Does Romantic Chemistry Really Exist?

Name: David
Age: 47
State: NY
Question: Lately I have been noticing a lot of ladies on POF mention chemistry in their profile.Something along the lines of there must be chemistry or they will know right away if there is chemistry. I never remember seeing this as often as I do now. Isnt it implied people want to feel that? You dont go looking for a car saying it must have brakes. Yes its important but to mention it specifically seems unnecessary.

Maybe it is because these ladies have gone on so many dates without chemistry they feel the need to mention it. When I see that I dont even bother anymore. My track record of getting a second date with someone who puts chemistry in their profile isn’t very good. I have heard the no chemistry reason after a first date plenty of times. And if I had good first dates there wasnt any mention of that. Maybe thats just a coincidence. Seems like the ladies who write that just have a higher bar that I can’t reach.  Since you look at  profiles for your clients I was wondering if you have any insight as to why they do this because you never really know if there is chemistry until you go out- why mention it beforehand? Thank you.

 

You really answered your own question. You’re absolutely right that women and men who mention how important chemistry is are letting you know that they rarely find it on their dates. Know why?

Chemistry isn’t real and it doesn’t exist. Chemistry is an idea that was put into our heads by rom coms and TV. When these people say they’re looking for chemistry, what they’re actually telling you is that they want to have one of those magical first dates where, by the end, the pair is completing the other person’s sentences.

A lack of chemistry is also one of those indisputable arguments that people like to use to explain why they’re still single. For example, a woman saying she wants a man of integrity is an indisputable argument. Of course she does. Therefore, if she says that a man she met, that she barely knows, had no integrity, nobody would say she was being too picky. Of course, she can’t quantify or accurately pin point *why* she feels the man lacks integrity. It’s just something she “knows.”

Lack of chemistry is usually the default reasoning for no second date. It sounds acceptable, right? But if you ask someone to explain what they mean by “no chemistry” they typically respond by saying that there was no click or that “something” was missing. Well, what was that? Nine time out of ten, they can’t identify or accurately express what was missing. The true explanation is that they didn’t have the experience they had created in their head as what constitutes a “great date.”

And therein lies the problem. The “great date”is usually one that resembles that one date they had 5 years ago that led to a relationship that was omigod so amazing! From there on out, if a date doesn’t follow that exact pattern, there was no chemistry. These people are trying to re-capture something. They have told themselves that that is the missing part of the Magic Formula. If the date plays out like that one amazing date they had once, then it has potential. If it doesn’t, there’s no future. We spoke about this earlier: the Magic Formula people are convinced that their relationship is successful because it involves certain and specific aspects or steps. It’s an immature way of thinking that is applied to a relationship to make someone feel special or different.

I believe in the existence of synergy and attraction. Maybe that’s how many people define “chemistry.” I think it’s acceptable to want that. But when you see or hear someone express their desire for “chemistry” in a profile, you’re correct in taking that as a warning sign.

I just had this conversation with a profile review client this week. I told her to look out for the guys who include things in their profile about how they’re looking for “a partner in crime” or “a special lady to share their life with.” These are romanticized ideals said either to grease the wheels a bit or out of a total lack of experience with actual relationships. People are better off saying that they’re looking for companionship and attraction, someone with whom they can enjoy various activities and experiences. That’s more accurate and realistic.  That’s what you want in a partner. You want someone who knows it’s going to be difficult at times. You don’t want someone who appears have based their ideas and opinions of relationship on fairy tale like images.

 

 

Picture Courtesy of Think Geek

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50 Responses to “Does Romantic Chemistry Really Exist?”

  1. Howard Says:

    Really good advice. I hope it works, but the truth, is that there is an audience for this type of pedestal presentation. That’s why people will continue to present themselves that way. They also love feeding their egos.

    There used to be a time in the history where it really helped women to be hyper-picky from the onset. Fortunately, those days are gone. I personally don’t think women have adjusted their approach. It’s the one area where women have not equaled men. At a typical speed-dating event, men will tick off more than twice the number of names, as women. Men don’t set the bar too high from the outset. And as we know, when it comes to commitment, men are exponentially harsher than women in deciding suitability, so initially lowering the bar is not that bad.

    The result is that women are always working with fewer prospects based on their harsh initial judgements. What makes this even more ridiculous is that women wait for men to approach them. We would have imagined that the person having to wait for contact, would be the one less likely to initially reject based on very brief information. That is not the case, and why we see so many unhappy women in the dating arena.

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    • Brad Says:

      “And as we know, when it comes to commitment, men are exponentially harsher than women in deciding suitability, so initially lowering the bar is not that bad.”

