The Truth About First Date Chemistry
As a Scottsdale Matchmaker, I talk to many couples after their first date. It’s not unusual for me to hear reviews like, “He was nice, but I didn’t feel any fireworks and I’m not sure I want to go out again,” or, “She was super sweet and the date was fun, but there just wasn’t a spark. I didn’t feel the chemistry I like to feel.” Usually, these people go on to explain to me that they “just know” whether someone will work out or not based on the chemistry they feel (or don’t feel) on date one.
Did I mention these were single people I introduced to each other? Single – meaning whatever they’ve been doing in the past hasn’t really been working out for them relationship-wise. In other words, basing the future of their relationships on the chemistry or lack thereof they felt with a person had not proven to be a reliable indicator on whether the relationship would be successful hasn’t worked for them.
So how important is chemistry in a relationship?
It’s important – it really is. But in many cases, chemistry doesn’t happen as soon as a couple meets; it comes later. So there maybe no first date chemistry.
According to eHarmony, “chemistry is instantaneous. A particular person may not act on it immediately, but he or she feels the attraction within. This is so common that people have come to believe that chemistry is either there or it isn’t, and that you know within seconds.”
For many of the singles I’ve talked with, this is the idealistic philosophy they cling to. It’s the dream-come-true fairytale that sounds wonderful. As the Scottsdale matchmaker, I hate to break it to you, but this dream isn’t an accurate picture of how falling in love always looks. I have matched many couples who, at the beginning, weren’t so sure about each other and were hesitant to go out again. She thought he was great qualities but was too much of a nice guy, putting him in the “friend zone.” He didn’t think she was his “type.”
The Truth About First Date Chemistry
I’m happy to report that often when these couples follow my advice and give the relationship a few more dates, they found themselves happy. The chemistry worked – worked to the point they got happily married. And it just might be that way for you, too. Based on my years as the Scottsdale Matchmaker, here’s my advice on first date chemistry:
- First impressions aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Yes, they’re important, and occasionally you really will know right off the bat if someone is wrong for you. But more often than not, it’s hard to get an accurate read on a person in only a few hours. I like what eHarmony says about this: “As you know, a first date can be a high-pressure situation. People may be nervous or act in an awkward manner. This can significantly alter the energy that flows between them. Sometimes one of you has traveled a significant distance in order to meet. This can also add to the sense of pressure and awkwardness.”
- The purpose of your date is not – I repeat not – to find your future spouse. The point of a first date is to see if there’s enough potential to warrant a second date. If all you find out on date one is you have a lot in common and he’s a really nice guy, in my book, that’s plenty of reason to go out a second time – even if there weren’t any fireworks.
- Don’t mistake sexual attraction with relationship chemistry. You may want to rip each other’s clothes off before dinner’s done on date one, but what does that really mean? All it means is that you are sexually attracted to each other. Sexual attraction is another important component of a relationship, but it doesn’t at all mean you’re a good match. Also remember that the lack of sexual attraction on the first date doesn’t mean it won’t be there later. One woman I worked with went on a date with a guy she had fun with, but wasn’t physically attracted to. On my recommendation, she gave the relationship a few dates and a short time later when I asked if she felt physical attraction, her response was a confident, “Oh yeah!” And despite no first date chemistry, they are now talking about getting married.
- Try and go on three dates with an open heart and mind. This means you choose to stay open to becoming more attracted to the good qualities of your date. It’s basically a commitment to get to know them better, and see if something more might develop. Side note: it doesn’t count if you go on the three dates with the intention all along of keeping your mind made up.
- Prioritize commonalities over first date chemistry. The experts say that the intoxicating feeling of a relationship lasts no more than two years. After that, what are you left with? Developing bonds of commonalities – goals, dreams, hobbies – are what sustain a relationship and cultivate true love.
- It can take time to recognize and grow. For some people, it can take a little while to recognize the spark but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful when you do. Whether fireworks go off when you first meet or after you’ve been dating for a while, it’s still incredible. You only reach that point, though, by getting to know each other and evaluating your time together in terms of whether you enjoyed yourself and if you were able to truly be yourself around them. If your date is consistently hitting a six or seven (out of ten), that’s pretty good and has better long-term relationship potential than the guy who occasionally hits a nine but averages around a three.
I once got a call from a client after his first date saying, “Joann, she is very nice and really smart, but she’s too thin; I like women with curves.” I asked if everything else on the date went well, and when he said it did, I asked what he had to lose by going on date two. He reluctantly agreed, and a few months later I was seeing photos of them together on a trip to Europe. Almost two years later, they’re still together. My client explained that after a few dates, he realized how attracted he was to her. While he still liked women with curves, the combination or her smart wit, easy-going personality, and their commonalities just worked.
This couple was smart because they gave themselves a change. Not just their match as a couple, but each of them as individuals. Had they not gone on a second – and third – date, they could have potentially missed out on the person they are now in a romantic, passionate, and compatible relationship with. The same can be true for you. Don’t judge a date based solely on the first date chemistry you feel. If everything else looks good, be willing to give it an effort to see what else might develop.
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