C is for chemistry

February 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm (On dating and mating)

Funny thing, chemistry. You never know when it’ll show up or with whom, but when it hits you, it feels like if you could bottle it, you’d be able to power a small city.

And the on-papers that never really mattered anyway stop mattering. Having a drink waiting for you when you arrive at the bar, searching out the thing you said you were craving, leaning in to pay hushed compliments that make you blush–these things are lovely, these things are what you relay to your friends, but there’s nothing like that first contact. Whether it’s a whisper-light hand on the small of your back when he says, “you choose,” or your fingertips on his forearm when you get excited about a topic, or the way the two of you lean together like magnets waiting to click, it’s a force–an impossible-to-resist, thrilling force.

Some people think it can build and develop; I don’t. If it’s not there from the beginning, it’s not there. I have male friends who have always been friends. Just friends. I have male friends who could have been something more. Who could be something more. Who have been something more. And I knew it from the moment we met. It may deepen into respect and admiration and adoration, but it has always been chemistry. I can feel it in others too, like static electricity in the air. The Ex-ALM and his future wife. A friend and her fiance. My grandparents. It’s palpable. And it’s like a drug.

Do you need to have immediate chemistry with someone or do you trust the slow burn?



  1. amber said,

    I’m an immediate chemistry person. I’m with you, 100% – if it isn’t there the first night, it will never show up. I think a lot of people (people who insist it doesn’t always happen immediately) mistake affection and warmth for chemistry. Which is a real shame, because honey you said it – when you click with someone on that base, primitive level, there’s nothing like it.

    • BS said,

      I certainly think that love grows and chemistry is immediate.

  2. k8 said,

    I need it. Sigh. I need it.

    • BS said,

      Me too, me too. I think this is why everyone tells me I’m so picky.

  3. Jess said,

    Oh gosh. I had an experience like this tonight and I felt ridiculously awful cause I didn’t totally think the chemistry was there but he was such a nice guy that I wanted it to be there and then I did and blah. I should go write another blog post about all of this.

    • BS said,

      I’ve learned not to push for it because it doesn’t show up for me (not trying to argue it can’t for others) and then it’s not fair to the nice, great guy that he’s only getting part of me and not that me that dives in headfirst when he chemistry AND everything else is there.

  4. WendyB said,

    Instant chemistry is fun but can be meaningless in the long run, IMHO!

    • BS said,

      I certainly wouldn’t argue that it’s enough on its own!

  5. Windsor Grace said,

    I always thought I needed to have immediate chemistry. But, my I didn’t have immediate chemistry with my current boyfriend and we are celebrating a year together today. I love him so much and he is wonderful. I’m glad I didn’t give up on getting to know him better because I didn’t feel an immediate connection.

    • BS said,

      That’s awesome; it has never happened for me. I’ve known a lot of guys for whom I wish I could feel that zing, but alas…

  6. Bridget said,

    If I can sense an inkling of chemistry, I’ll see it out. However, if the conversation is lame and I have no desire to touch him, I know it’s time to throw him back to sea. I don’t, however, think that chemistry necessarily equals wedding bells as it has led me to some questionable dates. 🙂

    • BS said,

      Chemistry alone isn’t enough, but it has become a necessity for me. Like having a similar approach to money.

  7. Karen said,

    It has to be there from the start. Getting to know someone brings a lot of good things, but that initial Chemistry is important.

    • BS said,


      …that’s all I’ve got.

  8. Jess said,

    Torsten and I had chemistry right away. We knew, right away. It was instantaneous. But, it has also deepened incredibly over time. So, I could maybe envision a situation in which the initial chemistry isn’t great, but improves dramatically.

    • BS said,

      But that still suggests that there would be some initial chemistry, right? Even if it’s not great.

      For some reason this chemistry idea and the “my partner is NOT my best friend” idea you posted about some time ago are linked in my head. I need to work that one through more.

  9. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said,

    When I was still dating around, I was very black and white about it. Either there was a connection or there wasn’t. I knew immediately. There was a time when I told myself to “give guys a chance” to see if a connection would develop. They never did. So, I went back to trusting my gut. I think attraction is very instinctual and you know right away. I definitely did with Sweets.

    • BS said,

      I gave a few chemistry-less pairings a chance and it never worked out either. Besides, the chemistry is just so damn intoxicating and fun! Especially when everything else is there too.

  10. Amanda said,

    I have the same opinion about chemistry. It is immediate, but it’s not just a romantic love thing. And what’s odd, is that I end up feeling devoted to (the few) people with whom I feel sparks. Not that I would let them take advantage of me – or in the case of men, that I would get involved romantically, since I’m already involved with someone. Just that I will always feel like being around that person, and talking to that person, and feeling interested in what happens in their lives. It’s a special feeling.

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