Healing a  Relationship

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The “Chemistry” Myth Myths and mistakes that Harm Relationships

Beware of Instant Sparks, Tingles, Chemistry or Electricity  -  An important lesson I've learned just a bit late in my life.

If you are under 30 years of age don’t bother reading this page. Your hormones will  guarantee you will ignore everything you might see here anyway.

If you are over 55 this page is for you in particular. You and I no longer have the hormones we had in our twenties. Waiting to regain that marvellous hormone driven sense of electricity and rejecting genuine lovers because “there isn’t enough chemistry” may leave you alone and lonely (and wondering why).

Let me explain

There are  other deep and long lasting feelings that you can still experience if a relationship is working BUT they won’t be the same as they used to be in your youth.

All this applies to people over 55 in committed relationships especially if one or both partners feel the “magic” is no longer there the way it used to be. This is for you.
It applies even more to anyone in the “over 55 single and looking” category. This is for specially you.

So if you are old enough and willing enough, please read on.

Let’s say you're single and you are off to one of those “let’s meet for coffee” events (probably more like a two-way job interview)  to meet that new contact for the first time. You are hoping that this time you will feel that long lost chemistry or electricity that everyone talks about, it’s been missing for a long time. Be very careful. Because if and when you do feel that magic “spark” chances are it is pointing you towards a short term relationship and an unhappy ending down the track. Ask yourself:.

1. How many times in the past has that spark been one of the main reasons I got  involved in a hot physical relationship with someone ?

2. Was it really intense at the start? Were we both convinced we had finally found our soul mate?

3. How long was it before I began to have doubts?

4. When did I start to realise they were not the person I thought they were?

5. How did it end for me?

Anyone over 55 years of age and looking for a new romance and expecting it to come with a pre-packaged  "spark"  a "tingle" or “chemistry” or "electricity" they are flirting with trouble. As any experienced relationship counsellor will tell you, if you do feel that exciting sensation it's probably a good idea to get out of the place as fast as possible and hope that other person is not following you.

Q. What am I really feeling and is it good or not?

What is it that creates this feeling and why is it so often that both people feel it?  Some say it is our animal instincts at work or our deeper intuition, some say it is pheromones, some say it is our Imago (as explained by relationship guru Harville Hendrix, http://gettingtheloveyouwant.com/aboutus.html

A. Not so good

In my experience and Hendrix says much the same, the spark that feels so nice is often something a lot more dangerous, a subtle attraction, this person reminds us subconsciously of something unfinished, some aspect of one or both of our parents that we never managed to deal with successfully as a child. Often it is something we have lost within in ourselves and when we see it in another person we imagine we can get it back through them (you can’t).

This kind of attraction has often been described as “God’s gift to relationship counsellors” because it helps to keep them fully employed. Relationship research is full of cases where eldest daughters of alcoholics marry alcoholics. Sons of controlling mothers marry controlling women. Kids who grew up in a family where there was abuse marry abusers. Adults who never experienced love from their parents will marry partners whose ability to give or receive love is blocked.

Abandonment and engulfment issues

People who experienced abandonment or distancing during their childhood are magnetically attracted (and afterwards they will swear it was the chemistry) to the opposite kind of partners who had problems with parents or carers who smothered them. Instead of abandonment issues these people have smothering and engulfment issues) and for that reason will feel very uncomfortable whenever a relationship gets too close. That’s the point where they need to escape out of it or abandon it.

But it’s not as if they are to blame. The people with unresolved childhood engulfment issues still want to feel a bit of closeness and so they are initially drawn as if by magic,to people with unresolved childhood abandonment issues. They all think it is chemistry.  The reasons behind this are complex as I explain on another page ( see The magic restaurant   This is a terribly common problem.

Pia Melody http://www.piamellody.com/ says it is driven by a nostalgic sense “It feels just like I’m home again.”  That’s a powerful pull, but if “home” was not all that good a place for us as kids why are we drawn back to this situation if it will only serve to help recreate or  repeat the experience again?

Anyway regardless of the causes, if you get a jolt of instant chemistry or electricity at that first meeting (or even moments before when your eyes first meet across the crowded room) be very careful. It’s even more dangerous if you both feel it. It may feel like magic but the odds are about 97 in 100 that the relationship will run hot at first and then the magic will fizzle out. It's true that just occasionally two people do meet and find that from the very first moment they have so much in common that they spend the rest of their lives happily together. But the chances are pretty slim perhaps three out of a hundred. And the older we get the odds get longer and longer. Besides, those fortunate people were probably drawn to each other more by their long term common interests than by instant electricity.

Relationship counsellors’ rooms are full of couples who describe how, from the the very first moment they felt that spark and now they're feeling trapped and disappointed and booking in to see the counsellor because the spark isn't there any longer. That’s how it usually turns out.

Nil (no relationship) chemistry may be more reliable

However there is another common feeling called "nil chemistry". This is a sensation that says to you " I do not fancy the idea of waking up each morning and finding this person's face on the other side of my breakfast table" This may be a more useful indicator. It may be telling you there is no point in trying to turn this into a romantic connection. It can happen but it is not likely a great physical relationship to grow in that garden. It may however develop into a wonderful but non-sexual friendship.

That’s OK by the way. The reality is that on the average when any two strangers meet one or both are going to experience "no chemistry". We are doing it all the time, at work, on the train, in a shop. There is nothing wrong with either of you.  

A good friend who classes himself as “single and looking” told me recently “I have had that “nothing doing” experience many times, as have many of the women who have met me for a coffee meeting. That includes the very first coffee meeting I ever had about five years ago. Yet, the same woman remains a firm friend to this day and as a friend has added some wonderful experiences to my life. But, we both acknowledge that there will never be anything physical between us, nor that there needs to be.”

Linkage is the one that really works

Fortunately there is another way that two people can connect and it does work.  This is a different kind of connecting energy called "linkage". It comes more slowly and is more complex because there are about 10 different kinds of linkage but the good thing is that you don't have to feel all of them, just some of them.

For a true long lasting loving friendship to start and continue to grow into a warm positive relationship developing linkages is one way that works really well.

Go to  Successful Secrets Page Linkage and the Love langauges


Some Enchanted Evening ......   You may see  a  stranger …. across a crowded room ….. and Somehow you KNOW ............

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