Are Women More Likely Than Men to Require Chemistry to Go On A Second Date?

Dear Evan,

Is it my imagination, or are women, generally speaking, much more likely than men to expect some sort of lightning or magic on a first date for them to consider going on a 2nd date? I’m not talking about chemistry, which everyone wants, but some sort of overwhelming emotional response that causes “butterflies,” etc.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say that they had a nice first date with so and so, but there were no butterflies, no shooting stars, and therefore they have turned down a request for a 2nd date. Yes, there was chemistry, but no visceral reaction.

I find this a bit difficult to comprehend, because I personally never expect to see shooting stars on a first date. And if I do see stars on a first date, I push them aside because experience has taught me that in most cases those stars were just a temporary thing and my first impression of a woman from just one date is always incomplete. I mean, a first date is not the real world, it’s not the way people usually are most of the time. If nothing else, both parties are usually a bit nervous and on their best behavior, so you don’t get to know the real them. (I start feeling butterflies after a few dates, when I get a more complete picture of the woman, and I like the picture that is emerging.)

Anyway, is my take on this whole thing wrong? Are men, generally speaking, also expecting lightning from the first date in order to consider a second date? Or, on the other hand, are women generally more rational about this than the impression of them that I have?


Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

Dear Roger,

First of all, thanks for writing such a thoughtful and articulate question. Your insight about “shooting stars” being temporary is a priceless one, and we’re going to get back to that shortly. But as to whether women are more rational than you’re giving them credit for, the answer is yes.

Despite your very mature view about how one date is only a glimpse of the whole person, what your question misses is a broader perspective on “how women are.” Instead, it’s only reflected through your views, your experiences, and your eyes. You go out with a bunch of women, they tell you that they didn’t feel the “click” or the “chemistry,” and you determine that women are looking for magic on the first date. This is a logical conclusion, except for one thing: you’re not going out with any men. And men, in my experience, do the exact same thing and more.

True, women dissect men on dates like frogs in ninth grade labs. From how he talks to the waiter, to whether he tucks in his shirt, to how quickly he reaches for the check, the details are generally quite important to women. (As always, I’m generalizing here, so cut me some slack). As for men, our needs are a little simpler when we determine if we want a second date. As I see it, there are only two main criteria: 1) Did I have fun with her? And 2) Is she attractive enough to sleep with? As to how she dresses or whether she’s late or talks with her mouth full…yeah, we notice, but we’ll pretty much forgive such things if she’s both cool and sexy. SO……

You’re spot on when you recognize that first-date sparks don’t portend a future relationship. But when you say that women are more likely to cut off someone who doesn’t make them tingle, I have to challenge you. If you’re going to compare and contrast our genders, men are, by far, the more visual and chemistry-driven sex. Which means that they are more likely to conclude within five seconds of meeting a woman that there is not going to be a second date.

In general, women are more forgiving of men, as long as they are kind, respectful, and potentially good providers. In general, men are more likely to be forgiving of women of pretty much anything as long as they are young, thin and pretty. Hey, I don’t write these things, I just report them.

To me, the most interesting aspect of this is not that men, are, in fact, shallower than women. That doesn’t really qualify as news. But your point, Roger, that first date sparks don’t mean anything more than first date sparks? Well, I’m betting that’s a revelation to a number of our readers

I confess candidly that I would probably not have gotten to know my wife if we had gone on a conventional date instead of meeting at a party. Nor would I have gotten to know a previous girlfriend in 2004 if we’d met on JDate. Doesn’t mean they weren’t attractive or interesting. All it means is that we all make snap judgments on dates and inadvertently cut off people who have true potential. As anyone who’s ever met through friends knows, sometimes HOW you meet is as much a determining factor as chemistry in terms of moving forward.

Alison Armstrong does a great piece about the value of chemistry. She says that while we spend our lives looking for that intense one-of-a-kind chemistry with a partner, it’s actually BAD for your relationship. She goes on to explain that we are simply not at our best when we’re crazy about someone. We become insecure and weak and needy and yes, somewhat crazy, in the presence of chemistry. … And the reason that the quiet person at work has a crush on you is specifically because you’re being YOURSELF around him/her. Since you don’t feel that chemistry, you don’t start trying too hard, or attempting to impress, or any of the other things we do under the affects of “chemistry.” This doesn’t mean you should be with someone you’re NOT attracted to, but instead, you might want to dial it back a bit. Especially if your relationship is unbalanced, dramatic or unhealthy.

Better to be with a mate who’s a 7 on the chemistry scale but a 10 on the compatibility scale than to be with someone who’s a 10 on the chemistry scale and a 4 on the compatibility scale.


Should women be less judgmental of men? Sure.

Should men be less judgmental of women? Sure.

Should we all act normal when we’re infatuated with someone? Sure.

But as long as we’re human, we’re going to be judgmental, and lusty, and myopic.

The first step is in admitting it.

It’s one thing to understand the role of chemistry in dating. It’s quite another to learn to make different decisions than you’ve made in the past.

After years of being a dating coach, I’ve realized that effective advice always sounds so simple when you read it. You find yourself nodding your head and saying “yes, that makes complete sense…” And then you go about your business and don’t change a thing. As a result, you consistently find yourself stuck in the same place, not really moving forward. This is why I created my Inner Circle – as a means to provide life-changing information, in a small-group setting, surrounded by other like-minded women.

So, if you want the support, guidance, and insight that can turn your love life around, click here to learn more about enrolling in Love U.