Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Chemistry

First dates.  Let’s face it, they’re weird.  You get together with someone you don’t know (in my case, usually over drinks) to hang out/talk/get to know each other a little bit while you’re each thinking the same thing:  Is this someone I want to have with?

Because, really, that’s what is.  At it’s most basic level.  And that’s the main thing most of us check for on first dates.  .  Do I or don’t I want to fuck this person?  Maybe not tonight (probably not tonight, if I want there to be future dates…) but eventually.

Sure, there are other things we check for too.  I have my laundry list (kindness, a great dad if he has kids, smart as hell…).  We all have our laundry lists.  But without chemisty I find it hard to get excited about seeing a guy again.

Which doesnt mean I won’t accept a if there’s no chemistry on the first.  Sometimes I do.  And I’m not sure why.  Or if this is a good thing.  Really, I’m pretty damn confused about it.

Just recently I wrote about a case where this happened.  And there have been many others.  First dates that were perfectly fine and the guy seemed nice enough and so I said yes to a second date even though there was no chemistry between us.   There’s a part of me that believes that chemistry can come later.  And a part that thinks that, nope, that’s just impossible.  It’s either there or it’s not.

What do you think?  Is chemistry always there from the very start, or can it blossom and bloom after two people meet?

  • It has to be there in the beginning. If it’s not there on day one, it’s never going to come. (39 votes)
  • Chemistry can develop between two people as they get to know one another. (71 votes)
  • I’m not sure. (14 votes)
  • Other. Please explain in the comments. (6 votes)

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23 to “Chemistry”


  1. Tina T says:

    I think that chemistry either is or isn’t there from the first look. When you make eye contact there’s either a spark, or there isn’t. I have lots of friends who prefer to make that first date a one hour “coffee date” so that if that spark isn’t there isn’t a long date to suffer through.

  2. aGirlNamedMe says:

    I don’t think it has to be hot hot chemistry from the very start, but there has to be something right from the start. Maybe it’s more about there being good communication right from the start? If the conversation isn’t flowing, and there are awkward silences – the sex is going to be weird.

  3. ChristinaO says:

    Immediate chemistry to me is more a lust thing. Sure it’s great, but it’s not always enough for a long-term relationship if that’s what you’re after.

    While it hasn’t happened to me yet, I’ve known many many people who took a few years of knowing someone and creating a deep bond before they looked at each other and decided they wanted to sleep together – and most of those are 20+ years into happy marriages.

    So I’m willing to give a guy the benefit of the doubt. If the conversation is good, the guy kind and interesting – then yes, I’ll go out on a second, third, tenth date. To me, dating is getting to know the other person to see if they’re someone I want to spend my life (or a few years) with and I’m not willing to shuck them off if I’m not itch to hop into bed with them immediately. Sometimes it just takes a couple of dates to get comfortable with someone to decide that there’s something there.

    Based on my past history (and that of many friends), the immediate chemistry guys work out occasionally, but are more good for a few romps before realizing we have nothing to talk about and go our seperate ways.

    I guess it’s a usage of terminology for “chemistry” great conversation and an interest in learning more about the other person is a form of chemistry, it’s just different from the “I want to jump your bones” chemistry.

  4. Hammer86 says:

    I totally don’t find first dates weird at all, I find them fun and exciting. I pretty much always have fun on a first date with a new person and even if I don’t feel the chemistry she usually does and as a result it usually ends up in the bedroom.

    I think you’re confusing attraction and chemistry. Attraction is “do I want to fuck this person?” or more importantly “does this person make my dick hard/pussy wet?” Chemistry is, “do I like talking to this person?” I think they’re often much more interlinked in women than they are in men, which makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective.

    Chemistry can develop over the course of time as two people open up to each other. Attraction is not going to change as much, although a person can gain a couple of points for having a great personality.

  5. bbbex says:

    First dates (and second dates) are like job interviews. I agree with hammer about attraction vs. chemistry. I think there needs to be a mix of both, but also that I think the attraction can grow for a person over time. I’m not saying if you find someone butt-ugly on the first date is going to do it for you over the next three, but just give them more of a chance and try to look past the superficial “cover” before judging the whole book at first glance.

  6. PursuitOfPassion says:

    Personally, if I have fun with a person on the first date, there doesn’t necessarily have to be instant chemistry in order to desire a second date. I have been on two different first dates that were just INCREDIBLE. An instant connection. Seemingly linked in a cosmic way. BUT! The relationship didn’t last very long in either situation. So was that instant chemistry that important?
    On the other hand, I’ve been on first dates that were a little awkward, but enjoyable. And chemistry developed over the course of the second, third, etc dates. Long-term relationships developed from those late-blooming chemistry dates.
    I guess for me, I’m still trying to figure it all out like everyone else. But I’d like to think that someday I’ll meet someone on a first date and have something that is a mix between the two experiences…. Instant, but subtle chemistry that will grow stronger over time. A girl can only hope. (BTW, tonight is a second date for me… I’m hoping that chemistry will be there growing!)

