If He Doesn’t Feel Chemistry, Does It Mean He Won’t Marry Me?

guy not feeling a chemistry with the woman

When we met, we were both coming out of horrible break ups and so we developed a friendship and a safe place for talking about our past or anything we were feeling without judgment. That was 2 years ago. Since then I fell in love with him. We dated. We broke it off. We spent a few weeks apart and then he came back saying he missed me, he wanted to truly make it work. So, for the last year it has been exclusive. Our bond brewed over time, something different for both of us. He has said on multiple occasions he doesn’t know if this is “right” because he doesn’t feel the chemistry he’s used to feeling. A few days ago, I flat out asked if he saw himself marrying me and he said “only for brief moments.” That he’s just not sure if this is right because “there’s something missing”. Before I get off on a tangent, my question is what your take is on “chemistry” and if a man isn’t feeling it, could that change at this point or if he was going to feel something would he have felt it by now. Should it be alarming that he has only seen “brief moments of marrying me” and just isn’t sure. Do I give it more time or let it go?

Thanks Evan,

Dear Fallon,

I’ve written extensively about chemistry in the past, so please, take the time to get acquainted with all the previous posts that directly or indirectly address your question.

In the meantime, I’m going to give you a frustratingly nuanced answer to your important question:

If life ran strictly by “rules,” I would tell you to bail on your boyfriend because he already told you the end of the story. I call it “Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.” He’s already told you that he doesn’t know that this is right, that he doesn’t feel the chemistry he’s used to feeling, and has only pictured himself marrying you in “brief moments.” That’s about as honest as you can get. What else do you need from him to prove that he does not see himself marrying you? A declaration written on parchment, maybe?

If life ran strictly by “rules,” I would tell you to bail on your boyfriend because he already told you the end of the story. I call it “Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.”

On the other hand (and there IS another hand), I was just like your boyfriend, back in 2008.

I was dating my now-wife for a year. I didn’t feel the chemistry I’d felt in the past. I’d openly wondered if something was missing. I even saw fit to talk to Dr. Pat Allen, a noted relationship counselor and author, about my dilemma. Allen concluded that I loved my girlfriend but I wasn’t passionate enough about her and because of that, I was probably going to cheat on her.

Allen was wrong. She was playing the percentages. She was lumping me into a category with other alpha/career men who are always looking for the next mountain to climb. She didn’t know that my integrity was my most prized trait. She was correct that I had second thoughts about my marriage, mainly because I didn’t feel “that feeling” and had never lived with anyone before. Fortunately, I got through my jitters after six months and have come out on the other side, happier than ever. I am convinced that my way of falling in love, is, in fact, healthier than marrying your “soulmate” because you enter marriage with no blinders on.

Then again, no matter how you get married, you’re taking a risk:

If you get married based on intense chemistry, you run the risk that the chemistry will allow you to sweep bad traits under the rug, the blinding infatuation will eventually wear off, and you will be left in a relationship with an incompatible partner.

It doesn’t matter if YOU think your relationship makes for a happy marriage; if HE’s convinced he needs more chemistry to get married, I’d probably believe him.

And if you get married despite a lack of chemistry (we’re talking about a 7 out 10, not a 3 out of 10), you will have moments where you crave more. You have to be mature enough to realize that such a feeling is fool’s gold — literally, every time you’ve chased more chemistry, you’ve come up empty.

Here’s the main problem, as I see it: you can’t force your boyfriend to get the memo. It doesn’t matter if YOU think your relationship makes for a happy marriage; if HE’s convinced he needs more chemistry to get married, I’d probably believe him.

I don’t know how old you are, but if he can’t give you a clear idea right now that there’s a strong chance he’ll propose, you are probably better off cutting him loose and starting all over.

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  1. 1

    If a guy so boldly says he won’t work out he probably already made his mind up and once that’s done theres not much to do anyways. I do believe some chemistry(doesn’t have to be crazy, but there has to be something strong) is important because without it the relationship kind of isn’t intimate or passionate enough to keep it going.

  2. 2

    I just broke up with a man for this reason. He’s smart, sweet, fun, great career, and we got along very well and are compatible. I did nothing and let him lead. He brought out the “l” word earlier than I expected. We introduced our kids to the equation. We planned a big trip as a family.

    And a week and half before we were to go, he told me his feelings had changed.   He lost the spark. I didn’t feel the same but let him go. We all went on the trip anyway, as awkward as it was at times.

    I think we could have had a great relationship but I called it off because it was the only thing I could control. I can’t control his feelings. We will remain friends, but I expect that’s it.

    Let him go and don’t wait around, as much as it sucks.

  3. 3

    He has said on multiple occasions he doesn’t know if this is “right” because he doesn’t feel the chemistry he’s used to feeling. A few days ago, I flat out asked if he saw himself marrying me and he said “only for brief moments.” That he’s just not sure if this is right because “there’s something missing”.

    Let’s not forget that he said he only sees marrying you in brief moments. My question for the OP would be, Why would you even WANT to marry a man who admits that he feels something is missing? Why would you want to stick around to convince him otherwise? Even when dating someone and lacking some of the intense chemistry (in my case, I do not feel intense and passionate chemistry for my boyfriend), I never thought something was ‘missing’. I know that not everyone will feel this intense spark and that doesn’t necessarily make a good partner but I am okay with that. However, everyone is not okay with that and seems like the man in the letter isn’t.

    I would say though that in my opinion, it would be a fool’s errand to have a   7 in chemistry and 10 in compatibility and STILL give that up. I think it gets super tricky when there is even lower chemistry (let’s say a 5 – JUST enough chemistry where you can still have sex with the person and be satisfied but the person’s looks isn’t really THAT appealing otherwise) but the compatibility is off the charts. Therein lies the real challenge. I have probably about a 6 with my boyfriend in terms of chemistry but the compatibility is perfect. I guess we can’t have it all.

    1. 3.1

      I think it gets super tricky when there is even lower chemistry (let’s say a 5 — JUST enough chemistry where you can still have sex with the person and be satisfied but the person’s looks isn’t really THAT appealing otherwise) but the compatibility is off the charts. Therein lies the real challenge.

      Excellent point. I’d worry that a 6 or 5 might drop even lower over time, just naturally as chemistry dies down. Can’t underrate compatibility, values, same life station, but maybe it means that their looks won’t ever be appealing in the way someone you had a seven chemistry with would be.   Everyone would like both, but it may indeed be a fool’s errand.   It may very well be.

      I wish how great someone treated you could turn that to a seven, but it can’t.   At a certain point each person has to decide whether to hit or stand at 17.   (Blackjack anaology.) 18 is an easy decision.   16 or 17, hmm.

      1. 3.1.1


        Evan is bound to disagree with me here, but honestly, if the chemistry isn’t up at 8 or above initially, I’m not waiting around long enough to establish what the compatibility score is. I’be had three marriages of 10 years or more, and honestly the chemistry only declines with the years. How much and how fast depends on the two individuals involved, but it will decline. In the second place, if there’s such a thing as a 10 in compatibility. I have yet to encounter it; a realistic 8 would be more than sufficient for my needs, and even that is rare, honestly. With the scheme of things Evan advocates here, that adds up to 15 or 16 . To use your blackjack analogy, I’ll hit 15 or 16 again every single time, and the odds are on my side.

        Besides, there’s a name for a “relationship” without chemistry. It’s called a friendship. I’ve made the mistake of dating female friends before with decidedly dismal results, including a sixteen year marriage I’m sorry I wasted even one minute of my life on, in the name of compatibility. That’s a mistake I will never, ever make again! If I had twenty years left (and at almost 69, I don’t) I sure as hell STILL wouldn’t waste one day of the few I’ve got left on a “relationship”   without high chemistry, and I wouldn’t   turn down a hot relationship if the compatibility was a 3; there’s simply reason to. Besides, since I started not giving a damn, I’ve found I like my relationships like one of my favorite drinks- dark ‘n stormy. Keeps my adrenaline going, and at my age that’s kinda the point. YMMV, of course

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Too much either/or thinking, Buck. Here’s the way I choose to describe it: (And I was the one who wrote a chapter called “Hitting on 20” in his second book!)

