When it comes to chemistry in a relationship, while some people believe in “love at first sight,” others are not smitten with someone as quickly. Perhaps you even meet somebody that you’re not attracted to physically — at least, not initially. But, the more you get to know them, the more attracted you become. Soon, you’re in love.
Of course, different people may have different definitions of chemistry — while one person may think it’s physical attraction, another may think it’s a mental connection. Whatever the case may be, the question is: How important is chemistry in a relationship? What role does it play, exactly? Below, relationship experts respond by defining chemistry and it’s significance in a relationship.
“Everyone Has Their Own, Unique Version Of What Chemistry And Love Should Be”
Although you may think chemistry is more of a mental connection with somebody, your friend may think it’s more a physical one, while another person may think it’s the whole package. In essence, you may not be able to explain it, though you know it when you see it. “Everyone has their own, unique version of what chemistry and love should be — what it should look like, feel like, and how someone wants to show up in their relationship,” says Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI–MP, relationship coach and expert.
She thinks chemistry is essential for a thriving relationship. “It is a sign that each of you are aligned with one another at the core, your values you hold most dear,” she says. “Therefore, finding someone who truly shares in those beliefs can be quite rare. Our intuition is a miraculous thing — and chemistry is your intuition telling you that you are on the right path and that you should explore further if it is the path for you. Sure, the relationship may not always last, but the chemistry allows you to explore something of substance, rather than a measly fling.”
“The Spark Is NOT Chemistry”
Although you may get butterflies in your stomach when you first meet someone and think it’s chemistry, chemistry means a lot more than that, says Jessica Elizabeth Opert, expert love and relationship coach. “Chemistry is the combination of elements, plus a catalyst that creates a reaction, and something new,” she says. “The spark is NOT chemistry — but it is that catalyst.” Other elements must exist, too, she feels, like shared interests, common values, and hobbies. “Most people are chasing the spark/catalyst, thinking that alone is chemistry, and they wind up attracted to and even in relationships with people they are not compatible with for long-term success.”
“Good Chemistry Means How That Other Person Makes You Feel About Yourself”
Similar to my example above, chemistry can also mean how somebody makes you feel. For instance, do you feel better about yourself with them? Rabbi Manis Friedman, author of The Joy of Intimacy, is an advocate of this philosophy. “Good chemistry is not how you feel towards the other person; good chemistry means how that other person makes you feel about yourself,” he says. “If a man is sitting with a woman and he feels completely comfortable as a male, that’s good chemistry. If the woman sitting with a man feels totally comfortable with herself as a woman — her femininity is not challenged or made uncomfortable — that’s good chemistry.”
“Chemistry Ultimately Holds A Couple Together Even In The Most Challenging Times”
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a licensed clinical professional counselor, a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, and founder of The Marriage Restoration Project, believes that chemistry is essential. “While most relationships can be successful if both parties are committed, chemistry is an extremely important ingredient in a relationship — it is what attracts the couple,” he says. “Chemistry ultimately holds a couple together even in the most challenging times.”
He also feels that couples who have a strong connection have an easier time dealing with the ups and downs of life, in addition to recovering from relationship stress or crisis. “There is a more of a buy-in, because they once felt so strongly about each other,” he says. “Whereas a couple who did not have much chemistry, but got married anyway, is less likely to commit to repairing the relationship at all costs — unless their value system places an importance on marriage.”
“Chemistry Is That ‘It’ Factor”
So you may be wondering — what sets chemistry apart from a connection you may have with a friend? Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, therapist, social worker, and teacher, has the answer. “Chemistry is important because it means that the relationship is more than just friendship,” she says. “Chemistry is that ‘it’ factor that means you can’t keep your hands off of the other person. While you make think that your partner is a great person, having chemistry with them means that you believe that they’re a great person for you. Relationships tend to last longer when you have a friendship with your partner and are also attracted to your partner.” Personally, I couldn’t agree more. What about you?
“Chemistry Is Everything”
Although you may not always be able to pinpoint the chemistry you have with somebody, it probably exists in some form or another. Rori Sassoon, relationship expert and CEO of Platinum Poire, a power couple matchmaking service, agrees. “Sometimes, chemistry is unexplainable,” she says. “However, even the things that you can’t explain, you still need. When it comes to making a relationship go the distance, chemistry is everything. Anyone can go through the motions, but to last with your partner, chemistry is the glue. Without chemistry, you won't have a relationship — it will fall flat: You need banter and sexual energy, you need to speak the same love language, and you need to know how to love your partner in a way that they truly feel your love.”
“Chemistry Is Not Everything, But It’s Extremely Important”
Sometimes, you may date somebody you have a connection with, and chemistry grows over time, such as my example above. James Anderson, dating expert and managing editor for BeyondAges.com, a dating advice destination for men interested in dating older women, thinks “chemistry is not everything, but it’s extremely important.” He says that, “Chemistry makes everything better. When it comes to both physical and mental stimulation, having chemistry in your relationship acts as a very important multiplier. You are going to be spending a large portion of your time with your partner, and you want that time to be as enjoyable and memorable as possible.’ But what if chemistry lacks? “A relationship without it is going to inherently more challenging and potentially less fulfilling.”