Romantic Chemistry: The Chemistry of Relationships

chemistry-man-womanChemistry in relationships is the way two people interact with and relate to each other, and the effect they have on one another, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. As long as two people are in touch, they have some form of chemistry. But good romantic chemistry — chemistry which causes two people to feel comfortable and want to continue interacting — is a catalyst in relationships; good chemistry creates relationships without much effort.

What Causes Good Romantic Chemistry?

Interpersonally, good chemistry is caused by simply being involved with someone you are in tune with. It is experienced as a “high” or a general feeling of well-being and happiness in the presence of another person. With great chemistry you may be attracted to someone without wanting to be attracted, and without knowing why you are.

Biologically, romantic chemistry is created by the typical “feel good” neurochemicals that cause people to become addicted to intimacy, drugs, or certain types of food. The most important of these, dopamine and oxytocin, create feelings of pleasure, trust, and energy. Your body likes these feelings and desires more of what is creating them — in this case, interacting with the person you have great chemistry with.

Is Chemistry Necessary?

While romantic chemistry provides the spark of instant attraction which causes intimate relationships to be formed immediately, chemistry is not entirely necessary for a relationship to begin. A relationship can be built for other reasons, some of which are more substantial than good feelings. But more importantly chemistry can not sustain a relationship.

Romantic chemistry will not last forever — eventually, being in the presence of another person will cease to have the effect it used to. Just as the pleasure of a certain food decreases with increasing servings, the feeling of energy and euphoria of being with another person wane with time and amount of interaction.

But it’s easy to become addicted to this state of well-being, to become a love junkie who needs these excited feelings to be comfortable in a relationship and feels restless otherwise. Soon you’re off to find a new relationship — or a new high — to recreate these feelings of intoxication. As romantic chemistry lasts a few months to a couple of years, you can repeat this cycle over and over again.

Lasting Chemistry

That initial jolt of excitement and well-being may not last forever but true chemistry can. This chemistry is created by rapport and harmony, commitment, and respect for your partner. It’s important to develop these aspects while you’re still in the first highs of new love, to create as smooth a transition as possible from infatuation to loving commitment.

Have you ever experienced good chemistry with another person? How important is chemistry for you in dating and relationships?

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25 thoughts on “Romantic Chemistry: The Chemistry of Relationships

  1. I loved how you broke this down, and most importantly how you say that romantic chemistry doesn’t last forever. I’ve always believed that at a very basic level, I needed to like the guy as a person. This is equal to the rapport, harmony, and respect you stated. Because sometimes you’re going to feel like killing him, even if he IS the best guy for you. You might even feel like you need to walk away. And sometimes you DO need to walk away (divorce). What keeps everything civil is that you both like each other as a person.

    I see so many people dating someone who they wouldn’t otherwise want to be seen in public with or someone they would trust with a cent of their belongings, if it weren’t for the fact that they were “in love.”

  2. Hi Valerie, thanks. Your blog looks wonderful, btw.

    “I’ve always believed that at a very basic level, I needed to like the guy as a person. This is equal to the rapport, harmony, and respect you stated.”

    Yes.

    On the surface there may not seem to be a difference between like and attraction, after all, why would you be with a person you didn’t like? But there is one. You have to like the person you’re attracted to and/or in a relationship with.

    “Because sometimes you’re going to feel like killing him, even if he IS the best guy for you.”

    Yes. Hah.

    “What keeps everything civil is that you both like each other as a person.”

    Makes you wonder then, why break-ups are usually so awful…

  3. I believe that most relationships nowadays are based only on this. Wool heads and flighty people who live in the moment. I read a lot of womens magazines and one particlar swedish relationship forum and there’s clearly people who lives on this.. One year after you to got married all the sudden the spark is gone. Not a single practical thought in their head.

  4. Nkosazana,

    “I believe that most relationships nowadays are based only on this.”

    Could be. Surely a lot of people think that this is what love and relationships are, and if the chemistry is not there then the relationship isn’t meant to be.