      Go more into this. Are you saying men are slower to commit (agreed), or are you saying that once committed men have a higher standard for their partner (not sure I agree).

      “And as we know, when it comes to commitment, men are exponentially harsher than women in deciding suitability, so initially lowering the bar is not that bad.”

      To be honest I don’t see to many happy wives either. Fiancés/newlywed women always seem to be extremely happy, but after 2 years of marriage a dissatisfaction typically sets in.

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      • Trouble Says:

        I’ve only been married for 6 months now, but I think there is a good reason for your comment, Brad. I think a lot of women have really unrealistic ideas about marriage, what it means, what happens after marriage, the type of guy who makes a good life partner, etc.

        I think it’s cultural. Americans have a fairytale mentality about marriage these days that our ancestors would probably laugh at. You know, the end of a Disney movie or a romantic comedy is usually a wedding. So, you have an entire generation of women who’ve mythologized the wedding as the be all/end all, and don’t have a clue about making it work after that point. This is why weddings have become such flamboyant events, but divorces are really common.

        There’s never a Cinderella part 2 where Cinderella and Prince Charming bicker over the monthly palace budget, or where Cinderella bitches at Charming for failing to diaper the offspring properly, or where Charming gets frustrated because Cindy hasn’t cooked dinner all week, or where Charming/Cindy stop being attracted to their spouses because he/she has packed on 40 pounds. That doesn’t happen in our (female) fantasies. We always think it will be different in our marriage. Our marriage will be the one that’s the fairy tale.

        But, those things sure as hell dohappen in real life. A lot of married life is really prosaic, boring, mundane and not at all romantic. And, if all people have to base their ideas about marriage on is romantic fantasies, when confronted with the reality of marriage, a lot of them are going to fall out of love and start looking in other directions or get out of the marriage entirely, or get bitter towards their spouse for failing to deliver the fantasy.

        I don’t know what the answer is…maybe to insist that you and your partner go through some premarital counseling to counter those fantasies and talk pragmatically about each other’s expectations?

        But, also, men and women both need to think about looking for a spouse with the practical realities of marriage in mind. You don’t use a show pony to pull a covered wagon.

        And, marriage entails a lot of wagon pulling. A healthy percentage of the people that we collectively have chemistry with would make terrible life partners. They’re flashy and showy, but they lack the sort of substance needed to stick with it through thick and thin.

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        • Steve From the City Next Door Says:

          My brother’s first wife admitted some years later that when they first got married she expected it to be like how it was on date all the time. And it was a shock to her when after the honey moon he had to go to work. She said looking back she realized how unreasonable that was, but at the time that is what she expected.

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        • K Says:

          Yeah. Sorry to be all over this thread, but I’ve learned a lot recently! Women who want “chemistry” on the first date so often base that on whether they want to sleep with the guy and/or show him off to their friends. If he meets those criteria, then you’re kind of hooked and you’ll put up with something that’s in no way leading to a relationship.

          I went on a few dates with a guy last year who was super physically attractive (to me), in great shape, charming, an entrepeneur, drove a status car, and had some extracurricular interests that were pretty cool. I was so into him that I failed to realize he wasn’t that into me, and was hung up on him way longer than I should have been, waiting for his sporadic emails and hoping we could go out again. We didn’t have sex, but I think often in those situations you end up seeing the guy once a week or so for sex and go on and on without realizing it’s never going to be a relationship. That’s what happens when you base everything on some idea of first-date “chemistry.”

          On the other hand, I was kind of lukewarm about the guy I’m seeing now, and almost didn’t go out with him again after the 3rd date. He was really persistent, which I very much appreciate now, because although I did not want to jump into bed with him on the first date, I do now find him very attractive, the sex is great, he gets me, we really care about making each other happy, and he’s shown some amazing qualities that would be needed for a long haul – such as problem solving, tackling things as they come up, planning ahead, communicating, coping with the unexpected, etc.

          That other guy never showed any qualities like that – just the external “hot” stuff – and yet I was totally caught up in what amounted to *nothing*. I think a lot of people make that mistake, and make it over and over again, to various degrees, while overlooking guys they really could have something great with.

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          • elizabeth Says:

            Sistah….You are talking about the attraction of the bad boys! The are the Chemists! I am old enought to know what these guys are like when they age…and it is not pretty,

            The have all the toys and a long history of screwing over their women. The women dump them and move on. Bad Boys are lonely old men!!!!!

            The Bitter Women out here are the women who repeatedly try to reform the Bad Boys and never seem to get it right. I think I am working on not joining this club and appreciating the good guys who have less flash and more sincerity.

            I am facing that choice now and appreciate this dialogue.

