How Long Should I Wait for Chemistry to Develop?

How Long Should I Wait for Chemistry to Develop?

Dear Evan,

I have read through over 40 pages of archives from your blog, and I can’t find the answer to this one. I’ve been dating a guy (for a month). He really likes me a lot and has been clear about that. And he is great: cute, smart, successful, shares my religion and interests, we both value family a lot, and he is treating me like gold. Doing everything you say a “boyfriend” should. Texting, calling when he says he will. Wanting to see me. Hell, he even texts when he is running late. From what I am reading in your blog, I’m supposed to be happy with this guy. You want me to realize how great he is.

But I feel like I should look forward to seeing him more. I just feel so blah about the whole thing. Like the idea of him is better than the actual person. But he has all these great qualities. I should point out that I’m young (25) and attractive. I just feel like everything in your blog tells me to keep seeing this guy. Where is the line? Because part of me wants to give it time knowing he’s a good one, and part of me says if all I can say in this email is that he’s “great” but I can’t talk about how I actually feel about him…what’s the point? –TJ

Dear TJ,

Thanks for the important question, and for giving me a platform to clear up some misconceptions about what I teach.

For those of you who are new to this blog, one of my pet topics is the concept that chemistry is all too often an illusion. Of course, it’s still a wonderful feeling, but life experience and science have taught us a few things about chemistry.

Chemistry allows us to sweep under the rug the fact that he’s a selfish asshole or that she’s a crazy bitch.

1) Chemistry is temporary. Usually, chemistry lasts from 1 ½ to 3 years before it wears off. Soon, the person who was the “9” becomes a “6”. At this point, many women become disillusioned with their partners, even though all it means is that you’re finally seeing him clearly.

2) Chemistry is dangerous. When you’re under the influence of chemistry, you are under the influence of hormones that act like drugs. Can’t eat, can’t sleep, high highs, low lows, the feeling of obsessive longing…it’s all quite unhealthy. And what most of us have discovered is that because of the intensity of these feelings, you may completely end up ignoring your partner’s bad qualities.

Chemistry allows us to sweep under the rug the fact that he’s a selfish asshole or that she’s a crazy bitch…and later justify this behavior and fight to stay in broken relationships that make us unhappy.

This is why I have long advocated putting compatibility up on the same pedestal as chemistry, and perhaps elevate it even higher.

Simply put:

A relationship with a 7 chemistry and a 10 compatibility is a happy marriage.

A relationship with a 10 chemistry and a 3 compatibility is going to make you miserable.

Now, where readers have twisted my words – annoyingly, repeatedly – is by suggesting that I’ve somehow told you to give up on chemistry.

Feel free to comb through 800 blog posts and 41,000 comments over six years. I have never said this – or even suggested it. Never.

Yet somehow, many readers seem to struggle with the concept of a nuanced world, instead of a black and white one where a man is either your instant soulmate or a complete turnoff.

Which brings us back to TJ, our original poster:

You’ve got a guy who seems like a great guy and is doing everything right on paper. You think my advice is telling you to keep him when you don’t want to keep him.

Not true.

You need to have a personal chemistry with your partner. You need to fundamentally enjoy being together. You need to feel like you can relax around him and be your best self.

If you’re merely tolerating him, rather than enjoying him, you’re wasting both his time and your time. Dump him and move on.

Similarly, if there’s no physical chemistry – meaning, anything less than a 5 or a 6 in that department – cut him loose.

You shouldn’t need to get drunk to kiss him. You shouldn’t force yourself into believing that he’s cute because he’s nice. You need to have some spark to start – and that spark usually grows over time after you come to love the guy.

So those are two reasons – lack of a basic personal and physical chemistry – that you should break up with a perfectly nice person.

Yet there’s one big reason to keep a guy you’re not obsessed with:

If you’re merely tolerating him, rather than enjoying him, you’re wasting both his time and your time.

Your expectations of chemistry are way off.

In other words, you can have an amazing marriage to a man even if you don’t obsess about him, miss him mournfully while he’s gone for a few hours, or be positive he’s your soulmate.

That stuff means nothing. It wears off. It’s distracting.

Relevant story: I was with my wife for nearly 2 years when we got married. If she sadly left me at the altar, I’d be devastated, but I would have recovered. After all, I saw her 3 times a week. We didn’t live together. I’d survived happily for 36 years without her; I would have been able to put things back together in due time.

4 years and 2 kids later, my love for my wife is so much deeper and meaningful. Frankly, I have trouble surviving a few days without her. I’d be 100% lost if she were to leave. THIS is love. That passion most couples feel for the first 18 months? It’s closer to obsession, hope and fantasy. Reality is when the passion fades and you start building a life together.

So what are you to do, TJ? Since you seem pretty ambivalent about him and you’re pretty young, it seems to me you have your answer.

