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A Question of Chemistry

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CharliB posted 1/29/2019 11:18 AM

I have been on and off OLD sites for the past year and have been on many first dates, a moderate number of second and third dates and 3 relationships that have lasted a few months. What I have noticed is that there is a wide range of levels of chemistry. A few of my first dates, I have felt little to no chemistry, so I didn't go on a second date. In many of these cases there were other factors being considered as well. In some cases there was a lot of chemistry or attraction but other factors ruled out the prospective relationship. What I would like to know is if anyone has experienced chemistry developing over time when they had none or very little chemistry to start with?

WhoTheBleep posted 1/29/2019 11:57 AM

I'm no expert, as I've only been dating one man for one month. I can tell you, though, the attraction is building slowly. And I'm letting it happen. It has little to do with looks (he is cute, but not my usual "type".). We are getting to know each other. I'm much more concerned with his mind. So far, he is checking all the boxes...not that I'm keeping score. I just like him. And look forward to talking to him. He makes me laugh, and is very articulate and intelligent.

I'm definitely more attracted to him now than I was a month ago on date 1. Date 3 is tonight, and I must say, I'm pretty excited.

So barring any obvious red flags, yes, I think attraction can build. Chemistry might not be the same thing. If you struggle to talk on the first date, I say no chemistry. If you can't stop talking, and listening, there might be chemistry. Chemistry is pretty abstract.

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 12:11 PM

Thanks, Whothebleep, that helps!
I think part of my issue is the guy I'm chatting with, and have had one date so far, is not my "type". I realize that I tend to go for the "Bad boy " type and expect them to be magically turned into "good boys". We have no issues with conversation and things in common etc. which would be considered compatibility. I am going to give it a chance and see if the chemistry or spark I'm looking for develops.

EvenKeel posted 1/29/2019 12:17 PM

I went into OLD with the goal of just meeting folks for companionship. I was not sure if I ever wanted to M again or live together again.

That really took the pressure off of that chemistry (to be or not to be) thing for me.

What I met via OLD is some folks that became just friends, others that became dating material and others that became 'much' more.

I also found that some of the ones I had immediate chemistry with turned out to be the biggest jerks (like ghosting, etc). I took that to indicate the "type" I am initially attracted too might not be the right fit for me.

Now - what should you do? Only you can decide. Outline what you want in a companion? Decide what are flat-out dealbreakers and go from here.

There are lots of folks in NB that can vouch that someone that had zilch chemistry with became their SO.

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 12:44 PM

Yes, OLD has definitely been giving me an education in humanity! I am also discovering what I look for in a man has changed significantly. I guess I am expecting that spark to be there right away and getting concerned if it isn't.

WhoTheBleep posted 1/29/2019 13:30 PM

Ok, way back when, when I was single (before marriage), my "type" was blue collar, muscles (but not crazy roid muscles), college educated, military/police/fire, funny, etc.

NOW, post marriage to a college-educated firefighter, tall, muscular, handsome (but an AWFUL sense of humor and practically illiterate), I am avoiding THAT type like the plague. New guy is an engineer, not too tall, very lean but still fit, precisely my sense of humor, very well-written and spoken. Not cocky. Not arrogant. Not judgemental. The Stark physical difference between WH and him has thrown me off kilter a bit, I admit; but I am so impressed with his knowledge, intelligence, and downright nerdiness, the attraction is building little by little. It is completely different from my prior experience of honing in on a super-hot guy and hoping for all the other stuff...then ignoring the deficits. I never should have married my WH. Intellectually, we are on completely different pages.

WH told me once that AM Whore during one of their conversations said, "Don't forget the balls.". They both thought that was hysterical. She was soooo awesome because she "got him.". That was the fucking stupidest line I'd ever heard, and I found it not funny at all. Every funny joke with WH was sexual. Every single one. He would often make people uncomfortable. Or horribly insulting (but I'm only joking, lather rinse repeat...). I ignored all this, because he was f***in hot and the sex was great, and (I thought) he was a great Dad.

I say take your time with this man. Get to know him. Try another "type.". The last type hasn't worked out for either of us, right?

[This message edited by WhoTheBleep at 1:33 PM, January 29th (Tuesday)]

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 13:45 PM

I have tried the other type. The last relationship I was in was with the other type and it didn't work out in the end. We had some chemistry and a lot of compatibility. Our relationship ended due to circumstances unrelated to compatibility or chemistry but I can't help wondering if the lack of chemistry had something to do with it. Would we have stayed together despite circumstances if the chemistry had been there? I guess the short answer is that I will never know. Moving forward, I guess I will just have to stop overthinking and give it a chance.

