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Compatibility and Chemistry in Relationships – 5 Relationship Experts Share How To Have Both in Your Relationship

by Teresa Petersen Mendoza – MS, LMFT, Amy Sherman – M.A., LMHC, Hadley Hill – MA, LPC, Amanda McPherson – Life Coach, Natasha Silver Bell – Recovery Coach

Compatibility and Chemistry in Relationships

“There might be a lot of physical chemistry within a couple, but without the compatibility of life philosophy and interests then the relationship will likely not be long-lasting.”

~ John Friend

John Friend Chemistry and Compatibility Quote
Teresa Petersen Mendoza

The combination of chemistry and compatibility is the holy grail of dating. 

It’s not uncommon to find that combo difficult to find. What can help is to be fully engaged in the date, not just sitting back observing from the third-person. 

Chemistry between two people takes both people. 

When women date a lot, they can become a bit cynical. This leads to entering dates from a place of judgment instead of a place of connection. 

Focusing on your partner, really trying to get to know him, will help determine if there is compatibility. In the long run, that’s more important than just great chemistry.

If you feel a strong chemistry, enjoy it, but remember to go deeper to discover who your date really is. 

The chemical connection can mask incompatibility. 

Want to rip each other’s clothes off? Great! Do you both want the same things out of life and share similar values? More important to find that out.

My husband and I both agree our first date five years ago was the best first date each of us had ever had. However, there was a lot to sort through to determine if we were compatible. Those things included previous marriages, kids, career changes, life goals and expectations in relationship. 

The compatibility issues were what created breakups and reunions and those experiences keep us together today.

Teresa Petersen Mendoza, MS, LMFT – www.linkedin.com/in/teresapetersen

Hadley Hill

I truly wish I knew the secret to finding a relationship with a healthy balance of both chemistry and compatibility. 

I honestly think it comes down to an intersection of several factors: 

always working to build awareness and insight, recognizing and then challenging one’s own patterns, allowing ample time to heal from past relationships, good timing, and a little luck.

Often after several ended relationships, women start to recognize that what initially attracted them to a partner actually turned out to be the very thing that soured the relationship. 

  • Maybe she loved his initial boldness and swagger in pursuing her… but he turned out to use this on lots of other women as well. 
  • Maybe she liked his outgoing personality… but then ended up having to compete with it. 
  • Maybe she was intrigued by his quietness and air of artistic mystery… until she realized it was a wall keeping her at arm’s length. 
  • Maybe she enjoyed the challenge of someone not fully available…until it really sank in that he was not ever going to be available.

Breakups like these, especially when they come in patterns, are perfect opportunities to examine 

  • what initially attracts us the most to a partner, 
  • what leads to our relationships’ downfalls, and 
  • the relationship between these two things. I believe at a certain point, if women find themselves stuck in these patterns, they need to reevaluate what they view as attractive. 

This may sound impossible, but I truly believe this begins to happen naturally as women gain more self awareness and insight into their relationship history. 

Recognize that what initially feels exciting and gratifying often ends in heartbreak or disappointment, and that what might have been a more subtle and less memorable attraction at first turned out to be a stable, secure, relationship with no major stress or heartache. 

With enough repeated learning experiences (and yes, it takes a lot more than one time for most of us to truly learn this lesson!), we get wiser and are able to more quickly identify red flags in a partner, or when we are falling into old patterns. 

Essentially, we develop a more accurate radar for true compatibility, which helps us navigate the chemistry with a clearer head. 

Regular journaling and a good therapist can do wonders to speed and deepen this learning process.

Hadley Hill, MA, LPC – www.mind-diagnostics.org/listing/75578-Hadley-Hill

Amy Sherman

Finding a great relationship is wonderful and if you do, you’d better keep him! 

But for most women, you will be dating many men, for many months, before you find “the one.” In fact, it may take a while for his true character and your compatibility to be revealed to you. 

And then, much to your surprise, his laughter, broad smile – even love handles – start to become endearing and actually sexy. This means that the good stuff is really great, the chemistry is there and the two of you are headed in the right direction.

How do you know you have both chemistry and compatibility?

1. You find he shares some similar quirks with you (you both dislike strawberries) or one of your not-so-common interests (you both enjoy the opera). 

You enhance each other in a way that makes you feel comfortable, not smothered. Basically, you invigorate, not exhaust, each other.

