Shrinky’s Guide to Finding Love: There Is No Such Thing as Chemistry or Attraction

Shoshana’s Comments: The key to starting a relationship off right is to avoid using chemistry or attraction as a gauge of future potential. I know from experience they can be deceptive. In fact, instant chemistry or attraction can lead you to miss some of the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that your date is NOT the one for you. I’ve seen chemistry or attraction grow over time in couples that were willing to take a chance. Dr. Berger has produced yet another informative article.

Author: Dr. Glenn Berger, PhD

Having chemistry or attraction does not guarantee relationship success

Having chemistry or attraction does not guarantee relationship success

As a psychotherapist, I have many clients who are searching for love. When I ask them what they are looking for in a partner, they will usually start by saying, “I want someone I’m attracted to.”

Unfortunately, when I ask them their reaction upon meeting a new person, they will almost invariably say, “I’m not attracted to them, or, we don’t have any chemistry.”

I have always been mystified by these statements. What is this strange thing called chemistry? Why is it first on everyone’s list? Why, especially for those I work with who have a hard time finding love, is it so hard to find this “chemistry?”

I have recently come up with an idea that finally makes sense of this whole thing. This idea also suggests some ways that you can work on yourself to improve the likelihood that you will find the love you want, if that is what you are searching for in your life.

For all too many people, attraction seems to me to be one of the most unreliable measures of finding the relationship you want. We are very often attracted to exactly the wrong people. Is this purely a sexual thing? Is it completely based on looks? I don’t think so. Just look at your friend’s relationship choices.

Why is it that people who have a hard time finding love often find themselves attracted to people who are not available, and can’t seem to find anyone who is? Why do they find themselves unable to get out of relationships where their needs are clearly not being met, but can’t seem to get interested in anyone who will meet their needs?

The trickiest mystery about attraction is that is appears to be something we have no control over. Ask anyone and they will say that they are either attracted to someone or not. We all experience this as something that happens to us. Chemistry either happens or it doesn’t. If you are attracted to the wrong people, you’re just not lucky.

When you believe this, it feels like all you can do is wait for the “right” person to come along. You hope that a person will magically appear who you feel chemistry with who feels the same thing for you and is also a suitable life mate. If that doesn’t happen you are exonerated from blame, because this is all some mystery beyond your control.

We Create Chemistry or Attraction

Here is where I want to suggest an idea so radical, so different, that it may seem entirely implausible. Attraction, chemistry, isn’t something that just “happens.” It is something – albeit unconsciously – that you create, that you make happen. There is no such thing as “chemistry or attraction.” Really what is happening is that we are controlling our own emotional responses, out of our awareness.

How do I know? Having worked with many individuals and couples over the years, I am struck by the fact that every single person has their own relationship style. From the same pool of available partners, some people easily meet people and form quick bonds with them, but grow bored easily. Some can’t seem to meet anyone at all. Others fall in love and create lasting, good bonds. Some people only get into relationships with people who are bad for them. Some people find good partners but have a hard time making a commitment.

Why does everyone have such different experiences with relationship? The truth is we create these experiences more than we know.

How do we create our experiences? We all carry around a “map” of the world, and a “map” of ourselves. We expect the world to be a certain way, and we expect ourselves to be a certain way. When we have experiences that don’t fit into this map, most often we will do what we can to make the information fit. What do I mean?

For example, let’s say you hate yourself and you say the world is full of untrustworthy people. You meet someone who is nice and kind. You can’t believe that such a thing exists, so you don’t notice the person. Or, you tell yourself it’s not true, and you think the person is bad.

When you meet someone who fits your picture of yourself and the world, it rings a bell. If you meet someone who treats you bad, it confirms how you think of yourself and others. You tell yourself, “this is what I deserve.”

This can work for attraction, too. If you meet someone who doesn’t fit into the picture, you don’t have a response. It just doesn’t make sense. You don’t feel chemistry or attraction. But if you meet someone who fits the bill of someone who will treat you badly, you find it exciting, because it feels like home.

Why don’t people feel attraction to someone who is good for them? Usually it is because of fear. Instead of feeling the fear that goes along with something that doesn’t fit the picture, or map, we have of ourselves and the world, we shut down. Shutting down is what we do when there is a risk of feeling fear. Instead of feeling fear, we feel nothing.

We don’t realize we are shutting ourselves down. It just feels like we are “not attracted” to, or have no “chemistry” with that person.

The Secret to Finding Love is Creating Chemistry or Attraction

I’m not trying to say that you should be willing to get into a relationship with anyone. What I am saying is that when we are coming from a place of love instead of fear, it is easy to feel attracted to more and more people. As we become more and more aware of our emotions and what drives our emotions we have more choice.

When we are open-hearted, we have available to us a pool of an endless number of people to whom we are attracted. Then, instead of feeling like we are at the mercy of some mysterious thing called “chemistry,” that almost never happens, instead we can make a choice about the best person to be in a relationship with.

The solution to finding someone to love is not finding someone to whom you are “attracted.” The answer is to love yourself, and open your heart, and if you do you’ll find that you feel chemistry with the whole world.

About the Author

Glenn Berger, PhD,is a psychotherapist with 15 years experience in private practice. His invention, “Shrinky” gives you virtually what any good psychotherapist offers:

Support – All the information you need.
Advice- Ask Shrinky any questions about the issues of life.
Wisdom – Inspiration to help you on the journey.
Love – Connection, understanding, empathy, and acceptance.

