Chemistry is without question the most important thing in a relationship. One could argue that things like trust, respect, and mutual understanding are more important, but I beg to differ. You can learn to be respectful, you can learn to understand someone, and it takes time for someone to earn your trust. However, you simply cannot manufacture chemistry.
You can participate in hundreds of "good on paper" relationships that have zero chemistry. Trust me — I've tried it. However, in every single relationship we begin, we notice the presence or absence of the "sparks" more than we notice anything about our new fling.
So what the hell is it, and how do you find it? Lucky for you, I have spent YEARS upon years trying to figure this one out, and I consider myself a chemistry expert. I will vie for chemistry in a relationship over all other qualities. I'm truly fascinated by it and have found myself under its mysterious prowess many times. So much so that if you put every single guy in a room who I've felt chemistry with, you would find a very physically and emotionally diverse group. Chemistry truly has no requirements and no bounds, and it's seemingly blind. It just is.
On the hunt for some real answers about my number one relationship must have, I sought counsel from a therapist who patiently explained this mysterious, amazing thing to me. The "honeymoon phase" is actually a real thing. It's called limerence.
Limerence refers to the early stages of love, which can last anywhere from two months to 10 years. Besides dying for the 10-year plan, I was still intrigued to know more. Apparently, this is the time when two people are so straight-up nuts over each other, they cannot think of anything else or even make rational thoughts. This phase is absolutely critical for a relationship to work for the long term. In order for you to move on to the next phase, the "trust-building phase," you both have to know that you achieved the limerence phase.
So, beyond limerence, what else is there to know about chemistry?
Chemistry has absolutely nothing to do with looks. Having the option to be with someone ridiculously hot and yet feeling no spark is honestly devastating. It has happened to us all. I'd also be willing to bet we have all also experienced mad chemistry with someone who isn't our textbook type. How many couples do you know who look insanely into each other, but yet in the looks department aren't quite equal? Chemistry does not discriminate.
Chemistry lays the foundation of your desire for each other.
Chemistry does not fade. Want proof? Ask my mom. After I dumped yet another great guy for lack of chemistry, she said to me so plainly, "But the butterflies are so important; I still get them when I see your dad pull in the driveway," and that's after 32 years of marriage. #Goals. Think about it: we all have at least one couple in our lives who, no matter how long they have been together, when you see them, their chemistry is so obvious and intoxicating, you know it won't fade and that it will likely bring them through any challenges they face as a couple.
You can really like a person but still have no chemistry. God, I hate this tiny little fact. It doesn't matter if they have the exact job, family, personality, and physical features you've always dreamed of; they still might not give you the sparks. Chemistry is that one intangible thing that trumps all of that. It can be missing from even the most seemingly "perfect" relationships, which definitely sucks.
You absolutely must have chemistry from the get-go. Reread the part about limerence above if you need a refresher. That phase has to come before all of the other phases. Chemistry lays the foundation of your desire for each other. Limerence is what separates you from being lovers or being just friends. If you move straight to the trust-building phase, you cannot go back to the limerence phase. One simply must come before the other.
Do not settle for anything less than butterflies.
Chemistry is just the beginning of what's to come. When you FINALLY have this insane chemistry with someone, you want to not only keep it, but also to grow it into a full-fledged relationship. Now is when you start to develop respect, communication, and trust in your relationship. These things come from two people who are so chemically drawn to each other, they have no choice in their mind but to make it work, so that is exactly what they do. They take the time to make it work, rather than throw it away when things get hard, because they know and remember the initial chemistry and the chemistry they still have. They just can't live without that.
It's more than just physical. Yes, chemistry does feed the desire to be around each other and all over each other all the time, but the type of chemistry that will lead to the best relationships is more than just sex. It's feeling excited to do just about anything with them, even the mundane tasks like doing the laundry. Everything is just better when that special person is with you.
To sum it up, chemistry is an absolute necessity for a successful relationship. And above all, it is worth waiting for. Do not date someone you aren't in limerence with, and do not settle for anything less than butterflies.