Why Instant Chemistry Is NOT Required For Epic, Lasting Love

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There's more to meeting a new guy than just sparks.

By Lori Ann Davis. MA, CRS

What is chemistry, and how important is it in dating?

Chemistry means different things to different people. There is not one description that fits all.

Some might describe it as a spark, "that feeling", or an instant connection. Because it is such a vague concept, there are a lot of myths around it.

Most notably, people always wonder if it's necessary to have chemistry on the first date?

If you have chemistry, does that mean it is the right person for you? Can chemistry build over time?

Chemistry really is just a mix of hormones and an emotional connection. It is not necessarily an indicator of an ideal partner — and yes, it can build over time.

We often have a strong physical or emotional reaction to another person.

Chemistry is that romantic love stage, that feeling of not being able to stop thinking of the other person. You can’t wait to see each other again, you want to look your best, and your heart skips a beat when they text or call. It feels wonderful, exciting, and fun.

You have all those “feel good” hormones racing through your body. You see only the best in the other person. You want to spend as much time together as possible. Sometimes this happens on the first date and it can be interpreted as “love at first sight”. You might think the relationship is meant to be.

Or, you might meet someone and not feel those things but you have a lot in common.

They are nice looking, you enjoy the conversation, they seem like a nice person, and they are interested in seeing you again. What do you do?

I talk to singles every day who think that if there is no instant attraction, spark, or connection, this means it is not the right match and they move on.

For a moment let’s take a closer look at the concept of chemistry being necessary right away.

If you rely on instant attraction, what you are doing is falling for someone before you really know them. In addition, you are assuming that you cannot become attracted to someone that you grow to know — you are really saying you can fall for an assumption but not reality.

When you experience that instant attraction, the next thing you do is get to know the person. If you are attached to this initial judgment of this being “the one,” what happens when you start to notice red flags or things you do not really like about the person? Maybe you start to notice values that are not in alignment with yours or behaviors you are not happy with.

You have a tendency to keep going back to the initial feeling of this person being “the one.” There is a danger in not balancing your initial attraction with the reality that unfolds. You try to minimize what you are seeing or explain it away because you have already decided with your heart that this is the right person.

Radical Dating talks about the importance of balancing your heart and your head. What does this mean? It means, we want you to date consciously.

Enjoy the feelings and attraction when they arise, but also pay attention to your core values, your vision of the future, your relationship desires, and needs. Balance your feelings, your thoughts, and your hormones in order to make the right decision about who will ultimately become your life partner.

There is nothing wrong with instant attraction, but it is not necessarily an indicator of a good long-term relationship.

I suggest you start where you are and give the person time. Be open to getting to know more about them. Are they looking for the same kind of relationship you are? Do they have the same core values? Are your dreams and desires for a future in alignment? Spend time together, relax, have fun, get to know each other. Enjoy the process and see what happens.


RELATED: Why You Can't Find Love Until You Make The Courageous Choice To Be Vulnerable


If there is a great deal of chemistry in the beginning, you will have to work harder to balance your heart with your head. Enjoy the feelings, but also look at the reality of the situation. Is what you are learning about the other person in alignment with what you truly want in a relationship? If it isn’t, then you are better off finding someone else. 

Chemistry, no matter how strong it is, will not make up for someone who does not match your values and requirements.

Eventually, the chemistry wears off and you are left with someone who is not the right fit for you.

Chemistry can build over time and you deserve to have a relationship with that feeling and that attraction. It is important in a long-term relationship to have passion. Couples who have it are more patient, appreciative, and forgiving of each other. So, if it doesn’t develop, you can move on. It is a balancing act.

I had a client who had been married a couple of times, and passion was never a problem in her marriages — but compatibility was. She came to see me for help in choosing the right partner this time. She met a guy who seemed like a good match on paper, they had a nice time together, but there was no instant chemistry for her.

He was very interested in her and had asked her out again. Her first reaction was to not see him again. After some coaching, she was able to see a pattern in her past relationships. In the past, they'd had chemistry but ended up being poor choices for a partner.

After seeing this, she decided to go on a few more dates with this new guy. After about the fourth date, she reported that not only was she feeling the attraction she desired, but he seemed to meet all her requirements for a great relationship.

They are still a happy couple to this day. She was able to find the right balance in her decision making and chose the right partner this time.

How do you know when it is time to have sex? I am sure you have heard of the three-date rule or maybe the five-date rule — but is there a magic number that tells you when it is time?

When you add sex into the mix, you produce a chemical called oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This hormone creates a feeling of falling in love. You start to feel like a couple.

Sex and oxytocin play an important role in relationships but can cause confusion when introduced too soon. It is harder to be objective about this new person and potential relationship. So, let’s talk about some guidelines for when to introduce sex into your new relationship.

Before adding sex to your relationship, you might consider the following:

  • How much do you know about each other? You don’t have to know the other person’s whole life story, but you should know enough to evaluate if this person is a good match for you.
  • Have you been dating long enough to see their faults and still like them? It will take time to really get to know someone new, but you want to give it time to see them as whole person not just their perfect potential.
  • Are your relationship values, needs and wants the same? Have you had a discussion yet about your goal for dating? Have you talked about your vision of a future with a partner? Do your visions match?
  • Have you opened up to them and shared who you really are? Do you feel safe and free to be yourself around them?
  • Have you talked about what having sex means to the relationship? The general rule is that if you cannot talk about sex, you should not be having sex. Adding sex to a new relationship can mean different things to different people.
    Make sure you talk about your expectations. Does having sex mean you are in an exclusive relationship? It is important to discuss this and come to an agreement before moving forward.
  • Are you emotionally ready? Do you feel ready to move the relationship forward to the next level? You should not have sex because you feel it is expected or it is time because you have been on three dates.

I do not believe in a number of dates rule. Each couple is unique and capable of evaluating the relationship at their own pace. The important thing is to be open and discuss how you feel about having sex.

Suggesting you wait a little longer to have sex may not be a popular opinion, but I think the right relationship is worth the wait. Yes, you want to know if you are compatible sexually. This is an important part of a relationship.

Waiting does help you balance your heart and your head. It is easier to decide if this new relationship has potential when sex is not part of the equation. Enjoy getting to know each other and the anticipation of having sex. Once you feel comfortable that this person might be the one, enjoy adding sex to your new relationship when you are both ready.


RELATED: How To Attract The RIGHT Kind Of Man Who Wants Real Love (Just Like You Do!)


Lori Ann Davis. MA, CRS, is a Certified Relationship Specialist. This article was written in partnership with Radical Dating. Watch the latest episode above. 

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