    Well, they’ll learn… Or not.

  5. Tony,

    ‘ “We were not built to be happy but to reproduce.”

    a simple idea yet it explains so much.’

    Well you’re quite the cynic, aren’t you? ;)

    In any case, feeling well and secure, i.e. being happy, is pretty important to human beings.

  6. Well you’re quite the cynic, aren’t you?

    Yes I am, but I like to think of it as being older and wiser. ;)
    But you are in your twenties, so carry on. It’s the stuff of great movies and stories I admit.

  7. I do think this chemistry is important for a start of a relationship. But it’s not what will keep it and make it strong throughout the years. Also, this state of euphoria isn’t real love or devotion.

    Tim,

    “a relatively small area of the human brain is active in love, compared with that involved in, say, ordinary friendship.”

    Strange, because to me, friendship is part of a romantic love.

  8. Tony,

    I’m younger and wisest. :)

    But hmmm, I don’t see what age has to do with this. A person can be a love junkie or romantic for life; it probably has more to do with a person’s personality than anything else. Anyway, this article is far from a great love story — in love stories the chemistry never ends!

  9. Alee, I’m glad you’re talking about this! A lot of girls/women *cough* Jennifer Lopez*cough* are so intoxicated with the giddy feeling that when it’s time for a sustained relationship lasting over time, they grow bored, then panic because they have the faulty assumption that those feelings are ALWAYS supposed to be there, and if there not, that means something’s wrong with the relationship and it’s therefore, doomed. What’s worse, you have the not-so-great media machine stuffing this nonsense down all our throats. I’ve been married almost a decade, and if our relationship was based solely of whether or not my husband gives me butterflies every time he walks into a room, it would have been over five years ago.

  10. I’m younger and wisest.
    @Alee, you are, and I hope you stay that way. :)
    it probably has more to do with a person’s personality than anything else
    True and maybe the luck of the draw.

    Strange, because to me, friendship is part of a romantic love.
    @Mira, I think it is, usually, although there are weekend flings and holiday romances where the two people love without even really knowing each other.
    Probably in most romantic relationships you invest both areas of the brain but it is interesting that we invest more brain resources in a friendship than a romance.

  11. But here’s the thing: I don’t see it as investing more into relationship than romance; I see friendship as an integral part of romance. So you can say we invest a lot of us in love: the brain resources meant for friendship, sexual attraction, etc.

  12. Mira,

    “Also, this state of euphoria isn’t real love or devotion.”

    Right. Too many people confuse it with these. It can feel like a strong sense of attachment.

    “Strange, because to me, friendship is part of a romantic love.”

    Yes — that’s what I was thinking. But then friendship doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of romantic love. In lasting and satisfying relationships, it is.

    Hey Christelyn,

    “A lot of girls/women *cough* Jennifer Lopez*cough* are so intoxicated with the giddy feeling”

    Lol. She might be a good example, AFAIK.

    But I’ve noticed a lot of guys get addicted to chemistry as well. Especially the Romeos.

  13. Mira,

    “I don’t see it as investing more into relationship than romance; I see friendship as an integral part of romance. So you can say we invest a lot of us in love: the brain resources meant for friendship, sexual attraction, etc.”

    That’s a good way to think about it. In an ideal relationship that would definitely be the case.

    Another way is that relationships have become so evolved over time that they no longer activate large portions of the brain. Like computers — they become smaller as they become more advanced. :P

  14. While the spark and the chemistry plays a big role, relationships can only last and grow with much more (communication, understanding, respect, and compatibility to name a few).

    Love and lust (attraction) get mixed up a lot. If more people would focus on building quality relationships, and qualifying their partners properly for more traits like the ones mentioned above, there’d be a lot less confusion (and divorces).

  15. Hey Jason. :)

    Agreed. I don’t want to downplay the importance of chemistry — it is important. But it needs more. It’s just the stepping stone.

    “Love and lust (attraction) get mixed up a lot. If more people would focus on building quality relationships, and qualifying their partners properly for more traits like the ones mentioned above, there’d be a lot less confusion (and divorces).”

