On June 6, Taiwanese model Lin Chi-ling announced her marriage with Japanese boy band member Akira, who is 7 years younger than her.

For many years, people thought Chi-ling would eventually get back together with Jerry Yan, a member of the Taiwanese pop group F4. On a variety show that aired in Taiwan years ago, Lin couldn’t hold back her tears when she heard that Jerry wrote a book about their childhood and their close relationship.

Looking back on that episode years later, Jerry couldn’t help but feel a sense of regret. “I wasn’t good enough and I was childish. I don’t want her to wait for me to grow up,” he said.

Fans and viewers believed they had just met each other at the wrong time. But, in a loving relationship, is there really such a thing as bad timing?

Meeting the right person at the wrong time might just be a figment of our imagination

Countless people regret missing their chance:

“I was too immature back then, and I wasn’t sure how to take care of her.”

“We really loved each other, but we couldn’t get past the 12-hour time difference.”

“He chose to pursue his career, I chose to pursue my doctorate. That’s why we broke up.”

Many people think about the “what ifs”.

If only we were more mature if we had a stable income if we had the courage. If only we met each other at the “right time”.

As time passes, we become obsessed with the assumptions we make. We put ourselves in positions that cloud our better judgment in a relationship.

Meeting someone at the wrong time might just be an indication that you haven’t met the right person just yet. Take Lin Chi-ling and Jerry Yan for example. One of them is very social, an extrovert. The other is shy, introverted and doesn’t know how to express himself. Even though each had qualities the other was attracted to, the differences in their personalities were just too much and they ultimately split.

American psychologist Robert Sternberg theorized that in the context of interpersonal relationships, there are three components of love: an intimacy component, a passion component, and a commitment component. The first component talks about intimacy. According to the theory, it is the feeling of attachment, closeness, and connectedness. The second component is a passion, the fiery depth and intense feeling you get when you like someone. It encompasses the drive connected to both limerence (romantic attraction) and sexual attraction. Commitment comes in to tie the two together. It is a decision to remain with one another (short term) and plans made in the future (long term). The combinations of these three components of love take form in different manifestations, ranging from infatuated love, romantic love or consummate love.

There are two main reasons why some people can’t get past the regret of meeting someone at the wrong time. For one, they are unsure of what kind of person suits them, and might even fear that they can’t meet the person who excites them. Another reason would be that they treat the different manifestations of love as consummate love, thinking that these manifestations of love fall short of what they should be.

If you decide to take the leap into marriage, it means that you know you are ready

Lin Chi-ling once went on a show hosted by Xu Zhiyuan where they discussed marriages. Chi-ling mentioned that she has expectations in a marriage. On the other hand, Xu Zhiyuan believes that marriage is not a good thing as a whole. Chi-ling disagreed with him, citing that the reason why people are unhappy in marriages is due to their high expectations. She believes that the higher the expectations, the greater the fall.

To Chi-ling, she firmly believes that failure and pain from a relationship shouldn’t stop her from having expectations in a relationship. At the same time, she doesn’t worship the benefits of a relationship, therefore striking a balance. When she announced her marriage to the world, she sent out a message.

“Some people say that ‘Love is a gift from a special, fleeting moment.’ I think love requires courage, tolerance, selflessness, compromise, and innocence to turn this special moment into a lifetime of companionship.”

From what Chi-ling wrote, the most important thing one can have in a relationship is courage. Nobody can be certain that the vows made in a marriage will never be broken, but nobody can definitively say marriage won’t turn into something beautiful.

Love and relationships will never go according to plan. Some people get into on-and-off relationships. Some people chose to focus on the difficulties and decide to back out. Only the strong-headed choose to face the truth and accept these challenges. Like Lin Chi-ling, she has the confidence that she can be happy in whatever relationship she has. As such, she can confidently say, “Marry not because of age. Marry because of the loving relationship you are in. Wait for the love that suits you the best.”

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