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            • The D-man Says:

              This is a story women like to tell themselves: “bad boys are ultimately unhappy in the long run.” Do you really think Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Hugh Hefner are unhappy? There are a lot of less-famous guys who manage to get along just fine as bachelors too.

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        • Brad Says:

          This:
          “But, also, men and women both need to think about looking for a spouse with the practical realities of marriage in mind.”
          +1

          Also, my 2nd quote from Howard should have been:
          “That is not the case, and why we see so many unhappy women in the dating arena.”
          Not a repetition of the 1st quote.

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        • Jada Says:

          Wow, you got married, Trouble? I had no idea.

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      • Howard Says:

        The reality is that each and every one of us is more complex than just being figured out in five minutes. Sometimes we still can’t even figure someone after years of knowing him or her. I am not even sure some women even give a guy five minutes. Some women make a decision just based on the way a guy walks, as he walks up to her. I don’t know any guys who reject women in their mind based on their walk. Sometimes it’s just the way a guy stands or the way a guy communicates with other men or women.

        The Chemistry thing is just another way to prematurely reject guys. I think some women derive some twisted power or self-fulfillment in being able to reject. And the chemistry thing makes no sense when we look at what typically happens. A guy could be at a bar and think of 10 women out of 20 as possibles. A woman will look at one guy as the only one she wants to talk to her, and maybe two others as second tier possibles.

        And their judgement is often flawed based on this initial gut instinct reaction. It’s always sad to see women try to make these fairy tale imaginings work, when the ensuing evidence being presented is contrary to their initial gut reaction. But people like to prove their intuition is right, so they go to great lengths to justify these intuitions, when they should just accept they were wrong and quickly move on. But they can’t quickly move on, because their arbitrary gut reaction standards are too high.

        Some women even embark on long term relationships with these guys. Sometimes it’s based on the simple fact that women have to wait for a guy to ask for the long term commitment. And this is the one who asked, so they go for it.

        Now guys have their own issues with setting the bar too low initially. I could expound on that, but the initial blog was about women and chemistry. In my opinion, this chemistry thing is just a materialistic judgement call on some guy having some one or a couple of hot button attribute(s) such as wealth, fame, height, initial conversation, swag, popularity, muscles or looks.

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      • Howard Says:

        In responding to Brad, regarding men, I don’t know why men are so hard on the judgement after the fact. I am just going on what I see friends, acquaintances, co-workers and former co-workers do. They go out with a woman for a really long time, with no intention of ever marrying her or sometimes even living with her. I partially think it’s because they set their bar so low, early, and she was the only one who was willing to go along with their program, so they keep her in that position until she figures it out years later. Even after making the commitment decision, I see guys doing things later, that question their commitment.

        Women may be hard to figure out, but men are equally odd to figure at times. Just the way, women don’t know what other women want, men don’t know what other men want. My buddy Harold, always says, “Howard, don’t hurt yourself now, trying to figure other people”

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  2. K Says:

    I think women who write that mean they think they’ll know in the first few minutes, or at least during the first date, if they are attracted enough to the guy to want to go out again (or bang him that night, I don’t know). And then if they don’t feel that attraction, they can just go, “oh, there was no chemistry” and turn down a second date. So yeah, I think they actually just mean physical attraction, like, would they want to sleep with the guy. Which is usually something that either person can determine in the first date.

    However, the important aspects of chemistry besides the physical that you need for a successful relationship – do you have fun together, do you feel safe with him, do you respect him, can you get close with him (I got this stuff from a book, ok, but it’s an awesome book and I think it’s right on), you really can’t determine in one date.

    I agree it’s a bad sign if a woman writes in her profile that there has to be chemistry on the first date. It’s so obvious, that her having to say it makes her sound dense. Plus, it makes her seem like she’s been on all kinds of lame dates, which honestly reflects poorly on her and indicates SHE would probably be a lame date. And there’s some aspect in there of requiring a guy to prove himself to her somehow. I hate that “partner in crime” and “special lady to share my life with” crap too, for the same reasons.

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  3. Zammo Says:

    Let’s be brutally honest here, “chemistry” is a code word for “he makes me horny”.

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    • K Says:

      Yes! That’s what everyone means by it. And it can go beyond the guy’s looks, to include status stuff.

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      • elizabeth Says:

        I don’t know who said it……But I know that women really fall for men with their ears…..we love a man who tells us what we want to hear. And the sweet talkers like to put it out there……the Future, The places I will take you, how attractive they think you are……how they love kids and dogs…. bla bla….and then they disappear after 3 months.

        Men on the other hand…fall with their eyes. That is why we knock our selves out before a date. The cost of our grooming and clothes ususally out spends whatever a man spends on dinner.

