Chemistry is one of those difficult to pinpoint, tricky to define linchpins of a relationship. As it’s so hard to put our fingers on, it’s actually the blanket explanation for why we stick with someone even when all signs around us point to ‘Danger! Abort mission!’. ‘We have such a strong chemistry’ is one of the most common things that gets said to me as does ‘I couldn’t be with someone who I didn’t have any chemistry with’.
I think of chemistry as the result of how you both ‘vibrate’ together. Aspects of each of you resonate with the other and it creates what feels like a strong tie between you both – a connection. It’s a bit of a frisson between you both, a shared vibe, an air between you that feels like it generates something positive (even if overall it doesn’t), the way you ‘work’ together, the ‘tension’ that exists between you both.
In looking at my own dating past where I’ve claimed to feel chemistry with a number of people, I realised a few things:
Chemistry, whatever that intangible ‘quality’ that you have between you is, is necessary for a relationship but is often overvalued to the detriment of other aspects. Without it, you’ll feel something is missing, but without other fundamentals, it’s not going to work anyway.
I also know that having ‘aspects’ between you both where there is chemistry can hide key signs that you are incompatible and this is because much like with common interests, we assume that someone who we share for example, sexual chemistry or even emotional chemistry with, is someone that will be a compatible partner.
It’s also safe to say that often when you feel that you’re compatible, you may actually be compatible for the wrong reasons.
This is why it feels ‘right’ even when it seems so ‘wrong’ and why you’re still banking on that emotionally unavailable or assclown ‘somebody’ who you had so much ‘chemistry’ with…you just couldn’t string a relationship together.
Many times over the course of writing this blog and my ebooks, I’ve emphasised that we ‘choose’ or gravitate to people that reflect the things we believe about relationships, love, and ourselves. If we have negative beliefs, we inadvertently create a self-fulfilling prophecy that enables us to continue holding on to that belief. Obviously if we got involved with someone who challenged those beliefs, we’d have to adjust our thinking and our behaviours. Many of us are damn scared of challenging our beliefs plus we are also and often entirely unaware of the impact of quiet, hidden beliefs.
I’ve also learned through experience that we are the only common denominator to the soap opera that is our relationships and that life continues throwing us up the same lessons through our relationships until we heed the warnings. Every experience you’ve had, you’re in it and if the same experience comes up with various different people, you have to look at lot closer to home at your own actions. That doesn’t make you responsible for their behaviour but it does put the power in your hands to change your part.
In considering these things, I realised that chemistry is very reflective of where you are, at that particular point in your life, emotionally, spiritually, physically and that who you feel it with can and will change if you address and adapt any of these factors.
If you for instance, break up with someone that you’ve experienced a lot of pain with but are still professing chemistry and claiming that you can’t imagine anyone else in your life but them, you may want to consider what hasn’t shifted that has you holding on so hard to the past.
You’re ignoring an important part of the dynamic between you both where you are clearly incompatible and compensating for it by exaggerating the strength and importance of others.
Much like how your relationships, your self-esteem and basically life in general is very reflective of your beliefs, the ‘chemistry’ you feel is a reflection. If you’ve ever had a parent who abused alcohol or drugs and have felt ‘impossibly’ drawn to someone who also abuses these, you can see how the ‘chemistry’ that you feel is intwertwined with how you feel about you, love, and relationships, and that actually, you’re experiencing the comfort of familiarity, even though it’s unhealthy.
You can also see the effects of chemistry if you have a ‘type’. Generally speaking, when people have a type, it tends to be ‘toxic type’ working against them tied to unhealthy ideas about what they ‘think’ is ‘right’ for them, after all, having a type where you carry the same baggage, beliefs, and behaviours and end up with the same results is relationship insanity. If having that type has not yielded you a successful relationship as in, it worked in a healthy, positive manner, I would seriously question what your ‘type’ is and who you profess to have chemistry with as it’s not benefiting you and is likely limiting your options.