          It’s not adding 8 + 8. It’s MULTIPLYING them. At least that’s the formula I use in Love U, which I call my QRS (Quality Relationship Score). For example:

          10 Chemistry X 4 Compatibility = 40
          10 Chemistry X 7 Compatibility = 70
          4 Chemistry X 10 Compatibility = 40
          7 Chemistry X 10 Compatibility = 70

          The way you (and most people) choose relationships is based on initial chemistry. My belief is that you need to have chemistry to start. Mine was a 7. Most women can start with a 5-6 and have it turn into a 7-9. If you don’t have positive chemistry and a healthy sex life, it’s a non-starter. We’re in agreement. BUT…

          What happens when most people are driven by the 10 chemistry? That’s right: the 4 compatibility. Lots of attraction, lots of fighting, and lots of trying to “make things work” because well, our chemistry is so high, we have to fight for it. No, you don’t.

          A better model, in my opinion, is the 7 chemistry, 10 compatibility mode. Because, in the long run, sex isn’t the driving factor in what makes a couple happy. It’s necessary, but it’s the icing on the cake instead of the cake itself. The cake is make of respect, kindness, generosity, flexibility, emotional IQ, sensitivity to each others’ needs, having similar values and trust, etc. In other words, chemistry between 7-10 is negotiable. Compatibility in a marriage is NOT.

          So if you want to have the 10 chemistry, 7 compatibility marriage, that’s fine, but I don’t see it often. Chemistry blinds us to our partners faults and keeps us in subpar relationships way too long.

          Thus, among the two most popular models:

          10 Chemistry X 4 Compatibility = 40
          7 Chemistry X 10 Compatibility = 70

          I choose the latter. Hope that makes sense.

          And no, I’ve never seen a 10X10 before. But pretty much every good marriage I know is close to a 7X10. The more tempestuous marriages with the higher chemistry and lesser friendships also have much more fighting and friction.

        2. S.

          Such interesting responses to my reply. I was specifically speaking about when the compatibility is high and the chemistry is low.   If 5-6 is low. Which I guess most people would say is low.

          I’ll start with Buck’s response first.   There were two phrases in your response that stood out for me.

          “if there’s such a thing as a 10 in compatibility. I have yet to encounter it”

          That made me sad.   Now maybe it’s the friends your talking about, I don’t know.   But it sounded as if you haven’t found real compatibility with a romantic partner.   But then there was the second phrase that stood out.

          “if the chemistry isn’t up at 8 or above initially, I’m not waiting around long enough to establish what the compatibility score is”

          Well there it is.   Could it be possible that you haven’t stayed around to find out if there is compatibility? Unlike chemistry, compatibility is discovered over time.   That said, you don’t seem too broken up about it. You don’t seem to really want compatibility at this point in your life.   “Dark and stormy” doesn’t seem to describe a relationship built on shared values, compatibility, and friendship.   And that’s fair enough.   To each their own.

          The OP discusses her relationship starting as friends and their bond growing over time.   She fell in love.   If one wants to get married, I believe long-term compatibility is key. Chemistry is too.   My belief is both ought to be there, though it’s interesting to discuss in what measure.   Buck, you don’t want another marriage, I get that. But she does.   So do I.   Some of still do.   So that compatibility piece is important for us.

          On to Evan.   I know your philosophy, Evan! Boy, do I know it.   The phrase that stood out in your reply was this:

          “Most women can start with a 5-6 and have it turn into a 7-9.”

          Most women.   But not all.   Going from 5-9 is a huge jump.   In your opinion, anything less than 7 is a ‘non-starter’. I don’t know if the OP’s boyfriend was at a 3 with her or a 6 (very different places).   My question simply is: but what if the compatibility is off the charts?   No one talks about just how wonderful that is.   Yes, Buck it is friendship, but it’s the best friendship you’ll ever have in your life.   Thick and thin, this person just gets who you are.   I’ve had wonderful friendships and yes, some of those people were actually lovers. (And the chemistry was banging. And so were we. ;-))   The relationships ended mostly because of being in different places in life.   I won’t say the compatibility was a 10, but definitely 8 or 9. (I honestly think my sexual attraction to them limited me having the 10 in compatibility because I was too busy having sex to explore the friendship side of the relationship, but that’s an issue for another day.   Just mention it to say I’m also in a glass house. :-))

          Real talk: chemistry fades.   We are all three in agreement on that.   Not completely if the relationship remains healthy and both partners really work at maintaining the spark and the compatibility.   I could be compatible at a 9 with one man at age 20 and be compatible with him at 3 twenty years later if we don’t work at growing together.   It’s not fixed.   It requires some effort.

          So I think we all agree, that 5-6 in sexual attraction isn’t a good place to start any romantic relationship.   I just want to confirm that if the compatibility is a 10 in that same relationship and that person wants marriage, they should break up.

          It’s a difficult concept for me because ten compatibility is so very, very rare.   Even in a platonic friendship.   Just in life.   But I get what you are both saying.   It’s a marriage and as Evan said above, no one should spend a lifetime wanting more or feeling they settled for less.   And that goes for compatibility and chemistry.

        3. Emily, the original


          Thick and thin, this person just gets who you are.   I’ve had wonderful friendships and yes, some of those people were actually lovers.

          I’ve had 9 or 10 in compatibility but it’s always been in friendships. As you alluded to, sex can get in the way of discovering true compatibility. As the writer Gore Vidal said, “It’s easy to sustain a relationship when sex plays no part, and impossible, I have observed, when it does.” He had a decades-long, platonic relationship. I’m not advocating that, but it’s an interesting concept.

        4. SS



          S.:   ”

          “Most women can start with a 5-6 and have it turn into a 7-9.”

          Most women.   But not all.   Going from 5-9 is a huge jump.”


          So, I don’t think it is.   I think that’s a testament to the power of women.   Women want relationships from a young age.   They seem to be more able to compromise on a lot of things.   Compromise allows relationships to exist.   Men seem to have to come to really want a relationship to do that.   That is probably why Evan was able to make a good relationship and choices.   A good relationship really seems to hinge on whether or not a man wants one.   It’s why they have to be driving the relationship choices in the beginning at least.

        5. Buck25

          As usual, I see I stirred the pot a bit. Consider, however, that most of you are at very different life stages from where I’m at. After all, I’m leaning harder on 70 than I’d like to admit. If I’m lucky, I might have ten years of relatively good quality life left. For the time being, however, I’m still in reasonably good shape. Now you might not realize it, because you’re simply not there yet (and hopefully you never will be, as a single adult), my choices simply are (1) either accept spending these few years of potential enjoyment of whatever passion I can find, or   (2)choosing the insipid and   psssionless option of a “relationship” with a woman I feel pretty much no attraction to. It not just looks, either; where I am, most women my age were brought up with fundamentalist irreligious brainwashing that left most of them pretty much sexually dysfunctional ( one more of my many reasons for my irrevocable hatred of Christianity, in all its noxious flavors).