Phoenix1 posted 1/29/2019 15:32 PM

On my first date with SO I had interest, but didn't feel the chemistry. I wasn't very worried about that simply because I didn't really know him that well after just one evening together. He checked a lot of other boxes though, and that is what peaked my curiosity to get to know him further.

It was on our second (third?) date that he kissed me for the first time. For whatever reason, the fireworks flew after that kiss. And it was just a perfunctory "peck" to "get it out of the way," as he put it. The chemistry built more over time. So in addition to having a lot of common interests and values, we also had strong chemistry. As SO put it, we fit well together. He was right, and I knew he was a keeper. Over five years later, we are still a good fit.

barcher144 posted 1/29/2019 15:51 PM

In my limited experience with OLD, there are two types of chemistry that are important to me.

Chemistry#1 is whether or not our personalities fit by electronic communication. Is she smart? Funny? Interesting? Does she feel the same about me?

Chemistry#2 is whether or not our personalities fit in real life. Is there a physical attraction too? Does conversation flow in real life?

One thing that I learned very quickly is to not discuss anything sexual in stage#1. I am a really sexual person, so I would prefer someone who is also sexual. However, discussing sex is kind of easy and often gives the illusion that there is compatibility outside of the bedroom too.

It also helps that Step Zero for me is to be pretty careful about who I initiate conversations with... there are a few things that I look for in an OLD profile and if that stuff isn't there... I don't even try.

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 18:08 PM

Thanks Barcher,
It is the real life, stage 2 chemistry that I am talking about. You often hear in OLD convos: "Lets meet to see if we have chemistry". What if you meet and you don't have any fireworks happening? As a few have said, it takes more than 1 date to determine chemistry. On some of my first dates, we had it in spades but it didn't make them a good partner. I am thinking that the flipside of that might be true as well.Just because the fireworks aren't happening on the first date, does that mean that you should go your separate ways? Or is there a possibility of it developing over time?

barcher144 posted 1/29/2019 19:57 PM

It is the real life, stage 2 chemistry that I am talking about.

My point was that I try to use stage 1 to have a greater chance at stage 2. If it doesn't seem interesting at stage 1, stage 2 doesn't happen.

I am also pretty honest at Stage 1. I have some characteristics that aren't for everyone. I smoke weed. I have had clinical depression. I work a lot. I am brutally honest. I have a completely psycho STBXW.

What if you meet and you don't have any fireworks happening? As a few have said, it takes more than 1 date to determine chemistry.

I disagree with the few, but maybe it's different for me or men? I think that one date is plenty to determine some degree of chemistry. Again, I'm hardly an expert but I went on a bunch of first dates... only one second date so far. I thought that I had decent chemistry with two but only one of them agreed (we have excellent chemistry... it was obvious on the first date).

Just because the fireworks aren't happening on the first date, does that mean that you should go your separate ways? Or is there a possibility of it developing over time?

How are you defining chemistry? In my case, I enjoyed my time with most of my first dates, but I did not want to go on a second date with most of them either. I knew that I had no interest in an intimate relationship with them.

What is important to you? I like good conversation, nice eyes, nice smile, and intelligence. Because of this, maybe it's easier for me to find good chemistry in Stage 1? I mean, I can judge good conversation and intelligence via electronic conversation... and nice smiles and eyes is usually pretty reliable via photo. There is often a difference between electronic chemistry and real-life chemistry, but sometimes it's the same.

phmh posted 1/29/2019 20:49 PM

I recommend a read of "The Science of Happily Ever After" which you can probably get from your library, and which talks about what characteristics are really important in a relationship. (I think this should be required reading for anyone dating, though I haven't read it in over 3.5 years now, so I might be remembering it as better than it was. But it changed my outlook and I credit it for my fabulous relationship now.)

I went on over 60 first dates before giving up on dating. Then I read this book. Then, a few months later, I met the man who is now my SO of 3.5 years.

The book really helped me to figure out what was important in a partner, and what did I think was important, but really wasn't. A lot of time the chemistry is that person reminding you of someone from your past. And since all of us are here, it may not be the best to be attracted to someone that reminds us from someone in our past :) And, if I'd read and really followed this book, there is no way I would have ever given my WXH a second date.

Only about 30% of people in committed, long-term relationships are happy, and I was determined to be in that 30% the second time around.