It’s far better to be single than to be in a dissatisfying relationship.

Still, that goes for someone at any age.

My 62-year-old mom married a man who was kind and generous to the core, but she wasn’t attracted to him, didn’t respect him, and didn’t laugh with him. She married him just because he was a good person. The marriage lasted less than two years. As much as I stress comfort, some marriages should never happen at all.

I hope this clarifies – for all of you – what you should and should not experience with a romantic partner: a basic level of personal and physical chemistry, a realistic view on that person’s strengths and weaknesses, and a belief that although you’ve been more wildly attracted to other people before, you’ve never had a better relationship in your entire life. That’s why you lock it in.

That’s what I did.

I only hope you can experience this feeling as well; but it starts with finding someone whose company you really enjoy, not someone whose company you merely tolerate.

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  1. 31
    Sparkling Emerald

    David T – You said “I pulled the plug on dating instead of wasting my and their  energy, time and hopes. I focus on happiness with the other parts of my life. I won’t try to force myself to be ready and I accept that the relationship part of my life might be over for good.  I am sad about that, but it is not the end of the world.  
    I have my friends, my son and will keep developing other parts of my life. I will enjoy and see where my journey takes me. I stopped beating my head against a wall: that made me frustrated and unhappy. Relationship availability will come or it won’t, and I am happy with what comes my way regardless” 
    This paragraph could have been written by me with a few minor changes.  I am thinking of taking a break from dating and I am open to the idea that my 23 year marriage might be the last relationship of my life.  I would prefer to have a good relationship in my future, but if that’s not in the cards for me, I can live with that. I would rather have NO relationship than a bad one.  I went with a friend  to see my son’s band perform tonight.  I came close to crying (with joy) seeing him on the beginning of his journey to make his dream come true.  I told my friend, “i might not have  the marriage I wanted, but I have the son that that I want” She almost started crying too.
    I wished 2 things when I met my ex hubby,  1.  That I would be in love for the last time, and 2.  That it would last forever.    I just might have to accept the fact that I only got one of those wishes.
    And thanks for posting your comments, it’s nice to know that MEN struggle with this same stuff, maybe Dean can quit the snark now.  Or maybe he can explain why ONLY women are wrong to not feel attracted to men they “should” be (unless of course they are lying) but for MEN, it’s ok to throw back the cute nice girls they just aren’t feeling it for.

  2. 32
    David T

    Well, do stay open to what may come.  You never know. Just try not to hurt others along the way. I feel like I am done, but intellectually I know that could change after a while.
    My point with the examples was that regardless of my general emotional availability, any chemistry with them would have been killed by other problems and that chemistry is slave to compatibility, at least for me.

    Your unspoken assumption is that it was my dating those two women that taught me I was unavailable. It was work with my therapist and my journaling and meditation and other self examination that led me to that conclusion.  Those dating experiences did contribute to the process because they helped remind me how to self-assess. Regardless, those relationships were doomed even if I had been able to attach.

  3. 33

    David T @29
    Has put so eloquently into words exactly how I feel too….
    I’ve “thrown back” too many nice guys (feeling absolutely no chemistry) in the past few years… so finally concluded it was me..and needed to put dating on the shelf for a while and just try to enjoy life on my own.  
    The beauty of this blog, aside from EMK’s great advice is knowing you are not alone in your experiences….

  4. 34

    I think something people miss out on is that this woman is 25. She doesn’t know her patterns yet. Does she reject every nice guy and feel chemistry only with narcissists? Or is it this one guy? I think many people confuse chemistry and attraction. Chemistry is the white hot spark that probably doesn’t last. Attraction is probably more like desire to have sex with someone. 
    Also, although this isn’t popular to say, a 25 year old’s choices are different than a 45 year old’s choices. A 25 year old should be pickier than a 45 year old.

  5. 35
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl R 9

    “If spending time with a person is less interesting than spending it alone,…”

    Brilliant statement. This takes a somewhat emotional decision and makes it a simple litmus test that’s easy to apply and answer.

    It helped me feel better about a great guy I had to disappoint. I’ve known this man for over a year, and only recently had two dates with him, ending with a chaste kiss on the mouth both times. He is a wonderful warm, kind, thoughtful, funny, great values, everything-you-want-to-have-in-a-husband kind of guy. But I felt no immediate chemistry during our first two dates. Since he is a great guy I would have been willing to date him a few more times (splitting the checks, of course) — to see if chemistry would develop.

    He was too boy-friend-y afer two dates. If he hadn’t been someone I knew for over a year to be a great human being, I would cut off contact. But I considered him a friend and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and not cut him off so quickly. Unfortunately, I think he assumed we were exclusive — after TWO dates?? without any making out even — He cut off all contact when he asked me what I was doing that evening (after trying to finagle spending time with me that day, offering to shovel for me or get things for me, which I politely turned down) — I said “I was going to visit a friend that evening.” It was the middle of a blizzard…so he made the correct assumption…and he did the right thing by cutting off all contact…and I was relieved. So sad.