          Were I in my thirties or forties, like most of you, and still thinking of starting a family, I might have different priorities (and I’d certainly have different options). The fact remains, though, that I’m not. I’ve already been there and done that. Why   waste time searching for a lifetime relationship that by the time I got it, I’d have little time left for her or me to enjoy it, when a series of short-term affairs is both better for my needs, and don’t tie any woman involved to a long term commitment to a man who will eventually be more a burden than a help? To me at least that makes total sense. I get my needs met, and the woman or women involved, get the best of me, while I yet have it to give. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a damn sight better than the prospect of paying bingo with a “wife” (I use the term loosely) in the nursing home( a place I will only see the inside of If I’m unconscious, before I get a chance to do something to end the possibility, when that seems imminent). I want to die while I’m living, not live while I’m dead, thank you very much. Twenty years ago, a long term relationship or even a marriage, might have had something to offer me. Now, there’s just nothing left in that idea that’s worth the effort. Life stages change, and so do one’s priorities and options.. Before you condemn me, try asking yourself, what you would do, if you were in my shoes (if you can imagine that), with the options I actually have.   Go look online, at those within five years of my age (isn’t that what I should limit myself to, by consensus here?), and see if you can find one in a hundred of them I could ever get drunk enough to even think about kissing much less anything else. (I sure as hell can’t). Fortunately I can do quite a bit better, as long as it’s short term. Reasonable option for you, at your age? Probably not. Reasonable option for me? I believe so.

      2. 3.1.2

        To Emily, the original,

        It’s an interesting point, isn’t it?   Compatibility at a 10.   What if you could find it in a relationship?   Because if chemistry does fade (a little or a lot), couldn’t such high compatibility have a chance of lasting? I still think that compatibility takes some maintenance as well.   But it’s not as subject to looks and one’s body which will age over time. And if you start with a 10 in anything, even if it goes down a 7-8 is still pretty good!

        I wish we’d have long discussions here about optimal compatibility.   It’s not clear in the OP’s letter how high their compatibility is but they do seem to have a well-bonded friendship at the base of their relationship.   It may not be enough to carry them through.   One really needs both chemistry and compatibility to make a marriage work.

        Interesting you say that sex can get in the way of discovering compatibility. I thought that was unique to me.   Emily, do you think people make a sort of trade–great/good sex for less compatibility (I have no idea of the level)?   Maybe for most people that’s a good trade-off?   Will such a relationship last a lifetime? I know Evan’s thoughts on this.   I wonder what other people, especially those still married for decades, would think.

        1. Stacy


          Thank you for your posts – you gave me   a lot to think about. I know a 10 compatibility is rare but I believe I truly have it with my boyfriend. We get each other on EVERY single level. As Evan said, sexual attraction will go down no matter what. But I personally think that the compatibility is what will make your relationship truly last in the long haul. I think it’s soooo rare to get high compatibility AND high chemistry. Those who wait for it tend to end up alone (like my own mother).

          Personally I think that a 5-6 chemistry can work as long as the sex is enjoyable and there is no physical repulsion. In other words, I think it can work as long as there is a baseline of attraction (but not necessarily the type of attraction that makes you lose your head). However, I agree with Evan that this is mostly that way for women and not men. I think that no matter how ‘hot’ our partner is – familiarity after awhile ‘breeds contempt’ so if you had chemistry at a 9, it will probably end up being a 5 or 6 over the years. If you had chemistry at a 5 or 6, I don’t think it will necessarily dip much lower because anything under baseline attraction is basically repulsion.

        2. Emily, the original


          Emily, do you think people make a sort of trade—great/good sex for less compatibility (I have no idea of the level)?  


          Will such a relationship last a lifetime?

          No. At the end of the day, the best relationships are the ones in which, if you took sex completely off the table, the love is still there. I mean a deep friendship of knowing, valuing, respecting and genuinely liking each other.

    2. 3.2

      And when I say ‘dies down’, I don’t mean completely.   Just a little bit.   There should always be some chemistry, but over years together I’m sure it does change.

  4. 4

    It would be wrong to say all men place the same importance on chemistry because they don’t. Most men   – particularly if they are young – place considerable importance on sexual attraction and won’t marry someone who doesn’t do it for them on that level. Evan is an exception – it works for him. That’s great. My ex husband was also an exception – never hid the fact that physically I wasn’t really his “type” but was very keen to be with me becuase in all other respects compatibility was fantastic. I was very attracted to HIM on all levels so I suppose i wanted to be with him at any cost. What then followed was 15 years of a relationship that was great for HIM – the lack of sexual compatibility didn’t really bother him – but increasingly soul-destroying for ME – I always wanted to feel desired and desirable to him in a way that just wasn’t there.

    If its not there by now then no, it isn’t going to grow. If you don’t mind the fact that he doesn’t desire you very much and that that isn’ty going to change then I suppose you could stay together, but what I’m saying is that even if you could manage to get this guy to commit to you longterm, do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t REALLY desire you sexually – its a killer, it eats away at your confidence and ends up souring the entire relationship.

  5. 5

    S., I don’t understand one of your comments where you described a past relationship as having a compatibility of 9, yet being in different “places.”   How can that be?   I understand if what you mean by “compatibility” is a mental/emotional connection, flowing conversation, and a feeling of comfort and intellectual intimacy, but if you were in different “places” you are, by definition, not a 9 in relationship-compatibility.   Only friendship compatibility.   There is a difference – must be a difference.   One is compatibility for friendship, the other is for a relationship – very different!   A good friend does not always make a good husband, for more reasons than just a lack of sexual chemistry!

    1. 5.1

      Ah, Jeremy. I meant different places in life.   A few were younger than me.   Not significantly younger, but still hadn’t made their careers yet, not ready to settle down.   Also some were not as experienced.   I thought that if you hit it out the park early, you’d appreciate that and jump on it.   But alas. I don’t think anyone can settle until they’ve played the field awhile romantically and are satisfied with where they are career-wise.

      I had a relationship with someone in another country so he was literally in a different place!   We had that thing, just that click, but he had issues of his own to deal with.     It was friendship, but it was more.   It was deeper in ways I’m finding difficult to explain briefly. 🙂

      That was a while ago. As I get older I’m meeting men with issues (employment issues,   body issues, etc) but I’m better at sussing out whether that is affecting his confidence.   The confidence is so key.   No matter what connection you have with someone, if they don’t really love themselves they won’t be able to continue in a relationship.   How can you be a good spouse until you figure out how to be good at being yourself first? I’ll admit at the time my confidence probably wasn’t what is it now.   So we were compatible then.   I got them and they got me.   I kept growing and their growth was slower.

      You attract what you are, I think.   Even with the best connection, both people really have to make effort to maintain that connection.     I’ve learned the value of continued compatibility. As Diana Kirschner said on Evan’s podcast a few weeks ago, capacity for growth is important.

      I never though about stage in life as part of compatibility.   I was indeed talking about emotional compatibility.   It’s hard to find someone in the exact stage you are and that they’ll stay on that same place you are.   That’s why capacity for growth is another thing I’m now looking for.   I want this person for a lifetime.   And that’s a long time!

      1. 5.1.1

        I know what you meant, S.   That was my point.   If we don’t include stage in life as part of compatibility, we are missing the point of compatibility.   This is not a friendship we are building, it is a home.   Now, that doesn’t mean we need someone identical to us, though.

        I find it so interesting whenever I hear someone say “we attract what we are” or that notion.   I absolutely did NOT set out to attract what I am.   I am introverted (overly so), intuitive (working on being more deliberate), thinking-oriented (working on being more aware of feelings), and judgmental (working on being less so).   I live in a world of abstract ideas and prefer to go off in my own head when I’m not busy with work or family.   My wife is extroverted (but not too far on that scale), sensory (working on understanding intuitivity), feelings-oriented (trying to understand other perspectives), and also judgmental (working on being less so).   She lives in a world of people, places and things and prefers to deal with reality rather than abstraction.

        We complement each other perfectly.   My strengths are her weaknesses and vice versa.   We have our difficulties in communication, sometimes, but we have worked through them.   I did not seek out to attract what I am.   I sought out what would complement what I am for the life I envisioned….

        And confidence?   Over-rated IMHO.   People grow more confident with affection and experience (unless pathologically neurotic).    There was a fantastic Dilbert comic a while back, where Dilbert is walking along with a woman and she says, “I like men who are confident in any situation.” Dilbert replies, “Within that subset, do you prefer the phonies, or the ones who are too dumb to know when they shouldn’t be confident?”   In the next square he’s at home  and his dog asks him what went wrong.   He replies, “I showed interest in her opinion.”