        All of the aboive does not predict a successful relationship but it gets the proces started. If you have been on more than a few dud dates ….one with a smooth talking man or a hot looking woman willl spark up your life for a while. Keeping that going is tough!

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      • LV Says:

        Maybe for some people it even goes further – beyond looks and status, if one can conceive of such characteristics!

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  4. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    First of all, if I rejected every woman online for putting meaningless, romantic platitudes in her profile,I would never date. Doesn’t make sense to me at all to get hung up on this type of thing. Some people aren’t great at marketing.

    In substance, however, chemistry has no meaning. (At the most, it means physical attraction.). Chemistry is a word of rejection- ie “he was good looking, rich, smart and would make a great boyfriend but we had no chemistry.” You will never hear someone say, “he was ugly, broke, stupid and lazy but such chemistry.”

    Here is the newsflash: when a woman says you are good looking and would make a great boyfriend but “no chemistry” it means that she does NOT think you are good looking nor would you make a good boyfriend. For some men, when they hear the “no chemistry” excuse, they give it content because they want to believe the other stuff, ie that they are great in other respects. Those men come to believe that women are too dependent on “chemistry” and too picky. Its not true! It is the same delusion some women have that they are “hot” based on the catcalls they get from construction workers. Stop believing everything people tell you, okay?

    No one ever rejected an otherwise worthy boyfriend because there was “no chemistry.”

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    • Andrew Says:

      The problem with what you’re suggesting is that looks don’t matter as much
      to women as they do to men. Women are more attracted to personality traits.

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        Scientific studies show it’s more complicated than that.

        A woman’s idea of “chemistry” is a blend of everything she knows about him. They may think they’re measuring one thing (eg. physical attractiveness), but other factors affect their judgement–even when they claim (and perhaps even believe) otherwise. This is why “chemistry” with a particular guy can be absent at first but develop later, or vice versa, as she learns more about him (eg. income, personality, etc.).

        The same studies show that men do not blend data; we evaluate women on each axis independently, so for us “chemistry” is purely physical.

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        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          I go back to my original point. People are not honest when they are rejecting you and the reasons provided should not be understood literally. “I don’t feel chemistry” means nothing more than “I am not interested.”

          Here, let’s do the Professor Nash test. Which is more likely: (a) that you are handsome, smart, charismatic and otherwise perfect in every possible way but her vagina didn’t magically “tingle” or (b) you are simply not handsome, smart, charismatic and otherwise perfect? Which is more likely? And which interpretation are you guys going with? The irrational one.?

          I swear, if I ever met you people in person, I’d bump your heads together like coconuts.

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          • D. Says:

            I don’t think it’s necessarily an either/or situation. While I agree that “I don’t feel chemistry” = “I am not interested,” the reasons for not being interested can be varied.

            I went out with a girl back in June who, objectively, had nothing wrong with her. She was physically attractive in an objective sense, intelligent, had a decent job, was a fairly good conversationalist, but I wasn’t feeling it. The flow of the conversation was just a little off. She was attractive, but I wasn’t drawn to her beyond a sense of “Eh, she’s nice enough looking.” In that case, I’d describe it as “no chemistry.” I could probably really dig into it and say “Hmm…well…her butt was a little big on her frame” or “She seemed a little less animated than I tend to like,” but in the moment none of that was at the forefront of my brain. It was just “Something’s….missing here.” Regardless, I wasn’t that into her, but I also could recognize that someone else absolutely would be.

            By contrast, I remember a date where the girl I was out with was physically attractive, but had NOTHING to say. This girl was flat-out boring and getting a conversation going was like pulling teeth with her. I knew EXACTLY what the problem was with her. Yeah, you could lump that one into “no chemistry,” but a more realistic answer would be “So boring that doing laundry would be more exciting.” I left that date wondering who in the hell would want to date someone like that.

            I wouldn’t have told her that, of course. I’d probably just have said I “wasn’t feeling that spark,” because doing so is a bit more genteel than saying “Jesus Christ you were dull! I almost passed out in my soup!” But with the girl from this past June? Different story. That’s where there really was no chemistry in a less definable way. In both cases, I wasn’t interested, but in one it was absolutely something I could pinpoint, and in the other it was a lot less concrete.

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    • Matthew Says:

      I’m afraid you’re wrong there, old chap. Whenever they say to me “there’s no chemistry” it’s not because of my looks, it’s because they somehow don’t feel that connection. I can tell it’s definitely not my looks because I am an ex-model and have a great physique, tall, well-built, nice face etc. Chemistry is often indefinable. If it was all about the looks, then why is it the case there are so many average looking people in the world who are very happy with their partners…

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  5. India Says:

    If you ever been rejected by a man or a woman for a “lack of chemistry,” it is not that the person doing the rejecting is living in rom com fantasy land.
    It is code word for “I am too nice to tell you the real reason I can not spend another hour with you, not to mention date you or to sleep with you. ”
    Accept the rejection and move on.

