goodbye to someone we love, even when we know that that person is not right for us, it hurts. We can save ourselves much heartache by recognizing and acknowledging from the beginning, that the Meantime man is not right for us, instead of trying to force a relationship. And, once we recognize and acknowledge that, we can free ourselves for a deeper love and commitment with the one who is our destiny.
Choosing a mate is a serious decision which will impact the rest of your life. It is a decision that can make or break you. Don’t be swayed by charm and style that have the appearance of authenticity, and don’t settle for second best; it is not worth it in the long run. Solid relationships are built on friendship, honesty and sincerity. Proverbs 7:5 warns us to “Beware of the stranger who flatters with words.” Some people will tell you what you want to hear, but their actions will reveal that they are totally insincere. It is so important to watch and listen. If he “looks like a duck”, but acts and sounds like a dog, he is either pretending to be something other than what he appears, or he is confused.
Women, especially, often allow feelings to overrule logic and common sense. That said, our intuition rarely leads us astray. If we are picking up a vibe that something is not right, usually something is not right. Pay attention to the signals and let him go. Do not hold on to hope when all the signs indicate that you should cut your losses.
The Bible reminds us that we will “know a tree by the fruit it bears.” Mr. In the Meantime might have the looks, the money and the prestige that impress us, but he might not have the character to match. Looks, money and prestige will fade away, but character is something that does not disappear.
We have all had periodic Meantime experiences, and some of them were effective for our growth and our transitions in life. Meantime relationships, however, will cause problems if we fail to see them for what they really are. Acknowledge them for what they are (a friendship, a learning experience, a nightmare…) and move on. If he is not right for you…do not give him access to your soul.
Have you ever entered into or stayed too long in a relationship that you knew was not ultimately right for you?
Make a list of the qualities that you are looking for in a mate. Use this list to evaluate your current romantic interest or keep the list in mind as you begin new relationships.
If you find that you tend to spend time in clearly Meantime relationships, use the following affirmation or create one of your own: “I will no longer cheat myself or anyone else by spending time in relationships that are going nowhere. I will be clear on the qualities that are important to me and will not try to force a relationship where there should not be one.”
Talayah G. Stovall is an author and motivational speaker. Her book, Crossing the Threshold: Opening Your Door to Successful Relationships, and eBook, 150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say “I Do” are available on her website talayahstovall.com.