        1. Callie

          I don’t love that Dilbert example. It presupposes that confidence is never sincere or real or well founded. It also suggests that the issue the woman had with him was not that he jumped to some conclusion that the kind of confidence she was into was associated with negative things, but that he “showed interest in her opinion”. No, dude, you basically accused her of not liking sincere smart people, and essentially put her down. No shit you went home alone. Btw, his character also represents another form of negative confidence: thinking you’re smarter than everyone in the room and that “telling it like it is” makes up for just plain rudeness.

          Also, it doesn’t help that over the years I’ve learned more about Dilbert’s creator and also have discovered  he has compared women to children and in general writes some incredibly misogynistic essays online (I will confess that that was quite heartbreaking for me to learn, as while I don’t love that particular example you’ve offered, I have enjoyed some of his other strips).

          Anyway, the point is, I understand why some consider confidence as over-rated especially if they define it the way Dilbert did, but true confidence is not about arrogance or ignorance, in fact the truly confident are the ones able to admit when they were wrong or take a step back and listen to others, because they are secure within themselves that way. Sometimes the quietest person in the room is actually the most confident.

          That being said I do agree with you that confidence grows, and it is certainly not the be all and end all, but just one factor among many, that are attractive (to all genders I have observed).

        2. S.

          The reason I discounted stage of life is because that changes. You could meet someone in college and you’re both at the same stage.   But will you stay in that same stage? Nope.   People grow and change.   The key is choosing to working at trying to grow together.   I think the compatibility factor is that ability to grow and work on the relationship.   Stage of life changes.   It helps people get married, but I don’t think it helps people stay married. Unless they never change which is unlikely.

          Maybe I shouldn’t speak for everyone, but I know that the people I attracted in the past were right for me (at least on my end and for that time) for that time.   I see certain things in myself that they reflected. Were we carbon copies? No. The one guy from another country had an entirely different culture. But the compatibility part was how easy things were when we together. It’s like that other stuff didn’t matter.   We understood the other person’s view of life and it was easy to do so.   There were, of course, things that were very different, but they weren’t dealbreakers.   Evan’s right, it’s a feeling when you are together.   It’s interesting, the things that I was attracting, less confident men, men who weren’t settled in their careers did indeed reflect where I was at that time.   I’m speaking for me.   But . . . with the right person those things aren’t necessarily dealbreakers, if you feel when you are together things are right. If you both feel that way.

          The OP’s boyfriend feels like something is missing. He’s not having that feeling of rightness that he probably needs to move forward with her.   Introversion/Extroversion, different love languages, etc. I think you can work and learn through those if both people want to.   Maybe not if there is a long list of differences.   But I believe that if both people commit, those things aren’t necessarily dealbreakers.

          As for confidence, in my reply I mentioned being good at being one’s self.   Really being okay with that.   That’s what I mean about confidence.   Some may call it self-esteem.   It’s different than arrogance.   That sort of confidence isn’t over-rated but essential in my opinion. (And not just for marriage.)   Your mileage may vary, though.

        3. Jeremy

          I think it’s that pesky communication issue again, Callie.   What exactly does “confidence” mean?   It means different things to different people.   And while a given person may exhibit confidence, the etiology of that confidence is a big unknown.


          There was an excellent TED talk about confidence a while back, where the speaker was a brain researcher.   She discussed how confidence is actually a way of viewing the world through rose-colored glasses – a self-directed optimism – that is not necessarily based on reality but rather on whether a person can actually IGNORE reality/past experiences and be optimistic about one’s self in spite of having no good reason to be.   The most intelligent people caution themselves not to be too confident.
          This is different, though, than having the ability to accept criticism and to deal kindly with others,   accept differences of opinion, and admit being wrong.   I define that as maturity rather than confidence, though.


          And regarding Dilbert, I didn’t know that about the creator.   Still like some of the comics, though, and liked this one.   I like it because as a person to whom the type of confidence I described above makes no sense, living in a world where confidence is so valued, it struck a chord.

  6. 6

    I think what the OP’s boyfriend proves is that men are as flaky as women when it comes to dating. Everyone wants a perfection that doesn’t exist.

  7. 7

    Relationship that is low on chemistry (and by low i’d say is below 7) is that of comfort or convenience. An arrangement designed to combine assets and blood lines. I would think that one of the major achievements of western civilization is that we no longer need to put ourselves in these relationships – it is neither an expectation nor necessity. So, while some people may still desire a relationship like that – and it can be quite successful (defined as stable with high mutual satisfaction), for a lot of people it just won’t do it.

    I don’t know where this notion that chemistry = fights comes from. In my view its actually the opposite. The lack of this underlying chemistry, this animal attraction, is what causes one or both partners constantly feel dissatisfied, yaning for more, but often unable to express what bothers them. What do you say really – “i don’t feel that you desire me enough”? “I don’t think you’re passionate enough”? Most people can’t quite put their finger on it and will instead fight over stupidest stuff, like “you brought the wrong kale from the market!! how many times do i have to tell you, RED kale, RED”. etc.

    Everybody’s MMV, but I could never move into the “next tier” of attraction over time. The “tiers” are kind of like this:

    1-3 – i am repulsed by you

    3-5 – no attraction

    5-7 – enough attraction for a casual relationship/sex but if you’re gone I will forget about you within an hour

    7-10 – i want to be with you and bear your children 🙂

    So, while I can start at 7 and move to 9, i would never jump over the hump from 5 to 8 for example. Forcing a relationship there (even if the compatibility is there) is a bad idea in my opinion.

    1. 7.1

      I think there’s more to “comfort” than just a combining of bloodlines and finances. Sometimes people want a partner in life, a teammate. I know you aren’t a fan of men in general and don’t see much use to them aside from procreation, sexual satisfaction and income sharing, but for other people having someone to help with emotional support, to have a laugh with, to just be with in quiet contentment is a really big deal. Now I should add, I personally also obviously want the sexual chemistry (and have it with my boyfriend) but there are asexual people out there for example who still enjoy relationships beyond it being a pragmatic business decision.

      Some women actually think men have value, we think that they can be great friends and there for us in difficult moments. So for people like us, “comfort” is far more than just some relationship founded on blood lines and assets.

      (this doesn’t mean of course there aren’t people who do this too, just that you speak with such absolutism as if it is only ever thus)

      1. 7.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I do an entire week in Love U on different models of compatibility. Long story short, they’re all about the ability to get along, respect each other, be accepting and tolerant of each others’ flaws, acting with general kindness and selflessness, and meshing well together, whether that’s speaking each others love languages or having secure attachment styles. You don’t have to run down a checklist: it’s mostly how you FEEL together. Which is why my wife and I are a 10+ relationship, even if, more objectively, we’re closer to 7s in attractiveness/chemistry.

        1. Callie

          Indeed. It’s actually such a simple idea and yet clearly not, seeing as you have an entire week on the subject. I just don’t get people who try to insist that all people  must be compatible this one way or that way. Or that since they like something that all others must too.

          It’s not that tricky a concept, and yet . . . for some it evidently is.

        2. Jeremy

          Evan, I’m positive that I am mis-understanding your comment, but I wanted to clarify something.   How you FEEL with your partner is definitely very important.   But there is so much more to compatibility (from a relationship perspective) than that.   Important questions for a potential partner to determine compatibility:

          – How do you deal with money?   Are you a saver or a spender?

          – Do you want kids?   How many?   What is important to you in raising them in terms of priorities and discipline?

          – What is your relationship like with your family and friends?   Are you co-dependent with them, and how will those relationships affect ours?

