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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
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,
Fallon

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.