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  6. LostSailor Says:

    Chemistry definitely exists and is real, on a couple of different levels. Zammo has it right, though. On a first meeting, “chemistry” for a man is “is she hot?” and for a woman is “does he get my motor running?”.

    Women who say in their profile that they’re “looking for chemistry” are really saying that they want to feel that special tingle right away. If not, they’ll immediately start, consciously or unconsciously, to look for thing that disqualify their date. And they’ll find them. What they won’t find, most likely, is a man with whom they have that chemistry they’re looking for because after a while, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. They’ll have trained themselves to only look for the disqualifying rather than the qualifying. They won’t take the time to see if the deeper levels of chemistry, strong attraction and comfort, are there.

    The entire PUA method is based on the idea of building that chemistry quickly. Most guys are too deferential on a first date, wanting to make a “good impression.” They’ll talk about their jobs, or hobbies, ask about hers…you know, make conversation. Which will kill any incipient attraction in a woman who is specifically looking for “chemistry.”

    A woman who states she’s looking for chemistry is really looking to be seduced…

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  7. Crotch Rocket Says:

    Chemistry isn’t real and it doesn’t exist. Chemistry is an idea that was put into our heads by rom coms and TV. When these people say they’re looking for chemistry, what they’re actually telling you is that they want to have one of those magical first dates where, by the end, the pair is completing the other person’s sentences.
    Perhaps that’s what it means when women say it, and if so I agree that’s a load of bunk. However, when I (and AFAICT other guys) say “chemistry”, it usually refers to mutual physical attraction. So, if I tell a woman there was “no chemistry” after a date, that means that one or both of us was obviously not attracted to the other.

    The “great date” [i.e. one with chemistry] is usually one that resembles that one date they had 5 years ago that led to a relationship that was omigod so amazing!
    What confuses me about this is that if the “great date” led to a relationship that was so “amazing”, then why are they back in the dating pool again? Something obviously went wrong, so perhaps they should be trying a different strategy.

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  8. D. Says:

    Eh. There’s “chemistry” and there’s chemistry.

    I do think that a lot of people have this sort of romantic ideal of the perfect date and how, if it doesn’t go that way, then it’s clearly not meant to be. Once you’ve had a few “perfect” dates and had it fizzle anyway, such an evening loses its importance. Or rather, becomes a bit less important. That kind of “chemistry” is often fleeting anyway, and you can certainly have false positives on it. The “rom-com” notion of “love at first sight” where the instinct is “I knew in an instant that they were the one for me,” yeah, that’s bullshit.

    But there’s such a thing as chemistry in the sense of a certain indefinable attraction to someone. It’s not necessarily enough on its own to base a relationship on, but it’s real. The last girl I fell in love with, I absolutely was instantly attracted to her, but I didn’t think “OMG, she’s the one!” or “Well, there’s my next girlfriend.” I just thought “Whoa…she’s REALLY cute,” and on the date, found myself having a great time. Was that chemistry? I’d say so, insofar as it was a sense of attraction in multiple ways.

    There’s the flipside of it, too, which is where I think chemistry becomes even more important — namely, when it’s lacking. Think about it for a second. How many here have gone out on a date with someone who was objectively pretty awesome — similar tastes in this or that, good conversationalist, physically attractive in an objective sense — but to whom you just weren’t feeling attracted? And was there ALWAYS some specific reason you could point to as an explanation?

    Sometimes there isn’t. Or at least there’s nothing immediately apparent. You might be able to figure something out after the fact, but for whatever reason in the moment, you just weren’t really digging the person. And sometimes there isn’t even anything that you can put your finger on no matter how much you wrack your brain. You just…aren’t feeling it. I’ve gone out with people where I knew there was nothing specifically WRONG with them, I just…wasn’t that excited about them. Maybe in the moment I just wasn’t feeling that receptive. Maybe there was something specifically wrong and I just didn’t realize what it was. But for whatever reason, I wasn’t into them.

    I suppose ultimately chemistry just means a certain level of excitement about and attraction to the other person that goes beyond purely physical or some checklist. Sometimes it’s real things that we just aren’t thinking of consciously (e.g., the way the other person uses language, the way their voice sounds when they laugh, etc.). But when it’s there, it’s usually pretty clear, and when it isn’t, it’s usually hard to manufacture. I’m sure that, in addition to having met someone where they “just didn’t feel that click,” plenty here have still tried to “give it a chance” beyond a first or second date (or longer!) and had it not work out. Why? No chemistry — or rather, no attraction in a less-than-easily-defined way.

