What is chemistry? We might not be able to fully define it, but boy do we feel it. Chemistry is that feeling; that perfect alchemy of sexual attraction, acceptance, openness, ease, and flow. It’s what makes relationships feel magical.
We really don’t know why chemistry happens between two people; science is forever trying to explain the connection that chemistry creates, but it hasn’t come to a conclusion about why we feel chemistry with some people and not with others.
When we’re dating, we’re all looking to feel that chemistry with our date. We want that spark. But what we seldom realize is that chemistry isn’t always instant. To put it simply: like alchemy, the medieval forerunner of modern chemistry, it can take some time to turn lead into gold.
But how long should you hang in there for? Should you really give a second shot to that snoozer first date? Well, yes and no.
Here’s what you need to know about chemistry and how long you should wait to know if you’re ever going to have it with your date.
Chemistry isn’t lust.
Chemistry is a genuine connection with someone. It’s being both sexually attracted to and compatible with another person. Often we confuse chemistry with lust. We think if we can’t sleep or eat because of our new love interest then we must really have something special with them. In reality, what you have is just a ton of hormones wrecking havoc with your brain. The notion of chemistry is dangerous when we start to excuse bad behavior because of it. “But we have a lot of chemistry” is not a valid excuse for ignorance, selfishness, or disrespect of any kind. Chemistry feels good because it truly mixes well together. Make sure you know the difference.
Physical chemistry is important.
No, you’re not vain if you want to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to the date that doesn’t curl your toes upon first sight. Physical chemistry is huge when it comes to predicting the longevity of a relationship. A strong physical bond drives a relationship with a sense of purpose and passion in a way that nothing else can. It helps you weather the storms, while also satiating your sexual appetite. So if you have to knock back a few glasses of wine to fathom yourself kissing your date, then he or sh probably isn’t the one for you. And, no, you don’t have force yourself into believing someone’s cute just because you think they’re nice. If it’s not there, it’s not there.
Physical chemistry is different than physical attraction.
Sure, you can probably agree that Leonardo DiCaprio is attractive but that doesn’t mean you’re attracted to him. Which is why there’s a difference between recognizing your date’s handsomeness and knowing whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life together (or at least go out on date number two). You might enjoy his company and appreciate his symmetrical face, but sometimes that’s not enough to compensate for that lack of connection you need for a relationship to sustain itself.
Chemistry can take time to develop.
If you think your date’s kind and likable, and you have a lot in common, a key component of chemistry, then you might want to stick it out. There are cases when someone becomes (or at least appears) more attractive to the other person on account of compatibility. Compatibility helps people feel not only understood but also to be seen as who they really are and be accepted as such, which is very appealing. So as you find you’re more compatible together, then sometimes that like-mindedness translates into chemistry. If you laugh a lot together, have common interests, and genuinely feel at ease with your date, then you might want to stick around and see how your relationship develops.
But don’t wait forever.
It’s important to note that first dates are often gong shows. We feel so much pressure to impress that we might come across as awkward, uncomfortable, aggressive, or all of the above. If you didn’t feel that initial spark with your date but sincerely enjoyed their company, then you should consider going out on second date. However, if you find that you’re still not feeling it after the third or fourth date—meaning you don’t want to kiss them, hold their hand, or do anything that’s remotely close to contact—then you’re probably never going to. It’s best to cut your losses, and move on.
Yes, chemistry can take some time to develop, however you shouldn’t short change yourself of experiencing that magical feeling. Be realistic with your expectations. See and appreciate people for both their strengths and weaknesses, and once you enjoy someone for who they really are, then that’s when you know you have true chemistry with someone. Well, that and the goosebumps.