    I wonder if our friendship will recover. There is no easy way for ME to initiate a conversation about what went down without embarrassing or offending him.

    I guess, this could be meaningful relationship #6 on my list: Don’t date friends you’re not 100% sure you’re attracted to, no matter how great he is on paper and in person.

  6. 36

    I’m so glad I’ve taken this in now in my early-twenties as I think I’ve saved myself some level of paranoia and confusion. I still rarely feel a spark with anyone but it’s more to do with the lack of an emotional connection than anything physical. Personally I will always give it up to three dates but I know women who decide in the middle of a first date that they’re not interested which I think is a bit of a shame. 
    I agree with a couple of points the other posters conveyed – 1) that the more you are lacking in contentment, the more you look for the perfect fantasy relationship and 2)being in a healthy state of mind yourself means you’re likely to feel chemistry with more people. 
    And I know that I’m only 23 but somehow I’ve embraced the idea of being alone for now and focusing on myself. I feel healthier and I know I can make efforts for fulfillment with or without a relationship. But then I don’t meet many people my age with the same opinion as me so I can feel a bit weird around my peers. And with that new state of mind I don’t chase chemistry or chase men who aren’t interested, and I find that I make much less effort with the opposite sex (not out of entitlement but because I don’t care enough).

  7. 37

    It sounds like you know he isn’t the right guy for you. I’ve dated really nice guys and really mean guys and very odd guys. Just because he’s ok and isn’t rude or strange doesn’t mean he’s right for you. You’re not best friends with everyone you meet right? Thats because some people just get you more. Maybe some of your friends haven’t always been really nice to you, but you keep them around because there’s that connection of understanding. You laugh at the same things etc. You absolutely have to have that with your guy, whoever he winds up being, and I would say you’ll have a strong notion if you have a connection within 24 hours. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do know that someone can make a positive and lasting impression pretty quickly. I think its fine to have a lot of chemistry with someone. Its even good! It means you’re halfway to a really happy relationship. Over the next few months you then determine if you’re compatible. It really is best to end it quickly though, because the longer it continues the harder it will be on him, but luckily you’ve only been dating for a month so if you want to do it via a phone call I think that would be fine =)

  8. 38
    Sparkling Emerald

    Lucy #37 — You sound wise beyond your years !

  9. 39
    Sparkling Emerald

    David T 33
    Well, do stay open to what may come.  You never know. Just try not to hurt others along the way. I feel like I am done, but intellectually I know that could change after a while.
    If only it were that easy, I do my best to not hurt anyone or get hurt myself, but dissappointment and hurt are part and parcel of the dating game.  I feel that at my age it really is unlikely that I will have another relationship, although my grandma did take a second walk down the aisle in her early 80’s.  I’m hiding my profile this weekend, partly because I am tired of go nowhere e-mails, and partly because I really don’t have time to devote to this.  2 jobs, one class, up for a promotion at my main job which could mean more OT, an aging father, a grown son that I want to spend more time with . . . Will continue with meet up, I always have fun at their special interest groups. 

  10. 40

    I wrote the original question, and I wanted to let you all know that I did end things with the guy; prior to seeing this post. He was very nice about it. I also realized that while everything was nice about him AND he was cute (good physical chemistry), he didn’t make me laugh. After a month and daily phone calls I was not laughing. And laughter is really important to me! I hope Evan, that you think I made the right decision. Your advice has really helped me and I so appreciate you taking the time to answer this. 
    @3 – finally happy with job, and everything else in my life is great. I did get out of one of those relationships Evan talks about prior to dating this guy, BUT it is *not* what I am ultimately looking to replicate. I would not want some of those lows ever again. I do want to replicate the good parts of that relationship – the laughter, the connection, and the fun we had. I want to find another person whose company I genuinely enjoy and for whatever reason, it has been hard for me to find someone that makes me laugh and with whom I connect on some other level (*not* just physically). 
    Also note: the guy I wrote about in the question was quite a bit older than me (more than 7 years but less than 10). 
    Thank you all for your comments. I have a date this weekend and I am going into it with the attitude to feel more and think less. Sometimes I overthink so much, I forget to have fun on the actual date. 

  11. 41

    @ Sparkling Emerald #32,
    You articulate my thoughts as well.  I look at the people my children have grown into and realize that I have done the right thing by putting them first even it if meant no special man in my life.  My oldest boy is one of those good guys that Evan talks about and his girlfriend recognizes it.  He’s going to her college tomorrow to surprise her with flowers for Valentine’s day.  While I cannot take sole credit for the fine man he’s grown into, I believe part of it is that I did not bring a new flavor of the month home.  Of the few I have dated, I did let them meet my kids and it was almost too early for me but I did nonetheless.  I feel much like David T. does, in that maybe I’m not done, but it sure does feel that way at the moment.