    100 percent agreed. I think it’s just so easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all, that worrying about more solid qualities can seem like a bother. But it’s important; crucial.

  16. Wow, I don’t think I ever have…which is sad.

    My parents have been married for over 30 years and I honestly think they just reached the state of lasting respect for each other. Or maybe they had it and lost it. I do know that they had neither romantic or lasting chemistry while I was a teenager and more aware of the weight of their interactions. I moved back home 2 years ago after graduating and I’ve seen them develop to today exactly what you described as ” rapport and harmony, commitment, and respect” for each other. The big difference is that my dad has stepped up…I noticed in the past he didn’t treat my mother with much respect but it has changed.

    They are wonderful to watch together and an amazing example to me and all of my brothers that marriage ain’t easy and takes work, dedication and most of all respect from both sides. I could really see them being happy together for another 30 years.

    I know it’s kind of detailed but I guess I wanted to share what I’ve noticed about what you wrote in the context of a fairly long marriage.

  17. I use to be a love junkie. It was easy because I grew up in a single parent household never seeing what real love or a marriage looked like. So, I did what most people do, turn to books and movies as my models. Movies like Twilight are famous for giving these false images of what love is. This adds to what people are believing and looking for in their own love life. I finally realized that love looked nothing like what I thought, and that the initial high feeling would wear off with everyone no matter who it was. And to conclude my thoughts,I totally agree with Christelyn and Jason 100% :).

  18. df, hey, you should use one screenname — I get confused if you switch your names all the time and I manually clear all comments with a new name/email so it may take some time for your comments to appear if you switch.

    That’s good to hear about your parents. Even if it takes years, at least they stuck it out and now are great together.

    “marriage ain’t easy and takes work, dedication and most of all respect from both sides.”

    Yes.

    “I know it’s kind of detailed but I guess I wanted to share what I’ve noticed about what you wrote in the context of a fairly long marriage.”

    Psshhh… that’s not detailed enough. :)

  19. Hi Nikisha,

    “I use to be a love junkie.”

    Used to be? What exactly cured you of your addiction? :)

    “the initial high feeling would wear off with everyone no matter who it was.”

    Yes, it will. No matter how fabulously awesome that person is. But it will hopefully be replaced by a steady loving and secure feeling.

  20. Alee,
    I opened up the Bible one day and wanted to see what it had to say about love. It had things in it that didn’t coincide with what I thought love was ( you know…burning fiery passion and butterflies forever and ever…). I was also blessed to finally be around some couples who had been married for eons. That gave me a great model as to what real love looked like. Lastly but not not least, my boyfriend showed me what love was from day one. I was a basket case when he met me and he toughed it out, he always treated me with respect, and was always there even when things got really bad. He was always trying to work things out with me. Between those three things and horrible past relationships I had an “aha” moment. It took a lot hurt, mistakes, self reflecting, prayer, and admitting I failed because I had no idea what love was to begin with. So it took a heck of a lot to cure me of my addiction, but I’m grateful I understand what love really is now. :)

  21. Nikisha,

    “I opened up the Bible one day and wanted to see what it had to say about love.”

    I do like what the Bible has to say about love — inspiring. But it seems like it’s pretty difficult for most people to follow.

    “Lastly but not not least, my boyfriend showed me what love was from day one. I was a basket case when he met me and he toughed it out”

    LOL.

    I applaud Mr. Nikisha/Carlypoo for being so strong — now that’s a man. :D

    “It took a lot hurt, mistakes, self reflecting, prayer, and admitting I failed because I had no idea what love was to begin with.”

    And I applaud you for admitting that… many people won’t. Self-reflection and responsibility are key to positive change.

  22. Lol, ” Mr. Nikisha/Carlipooh” Alee got jokes!

    “And I applaud you for admitting that… many people won’t. Self-reflection and responsibility are key to positive change.”

    Thank you Alee, those are key. :)

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