Looking back, I now know that I felt chemistry with the guys I dated previously because they were similar on an emotional level – emotionally unavailable. Aside from physical attraction or any so-called sexual chemistry, the prospect of being with them was ‘fitting’ because emotionally I didn’t feel I was in any real danger of having to ‘risk’ myself.
They were attractive because emotionally, even if we approached things differently, when it got down to the nuts and bolts of it, we were both afraid of genuine intimacy and feeling our emotions, good, bad, and indifferent.
When I met or spoke with any of these people after we’d dated, the ‘chemistry’ was dead in the water and it was hard to imagine what we had in common. Once I realised that I too was emotionally unavailable and started demanding of myself to become available, when I met people who I would previously have been quite content to languish around in an ambiguous relationship for a time, I found myself rather non-plussed. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I started taking care of myself physically, making my health a focal point, as well as my values shifting somewhat and feeling even more spiritually connected, that who I felt attracted to really shifted as well.
It’s important to feel healthy emotional chemistry, mental/values chemistry, spiritual chemistry, and of course physical/sexual chemistry. The combination of all of these makes for a relationship where you are far more likely to be compatible and have the opportunity to forge a healthy relationship with prospects. While I don’t doubt the importance of sexual chemistry, if you don’t have the other sources of chemistry, you don’t have actual intimacy – you just have sex.
That said, if you don’t have sexual chemistry, it may feel like a friendship.
That said, if you have sexual chemistry but not much else, it may feel like a booty call/friends with benefits situation.
If you’re both emotionally available and truly get to know one another to create true intimacy, not the ‘limited connection’ generated by emotional unavailability, you can find chemistry across all areas instead of cherry picking the ‘easy’ stuff.
Even if you have emotional, spiritual and sexual chemistry, if you don’t share similar values, your relationship will struggle and you are very likely incompatible unless you can find a way to compromise. Of course, you shouldn’t compromise on values that are fundamental to your happiness and how you want to live…and neither should they. If you do, you’ll be compromising yourself.
If you believe you have chemistry with someone and the relationship is struggling, it’s time to look at not what you think you have in common but what you don’t so you can better understand the dynamic between you both, what the possible incompatibilities are, and assess the possibilities of a solution.
The more you ignore the areas where you’re not compatible or experiencing chemistry, the bigger a problem they present. Many people find themselves in deep trouble with their relationships because they ignore vital things because they think what they feel or other more favourable qualities make up for it – they don’t.
Before you start pushing for a solution, particularly if you feel chemistry in an unhealthy partnering, I would seriously assess the origins of your interest in them and make sure that you’re not actually feeling chemistry with an unhealthy pattern. If you are and you already recognise that there are issues in your relationship, examine your beliefs, both the obvious and the hidden, to untangle why you think you have chemistry with them – you can download my beliefs guide Get Out of Stuck for more help.
Moving forward, I would strongly caution you against seeking instant chemistry or overestimating how much chemistry you have because you feel it so strongly in one area. Chemistry in a relationship needs the chance to grow and if you spend time getting to know the person as a whole instead of homing in on the bits that suit, you have a far better chance of forging a healthy relationship in reality.
What I do know is that even though chemistry is tricky to define and intangible, the reasons why you want to be in a relationship are not. If you’re feeling chemistry but the relationship has floundered, is struggling, or they’re not reciprocating, it’s time to take off the rose tinted glasses and fur coat of denial and list the reasons why you feel so much chemistry with them and why you want to be with them so badly. This will help bring you back into reality and take them off any pedestal that you have them on.
Ultimately, if you want to feel chemistry with different people, change the way you feel about you, relationships, and love. If you don’t want to feel chemistry with someone who is emotionally unavailable and/or an assclown, address your own emotional unavailability and the drug of the chemistry will wear off. If you want to feel chemistry with the same types of people…well you already know how that one goes! Quit the relationship insanity!
If you’ve broken up with someone, what is that you feel so much chemistry about? If you’re together but struggling, can you see where you don’t have chemistry?
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