With my SO, there wasn't immediate chemistry, mostly because I had given up on dating so when we met, it was just as friends. But then we started talking and realized that we had so much in common -- interests and values. And baseball. We've grown from there, and the chemistry is off the charts now.

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 21:01 PM

I think you could be on to something, Barcher.
Maybe determining chemistry is different for girls than with guys. To quote a guy I went out with " either there is chemistry or my underwear are too tight". That won't be the same feeling a girl will get I guess I would define it as a tingling in my belly or a reaction to the person that tells me there is a spark. I would say I have had this with about 70% of guys I have gone out with on the first date but I will also determine through conversation that I may or may not be compatible, based on faith, life goals, etc. Its not that common for me to have both chemistry and compatibility.

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 21:12 PM

Thanks for the recommendation, Phmh.
I will check my library to see if I can get my hands on a copy.

Shehawk posted 1/29/2019 21:13 PM

Pardon the sarcasm. It is keeping me going..I say give the chemistry a chance to develop! What do you have to lose as long as you are feeling at least neutral and not repulsed.

Honestly, I think chemistry is something I should have studied more :)
Like how in the bleep could I have "chemistry" with a person who would cheat and cruelly betray me?
I need to find the antidote to that. That little experiment blew up.

When I am fully extracted from my current nightmare, I am going to deliberately go on 100 dates with 100 men who feel SAFE... BORING EVEN. I bet there would be at least one man in that bunch who could show me a thing or two about creating some STABLE chemistry....

In fact, I bet I can find myself attracted at age 50 plus to "nerds" since I am one too. I bet the average 50 something year old nerd would be immensely more satisfying than my social, life of the party, supposedly hot, mean cheating spouse

Nothing against the smoking hot peeps.

We "nerds"though. We have been sitting quietly in the corner aging well like fine wine. I think I am gonna try a vintage bottle, maybe a case or two, but not until I am out of the mess chemistry got me in.

CharliB posted 1/29/2019 21:29 PM

I hear ya!
I don't mind sarcasm at all, in fact I thrive on it!
That is precisely the predicament I am in. I obviously got something screwed up the first time around. That electric shock that shot across the room when I was 19, came back to bite me in the ass 1000 times over!! I am determined to not repeat my past mistakes! And I am certainly no longer a believer in love at first sight. I am content to let the chemistry develop or not. I am not prepared to repeat bad history.

Phoenix1 posted 1/29/2019 23:32 PM

I second the book, The Science of Happily Ever After.

But what I also learned was to look deeper than the superficial. The superficial can easily lead to limerance, or simply lust. But on the other hand, you may miss out on something spectacular if dismissed prematurely.

That is exactly what would have happened to me had I based my initial response on superficial qualities. Xhole is a handsome man. Even at his now 64 years. I'm sure that is why he had no problem lining up his hoebags. My SO, however, is not what I would consider classically handsome. He's cute, but not someone I would have given a chance in my naive, superficial youth.

I am SO glad I gave him a chance and chose to look deeper! By doing so I saw things that were incredibly attractive to me. He is, by far, more attractive than Xhole. Hands down!

So don't be afraid of giving guys a chance to reveal the true "them." You may find something you really like by doing so.

CharliB posted 1/30/2019 07:47 AM

Thanks Phoenix,
I downloaded the book last night and started reading it.
I am encouraged to give this latest guy a chance. He's not the typical guy I would go for but typical hasn't worked for me in the past.

Shehawk posted 1/30/2019 11:09 AM


You do give us all hope :)

TheKarmaTrain posted 1/30/2019 12:20 PM

I think the answer to this completely varies. I have friends who felt zero chemistry/spark/attraction at first but it grew and they are "happily ever after" married (that's in quotes because being here we all know this doesn't actually exist, or at the very least is certainly not guaranteed). I've been in this for several years now and have dated I think every possible type of man. I have determined I do not fall into that category. Attraction/spark/chemistry does not grow for me. I either go home after date 1 dreaming of the first kiss or there's not going to be a second date. It's just how I'm wired. But I think you have to figure out which category you fit into more.

I kind of relate this back to "don't move too fast" theories. Many people like to go slow and take things step by step and let the relationship evolve over time or they feel like it will falll into a limerence category. I'm also the opposite of this. When I get those butterflies and stomach flips on the first few dates I'm all in. My longest post-divorce relationships moved at a pace that had my friends doing interventions almost on me...but I guess when I know what I want I dive right in

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