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Article Source: Shrinky’s Guide to Finding Love: There Is No Such Thing as Chemistry or Attraction

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7 Responses to Chemistry or Attraction: They Can Stop You From Finding Love

  1. A. Rais says:

    I am so grateful that I tend to be very partmagic in my view of life. I know that others are wired different. That is not wrong. However being partmagic when it comes to romance is crucial in my opinion.

    Media presents a fantasy world when it comes to romance. I just cannot stand romance novels and love stories. No one can live up to that madness. NO ONE. Each couple is unique and their standard is the only one that matters. Trying to live by someone else’s standard puts unneeded pressure on both parties which will probably doom the relationship to failure before it gets started good.

    I learned about randomness in a pretty brutal way. My lovely husband was married to a wonderful woman who suddenly died of an illness. He had been a widower for a time before we started dating in April 2009. As you can imagine there is no way in the world I would have thought that Bernard and I would have any chemistry. He was not a prospect at all for obvious reasons.

    When I tell the young gals that you never know where the man will come from I have good reason. Many people may not consider good friends as potential romantic partners. However it can work as in our case.

    • Your story shows that you never know who you’ll find love with. If you go into your search for a relationship looking for perfection you’ll be disappointed. You should always think about what you want in a relationship before you start looking.

      Unfortunately many people get distracted by “attraction and chemistry,” however as you said you would have never though that you’d have chemistry with your husband. That’s why it’s important to give the “not so perfect” men a chance. You may not think he’s perfect for you, and you may be wrong. I’m glad you took the chance and found love with your husband. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Thanks stopping by my blog. One piece of advice I give to My clients, who have a problem attracting the same personality type, is to date they aren’t draw to initially. This takes a shift in thinking because most people are programmed to think that attraction/chemistry is something that happens right away. It can happen by spending time with someone and discovering that you have a lot in common and enough differences to keep it interesting.

  3. Gemma says:

    This was an amazing article!
    I have opened my heart this way and yes you do feel love and attraction with people on a new level. I’m not sure how easy it us to find the illusive chemistry with a person but I do know that no matter how much you open up you con not create true “chemistry” with any person. But what worse than never finding chemistry is finding this chemical connection with a person less suited for you. So I like your article because it is more important to find your ideal mate and sometime earth shattering chemistry and this person do joy come in the same package.

    • Gemma,

      That’s the problem with chemistry. Chemical connection is no indication of future relationship success. But still people look for chemistry. Some won’t date men if there’s no chemistry on the first date.

      The secret is knowing that chemistry and attraction can develop over time. You may get lucky and have it all, but not always. The smart dater, dates someone a few times before moving onto the next. If all else is a match for you – interests, beliefs, values. If he matches your dealbreaker and dealmaker lists. And you can find something about him you like, why not give him a chance.

      You never know, he may be the perfect man for you. But if you believe you need instant chemistry you may be chasing that man away and spending your time chasing a dream.

      The goal is true love, not true chemistry.


  4. Stacy says:

    This is entirely the situation I’m in with a guy friend in my life. And it coincides directly with the notion that “we only accept the kind of love into our lives that we feel we deserve”.

    I met this guy in a job training/employment program for young adults. I wasn’t initially attracted to him right away until I got to see his personality & character, and I really do love him. We hung out several times, but I don’t think I’ve ever really opened up to him fully as I’m usually quiet while getting to know someone. He found out I like him, and things haven’t been quite the same since. Right now, I honesy do not know what is going on with him as lately he’s totally changed and has taken on an entirely different persona. He’s been hanging out with drinking buddies, sex buddies, involved with drugs, and is about to move to the city with a girl who is obviously not best for him to live with her, and apparently they’ve never even met yet! He won’t listen to anyone, and the worst thing is he’s been pushing away not only me, but the other good people in his life.

    I know that he’s had some very rough things happen in his life. He had a tough upbringing, in foster homes, and they weren’t very good. We all know that from all of that, he doesn’t believe that he’s worthy or deserving of anything or anyone good in his life. He’s even told one of our friends this. I totally do respect the way he feels, I just wish, hope & pray that maybe he’ll realize what he really deserves and how I want to give him the love he truly needs & deserves. It’s no secret that he isn’t “attracted” to me, but I know there’s more depth to it than simply not being just attracted to someone. I’ve let him know that I’m always here for him if he ever needs someone to talk or a shoulder to cry on, and I’m praying that eventually he will realize the good that he truly deserves.

    • Stacy,

      It’s hard to see someone you care about on a self-destructive path. I’ve had this happen more than once in my personal life. The truth is you can’t change him. You can’t save people from themselves. He will travel this road until he either realizes that it’s a dead-end road or he may ride it to the end and stay at that dead-end. This can take years to happen, and some people never change. Hitting rock bottom does not always produce an aha moment. You can’t wait for that to happen.

      I understand that you love him, but you can’t wait for him to turn his life around, it might not happen. As a person who works women I’m guilty of using the term “The One.” However, I feel there is not just one man who ccan love at any one time in your life. You can still find love with someone else, a man who will return your love. But that won’t happen if you’re waiting on him to change.

      Remember even if he does straighten his life out, there’s no guarantee he’ll want to be with you. While you understand that a relationship is based on more than attraction, some people don’t. You mentioned more that once that he deserves love and goodness in his life, you need to remember that YOU deserve love too.

      You can be there for him as a friend, but you need to start living you life for you.

      I wish you the best in getting the love YOU deserve.


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