The Myth of Chemistry When Dating

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During my online dating stint, during which time I met every single man in the tristate area for coffee and a walk in the park, I learned a few things about chemistry. Chemistry, or as some people refer to it as feeling a “spark” or an indescribable connection to someone, is the elusive feeling of butterflies one gets around another human being that is not always attributed to physical attraction, but rather, is just there or not, with very little room for indecision or maybes.

You either have chemistry, or you don’t. Well, that’s what most people believe, anyways.

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While I was figuring out exactly the sort of partner I was looking for and also working through my own issues with lack of self-love, I was bullheaded in declaring that I could tell if I connected with a man in the first fifteen minutes of a date. I told myself that I was intuitive, discerning, and I could quickly tell if there were sparks.

The truth is, I was emotionally immature.

After a few more disappointing relationships, I began to look inward, and I deepened into my mindfulness and spiritual journey, meditating and studying the spiritual text A Course in Miracles every morning. I became aware of the blocks I had to love, namely, that what felt familiar to me were emotionally reticent men. I had a pattern of attracting men who were not ready for partnership because they were afraid of love (and so was I!). The men with whom I declared instant chemistry simply were those who mirrored my own fears. The “nice guys” with whom I felt little chemistry, with were those who were ready to treat me well and commit. While I told myself that I deeply wanted a mature relationship, the truth was, I was unconsciously attracted to and choosing men who weren’t good for me.

All this to say, there is a magnetic pull we feel when we meet our soulmates. When I met my partner, Tim, we were petrified of being together, but the connection we felt was instantaneous. By that point, I had a been practicing A Course in Miracles for nearly a year, and I had been on a spiritual path for almost ten years. It took a lot of inner-work to stop myself from pushing him away when my fears of partnership rose to the surface (as fears do when we begin to get close to someone).

Here’s the key: If we don’t love ourselves fully, if we don’t have a mindfulness practice that gets us in touch with our hearts and gives us a clear look at what’s driving us, then it’s easy to mistake chemistry for what feels familiar, especially if what feels familiar is pain.

Before you can determine whether you have chemistry with someone, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you caught in an unhealthy pattern of dating?

  • Do you continue to date the same sort of person?

  • Do you have similar problems that are apparent from one relationship to the next? (For example, if you tend to attract partners who criticize you, it’s because you have worthiness issues to heal. You will feel chemistry with people who are critical and will find flaws with you until you become more secure and confident.)

For a place of self-love and wholeness, we can trust our gut-feelings, as deep down, we know who we will reciprocate love and to whom we can give our hearts, but until we have done the inner-work, we will continue to loop unconscious negative patterns and attract the same partner over and over again.

The first step is the inner-journey; it always is. The feeling of chemistry can only be trusted once you love yourself fully and have attracted healthy, loving people in your life. If you’re still attracting unhealthy relationships (people who are dishonest, who don’t treat you well, or who don’t want to commit to being just with you), then you cannot trust the illusion of chemistry.

The myth of chemistry is that you can trust your gut-feeling when it’s that very feeling that’s gotten you into emotionally unhealthy relationships is the past.

Without self-love, chemistry is basically just familiarity, and oftentimes, it’s an unhealthy pattern we’ve picked up from watching our parents’ relationship, or from a trauma we experienced in a previous relationship. Hurt people feel comfortable being hurt, and people who love themselves deeply attract partners who can do the same. Chemistry is another way of saying you resonate with your date on some level; and unfortunately, it might simply mean that he or she reminds you of an ex-partner or a parent, who you are unconsciously trying to heal by attracting someone with the same sort of problems.

The good news is that with just a little bit of willingness, you can become aware of your unconscious patterns, and you can learn how to deeply value yourself, thus only resonating with a partner who can also value you. It does take time and effort, as becoming mindful of your unconscious patterns requires practices such as meditating, journaling, and reading spiritual texts that can help you to identify and dissolve your blocks to love, but after you become aware of and clear your negative patterns and beliefs, you’ll only experience chemistry with partners who can reciprocate healthy love, and you’ll know without a doubt if you can trust your date with your heart, and you can trust that elusive feeling of butterflies and magic, because it’s from a place of wholeness and self-love.