Question: How do I stop mistaking chemistry for true connection?
This is such an important question! Ignorance around this creates so much of the chaos we experience in intimate relationships. At the heart of this question is the difference between chemistry and compatibility.
Chemistry happens anywhere, anytime, instantly or even gradually over time, and it is certainly delicious! When you’re grocery shopping and notice that attractive person in the produce section and then suddenly find yourself fondling weird vegetables you have no intention of buying, that’s chemistry at play. Chemistry has you swooning at the cut of his jaw or the scent of her hair.
Even beyond physical chemistry that has you aching for this person in the wee hours of the night, chemistry can also have you laughing effortlessly at each other’s jokes and feeling oddly certain you’ve known this person forever despite just meeting them a few hours ago.
Indeed, chemistry is powerful. Delicious! Divine! Delightful! … and potentially Destructive. For it loves to thumb its nose at compatibility, which is a very different thing.
In fact, so many couples ignore the fiery red flags of incompatibility slapping them in the face as they slalom down the slippery slope of strong chemistry, unaware there’s an awful steep cliff at the end of this run!
Compatibility is about similar lifestyle choices and a shared vision for the life you want to create together. It’s completely different—and equally important, if not more so—than chemistry.
Do you both want to get married? Do you both want kids? By when? Do you both want to live in the city? Or is a country house with chickens more desirable to one of you? Do you share similar concerns about the world or are you likely to spend six months a year on a boat in the pacific fighting illegal fishing while he manages his fantasy football team?
Look, chemistry without compatibility works great when your goal is a short-term love affair. But when you’re ready to build a life with someone, make sure you both share a similar vision for that life, and that the timing is right for you both. For that’s another big compatibility issue: Are you both ready to create that vision?
I don’t think it’s ever too soon to talk compatibility, even before your first date. After all, if you’re truly ready to build a life with someone, why even go to dinner with someone who’s just gonna choke on their veggie burger when you share your desire for kids?
About the author
A former US Air Force Captain turned Author / Coach / Speaker, Bryan Reeves has triumphed through multiple dark nights of the soul after hurling himself into the transformational fires of intimate relationship over and over again. With a Masters Degree in Human Relations and massive insight gleaned through countless adventures (and misadventures, too), Bryan coaches men, women and couples in creating thriving lives and relationships. He is a regular blog contributor to Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, Raw Attraction Magazine and more. His book “The Sex, Flirting, Dating, Hunting and Hoping Diet” is on Amazon. Connect with Bryan at www.BryanReeves.com.