2. You share an underlying knowledge of what makes the other person tick. 

Your relationship seems very natural and appears to connect you on a deeper, more emotional level. You may finish his sentences, be calling each other at the same time, or experience déjà vu because you are both more conscious of each other’s actions and behaviors than with others.

3. You both continue to pursue your individual interests with other friends without the need to spend constant time together. 

He doesn’t get jealous easily, showing he is self-confident and has no desire to orchestrate your life. You trust him and know the difference between synchronicity and smothering.

4. When you hear him say, “What should we do this weekend?” you don’t cringe. 

You like the idea that he considers you a couple. You both share a common and unified direction socially and even spiritually. He continues to voice suggestions about how you both can be part of each other’s lives. 

However, he understands your individuality and your need to pursue your own dreams. While marriage may or may not be in the picture, you both can see a long-term relationship as a viable option.

Obviously when you find your Mr. Right, your attraction goes beyond the physical. 

You know it takes more than appearance to make a lasting, loving relationship. Ultimately, your partner should be someone who is similar enough to you in crucial areas, such as likes, dislikes, beliefs, background, education, age and personality, yet have a uniqueness that makes him special. 

Being able to share life’s joys and sorrows with someone else is a key ingredient to your happiness and long-term well-being.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

Amanda McPherson

It is important to feel that special spark and attraction with the person you choose as a romantic partner. 

But, it’s only one component of a relationship and “chemistry” should not be confused with anxiety and fear-produced butterflies that come with dating an emotionally unsafe person. 

Being on an emotional roller coaster is NOT healthy chemistry. 

Yes, it may elicit chemical responses in your body (dopamine and adrenaline) but this is not sustainable for a long-term relationship.

The “spark” must be backed up by character, comfort and connection.

I think that some women confuse “chemistry” and “charisma”. 

Charismatic men can be very attractive and exciting. The charismatic types often grab our attention and make us feel like a giddy school girl. 

But, sometimes, the charisma is as far as the connection goes; they have no desire to engage in commitment, emotional connection and long-term partnership. 

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but beware of a man who has finely tuned his charisma skills, but has not put any effort into becoming a trustworthy, kind, emotionally safe man.

Most of us are attracted to confident men. It’s pretty natural and, even, biological. 

But, it’s also important not to confuse charismatic with confident. The most confident man in the room isn’t necessarily the one who is walking up to every woman at the bar and strutting around like a proud peacock. 

Often times the most confident men are more discriminating about who gets their energy, they have a healthy sense of who they are and they don’t need constant attention to feel complete.

If you keep ending up disappointed with the charismatic types, give the quietly confident man a chance. The “chemistry” just might surprise you.

Amanda McPherson, Life Coach – www.lifecoachamanda.com

Natasha Silver Bell

When it comes to the women who don’t quite feel a spark with kind, respectful men, we are left to wonder what they are basing their spark on and why. 

While attraction is a critical part of a successful relationship, it is important not to get lost in fantasizing about the intensity of the spark when meeting someone new. 

Another term for this phenomenon is “future tripping”. 

Future tripping is exactly what it sounds like—tripping out about a future that may or may not play out as you envisioned.

The best way to figure out if you can be attracted to nice, respectful men is to practice treating yourself with the same respect and self-care. 

Really learn how to be good to yourself. Being good to yourself doesn’t mean buying expensive things or eating whatever you want; it means being gentle with your feelings and needs and trying not to be so hard on yourself. 

If you are someone who talks down to themselves or has a lot of self-blame, these are weak spots that need to be addressed immediately.

When you have learned how to really love yourself for the first time and have given yourself the time to heal, it becomes easier to be with men who treat you the way you are becoming accustomed to. 

Compatibility, respect, and trust are the most important aspects to consider when looking for a long-term relationship. 

The more time you spend with someone, the more the attraction will grow. Then, as the relationship progresses, the closeness and consistency will continue to help the attraction grow further.

On a side note: When we are ruled by chemistry sparks will fly, but we tend to find ourselves in a haze from the infatuation and can’t see if the guy is behaving appropriately. 

When you are ruled by your hormones, you may make decisions that are not entirely thought through. Taking time to get to know a potential partner allows you the time to get to know them without the spark misleading you.

Natasha Silver Bell, Recovery Coach – www.silverbellcoaching.com

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