  12. 42
    Sparkling Emerald

    starthrower68 – my 2nd hubbby (father of my child) didn’t throw his mid-life temper tantrum until our son was grown & out of the house, so fortunately, I never had to do the single mom thing.  I can’t completely regret the marriage, it did produce a great son.  I’m giving up, really don’t want a pen pal.  If someone in real life decides that I’m worth a hot pursuit, and there is mutual connection, then maybe, but I feel like even being on is chasing men.  I’m done with that.

  13. 43

    This concept of ‘chemistry’ is something that I’ve struggled with, and have evolved on.  For reference, I’m 49 years old, so this is geared towards people who are around my age and have been married and most likely have children.

    1.  There is no comparison for someone like us to someone who is in their mid 30’s, first time married with small kids.   We’ve had too much life experience to go back and pretend like it didn’t happen and have that same mindset. 
    2.  Hormone changes might affect how we look at the opposite sex.  I’m not saying there’s not a desire for sex, I just think that same urgency and/or passion is just not the same as when we were younger.

    3.  After taking Evan’s advice of being open to all kinds of men (and after rejecting a lot of men), I’m not convinced that’s the right strategy either.  I tend to date high quality men, so all of them have the potential to or do treat me well, so that’s not an issue and actually makes it harder to discern who is right or not.

    4.  What I’m struggling with is:  is this the person that I can be with where I have to accept certain things I may not be crazy about, and I can grow by learning how to adapt?  Is there someone else more suited to me? 

    I date one man where I can see his lifestyle doesn’t match mine, but I really like his laid back personality, he’s very smart and accomplished and we have a lot in common and have fun together.  I date another who is the exact opposite in personality, is professional and very good at what he does, is driven to do better and 20 years younger than the other man, and I enjoy his company as well, just maybe not as much–although he admittedly has had a closed heart to me, and has been changing and opening up much more, right before my eyes.

    5.  Finally, I am trying something different.  I have decided NOT to decide and agree to an ‘instant exclusitivity/relationship experience’.  I have told these men (both who I was in an agreed upon relationship at one time) that I am into dating them, nothing more at this point.  Being in this formalized arrangement just felt like too much pressure for me and for them (I dated them both exclusively in the recent past).   Obviously, something will change in my current situation, NOTHING stays the same in life.  And I look forward to the change because change is usually a good thing–patience and time and change solve all problems :).

  14. 44

    I think people who are single and aren’t very young any more and who claim to not have the “chemistry” with great people who treat them right… I think people like that have some chemical imbalance in their brain or some kind of a psychological issue or a disorder. The people who can”t seem to get attached, don’t get excited with a relationship and wait for the “right one” are most likely the ones who have unrealistic expectations about chemistry embedded in their head that do not allow them to see beyond the surface of other people’s feelings. They seem to constantly search for “something better” and are not able to pin point what it “wrong” with the people (great all around people!) who love them and treat them right. They are so focused on finding the flaws in another person trying to figure out why THEY can’t feel “love”. Well guess what? Whatever “THAT feeling” is you are looking for so desperately in others it is something within YOU and no one will fulfill that. Again, I am referring mostly to those who are in their later years (late 30s and up) and still single coz they can’t find the right “chemistry”

  15. 45

    Geez, this is kindof harsh and way off base:  “I think people like that have some chemical imbalance in their brain or some kind of a psychological issue or a disorder”

    This concept of ‘something better’ in this world of on line dating where there’s someone right around the corner is something a lot of people struggle with.

    The other thing to is if you already have made a committment to someone in the past, whether that was with chemistry or not, and it didn’t work out, you’re a little more gun shy when faced with making the next commitment choice.  Fear drives a lot of people, it’s pretty common, and doesn’t make them ready for a psychiatric hospital.

  16. 46

    If fear drives someone, that is a psychological issue. I don’t find it a derogatory thing to say about someone as I think we all have psychological issues to varying degrees (at present I’m battling with spending too much money on clothes). Though “disorder” is a bit strong.
    I understand the fear factor. But my current or next relationship is not the right place to work those out. My boyfriend can’t be expected to work double time to overcome my fears, nor should I be expected to make up for the hurts he’s sustained in previous relationships.
    I also think that some of us (men and women) like a measure of challenge or difficulty before we feel “it”. And that can be a problem if it sends us into ambivalent relationships or relationships with no real hope.
    Back to TJ, at 41.  Laughter is important to me.   I couldn’t have a relationship with someone who can’t make me laugh and I don’t much value chemistry. 