          – How do you de-stress?   This is important because likely you will come home many evenings from work and need to de-stress.   How well do you cope with stress


          These questions are not important for friendship compatibility, but they are essential for relationship compatibility, and have nothing to do with how one feels (in the moment).   I know you know this, but I thought it might be unclear from the comment above.

        3. GoWiththeFlow


          Interesting point.   This reminds me of a boyfriend I had in my early-mid 20s.   Started out as a 5-6 chemistry with good conversational compatibility and he treated me very well.   I was totally in love by months 4-5, chemistry was up to ~8 level.   Then an interesting thing happened.   The compatibility slowly  started to erode over issues like the ones you brought up.   As the compatibility went down, the chemistry went down with it.   At the end I felt I was with someone who’s life wasn’t going in the same direction as mine and who I wasn’t even very attracted to.

    2. 7.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Stacy2: you’re speaking from your own limited experience and values – which is normal and fair. What you don’t seem to realize is the number of women I’ve coached who went from 5-6 to 9s with their boyfriends and later married them. Which is to say that it’s not a “bad idea,” no more than sushi is “bad” because my son refuses to try it. You don’t want to try my model even though it works successfuly for lots of women. That’s your prerogative. But it’s certainly not bad, nor flawed, especially when you consider that these women are happily married AND have greater chemistry than they did at the start. Sounds like they’re the big winners here because they were open to change.

      1. 7.2.1

        Oh I have tried this sushi and this sushi tasted like shit.

        I dated guys who I wasn’t passionate about (6 level of attraction guys sort of) and it never grew to the higher levels. One of those days I decided to “marry him” because .. why not? Comfort, emotional support, someone to have a laugh with yada-yada. Worst. Decision. Ever. Fought all the time because he “never felt that I loved him enough”. Duh. I didn’t love him enough. I played the role of a “good wife” perfectly but i was never passionate about him. The outcome – disastrous.

        I mean, if some women can start with a blah guy and get to the 9 level chemistry with him I guess they’re just wired differently. Then they should definitely go ahead and marry that guy, I mean why not, compatibility and chemistry – who would argue against it? But marrying a guy despite low chemistry because of compatibility and other issues, that is i think a bad idea.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Stacy2, you’re a bright woman who is prone to black and white thinking.

          You married a 6 and made a mistake. I’m telling you that my clients had guys they initially assessed as 6’s, but after a few months of dating and sex, their 6 turned into a 9. Thus, they married a 9.

          You are assuming that your experience with your should be extrapolated to every other woman’s experience. I’m telling you, categorically, that not only is that not true for other women, but it’s not even true for YOU. You have “overcorrected” my dear. Like the person who eats a bad dish and gives up on that restaurant forever, because you doubled down on a man with no chemistry, all women should run from the 6 chemistry. Not true. If anything, YOU should have bailed on the 6 chemistry when it didn’t get any higher AND you shouldn’t have married a man you fought with all the time. That was on YOU, not on the man with 6 chemistry.

          If you can understand the nuance of what I’m saying, you can open up your entire dating world like my clients do and get happy instead of assuming that every 6 is a reincarnation of your ex. If you can’t do that, well, you know the definition of insanity…

        2. Stacy2

          Evan: actually, I don’t think we disagree on this philosophy much at all.

          I’m telling you that my clients had guys they initially assessed as 6’s, but after a few months of dating and sex, their 6 turned into a 9. Thus, they married a 9.

          That’s literally the same exact thing that I said above.

          Now, can you imagine that not all women are wired that way and can go from 6 to 9? I have been married, engaged, had serious boyfriends in between and went on more dates than I can count. I think I know myself. I assess the level of chemistry in 15 seconds and “confirm” it it within 1 hour of conversation. I have never experienced such dramatic jumps up on this scale. Never happened (the opposite is not true – a guy can do a lot to make the chemistry plummet.. ). To say that all women operate the same way, or that you know me better than I know me, i think is a bit presumptuous.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          I didn’t say ALL women operate this way. I’m saying that it’s possible that your sample size of 6s are not representatives of all 6s. I’m saying that it’s possible that because of your beliefs, you dismiss most 6s too fast so you don’t allow things to heat up. I’m saying that you should look at what works with others perhaps as a cue if your methodology isn’t working. I’m saying that a 7 chemistry and 10 compatibility is an amazing marriage. But I am certainly not saying every woman is the same. Nor am I saying that one should marry someone who is nice but there’s no good sex life.

        4. S.

          This is a useful exchange.   As I said, not every woman can go from 6 to 9 on a chemistry level.     Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t.   And it’s hard to weigh the difference between 6 and 7, goodness.   It depends on the man and our interactions.   (Not just his looks, though that’s certainly part of it.)

          I don’t just stop dating anyone instantly because of lack of chemistry unless I’m repelled.   I wait to see if it will happen.   And guess what, I wait to see if the guys I have chemistry with if that will fade if I find out unpleasant things about him.   Character counts.

          This was a useful exchange for me because I’m not always the same. Sometimes that chemistry can increase for me and sometimes it can’t.   So it’s a great reminder that meeting a whole person is on a case-by-case basis for me.     It’s a very relaxing thought.

          Can compatibility (Evan defined it above) increase over time? We don’t discuss that often.

        5. Tom10

          @ Evan
          Are you ever amused that the people who rail against compromising on chemistry the loudest are almost always either perennially single, never married or divorced several times? Lol.
          Hmm, I wonder why that is…

        6. Stacy2

          Tom10, Evan:

          people who rail against compromising on chemistry

          That is a cheap shot.

          you guys have to get your story straight. If according to you chemistry can grow to a 9, than nobody ever is required to “compromise” on it. And, as far as actually compromising on it goes – i think i made it pretty clear that i actually did compromise on it and the results were not good.


        7. Evan Marc Katz

          No one was talking about you, Stacy2. We were talking about OTHER women who struggle with similar issues. You do not, so you needn’t pay attention to what Tom or I say.

        8. Stacy2


          that it’s possible that your sample size of 6s are not   representatives of all 6s.  

          I don’t think it works like it. What the heck is the sample of 6s? My 6 could be some other woman’s 10. There was not necessarily anything wrong with those men, we’re not talking about them “being a 6”, we’re talking about my level of attraction for them being at 6. And, like i said, it never in my experience grew to a desirable level. I did try it a bunch of times, under the “give the guy a chance!” and “marry him!” mantras. That did not work for me.  So what did you say was the definition of insanity again?

        9. Evan Marc Katz

          As always, Stacy2, it sounds like you’re a very happy person and have everything under control. Let me know when you start your own blog and I’ll be sure to comment on it regularly, making sure to twist your arguments, set up straw man arguments and attack those who dare question your logic.

        10. Tom10

          @ Stacy2
          “That is a cheap shot.”
          Actually yes, that comment was unnecessary; my apologies.
          Although it actually wasn’t about you specifically, rather commenters in general, male and female, (there have been a few of both in recent days) who argue with Evan about chemistry; without exception they’re not currently married.
          Admittedly the above applies to me as well; I struggle with chemistry too, however, I – as a single man – won’t argue about the importance of chemistry in a marriage with a man who is happily married, as I don’t have much of a leg to stand on do I?

        11. Evan Marc Katz

          Pretty much every happy marriage I witness is a 7 chemistry/10 compatibility, and frankly, there aren’t too many of them.

          I see a lot more marriages that are 9 chemistry (when they were first married) –> 6 chemistry after 10 years and 2 kids –> 5 compatibility because they’re neither compatible nor best friends.

          They’re just people who happened to get married because of chemistry and will spend the rest of their lives sniping and fighting with each other – all because they put chemistry ABOVE compatibility when they were in their late 20’s/early 30’s.

