Chemistry is that hard-to-put-your-finger-on feeling that we experience (or think we do) with certain people. Some of us chase it or have it at the top of our list, and, unfortunately, it’s a relationship pothole that so many of us walk into time and again. We feel confused when we can’t seem to make the relationship work or when they won’t treat us with love, care, trust and respect. In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain why we mistake ‘chemistry’ for emotional disturbance and shares tips for breaking the habit to forge healthier relationships. 

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Nuggets from the episode

  • Chemistry is associated with instability, uncertainty, unpredictability, inconsistency, intensity, extreme highs and lows and blowing hot and cold. It’s mistaken for fear, destabilisation, ambiguity, game-playing, playing hard to get, losing our boundaries, and purely physical attraction even if nothing else works or the person’s behaviour is deplorable, to name but a few.
  • We conflate chemistry and attraction with emotional disturbance. It’s as if we think attraction or love is about being triggered and thrown off-balance.
  • Healthy connections regulate you, unhealthy ones destabilise. That means if you’re going on about ‘chemistry’ but your life comes off the rails when you think you’re experiencing it, it’s chaos.

Perceived chemistry often becomes a distraction from recognising incompatibility. 

  • If you pursue chemistry to the exclusion of compatibility, you’re going to find that you’re either not in a relationship at all or that you are only in very chaotic, very painful relationships. 
  • Chemistry is usually the reason why we don’t ask questions. It might be why we make assumptions, override our intuition, or mark people as ‘safe’ for very questionable reasons. It’s our form of emotional and cognitive laziness. 
  • We can be attracted to or fall for someone for any reason we want. For the relationship to work, though, and for us to feel fulfilled and experience long-term attraction, we need compatibility. We need to meet our emotional needs.
  • Feelings aren’t facts. We’ve got to stop labelling toxic relationships as ‘chemistry’.
  • You can enjoy chemistry with someone who’s wrong for you.
  • Stable doesn’t equal dull nor does predictable mean stale. 
  • Who do you tend to experience ‘chemistry’ with? That offers a clue about what the chemistry is about.

Links mentioned

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