  17. 47
    Sparkling Emerald

    Tissa – I too think you are being a bit harsh.  Also remember, this is a blog thread about a letter specifically talking about someone who is struggling with lack of chemistry with a nice guy, so that is why there all the “claims” to not have chemistry.  Of course, I am not in the group of people you targeted, older and “still single”, I am older and single AGAIN (after over 2 decades of being married).  I have talked about situations I have had similar to the OP, but lack of chemistry isn’t the only reason my other relationships have never really materialized.  I have had relationships not work out (or really never get off the ground to begin with) for many other reasons.  Lack of compatibility, the other party not being interested in me, although I was interested in them, but usually it’s a mutual lack of interest.  Just because someone is single, doesn’t mean they are defective in some way.  Relationships fail, or fail to materialize for many reason, lack of attraction or “chemistry” being just one of them.  I think people sometimes “settle” and end up miserable, because society sends messages that if you are past “a certain age” and not married, that you are somehow defective.  You sound a little bit like one of those societal voices.

  18. 48

    I am in my forties now and whenI was twenty and something I met a guy – he was a few years older than me, a lawyer, rich, wanted to settle down and have children. We talked several times and I couldn´t feel anything for him although I knew it was a chance. Now I am over forty, still single, no kids,  dating again after some years. Recently I met our mutual friend who told me that man had been married for years, had two sons… And you know what? I don´t regret anything. Nothing at all. If you don´t feel it, don´t go for him, maybe there are other, much better options for you.

  19. 49
    Sparkling Emerald

    Re: “Playing hard to get” vs “Being hard to get”.  When I first meet someone who has an interest in seeing me again, BEING hard to get is going to be something that happens NATURALLY.  After the first initial shock of splitting up with my husband,  after over 20 years of marriage, I decided to get out of the house as much as possible.  I work 2 jobs, and pretty much all of my free time is booked up at any given time for the next week and half or 2. (Beats the alternative of staying home & moping)  Meet-ups, outings with friends, theatrical pursuits,  visits with family members etc.  I NEVER break a commitment to one person, to go on a date with someone.  I do my best to  make it clear that I am INTERESTED, but I won’t be so readily available, because I really do have a busy & full life.  Any guy who would be upset because I don’t have a clear calendar from the moment I met him, well, he’s just not for me.  If he’s really interested, he won’t mind that our first dates will be a quick meeting for coffee in the 2 hour window between my jobs, or if do-able, a lunch date during the week.  I’m not playing any games, I just really am that busy.

  20. 50

    If a man wants to take the time and effort to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, I would be pleased rather downgrade it to coffee or lunch. Especially over several dates. Having standards shouldn’t mean that taking you out on a proper date is difficult.
    I would want a few days’ notice, other than that I would consider that he’s doing the right thing.  I’d enjoy getting ready for a proper night out, and having a whole evening to get to know someone. 
    I am sceptical when I hear comments from women that their men are “too busy”. I guess I must apply the same to women. If you can’t see him you’re either genuinely too busy for a relationship (I’m sure that can happen) or don’t really want one. People do what they want and make time for what’s important to them. I apply that standard to myself too, which sucks sometimes as I don’t have a get out for my family duties!

  21. 51
    Sparkling Emerald

    Marymary, I think you misunderstood me.  I am not unavailable because I’m playing games.  I’m not trying to make a “Proper Date” difficult.  I’m not going to blow off work, blow off a rehearsal,  or cancel going to see my son’s concert, or UnRSVP my “yes” to “no” to have lunch with girlfriends.  I work 2 jobs, I have lots of relationships with friends and family, etc.  If a man can’t wait 2 weeks for my schedule to open up, and accept an hour and half between my 2 jobs instead, or skype dates, or lunch, etc., then he’s probably not for me.  I’m not one to sit home alone night after night, just in case I meet Mr Right tommorow.  If he’s really Mr Right, he’ll find a way into my busy life. With enough advance planning, and enough interest on his part,  we’ll find time to be together.  I can “un-busy” my life IF and WHEN I have a compelling reason to do so.  I’m not going to unbusy my life for someone who’s not even in my life yet.  I’m not going to go running when some man that I  just met (or someone from  snaps his fingers.  I never say I’m busy when I’m not, also, I never cancel plans with a friend for a man, who at that point in my life is a stranger.
    Also, you said “I am skeptical when I hear comments from women that their men are “too busy”.”
    There is a difference between someone who is “my man” and a man whom I’ve just met.  When he is officially “my man” and I am officially “his woman”, then of course we’ll have more time then a few stolen hours here and there.  For one thing, I would hold days open for a boyfriend, but not a match.comer I haven’t even met yet.  Also, many of those things I am so busy with now would be appropriate to include a boyfriend, but not a person I just met.  (Going to see my son’s concerts is going to be reserved for an extremely long term boyfriend, ‘cuz my son is still very upset with our split up, and has made it clear that he doesn’t want to meet any of the men in my life, but that’s a whole ‘nother story, )

  22. 52

    Will you commit to a date 2 weeks in advance? I had a hard time getting any women to promise to go out that far in advance. Women who were not busy would balk because they wanted freedom to change plans. Women I had established dating patterns with who had full schedules usually would not commit so far out. (At best they would make tentative plans and try to get things lined up, but there was always that chance they would have to cancel. Meanwhile, I had to keep that slot open until I knew for sure she could not go, sometimes learning that with short notice.) If my experience is typical, then most men figure there is no point in asking someone for a date that far out.

