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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

Chemistry in the 21st Century

Historically, chemistry has been the benchmark for selecting which mate to couple with. In prehistoric times, chemistry, on a certain level, is probably what motivated, at least for one of the parties involved, the actual survival of the species.

One of the most important things that people say that they are looking for in dating is “chemistry.” While it makes sense to want to achieve that, the irony, is that in online dating profiles, “chemistry” is listed, almost the same as any other personality “quality” desired. Chemistry is not a personality trait, but rather, a dating “goal.”

Realistically, how can anyone try to “attain” chemistry, based on what someone writes in a dating profile? Of course, one cannot simply decide to have good chemistry; it is not something that a person can find out about and get into, like a hobby. It’s not something that anyone can really fake, in an effort to get acquainted with someone. Sure, anyone can feign enthusiasm about just about anything. But the reality in dating is that eventually, it will be apparent by the person that you are trying to fool, that he or she “just isn’t that into you.”


Comedian come talk show host Greg Behrendt’s (The Greg Behrendt Show), popular tome, He’s Just Not That Into You, is basically, about chemistry. The book describes with honest brutality, the various scenarios, which amount to excuses, as to why people don’t follow-up and pursue romance, after meeting or even developing friendships, that seem to suggest the possibility of romance.

With the right chemistry, people overlook many things in dating prospects. So even when great people are met, with wonderful qualities, some of which result in real attraction, if a core chemical element is missing, it is usually enough to not follow through on a romantic level.

Information that may have been seen in an online profile (but isn’t, because they are met in person, and the profile that may have been concocted is never seen), could be totally overlooked, because the profile is never seen, and there is a connection. That is another of the ironies associated with online dating; initially, traditional chemistry is not present. Often, before there is ever even an opportunity to see if chemistry exists between two people, they are privy to all sorts of other spiritual and intellectual details. It’s amazing what people are willing to put forth about themselves, to perfect strangers. Oftentimes, the information written in an online dating profile would never be offered to someone using verbal communication, in person.

The Internet has created a very comfortable situation, in which people can say things that they might never say in person, sometimes, because they are actually better writers than speakers. In other cases, information is stated in writing, because it probably just would never occur to them to say it in person. When people meet in person first, they are distracted by physical appearance, and how it feels to be around someone. It is immediately noticeable, if there is chemistry there.

All the same, some people do say that they can “fall in love” with words. Words can have a lot of power, especially if the source is not known or considered. And this is why, after long periods of time communicating online, when some people meet, the connection just fades away. Or one or both people realize that there was not a genuine connection in the first place.

In the above ways, the Internet can be more of a “wish list” environment, than a real, honest place in which to find what is realistically available, in the form of human companionship.

When it comes to dating, although people who meet in the “virtual” world often consider that they have developed an affinity with those they meet online, real, true, chemistry usually exists first and foremost, in the “real world.”

Conversely, those who meet in the flesh first, often never find out certain things about an individual – very deeply personal convictions, that perfect strangers can learn, simply by browsing a profile online.

There is no doubt that a relationship that involves an intense chemistry between two people can be extremely emotionally powerful. Chemistry can be confusing, as it can exist without real love. Chemistry without love can be a challenge, if both people are not in the same place about the relationship.

The biologically based type of electricity that creates a passion, can often be felt by others in a couple’s presence, which is often one of the most powerful kinds, as it can intensify over time.

While chemistry may be the reason that a relationship begins, it can also surface after or as the result of, a friendship. The latter is usually less likely, but possible. Chemistry, like any other chemically based substance, can also overwhelm and cloud judgment. The magnetic attraction is seductive, and as a result, it can be mistaken for love. When this happens, and immediate physical intimacy results, it’s often a very limited involvement. Once the sizzling attraction fades – there is not much left to the relationship. Therefore, anyone whose goal is a solid, long-term relationship will be left disappointed.

Unfortunately, it really does take getting to know each other through a variety of shared experiences, in order to form a lasting bond. Usually, lasting relationships most often take place with a partner who has similar values and goals, and is also ready, willing and able, to work to achieve those goals.

Even when a dating relationship lacks chemistry, it can still develop a strong bond, but tends to lean more toward a more platonic friendship.

Sometimes, however, people are so self-involved with the stressors of life, that they don’t loosen up enough to be able to feel a chemistry that could be there. Releasing inhibitions so that people can actually feel what may be around them, could enable them to find an attraction that they may otherwise, never have known was there.

An example is a suddenly surprising feeling that may happen, after a long friendship – when it is discovered that a “friend” is actually a soul mate. That is the kind of chemistry that can exceed any expectations, especially those that may have happened in the past, with more surface-types of relationships.

While chemistry is not needed to be in love, when it is there, it can take people to emotional levels that exceed any other type of relationship. At its core, the key is the ability to be open enough to feel and experience true emotions, rather than those that we may be conditioned to feel, by the effects of friends, social relationships and types of media.

The bottom line, is that to the extent that we remain open as individuals, we can choose to make our own decisions about what is important to us, rather than what seems to be the norm. By doing that, we can allow ourselves a better chance of finding, getting to know and appreciating people for who they really are. In so doing, we may also discover the kind of attraction that builds with time, for more quality dating prospects that may result in true, lasting partnerships.

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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