  7. pansophy says:

    Chemistry is either there or it isn’t. But every once in a while you don’t know you have chemistry right away. So I wouldn’t say that chemistry builds over time, but sometimes it gets uncovered with time.

    Love builds over time, which is not the same thing, though love and chemistry often have synergistic action…

  8. Simone Grant says:

    -Tina T.
    Thanks for dropping by :-) Oh, I never agree to a first date that has to last more than 30 minutes. That way if it’s just awful I can go. That’s why it’s usually just a drink (coffee, wine, beer, whatever).
    -aGirlNamedMe
    So it sounds like you’re in the “in between” camp? Which is where I am. For now.
    -ChristinaO
    Welcome to the blog. You just described my exact situation. Except I’ve had some pretty serious relationships (that didn’t work out) based on chemistry. And I know some married couples who started out as friends w/o chemistry who insist it came with time. Hmmm.
    -Hammer86
    No, I’m not confused. Not everyone who has a different opinion or experience/worldview than you is wrong or confused. I can be very much attracted to a man but have no chemistry with him. This has happened to me many times. And I think there are other women who’ve experienced this. Maybe it’s a female thing, or many it’s just some people. But it’s my truth.
    -bbex
    I agree with you that some first dates can be like job interviews. I hate those. Luckily, some are more fun.
    -PursuitOfPassion
    Good luck on your date tonight. It sounds like you’ve already experienced the best of both worlds. That’s pretty awesome.

  9. dazediva says:

    I was debating whether to pick ‘instant chemistry’ or ‘chemistry can grow’ .. but voted for it has to be there at the start … In all my past relationships / dating experiences – the chemistry (physical / mental / sexual) has been there from the first time I’ve started talking to someone or having met them …

    I have also however gone out with a guy I met online – and we were chatting online / sms for a few weeks before actually meeting up (but I knew from the time I saw his photograph the first time that I definitely wanted to see him – and totally helped that he was smart, funny, and just as hot in person too!)

    So yeah – instant chemistry is great – but doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship will last … whereas I suppose as we get older or mature about relationships or the fact that our perception of what a relationship is supposed to mean changes – then chemistry can bloom between people as they get to know each other (but I feel there’s a time line on that – if the chemistry isn’t boiling after a few weeks of talking / initial dates etc and you don’t want to rip that persons’ clothes off when you lay eyes on them … maybe you are better off looking elsewhere no matter how great that person might be)

  10. Simone Grant says:

    -pansophy
    Darnit, we must have been writing at the same time. I like that, “it can be uncovered over time”.

  11. SIngletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    To answer a question like this, I think you have to ask what causes chemistry in the first place. It seems to be a mix of physical attraction and emotional rapport. Emotional rapport can grow over time, and, for some people, it can override a lack of physical attraction. In other words, it can CREATE an attraction where there wasn’t one before…for some people, in some situations. For others, like myself, that never happens. Physical attraction has to be there first. No matter how emotionally close I get to a guy, if there’s no physical attraction from the outset, the emotional closeness isn’t going to produce an attraction. I think people seem to be split pretty evenly into those two camps–either they can develop a physical attraction from emotional rapport or they can’t. Sorry if I sound like a broken record here! I know I’ve said this before.

  12. wwfchic says:

    I think it’s both. On a date – I need the instant chemistry. But – I’ve had friendships that have grown into more over time…once you get to know someone and their funny stuff then you develop chemistry with them.

    But for the most part – and in my current BF case – it was instant.

    Actually – I think he’s “the one” and I pretty much knew it from day one.

  13. Tales From A Bar Stool says:

    I believe in instant chemistry. You will know 99.9% of the time when meeting someone for the first time if there’s some kind of connection between the two of you. Being friends with someone and wanting to hang out with someone doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with chemistry. Chemistry is like an electric charge where you instantly want to spend more time with that person and don’t want to leave their side, you feel it every single time you meet, you get a lump in your throat or flip flops in your belly. I’ve never been with someone where the chemistry grew over time. It was always there from the beginning.