    Anyway, as for calling it off with someone over “lack of chemistry,” I think that’s just as often code. Sometimes it’s just a genteel way to avoid saying “You’re a freakin’ basket case” or “Breath mints. Look into them,” but other times it’s just shorthand for “You know, you’re actually pretty cool and I know other people will find you attractive…but I just didn’t.” Saying “I’m not attracted to you” implies “You’re unattractive.” Saying “I’m not feeling chemistry” makes it less of a blanket indictment of the person’s objective worth.

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    • Selena Says:

      I REALLY like this post of yours D. I’ve long believed “chemistry” is in part physical attraction, but moreso, personality attraction. We feel it toward some people and just don’t with others. And more often than not, we can’t pinpoint exactly WHY we don’t feel it with someone, we just know we don’t.

      I also agree that people use lack of chemistry as a reason to Not say something hurtful to a person they went out with. And that’s not a bad thing.

      As far as putting chemistry statements in a profile? I would think that would come across as being negative, sort of like saying “I don’t feel chemistry towards most guys/girls, so don’t get too excited about me…I’m likely to bail after date 1, or 2.” Yeah, who wants to go out with someone with that attitude?

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      • D. Says:

        Yeah, the thing with putting “must be chemistry” in a profile does suggest some kind of red flag or at least a yellow one. Maybe someone like that has tried to force it one too many times and wound up frustrated, or maybe they’ve just gone out with a bunch of people and have been repeatedly disappointed and are now pretty jaded. Or they’ve set some unreasonably high standard and want love-at-first-sight and won’t settle for anything less…which leaves them frustrated at not finding what they want.

        These people probably need to take a break from dating.

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        • Selena Says:

          Again, agree.

          Especially the idea of forcing it. From reading forums like this one for a few years now I’ve come to feel there are many people of both genders, who want a partnered lifestyle, and want it badly enough to try to make it happen with someone(s) they know deep down doesn’t “fit” them. When those relationships fail, the person may go in the opposite direction…if there is not an immediate, “This is great!” connection, they believe it will never develop. One extreme to the next.

          I don’t like the word “settling” for this reason. To me it implies a willingness to forgo having a genuine connection with another person in order to have a certain desired lifestyle. And when inevitably that doesn’t work out…it’s “Oh, well I’ll never do that again!”

          If we look at our close friendships we see they didn’t happen instantly! They developed over a period of time. We felt a connection enough at first to keep it going. And it led where it led. So why is there sometimes an internal struggle to allow romantic attachments take a similar course?

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            If we look at our close friendships we see they didn’t happen instantly! They developed over a period of time. We felt a connection enough at first to keep it going.
            Until recently, all of my friendships were with people that I had that “spark” with immediately, and we became very close almost overnight. However, such close friendships are few and far between.

            One of the first things my therapist had me work on was making friends–and focusing on quantity, not quality. As she put it, “you have to plant a lot of seeds; most of them won’t grow, and that’s fine, but some of them will.” As a result, many of my friends today are people that I never would have even talked to before or followed up with because there just wasn’t that “spark” when I met them–and I’m a lot happier and socially active than ever before.

            So why is there sometimes an internal struggle to allow romantic attachments take a similar course?
            I’m torn on this. I now see the benefit of giving people a chance, as I have with many of my new-found friends, but I also know that none of them is in the same category as that close (if small) group of friends that I’ve had that instant “spark” with. Similarly, I’ve dated a lot of women and enjoyed being with many of them, but the ones I have that instant “spark” with are the only ones that I could see having the deep, lasting relationship I’d expect to head towards marriage and kids. After all, I only need (or get to have) one.

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            • Selena Says:

              I find your reply interesting CR. The instances where I felt an instant “spark” with someone I went out with never resulted in a relationship going beyond brief and casual. In contrast, the men I fell in love with guys who I thought were “okay”, “hmmm…” about. The more time I spent getting to know them, the more I liked them and the more attractive they became in my eyes.

              When I think about my closest friendships, they really started out the same way. I never thought “Oh wow! This is someone I want as a friend!” even if I really liked them off the bat – it was more like “this person seems like a lot of fun to be around”. And the more time I spent getting to know them, the closer I felt to them.

              I do believe that “chemistry” is attraction/compatibility of personalities more than anything else. We meet hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people during our lifetime – how many do we end up loving? Some become lovers and close friends. Some never go beyond dates and acquaintences. So what does the “spark” really indicating to us? Maybe it’s different for each person as it is for you and me?

