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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Saving Him for Later

How many times have we been with a person — maybe not even dating them — just been “with them,” spending time with them, enjoying their company, having, dare I say, fun, but it’s…. “just not the right time.” I know, I KNOW! I hate that phrase too, believe me I do. But in some cases, as excruciatingly painful as it, it’s true. He has to be there. Or you have to be somewhere else. Or it’s his work, it really is, and that is just so important to him in his life right now, and you have to understand that. And you do. Or you’re going through something big in your own life right now, and you need that sort of break to figure it out.

We all come to these sorts of roadblocks in relationships where things seem to be going so wonderfully and you see yourselves spending the rest of your lives together (“yes, Mom, hes the one!!!”) but then something happens. You hit a roadblock. Then what?


“It can never be!” you cry into the phone that night after you have run from his house after a big dramatic pseudo-breakup, telling him you love him and if he loves you, he’ll understand (if it’s your doing) or… you love him and he can’t do this you, you’re meant to be together, how can’t he see that? “Whoa,” your friend first replies, “your insane,” she then says. Once she has gotten you calmed down, you both assess the situation and realize, if there is that much emotion behind it, on both ends—because he was pretty torn up too—then it can be worked out.

Let’s really make it a doozy. He’s got work complications. He’s at the height of his career, and though he adores you, madly, and wants to settle down and make you his lovely lady wife and sprout kids out like beans, he really has to focus on his work right now, because before you, all he had was work. He had been working his whole life to reach this one goal, and with you in his life….well, your foxiness is a bit of a distraction. They just told him he needs to close some deal in Spain and that will take him 6 months. He’s gotta do it, he tells you. You whimper that you love him and can’t be without him for that long. He will miss you too, but promises that after he gets this deal, things at work will be much better off. And, bonus, he’ll have more time for you. And won’t be leaving…ever again.

But just around that same time is when you hit your fork in the road. The, “do I really like what I’m doing with my life?” fork. Work is ok, your friends are the same you’ve had forever, you do the same thing every day….I mean…isn’t there more? You have reached your time of exploration, and can you do that with a man hanging all over you?

“Adios boyfriend!”, you say. See you in 6 months! (Translate here)

This is an odd example, but this is what you call the “saving him for later,” ritual. It can happen in a variety of situations, but it’s when you’ve met the guy, things seem so great, but maybe something happens, and you two have to part ways for a bit, but you feel in your gut that you’ll return to that initial cute meet, whatever it was. So when you’re apart, and people ask you how it’s going, you just tell them, “I’m saving him for later.”

“Saving him for later” allows you to do those things you’ve always wanted to but figured you would later in life — because you never counted on being with someone so great that they might be “the one.” Then you worry that you might not get your alone time again to do it, so you better get on it now. So you get those things done, the bigger pressing issues at hand — such as work, and life’s big questions — and then you hop back into dating mode and remember the man or woman at question and how you came to be saving them for later….and is it later yet?

Then as the months drone on and on, and loneliness because to kick in…you just hope later is coming around the corner. Because then you start to remember all the wonderful things that he did that made you like him in the beginning. And you decide you’re tired of saving him, you want him now. So to all of you with your fellows and ladies in waiting….stop saving and go grab ‘em. What are you waiting for?  

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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