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Dating questions: Where’s the chemistry?

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 27, 2021

Chemistry is one of the most important elements to dating. You may have met someone who’s perfect on paper, but if you lack the necessary spark, your relationship will go nowhere. The question is, how long should you wait to decide if it’s there or not?

What is chemistry?

It’s a tough thing to define. Someone you’re dating can tick all the right boxes – right height, good looks, good job etc. – but you might just lack the necessary chemistry. At eharmony we match you on compatibility, which is a great predictor of whether a couple will be able to carve out a long lasting, healthy relationship. But, we always say that the chemistry part is up to you.

The big question we often get asked is about how long you should you wait to feel it. Should it be instantaneous, or will it develop over time? How do you get the balance right between not dismissing someone outright without wasting time going on lots of dates with someone with whom you have no spark?

Why is chemistry important when dating?

Physical chemistry is an incredibly important part of a relationship, and couples who feel this strongly have a much greater drive to work through the problems a relationship hits than those who don’t. Often it happens immediately – you meet someone and you feel you’re both buzzing. This has led us to believe that chemistry should always be instant, but this really isn’t the case.

We’ve lost count of the number of eharmony success couples who’ve told us that on first meeting their match they didn’t think they were suited, and needed a few dates to really feel comfortable. First dates can be stressful, and often people don’t come across as themselves – they may be nervous or awkward, not giving the best impression. You never know what chemistry might reveal itself if you were both more relaxed.

If you’re wondering about the chemistry you do, or rather don’t, have with a date, here are some things to remember:

1. Chemistry is essential – never compromise

How you feel about each other is, in theory, going to have to carry you along together for years to come. We’re not saying you should go into each date wondering whether they’ll make a potential husband/wife, but these longer term thoughts are important. If you’ve been on several dates with someone and you’re just not feeling the chemistry then it’s probably time to cut your losses.

2. Give it some time

That said, don’t expect a first date to be crackling with great chemistry. As we said above, chemistry can take time, and dismissing a perfectly nice person off the back of a couple of hours you spent together could be a mistake. However, if by the second or third date you can’t see yourself holding your date’s hand, or kissing them, then you should probably reassess the situation. You can’t make a spark from nothing.

3. Good looks do NOT equal chemistry

Attractiveness is not the same thing. Imagine you spot someone across the room at a party and find yourself thinking ‘wow, they’re attractive!’ Does that mean that when you walk over to talk to them you’ll instantly hit it off? Not at all, the conversation may go down like a lead balloon. This is why we urge eharmony members to look at more than just a match’s photos when making a decision about whether to communicate.