              Which explains why people can’t agree on a common definition of “chemistry” huh. :)

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              • D. Says:

                I think there are just different kinds of “sparks.” There’s the kind where you know you really want to bed the person. There’s the kind where you’re just firing on all cylinders with them and it’s all incredible. There’s the kind of chemistry that develops over time as you get to know more about the person and become more interested in them.

                I think you can have good relationships that result from the initial “WOW” moment, but that can also be fleeting and not go anywhere. Likewise, you can have deep relationships that develop from gradually getting to know someone who at first seems “eh, fine.”

                This is actually one of the main reasons I’ve all but given up on online dating. I actually think that the medium itself is prone to providing too much information up front, but frequently information without context. You can have a laundry list of stuff in common, think to yourself “OMG! This is IT!”, meet the person, and then if fizzles for reasons that weren’t obvious in the profile. Likewise, you can see a bland profile but, if you met the person just out and about and gradually got to know them, you’d end up really digging them.

                I’ve had both happen, actually, and had the “false negative” happen recently. A woman had contacted me online, and I’d ignored it. Her profile was “eh,” as was her message, and I just wasn’t that attracted to her based on her pictures. I randomly met her in person through a friend of a friend of a friend at some event almost a year later and ended up really enjoying talking to her for a little over an hour. Also, she looked way better in person. She’d moved out of state by then and was seeing someone else, but it struck me how I’d just brushed her off online, but had really enjoyed talking with her and found her attractive in person. That, for me, confirmed that the online stuff not only gives “false positives” but also “false negatives.”

                Would I say this girl and I had chemistry? Well, I’d say there was enough attraction that, if she wasn’t out of state and otherwise involved, I’d at least have asked for her number and gone to get drinks or dinner with her some time. So, yeah, chemistry enough. Not “OMG she’s INCREDIBLE” chemistry, but “Huh. She’s cool. And looks pretty good, too” chemistry.

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            • Trouble Says:

              I felt an instant spark when I met my husband…we had great conversation, he was super intelligent, and I thought he was really cute. I was not at all sure he felt the same way about me, though. However, it took years to get to the point that we were both sure we wanted to get married. Spark is great, but it’s not enough to carry things for the long haul. There has to be more….shared values, comfort together, similar goals in life, etc.

              I think that some women (and men) stop at the spark and think that’s enough. No, it’s just a starting point, and sometimes you don’t feel it until later.

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  9. Michelle Says:

    It’s not just women who write “chemistry’ in their profiles! I would say that over 80% – if not closer to 90% of the profiles in my age group mention that word. Ugh.

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  10. Ashley Pariseau Says:

    To me, “chemistry” is something that makes me want to get to know the guy and explore who he is as a person and think about him in a potential life partner sort of way. He can be hot, treat me great, and take me out on a nice date, and literally be everything I want, except sometimes, for some reason I can explain, I will either see him as someone I can have great sex with or just be really good friends with. I don’t think it’s about horniness. Well, at least not for me, because there are guys that make me horny but I wouldn’t say we have “chemistry.”

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    • John Says:

      Ashley- These are all good points you make. But the OPs question doesn’t seem to be about chemistry as a stand alone topic. It seems to be about the mind set of people who actually use it in their profiles. And how potential suitors should interpret those profiles that say chemistry is so important. Thats the real issue that Moxie addressed in her response.

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  11. Ashley Pariseau Says:

    Ah, I see. I apologize for overlooking that point.

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  12. D'Alias Says:

    Chemistry is real, powerful, intense, rare. Moxie, from your post it sounds like you haven’t felt it before. It’s easy for me to think that’s sad because it’s an AMAZING feeling, but I don’t think every personality type is equipped to experience every variation of human emotion. So I guess it isn’t sad, just different.

    People that mention chemistry in their profile though, as a prerequisite to a real relationship, definitely set off a red flag for me. I’m looking for a marriage/life partner and that’s about so much more than physical attraction and great conversation. I mean, I wouldn’t definitely X somebody out b/c they included that statement in their profile. I’d give them a chance while realizing they might not be ready/realistic enough for us to work towards something “real.” The caveat is that “chemistry” has as many different meanings to different people as “love” does, so it’s very easy to misinterpret what one means.

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    • LV Says:

      I don’t think it is rare, unless you are unfortunate in life. It’s something between platonic friends – kind of a shared admiration society, combined with respect, wilingness to tease and be teased. My biggest failure in dating is that I don’t treat people like friends – I have a hostility and meanness to me that I wouldn’t imagine visiting on a friend or someone I wanted to get to know platonically.

