I’ve spent a lot of time discussing why lust, chemistry, and that “you just know” feeling shouldn’t be the determining factors in your relationship decisions.
This writer, Louise Rafkin – who also specializes in love stories – has come to conclude something differently. In her New York Times Modern Love piece, after talking to 200 couples, Rafkin wonders why the power of electric chemistry hasn’t hit her yet.
At times I feel like an anthropologist on Mars. So many of the people I interview have gut feelings and are hit with lightning bolts and simply “know.” But no matter how many times I hear these stories, and I hear them every week, I have yet to understand.
I’ve known things before, sure. The one time I really felt that magnetic feeling, for a charismatic blond Italian, I nearly ended up in the bin. Sure, the initial attraction was intense – ignited by a glance across a grocery store – but the flip side was like turning magnets’ backsides to each other. The repulsion – fights and jealousy and drama – was just as powerful.
And yet, despite this common tale, Rafkin hears enough tales of magic to keep her on her search. She recognizes that this may be a folly, yet she can’t help but to pursue that ultimate feeling.
My take – my highly nuanced take – is this. It is not that the “feeling” doesn’t exist. It DOES exist, as evidenced by Rafkin’s tales and thousands of others. It’s that, scientifically and logically, only a small percentage of those chemistry-driven relationships LAST.
So when millions of people are driven by lust…and 95 percent of them break up because lust is an illusion…we end up getting stuck on the tales of the rare 5% who DO make it. Their stories are what convince us that we must hold out.
We forget that lots of people who “just know” end up breaking up due to incompatibility six months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years down the road. To be sure, MANY married couples once HAD that feeling, and that feeling wasn’t enough to sustain the relationship.
But if you’re looking for inspiration to hold out for the 5%, you can certainly find it here.
Your thoughts are appreciated.