        12. GoWiththeFlow


          I know a few couples who are very high chemistry and very low compatibility.   Holy crap!   They fight all the time.   And it’s get nasty.   Name calling, insults, threats to leave, nothing is off-limits.   Like I said, Holy crap!   And then each partner goes to their friends and cries, “I can’t take it anymore!   It’s over!”   So the friends are like, okay, I support you in this.   Next you hear, the couple has just come back from a romantic week in Paris and they’re all lovey dove again.

          Lather, rinse, repeat.

    3. 7.3
      Yet Another Guy


      I agree with Evan on this one.   I recently started to date a woman where the mutual chemistry is off of the charts.   The chemistry is so intense that I feel like I am under the influence of a drug when I am with her.   We have very different approaches to life, and as a result, I find myself arguing with her as to why we cannot be a couple.    Quite frankly, I am unable to trust her no matter how I hard try to do so.   She is an extreme introvert who has a flirty, fun type of personality.   She brings out my jealous/territorial side (i.e., the primal instinct to protect what I believe is mine from other men) in the worst way, which is something that I would rather not have to endure at my age.     I feel like I have to look over my shoulder all of the time with her in order to avoid being blindsided.   I am significantly introverted.   I am not anti-social, but I tend to be reserved when I am around people that I do not know.   I definitely do not flirt when I am with a woman.   She keeps telling me that I want to settle for a relationship where the chemistry is more like what I had with my ex.   In many ways, I would prefer that level of chemistry to what I have with her.   I never felt the kinds of lows with my ex or any other woman that I feel with this woman when we are apart.   It is like I am experiencing withdraw symptoms as the hormone haze fades.

      1. 7.3.1


        I had an entanglement like that when I was very young.   Off the chart chemistry which led me to overlook concerns about his character and his   shitty treatment of me (The guy is a true sociopath). I finally ended it when I  acknowledged how damaging it was to both my psychological and physical health to always be on a roller coaster.   I literally didn’t recognize myself anymore.   And when you end these relationships you have to go cold turkey-no contact just like with any other kind of addiction.   A big life lesson learned very early!

        1. Yet Another Guy


          I told her that we could not be friends because it would prevent me from moving on.   It is a lesson learned.   Chemistry is good.   Intense chemistry is a like drug addiction.

        2. GoWiththeFlow


          If it helps, about 2 months after that disaster ended, I met a really cute guy who was funny, smart, and kind.   NOT the dysphoric drugged out feeling, but I was very attracted to him from the start.   But I also felt very secure in his feelings for me and the drama level was way down.   I don’t know if I would have appreciated either the guy or the relationship so much if I hadn’t been put through the wringer first.

      2. 7.3.2
        Yet Another Guy

        * She is an extreme extrovert who has a flirty, fun type of personality.

    4. 7.4
      Emily, the original


      5-7 — enough attraction for a casual relationship/sex but if you’re gone I will forget about you within an hour

      That’s funny. For me, a 5-6 is mid-range. I think the guy is ok, maybe kind of cute, but I’m on the fence. Figuratively and literally. One butt cheek on each side!   🙂

      7-8 – I think he’s attractive; I definitely feel some level of attraction. He’s got my attention but I’m not so smitten I can’t think straight. I think of this level as … let’s see where this goes.

      9-10 – The room is spinning.

      1. 7.4.1

        I hear you. I would say that the “optimal” level of attraction is about 7-8. Once you get to that 9-10 range you’re entering the “danger zone”. This is where you have no power in the relationship, you’re setting yourself up to get hurt. Disaster in the making. On the plus side, meeting someone in that range is exceedingly rare.  I had 3 relationships where i had that level of passion, i would say one was 10 and two were 9, and looking back i’d say “better to have loved and lost than not loved at all” but that type of drama has an expiration date around 30 yo. 33 tops 🙂

        1. Emily, the original


          On the plus side, meeting someone in that range is exceedingly rare.  


          I had 3 relationships where i had that level of passion

          Me, too. I’ve had 3 like that. The “relationship” part wasn’t all that great, but with two of them, the sex was fantastic. Like hall of fame fantastic. Such is life …

  8. 8

    I’m with you with these descriptions.

    9 – 10 made made me giggle.   😉 I’ve been there, though.   I kind of stay away from 9 – 10 these days.     I need the room to be stationary, lol.


    I’m glad to be in this discussion. It’s made me really focus keenly on compatibility and what that means.   And it’s good to hear the differing opinions.

  9. 9
    Emily, the original


    I kind of stay away from 9 — 10 these days.    

    But is it that hard to do? How many do you meet? I think the last time I met a 9 -10 who was available, interested in me and asked me out … Maybe a decade ago.


    1. 9.1

      Interesting question.   I’m picky, but I also am attracted to personality sometimes even more than looks.   I don’t meet a ton of men, but I meet more with online dating than I met in real life.   In real life I get/got friend zoned a lot.

      I met a 10 chemistry last year and it looms large in my mind.   I don’t know if he was a player or what.   But he certainly knew all the right things to say.   Then we met and it was like room spinny. Cray-Z.   It was very difficult to manage.   Very difficult to   . . . focus. And he smelled so good. I mean dayum.   That instant thing (and it was only instant in person, we had spent time on the phone lots before meeting) is rare.   But I learned that it’s little to build a relationship on.

      Most of the time I reach 9 or 10 over time. What can I say? I’m a pretty passionate person. 🙂 I don’t meet a lot of men but the men I do meet with we have chemistry and compatibility or we can get to both.   At least I have it.   But usually it’s at like 7.   Yeah, 7 is nice. But it can get to 9 or 10 easy, depending on his personality.

      1. 9.1.1
        Emily, the original


        But usually it’s at like 7.   Yeah, 7 is nice.

        I have felt similarly in terms of your description of how you feel with a 10. But how does a 7 feel?

        If it’s a 5 or 6 (maybe he asked me out in person so I’ve already met him face to face), I have trouble getting motivated. As in, I start to think … I showered yesterday. Maybe I’ll just put on some perfume. Do I really need to redo my hair?

        1. Malika

          ‘Damn, this jumper has a moth hole. Oh well, i can’t be bothered to change.’ Yep, it’s usually a guy you mailed with because he was kinda ok-looking even though absolutely not your type, only Evan told you to be open minded about men outside your type and you have the feeling you took his advice too far. With the last guy i dated who had potential and i was very excited about, he asked whether i was going to a cocktail party afterwards!

        2. Buck25

          Uh, Emily, if you feel that way, why even go out with the guy? Seriously, if that were me (even my self of twenty years ago) If that’s how you felt, I’d rather you just declined the invite in the first place. As clueless as you believe we all are, I can assure you that any man not totally consumed with his own nervousness is going to notice that lack of interest; sorry, but it’s pretty obvious, pretty immediately and it really kinda kills the mood. All a man has   do is simply listen and observe. I would assume that’s equally true for a woman, if not more so; one more reason I will never again ask a woman I feel is marginal for even a first meeting. What’s the point? I simply want to go to dinner, I have female fiends I can do that with, and have a far more enjoyable evening, albeit with nothing more in future expected.

        3. Emily, the original


          Uh, Emily, if you feel that way, why even go out with the guy?

          Because if you will only go out with 7 and above chemistry, that really narrows the field.

        4. Stacy2

          Lol about the shower. I do exactly the same thing!!

        5. S.

          How does a 7 feel? It feels great.   And it’s not stagnant. Sometimes it can fall to 6 and sometimes if he’s really a great person it rises to 8 or 9.   So much depends on where my hormones are, who he is, what activities we do together, and if we click in other ways.

          Some guys are really cute, but boring as hell.   Like when you met them, you thought things would be a 9.   He’s got a great body or face, but the conversation peters out and it’s simply nice.   That might settle to a 7.   It’s not terrible, he’s still good-looking, but he’s not bringing it personality-wise as much as you’d like him to!