    If two busy people go that route, unwilling to even change a meetup RSVP several days in advance of the event (really?), there is a good chance they will never have available time at the same time. I agree it is rude and reeks of neediness to cancel one-on-one plans with friend to go on a date, not even if it is with “your man.” That is rude, but meetup or a regular class if you could workout some other time that day is different.

    Set aside one evening per week for a If you end up dateless that night use it for some down time (writing, reading, crafting, etc.) or going to a spur of the moment movie on your own or with a friend. Otherwise you will be stuck having to say to some poor fellow “I am interested even though I rejected the first four days you suggested” and hope he believes you.

  23. 53
    Sparkling Emerald

    Hi AllenB-
      Thanks for your response. 🙂 If you read my answer again, you will see that  I can usually squeeze in a date before 2 weeks, but it will be a short one.  For a first date, what’s wrong with an hour and a half between my 2 jobs, or a one hour lunch ?  I am a meet up leader, so I wouldn’t cancel a meet up that I organized.  Yes, if I had plans that wouldn’t put anyone out if I cancelled I would,(ie: my scheduled work out at the gym) but that’s not usually the case.  Here’s how my schedule worked last week, Monday night, class, Tuesday night, go see my son perform (wouldn’t miss that for anything), Wed, Thurs, WORK, Friday night gathering for friends who were about to become grandparents, in attendance dear friends I haven’t seen in a while.  Saturday night, I got 2 free tickets for a play, blowing off comp tickets is a BIG no-no in the theatrical community, could put the person who gave me the free comps (which in this case is one of my acting teachers) on the $#it list, and they would no longer get comps.  Nothing there I would really cancel for a semi-blind date from  Nothing really there, that I wouldn’t plan to begin with, in hopes that a date will fill in that space.  Luckily (or unluckily) no one asked me out for that week.  If someone had, it would have to have been a quickie on Mon, Wed or Thurs, between my regular job and my second job and/or class. Or Saturday in the morning or afternoon. Or Sunday. Really, is that so bad, that the first meeting from a match.comer only be between 1 or 2 hours ? Many people recommend making that first meeting short anyway. Besides, look at my patchwork of availability, usually the person asking me out has a similar patchwork, so if we don’t meet for a week after trying to, it’s usually because we BOTH have busy schedules.
    I  did have one potential date give up on me.  We had moved from e-mail to phone, but ended up playing phone tag.  In one case he said he would call at 7PM, but he didn’t call until 8:15PM.  My neighbor called me up and wanted to visit, and I told her I would, but that i was expecting a phone call, and I would be over afterwards.  Well, at 8 o’clock, I just figured he wasn’t going to call, so I went to visit, and then he called.  When he did, I told him I was at a neighbors, but just let me say goodbye to my neighbor, and I’ll go back to my house & we’ll talk, but he just said “No, that’s OK, I’ll call you tomorrow,” and then he never did  So, I don’t know, was I just too busy ?  Should I have stayed home and waited for his call ? Should I have just mouthed the words “good bye” to my neighbor and talked to him as I walked back home, never letting him know that I was visiting my friend across the street ? Didn’t have cell phones, texting, skype, or internet over 25 years ago when I was single.  Being single AGAIN, and working with this technology, and trying to figure out what the etiquette is, is a bit tricky for me.  Seems like all this new tech stuff that is supposed to make communication easier, is ending up being a barrier.
    You said “Otherwise you will be stuck having to say to some poor fellow “I am interested even though I rejected the first four days you suggested” and hope he believes you.”
    Well I usually don’t have to reject 4 days IF he is willing to make those first few dates short.  (1 to 1 and a half hours) but . . .
    Thanks for the male perspective, 🙂 I thought men like the hunt, liked to pursue, enjoyed the chase, etc., but that rhetoric usually comes from WOMEN.  I’ll keep what you said in mind.
    *Those were rhetorical questions, not trying to use this blog to ask for advice for my dating life, (or lack thereof 🙂 )which is against the rules of the blog.