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      • D. Says:

        It depends on what you mean by “chemistry” as far as whether it’s rare. I think there’s different degrees of it, too. I’ve had great dates with women where I was attracted to her physically, the conversation was great, and we seemed to have some things in common. I’d call that chemistry. I’ve also had a handful of instances where I felt INCREDIBLY drawn to the other person on a variety of levels. It went beyond merely “She’s cute, and this conversation is great!” It was much, much stronger of an attraction, and had to do with a variety of factors. That kind of “chemistry” is, I think, incredibly rare.

        And even when you find it, it’s not as if that seals the deal. There may still be any number of other problems lurking in the background, or you may have that chemistry, but find some other aspect of their personality that you just can’t deal with. Chemistry alone doesn’t make for a good relationship, or at least that initial “click” doesn’t, even when it’s incredibly strong. But I also don’t think you can have a decent relationship if there’s no chemistry whatsoever.

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      I know what you mean. Some people are slaves to the highs and lows of their bipolar and other, various personality disorders and have never experienced the joy and pure ecstacy of a single lucid, rational thought. I’m sad for those people. See? :(

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  13. LV Says:

    As I have dated more, I think I understand what is meant by “chemistry.” It’s kind of like a job interview. There has to be positive energy out there that is reciprocated. It’s kind of like playing catch, or more accurately to capture the stress involved, a trapeze act. That is why you can be beautiful, intelligent, and fashionable, and attract 0 men. Because if you are just sitting there on a pedestal being awesome, no one cares. They want to feel a connection with you, feel that you desire them, and are interested. People only care about things in relation to themselves. That’s why it’s called a relationship! If there’s no energy being transmitted back and forth, and just two great people sitting there exchanging wooden platitudes.. it doesn’t work. You could have a script of exactly the same words and conversation, and spoken by two different couples, one could be the beginning of a passionate romance, and the other could be the horrible experience called a “bad date.”

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  14. M Says:

    I think of chemistry as BS excuse for a girl to not go out with/stop seeing a guy. Chemistry can be developed over time, but if you reject someone right off the bat, that has no chance of happening. I agree with everything Moxie says here and also Lost Sailor when he said that girls look for excuses to eliminate guys rather than focusing on the positives.

    Things ended with my last girlfriend because she didnt sense the right chemistry. When I dug down I found out she basically wants the kind of chemistry you have with someone you are in and have been in a LTR with for at least a year, and she wanted that all very early on. In fact, she regretted giving me a chance because it wasnt there on the first date. Anyway, the whole chemistry thing came about as an issue because there was another issue she didnt want to talk about, and this was a convenient excuse. Even if the other issue did color her perception of me, which led to her statements about not enough chemistry to be true, she doesnt realize it.

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  15. seeking_beauty Says:

    I’d like to quickly chime in on Moxie’s comment: look out for the guys who include things in their profile about how they’re looking for “a partner in crime” or “a special lady to share their life with.”

    Gah — my marker for a desperate soul is “I want to live life to the fullest”. He wants to, because he’s not actually doing it.

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  16. Erine Says:

    no Moxie, chemistry exists and is very rare
    and yes you feel intoxicated during the very first date. i felt it incith,a man and thrn dome

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  17. Geri Says:

    I am new to internet dating and I am feeling very confused. I have had 1-2 dates with 3 men who seemed anxious to date me based upon my photos (all current) and profile but once we went out they said there was no chemistry. These men had all stated in their profiles that they wanted to start as friends and take it slow which is exactly how I felt. I had weeded out men with profiles that just didn’t match mine or who didn’t meet my minimum standard for health and fitness. (I’m over 60 and don’t want to become a caregiver anytime soon.) I am also quite active and adventurous and participate in a lot of outdoor activities and travel. I have only gone out with men who stated similar interests and values in their profiles. After e-mailing, texting and talking on the phone they still wanted to go out with me. When we went out we did fun things together – hiking canoeing, bicycling and conversation seemed to flow. We seem to have similar values. None of the men made me want to hop into bed with them but I enjoyed their company enough to want to see them again. They all stated that they had a good time. They had laughed and talked a lot when we were together. I’m wondering what I am doing wrong. One obvious thing that I can put my finger on is that I didn’t flirt. I think it is either that or I look a lot worse than I think I do. I didn’t think that it would be all that important to men over 60 for me to play those games. They make me feel silly. Especially with someone I’ve just met. I’m thinking that men and some women want to feel like teenagers again. They aren’t truly looking for a life partner but for someone to make them feel young. So now I’m watching youtube videos where people in their teens and twenties demonstrate flirting techniques. I’m going to try some of them with my next date and see what happens.

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