          Other guys aren’t too much to look at but they still are cute to you at certain times.   Sometimes they are not cute at all.   But they’ve got a great smile or one great feature that turns you on, and the conversation is flirty, and that tension just happens, you know?   So a 6 can go to a 7.   But the guy has to really be great and attractive to you personality-wise (blanket term for compatibility, I guess)   for that to happen.   If it’s a mismatch physically, mentally, and emotionally it won’t get to seven.

          7 is not as drug-like as 9.   The room is stationary, but things could heat up if the other things are in place and it could get there.   That’s kind of exciting. Will 7 ratchet up to 8? Hmm.   😉

          6 in attraction is more difficult. It’s sooo close to 7.   But it’s not 7 and the other factors are more able to bring it down.   When it’s a 9 you ignore those pesky ‘other factors’ to the relationship’s detriment.   I like 7 because I’m still feeling attracted but I can see the person clearly.   Evan says to look at the negatives clearly in the beginning and he’s right about that.

        6. Stacy2


          With the last guy i dated who had potential and i was very excited about, he asked whether i was going to a cocktail party afterwards

          I try to avoid over-doing it because then they think you’re trying too hard. I kinda think to set the right balance of power you want to look “effortlessly sexy” (which of course takes a lot of effort!). I have perfected 2 first date looks which i alternate based on weather and venue. #1: skinny jeans, nude pumps, black blazer with some neutral top under it (or not for extra sexy!). #2 is a form-fitting single color dress (red/blue/white/black) with nude pumps. That’s it. Works every time.

        7. Malika


          Your comment made me think on how I should actually dress for the date when i dip my toe back into online dating. In the past couple of years i was always going from work so still had the smart casual look from the office. During my sabbatical that was/is not the case, so i had to think more about it. The cocktail party look was probably overdoing it, but i was so overjoyed at actually looking forward to a date, that i went overboard. I will take your tips to heart.

        8. Emily, the original


          7 is not as drug-like as 9.   The room is stationary, but things could heat up if the other things are in place and it could get there.   That’s kind of exciting. Will 7 ratchet up to 8? Hmm.

          Yes, I think a 7 could increase to an 8, particularly if you really like the person aside from the physical attraction. Of course, a couple of shots of vodka and some Al Green on the radio could really help, too.   🙂

        9. Emily, the original


          I have perfected 2 first date looks which i alternate based on weather and venue. #1: skinny jeans, nude pumps, black blazer with some neutral top under it (or not for extra sexy!). #2 is a form-fitting single color dress (red/blue/white/black) with nude pumps.

          Those outfits sound like good date attire, but I usually don’t break out heels and dresses/skirts for a first date. It makes me feel like I’m making the evening into a production and then my anxiety about it increases. Also, you have to shave if you wear a dress and the likelihood on the first date that it will be “that kind of evening” is low. Shaving is too much work!

        10. KK

          One aspect of the chemistry / compatibility discussion that I haven’t seen discussed yet is the other side of the equation. What if you feel you have that perfect 7 chemistry / 10 compatibility, but your partner feels like you have 10 chemistry / 7 compatibility? I’m just wondering how that changes the relationship dynamics or maybe it doesn’t.

      2. 9.1.2

        Buck25, Malika has hit the nail on the head, 100%. So much of the attraction is the man’s personality, rather than his looks. I can think of several men whose looks fall into the ‘ordinary’ category (Tommy Lee Jones or Eddie Redmayne) but whose personality lifts them to an entirely new category.

        I really wish that online dating sites allowed a two minute video of each person. It would make a night and day difference for the men.

  10. 10

    One question, one more time. Where is it carved in stone that the only reasonable goal for any man or woman, of any age, is at the holy grail of long term relationship/ marriage? It’s as   if anyone who doesn’t want that is defined in your world and somehow dysfunctional. Can you not simply acknowledge that while you want that, and will invest considerable time and effort to find it, that might not actually be the best option for people in circumstances far different from your own?

    1. 10.1

      Because women are being told time and again to “compromise on chemistry” and “settle for mr. good enough” or to “give a guy a chance”, that’s why. That’s why we’re doing it. In OLD especially, it’s not immediately clear before the first in person meeting whether there’s chemistry. So while you can suspect that there is not, there’s always hope 🙂 Come to think of it, it never turned out that in person the guy was better than in his profile. The opposite happened a lot tho. But a girl can dream.

    2. 10.2

      Dear Buck –     All, or at least most, of us here would agree that marriage/ a LTR is not the only appropriate option for all people at all stages of life but it’s certainly the raison d’etre for EMK’s thriving business and for this blog.   Just as a wise person would not visit a website about vegetarian cooking and complain that no one there is especially interested in discussing braised beef, it’s best not to come here and whine bc folks aren’t singing the praises dark and stormy flings.

    3. 10.3

      It’s not carved in stone. I’m sure that many people on this very blog have had stages where they weren’t looking for marriage/LTR.   I sure had that stage.   Just not in it now.

      And there are posts on this blog from OPs who don’t want relationships.   But the discussion usually focuses (or at least begins) from the OP’s letter and this OP wrote in because she was bothered that her boyfriend didn’t see marrying her.

      I see that your circumstances are different and you are making decisions from where you are.   But so is the OP.   Just like I’m acknowledging where you are, I also acknowledge her.

  11. 11

    See for me, it is EXTREMELY difficult to find high compatibility but way easier to find hot chemistry. So, I just naturally value compatibility way more (at least at this point in my life), especially since I had the hot chemistry/ex husband model man and was super irritated/turned off by him by year 2 because of his highly sensitive and erratic ways (not to mention, he couldn’t keep it in his pants). So, as long as I can get turned on by you and you are good in bed and as long as you have great hygiene and a decent body and I am not repulsed, that is enough chemistry for me (again, about a 6) and I find that relationships work better for me that way. I have NEVER met a guy for whom I had high chemistry for (a 7-9) who I was also extremely highly compatible with (I won’t settle for compatibility less than an 8 – 10) who was also available.   I feel like, it so rarely happens and probably happens only 1 or 2 times in a lifetime. So then, what do you do? I also find it better when the woman (me) is clearly hotter than the guy she is with.


    1. 11.1

      also find it better when the woman (me) is clearly hotter than the guy she is with.

      I’m curious about this statement. Why? Wouldn’t the hotter person, in this case, you always wonder if they could do better?

      High chemistry and high compatibility is the golden grail as someone said before.     So you are good with a 6 in chemistry. But for you the compatibility is 8-10 which is pretty awesome.   Do you worry that the attraction over time might slip for 5 or even 4? Bodies change over time and as one ages it’s not always as easy to get turned on (men and women).   Do you think the 8-10 compatibility will make for that?

      I’m curious.

      1. 11.1.1


        Well, it depends on how you define ‘do better’.   I do not think I can do better than I have now in terms of character, how we get along, similar values, etc. I can ABSOLUTELY do better as far as looks (not hard for me to get an objectively better looking man if that is what I wanted).   But even though looks are important to me, it’s not even close to being as important as those other characteristics I mentioned that I value way higher. So no, even though I might be ‘hotter’ in terms of how society may look at both of us, I still feel like a winner in my case.
        I think it is easier and better for women to be hotter than their men physically because men (obviously there are exceptions but I believe they are rare) place a much heavier emphasis on physical beauty/attractiveness and that is one of their major sources of inspiration when being with a woman. Of course that is far from the only thing they treasure but it’s pretty high on the list. When men know they have a woman that is out of their league physically (or the higher end of his league), they work harder to keep her. It’s actually more subconscious than anything.   I don’t think women are as inspired by this.

      2. 11.1.2


        ‘So you are good with a 6 in chemistry. But for you the compatibility is 8-10 which is pretty awesome.   Do you worry that the attraction over time might slip for 5 or even 4? Bodies change over time and as one ages it’s not always as easy to get turned on (men and women).   Do you think the 8-10 compatibility will make for that?’