  24. 54
    Karl R

    Sparkling Emerald said: (#54)
    “Luckily (or unluckily) no one asked me out for that week.  If someone had, it would have to have been a quickie on Mon, Wed or Thurs, between my regular job and my second job and/or class. Or Saturday in the morning or afternoon. Or Sunday.”
    It seems like you’re assuming that the men you date have an open schedule that will allow them to fill the holes in your schedule.
    My week:
    Monday & Tuesday night: dance class
    Wednesday night: open, but I didn’t leave work ’til 7:15
    Thursday night: choir rehearsal
    Friday evening to Sunday evening: a local convention
    If someone has my schedule, he has to cancel something just to get a short date “(1 to 1 and a half hours)” between your two jobs. Or he can schedule a date Sunday night after spending 29 hours at a convention.
    Sparkling Emerald said: (#54)
    “I thought men like the hunt, liked to pursue, enjoyed the chase, etc.,”
    There are men who are addicted to the chase. They don’t settle down.
    What I learned from actively dating for several years:
    A woman who is seriously pursuing dating will have some time built into her schedule for that activity. A woman who is interested in me will make some time for dating.
    I remember a woman who cancelled our first date, then didn’t have time for a first date on either of the following two weekends. My final email to her said, “You’re clearly not interested in dating me.” She had initiated the contact, but her actions spoke louder than her words.
    Any man who has a healthy amount of self-respect won’t pursue a woman who is communicating that she’s disinterested in dating him.

  25. 55
    Sparkling Emerald

    Karl R – T #55
       Thanks for your response, I enjoy the perspective of men who are still dating.  Let me clarify a few things.  I don’t ASSUME anything.  When someone initiates plans to meet me, I let them know when I am available.  If that fits in with their schedule, great, if not, oh well, we can either try again later, or move on.  Your schedule is MUCH busier than mine, I had several slots open, in the example I gave you, a few short time slots during the week, and some bigger slots on the weekend.  Five openings in fact.  If a guy is put off by that, then he’s probably not for me.  With your schedule, I didn’t see ANY opening, so even if I only worked one job, and stayed home scrap booking and doing housework every night of the week, I wouldn’t be able to meet someone with your schedule.  Also, i have NEVER broken a date with a man EVER.  I plan carefully.  I don’t break dates with my family or girlfriends, nor do I break a date with a man.  So part of how I keep my commitments, is to make sure I can keep a commitment before I even make it. Also, some of the things I am out doing, provide opportunities for meeting men in real life.  I have actually dated two men from meet-up.  (One was just a one dater, one was a teeny-tiny re-bound relationship). 
    I think by letting a man know that I do have a full life, BUT, I am willing to carve out some time to meet him, let’s him know i AM interested.  (And it’s not like pulling hen’s teeth to get my availability)  If he asks when I am available, I give him several options all at once.  If he asks me out for a particular date and time, I tell him that particular date/time doesn’t work, but these dates do.  If he takes that as a sign of dis-interest that I am not available on the first date he suggests, or that I am not available every single miniute of the week, well, he probably has low self esteem and wouldn’t be someone I would want to meet.
    I have a date with a match.comer this week.  He just asked to meet me somewhere and asked when a good time for ME, would be.  I gave him several options, 2 or 3 week nights, and quite a bit of avail time on the weekend.  He didn’t seem put off at all, and opted for one of the week nights. (Not even my first avail, so he might have even had his Tues night filled. But wow, we made it work)  If we both decide on a second date, he knows I’m avail the following weekend.  If he acted pi$$ty or pouty that I didn’t have everyday wide open,  or expected me to blow off my class to meet him on his schedule, I wouldn’t be meeting him.
    Despite my busy schedule, I am able to meet for a date this week.  And I am going to a meet up tommorow, & who knows, I just might meet someone through that venue, again.

  26. 56

    When I first discovered EMK’s advice/ blog I took his advice on chemistry to be the same as the OP’s perception. I’m in the same situation as the OP. I guess I twisted Evan’s teachings because I didn’t want to accept the fact that I won’t have a lasting relationship with the current guy I’m seeing. With my limited dating experience, it’s so hard trying to figure out what chemistry is/ how important of a role it plays in choosing a lifetime partner. Thanks everyone for all of your wise advices as always.

