Today the blog world lit up like a Christmas tree (or a Hannukah candle set, if you prefer). There was a discussion about sex, specifically sexual preferences (of the chemistry kind, rather than the other variations). A first for blogging! OK, I kid a little. I hear that sex has been mentioned before in this hallowed forum.
As is often the case, I waded in with big boots and babbled on and on.
The discussion turned more directly to chemistry, a subject near and dear to my heart.
We approach relationships in the full knowledge that if we don’t have any chemisty with that special someone, we are lying to ourselves if we think a fulfilling long-term relationship is going to work. In this context, it’s fair to comment that a “relationship” eventually means a sexual relationship. There may be good reasons to hold off for a while on starting the sexual relationship, including caution, religion, past traumas, etc. Regardless, a relationship without sex is really just a friendship. (Feel free to scream out and disagree with me here. Yes, I agree that there are loopholes in this argument, but they don’t particularly affect the thrust of the argument, so we can fight them out in the comments later).
How do we know if we have that magic thing called “chemistry” that lubricates the relationship (and more)?
Some argue that it’s there or it’s not.
I strongly disagree.
I see it more subtly. I see it as 3 scenarios:
1. You have chemistry
2. Not sure yet
3. You have anti-chemistry
For the first scenario, we all know it. He/she walks in the room and you’re ‘in’ and you know this is someone you could bond with. There are no arguments there. We all get that.
As a relevant side note, I know friends who have met the ex-US President, Bill Clinton, and a friend who has met the ex-UK Prime Minister, John Major. My friends confirm what we already know about Bill’s exploits — he has (had?) a charisma about him that melts women. John Major, on TV, appears to be the most boring man in the world. Not so in person. My friend assured me that, within a minute of meeting him, she would (a) vote for him forever and (b) have his babies. OK then…
For the last scenario, soemtimes we meet someone new and say instantly, “No way. Not ever.” We understand this. I think this is what most people mean when they say they have “no chemistry” with someone. If you feel like that right away, I doubt it’s ever going to change.
But what about the middle ground?
Sometimes you don’t get a clear feeling either way. There can be lots of reasons.
Sometimes you meet someone who is married to someone else. Or you meet someone on a professional basis and don’t think of them as a potential partner. Or you already have a partner and don’t ‘see’ the someone because you’re not looking. Sometimes the person isn’t quite what you normally go for.
In each of these middle-ground cases, the dynamic can change over time. It can settle into a Yes or a No.
You find yourself single or they become single. You see them outside of the professional context, perhaps in a social setting. You had blinders on but now you have your eyes open and…wow! Or you look at that person differently over time and realize that, yes, something might work with them. You didn’t feel the chemistry immediately, but over time, you notice things you didn’t see in them at first: the way their eyes light up when they laugh; the way they move; the change they made to their hair. Maybe it’s as simple as they lose a little weight and suddenly appear subtly sharper and more defined. In these cases, the latent chemistry becomes very real.
Don’t get me wrong. It can also go the other way, and over time you can decide that it will not work, that they just don’t ‘grab’ you. This isn’t a fairy tale.
I don’t think there is a way to force chemistry between two people, but I do think that it’s not as simple as “it’s there or it’s not there.” Sometimes it takes a while to discover enough about someone to feel that ‘pull’ that draws you in and creates a bond that endures. Many of my own serious relationships (one year or more) drifted from friendships as I looked at someone differently over time.