        To address this other part of your question – no, I do not think a 6 can go down to a 4 if the compatibility is high. That would be in the category of near repulsion. I think a 6 would generally stay a 6 or go to a 5 at maximum. But I think the higher chemistry (the 8-9) will certainly go down to a 5 or 6 and eventually will end up in the same place as the 6. Why? because that type of chemistry is not sustainable. But with the 6, what you see is basically what you already get.

    2. 11.2

      I also find it better when the woman (me) is clearly hotter than the guy she is with

      Absolutely agree with this 100pc. That way there’s no competition. It helps that for me attraction for a man is not based on how conventionally attractive he is. I am actually more turned on by your “basic neanderthal type” as long as he’s big, lean and street-smart/can hustle (think Liev Schrieber in Ray Donovan). A model-looking guy .. i can admire from afar as a piece of art, but have no interest in getting involved in and zero attraction

      1. 11.2.1

        Ray Donovan is a textbook sociopath. He’s a criminal, a thief, and a womanizer who has cheated on his wife their entire marriage and oh by the way, he murders people.

        That said, I understand the attraction. I never thought twice about Liev Schrieber until he played Ray Donovan. But I see it as fantasy. In much the same way a man might be turned on by the femme fatale. Not so much a blueprint for a serious romantic partner, though. Lol.

        1. Stacy2

          I was commenting strictly on the physical appearance to give my description a visual.

          If we want to debate the character though, i would point out that he’s not as flat as your basic sociopath. He shoes empathy and is extremely loyal to his family (and if i am not mistaken his wife has cheated on him too and knows that he’s cheating? sort of their modus operandi i suppose)

        2. Stacy


          I think Stacy2 was referring strictly to his looks.

        3. KK

          Fair enough. The street smart / hustler part was what I was referring to along with the context of the Don Draper character being your ideal male (on another post).

          He plays a very complicated, interesting character for sure. It’s a very entertaining show, if not a bit dark. I believe his wife had one affair after putting up with years of infidelity. He completely lost his shit over it. No doubt he is extremely loyal to his family; everyone but his wife.

        4. Stacy2

          I never mention Don Draper, in fact I never even watched that show.


        5. KK

          My apologies, Stacy2. I thought you had stated that the Don Draper character and his wife were the epitome of a power couple and that you found both his character and his relationship highly desirable. One of the other commenters spoke up saying she had watched all the seasons and had a better understanding. Of course, I could have imagined the entire exchange. Anything is possible. 😊

        6. Stacy2


          the show in question was “House of Cards” and the character was Underwood. What I believe I said was that I found his egalitarian power couple marriage attractive, yes (without endorsing his murdering ways lol )

        7. Callie

          Stacy2 – I so agree with you about the Underwoods. I mean, they went through a rough patch, but have come out even stronger than before. I’ve always said it was an oddly healthy relationship, full of respect and communication, between two very unhealthy and dangerous people 🙂 .


        8. Stacy2


          yes totally. I only watched one season but this particular moment from the show stuck in my head, i remember thinking that that was what I wanted too (sadly my ex did a lot of false advertising in this department)..


          “if all you want is happiness say no.. I promise you freedom from that”.

      2. 11.2.2
        Emily, the original


        That way there’s no competition.

        There’s always competition. Men are attracted to a wide variety of women. You still have competition even if you are really good looking.

        1. Emily, the original


          Sorry. I reread your comment and see that you meant competition between the man and the woman in the couple itself, not with other women.

          Also, Kevin Spacey is not traditionally good-looking but he can be very sexy. “American Beauty,” for example.

      3. 11.2.3

        I understand this adds no relevance to the thread but my ideal ‘type’ would be Charles Hunnam (star of the new King Arthur movie.) But if a man like that approached me even if I was single, I would starting running and yelling down the street the OPPOSITE way. I would not even put myself in that situation.

  12. 12

    I have been in a “friendship” with a woman for a few years now.
    I am in my 50’s, she is  in her late 40’s.   I am divorced, she has never been married and no kids.
    It started as an odd  semi-dating relationship, she thought we were dating, I didn’t know this by her actions, and that may have caused the current problem.   It was an unconventional initial meeting.
    On the compatibility scale we are probably 8’s.
    My feelings of chemistry with her are probably a 7.
    Her feelings of chemistry with me – she says – is none.
    But she is the one who always initiates contact and conversations with me, she initiates texts, if we don’t talk for a while she says she misses me.   We visit often and I stay at her house for multiple nights whenever I go there – lots of cuddling and fun but no sex  in case you were wondering.
    And when I bring up anything to do with us dating, she says she doesn’t feel a spark with me.
    So I have told her that I am dating other women, looking for a relationship, and that if I find someone then we can no longer do the sleep overs and such.   She gets angry, upset, and hurt over this.   She feels that we should still be able to do that even if I am dating another woman, which I totally disagree with.
    But I feel that I simply have no choice since I want to pursue a romantic loving relationship with a woman.   She tells me that for her it can be slow, that maybe  after  some years of us in our current friendship she might feel different.   I simply do not want to wait for a “maybe”.
    It is difficult though because I do have feeling for her.   But sometimes I think she just enjoys the attention I give her, because I am very giving and chivalrous.

    1. 12.1

      I’m sorry you are embroiled in this situation love. She gets angry because she’s attempting to control you. You know in your heart what you desire, a fulfilling and equal relationship. Unfortunately for reasons of her own (or maybe she has fully explained to you why) this situation appears like it is on her terms.

      I myself was in a similar relationship. I was accommodating to a fault. Finally I reached a decision, I was desperately unhappy. I felt like I was in a ‘ holding pattern’. I ended it with the words ” I’m a 46 year old woman and you  dont control me ” needless to say he didn’t like that. But if I hadn’t left I never would have met the great man in my life now. I wish you luck.

  13. 13

    Somehow I keep stumbling upon these articles when googling random topics online. And then I read the comments because they are interesting. And then I get SO frustrated. Evan says that many/most (?) women can start with a 5-6 chemistry and build to an 8-9. I know this is true of myself. HOWEVER there are a couple of factors that make it very difficult. One, it takes TIME for this to happen. I’m talking months. I’ve gone from being neutral (or even slightly put off) about a guy to developing a strong attraction. But I’m not willing to sleep with a guy until that happens. And most guys won’t wait for sex past a couple of dates, let alone months! The ONLY times I’ve had this happen is with guys I’ve gotten to know gradually through work or school. The second thing that bothers me is, while women are able to “develop” attraction to a guy, and are willing to put some time into getting to know someone before that happens, men decide the first second they look at you and that’s it. Not hot enough? Forget it, next, not worth my time or even the price of a coffee. So where does that leave women like me? I’ve either had to “force” relationships with desperate guys who were willing to stick it out with me and see what developed because they had no other options, been “nexted” by the ok-chemistry guys before it had time to grow, or been rejected by the attractive ones right away. I honestly wish men were more like women in that they could come to find us physically attractive and sexy over time and once they fall in love with our personality, the way we can with them.

  14. 14

    I just read DG’s comment above mine. Get out of that one for sure if you haven’t already. I strung a couple of guys along in my 20s, because they were really into me and I was hoping the chemistry could grow on my side (in the end, it turned out that both chemistry and compatibility were lacking). But now I try to either give it a reasonable amount of time or just get to know them as a friend. I’m not saying I would expect a guy to date me exclusively for months while I make up my mind. With the one guy I was seeing, he made it clear that until I sorted out my feelings, he would continue to date other women. And once he got a girlfriend I left him alone. To expect to have “sleepovers” with you while you’re in a relationship? That is both selfish and inappropriate in my opinion. And no chemistry for her after YEARS? It’s definitely not going to happen.

  15. 15

    What is chemistry? How is it measured?
    Is chemistry level a measure of physical attractiveness, or sexual attractiveness?
    Is level 7 chemistry measured by how attracted I am to a person’s physical appearance, or is it measured by how attracted I am to them sexually?

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