  14. X-caliber says:

    Chemistry, when initially strong can overpower the senses. In my experience it diminishes reason and exacerbates delusion to the point that one doesn’t recognize the woman inhaling her breakfast the morning after. Though exciting and fun, instant and intense chemistry isn’t a prerequisite, a level of common interest and the ability to communicate is. I think people sometimes mistake that for friendship. Baseless chemistry is infatuation and best designated to fuckbuddies while relationships; they take time and just a moderate dose of infatuation to spark interest. To answer your question, yes, the trace elements of chemistry are there at the start and it blossoms as catalysts are discovered … with time.

  15. PiscesInPurple says:

    Chemistry can definitely develop over time. It won’t be the same kind of fiery chemistry, but it’s there all the same. And perhaps it’s a better kind, destined to last longer. Maybe. Really I think that each case is unique though.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think chemistry can happen over time, but I think it rarely develops over time when you’re online dating because online dating doesn’t allow for such organic growth. Haven’t you ever known someone, been friends with them for awhile, thought nothing of them except that, “I really like hanging out with them because they’re fun”, and then suddenly (or not so suddenly) you find that they are the ones you want to hang out with all the time? It doesn’t happen to me often, but it has happened to me occasionally with men with whom I developed a friendship (and not often – believe me, I have a lot of male friends with whom that has never happened). But, with online dating, I think the chemistry either is there or it isn’t. You don’t have the time nor do you necessarily want to make the time for the chemistry to appear one day because that isn’t the goal of online dating.

  17. TonyImages says:

    I agree and disagree with different opinions here. Ok I’ll give you that attraction or acceptance can grow over time but that’s just you getting used to that person (with whatever faults they had when you met them for the first time) True chemistry can not be replaced in time nor adopted .. it just cant (first impressions are lasting and only happen once, you cant un-ring that bell) And its not to say if you’re a level headed person and not totally superficial that you can grow to accept and like (love) that person and be attracted.
    Here is my definition: two people meeting and having a strong “knowing” about each other without having to say a word. It doesn’t have to be sexual but most definitely opens that door.

  18. girl in saigon says:

    Just started reading your blog and I am hooked.
    Chemistry is just another word for “let’s get on”. From experience usually caused by attraction of issues that lead to broken relationships.
    Say if you are an insecure lot you usually get attracted to men who lets you down most times but you still come for more believing it’s chemistry.
    I think I’m writing my life story here so I’ll just shut up for now.

  19. Azarel says:

    …sometimes people don’t act like themselves on a first date and it tends to kill the chemistry that could’ve been there.
    Thats why, in these special cases, chemistry can spring up after the two parties get to know each other more….i think

  20. Jennifer12445 says:

    I totally agree with you! In the relations of 2-people at the very beginning there is some chemistry, some miracle! And then …. it all depends on the people themselves!

  21. Simone Grant says:

    -dazediva
    Wow, you and I were writing at exactly the same time yesterday. I hate when that happen. So you think it can develop, but only within a certain period of time – a window? I can see that.
    -SIngletude: A Positive Blog for Singles
    You don’t sound like a broken record. I think it’s refreshing that you are open to the idea that it’s different for different people. So many others are certain it’s always the same for everyone. And I’m just uncertain, but willing to be convinced.
    -wwfchic
    Congrats and I hope it works out :-)
    -Tales From A Bar Stool
    That’s the way it’s always been for me. So far.
    -X-caliber
    You don’t seem to be a big fan of chemistry?
    -PiscesInPurple
    I’m willing to go with an each case is unique. And I like the idea of a blossoms over time. In theory. Still waiting for the practice.
    -Anonymous
    That’s an excellent point. And probably why I’m unwilling to chat with guys online for extended periods of time. I want to meet and see whats what. You can’t tell anything online.
    -TonyImages
    So it sounds like you’re another person for “each case is different”?
    -girl in saigon
    Welcome to the blog and thanks for the compliment. Everyone writes there life stories here in one way or another.
    -Azarel
    I tend to agree about people on first dates, which is why I’ll go one second dates with guys even if there was no chemistry on the first. But… usually there’s still no chemistry.
    -Jennifer12445
    Welcome to the blog. Yes – if it’s there – pow. If not – :-(

  22. Veka says:

    If there is zero chemistry from the start, chances are there won’t ever be. In my most recent dating experience with The Trainer, the first time we met we were immediately attracted to each other (well I didn’t know he was into me at the time) but he had a girlfriend so I didn’t really pay him any mind. Months go by, he becomes single, and then when we actually started spending time together the chemistry began to grow.

    On the other hand, I had zero chemistry with W at first. I couldn’t stand him when we first met, and he is now my friend with benefits. Go figure.

  23. My Kafkaesque Life says:

    I think chemistry can develop, because not every day and in every situation one can be the best her is… and sometimes 2 people get the wrong impression due to various reasons. So, better giving someone the second chance, unless you really know there’s no point in doing it.


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