  27. 57

    Thank you for this posting EMK! I personally struggled with this seemingly elusive balance of good chemistry and good compatibility all through my 20s.  It is only now, at age 30, a year or so after finding your blog and listening to your interviews and doing some Focus Coaching that I finally am getting this message on a deeper level and seeing real results in my life. As someone who has dated both ends of the spectrum–both guys with a high spark value as well as men who were good people but just not men I ever truly felt ANY real passion for–I can greatly appreciate this message. Like some of your readers, I initially misunderstood what you were saying about chemistry but once I really started taking it in, I began to view dating very differently and made some positive changes in my approach.
     Happily, I am now six months into a relationship with a wonderful guy; however, I very easily could have missed out on this experience (which happens to be the best relationship I have ever known). I had already passed him up once because I did not feel the intense chemistry/”soulmate” connection I had experienced with other men (and needless to say, those relationships for whatever reason, never seemed to work out!). My current boyfriend and I actually went on some dates a couple years ago and I would say there was an initial spark of a 5-6 but I wasn’t really sure if I felt enough chemistry to continue seeing him and we drifted apart. The other issue was that at the time,  there was another guy who I was feeling the 9-10 spark for and I was easily distracted with him. And the truth was, at the time, because I was so strongly attracted to someone else, I just couldn’t be open to my current boyfriend. 
    However, I found myself thinking about him off and on for a couple years (after it didn’t work out with the other guy) and remembering how much fun we had together, how easy it was to talk to each other and how much he made me laugh.  We wound up reconnecting this past summer and simply because I had a different perspective and more clear sense of what qualities were most important to me in a relationship, I was able  and willing to truly give him a chance.  Although the chemistry I feel with him is not the same white hot spark I’ve had previously, I have to say, it is so much better. I feel so nurtured, so healthy, as well as so in sync with him.  We are very playful with each other both in and out of the bedroom and that feeds the chemistry between us. The initial spark of a 5-6 has definitely become a 9. I somehow am able to feel both deep passion with him as well as a deep sense of safety and trust, a combination I had never before been able to experience.  The best part is that it feels very natural and easy.  
    Thank you again for all the work you do to teach us that there truly is a happy medium when it comes to chemistry.  I know it has changed my life for the better to understand and believe in this possibility.

  28. 58

    @ Joanna # 58
    Great post!  I dated a guy two years ago that was a great guy and I let him go.  I am glad you got a second chance!!

  29. 59

    I get that chemistry can be confusing. I had that with all my exes. My current boyfriend and I did not grow from chemistry, in fact we had a hard time communicating in the start. Chemistry feels like love to me. I am not trying to be ungrateful but I have a hard time feeling loved in this relationship. I am young too (21) and this guy is a good guy. Yea he is a little messy and has some emotional blocks but he is a good guy and he cares about me. Its been 2 years and I just don’t feel loved. WHat is the difference between love and chemistry?

  30. 60

    I found this site because of a dilemma I am currently facing with a wonderful, beautiful lady – mainly a notable lack of chemistry (2-3?). First some background: I am a 62 year old male, previously married for 23 years (mostly happy – long story) and now single for nearly 17 years, physically fit, dating a number of ladies during that time but never finding the right one. Earlier this year I met a woman, lets call her Lady A, with whom I had immediate, intense chemistry. We had sex almost immediately – the most incredible, intense sex I have ever had to be quite honest. However she was  recently divorced, so after 2 weeks of this, she decided she needed to deal with her feelingswith her ex husband so we stopped seeing each other. And even during our time together, I had doubts about whether this relationship was a good match except for the sex.
    After this, I started dating a woman (call her Lady B) whom I had seen on rare occasion over several years and was finally able to convince her to date me. Lady A was a much better match for me than Lady B in many ways, and, quite honestly was much more attractive. My relationship with Lady B started at a more normal pace – 2 months of dating (without sex), doing many things together, playful flirting and then intense kissing. Although I did not have the intense, lustful feelings I had for Lady A, I certainly felt some level of attraction that I assumed would be resolved when we became intimate. Well, unfortunately, that was not the case. After an initial failure at intimacy, I used Viagra to help consummate this relationship, but it was work, and frankly I just did not feel that animal lust I had thought should be there. And I was afraid I could keep things going sexually this way, so to speak. Of course I had to share that with her and we have separated for now. But I am hoping someway, somehow I can find a way to get that feeling of chemistry with her. At my age, I may have thought that would be too much to hope for …. except for my recent experience with Lady A. I feel so sad because I wanted this to work with Lady B. I would hate to lose her …. but we both need to a complete, loving relationship.  

    1. 60.1


      While I have never had sex so I can’t relate on that level, I can relate to the general feeling of chemistry.

      There have been men in which I have had immediate crushes, but the more I found out about the person’s character, the crush disappeared because the man turned out to be a horrible person.  Appearance simply cannot compete with character.

      However, when I first met my current love, he was beautiful, but I did not feel immediate chemistry.  By the second date, I saw him get out of his car, and suddenly, feelings of chemistry hit and I have been with him for nearly six months.

      I can’t explain it, but sometimes, the feelings do not come on the first date.  Maybe, it’s due to nervousness as I knew that I was nervous on the first date and I could tell that he was also.  On the second, we seemed to have fun and really connect.  From there, it has been paradise so far…

      We still haven’t had sex and we intend to wait for moral reasons, but the tension is definitely there. 

    2. 60.2

      Oops. The second paragraph should have read that Lady B is a much better match for me than Lady A. (I got my A and B confused – sorry).

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