Most people have probably heard of the term “chemistry” when it comes to relationships, but it may be unclear what this term means.
Understanding what is chemistry in a relationship and learning the answer to is chemistry important in a relationship can help you to create a more satisfying romantic partnership in your life.
What is relationship chemistry?
Relationship experts have described chemistry as being rather intangible. It is not based solely on physical appearance, nor does it require a person to meet your specific requirements, such as having certain personality traits or sharing common interests with you.
On the other hand, chemistry is that natural spark that you have with someone, and it doesn’t fade over time. This is seen among couples who still have “butterflies” when they see their partner pull into the driveway after a day of work.
These butterflies have an official name: limerence. In the initial stages of a relationship, a couple has limerence when they are “crazy” about each other and cannot think about anything but each other.
Chemistry can also be thought of as a spark that occurs between two people. It may be difficult to describe what a spark looks like, but when you see it, chemistry is quite obvious.
Chemistry in a relationship can also be described as a chemical connection between two people. When there is chemistry in a relationship, two people want to spend as much time together as possible, and they enjoy doing simple things together, even household chores.
Compatibility vs. Chemistry
When thinking about the answer to, “What is relationship chemistry?” compatibility may come to mind. While the two seem similar, there are differences with compatibility vs. relationship chemistry.
In general, compatibility refers to two people who have important features in common, such as moral values and ways of living. For instance, two people who have strong career goals and value going to church every Sunday are likely compatible.
In addition, two individuals who are interested in health and fitness and who both works as personal trainers would also be compatible.
However, this compatibility does not speak to chemistry at all. Two people can have interests in common but be missing relationship chemistry.
It is also possible for two people to be emotionally drawn to each other based upon a spark or initial chemistry, but as time goes on, they might find that they have different values that make them incompatible.
Chemistry is deeper than compatibility and involves that warm, fuzzy connection two people in a relationship feel when falling in love. It involves shared feelings and thinking of each other all of the time, as well as a desire to be close to each other and spend time together.
Also watch: The psychology of compatibility.
Is chemistry important in a relationship?
The answer to “Is chemistry important in a relationship?” is a resounding yes. Think back to the concept of limerence. In order for a relationship to have the potential to last, you must first establish limerence or the state of being head over heels for each other.
The period of limerence demonstrates that you and your partner have chemistry, and with time, limerence can develop into lasting trust and commitment.
Chemistry contributes to the success of a relationship because when two people have chemistry, they want to be together and build a lasting relationship.
Relationship chemistry, or that “spark,” keeps the relationship exciting over time, as couples fall into routines and face the challenges of life.
Chemistry in a relationship is so important because, without it, something is missing.
Chemistry in a relationship brings excitement and intensity, and a relationship can be boring without it. This can make it difficult to go through the mundane periods or tasks of life together, day in and day out.
On the other hand, when there is chemistry in a relationship, even the most simple tasks will be fun because you will look forward to simply being around your partner.
Chemistry in a relationship brings emotional closeness and that feeling of being in tune with your partner. When there is no relationship chemistry, even the seemingly perfect couple may not have a successful relationship.
How long does chemistry last in a relationship?
There is no perfect answer to the question of how long relationship chemistry lasts. In a perfect world, two people who have a chemical connection will enjoy lasting chemistry and emotional connection.
In many cases, couples go through a “honeymoon phase” of their relationship, during which chemistry is intense and seemingly irrational at times. This typically occurs during that so-called limerence period.
According to a research conducted to test the presence and predictability of the “honeymoon effect,” it found that high marital satisfaction in couples is either gradually or rapidly decreasing.
Over time, the head-over-heels chemistry felt during the limerence phase may fade, but in a strong relationship, chemistry remains over time. It may not appear as intense as during the honeymoon phase, but it is possible for relationship chemistry to last for a lifetime.
Think of that couple that has been married for 50 years and seems to just “get each other,” still lighting up when one of them walks in the room or finishing each other’s sentences without a second thought.
When we think of relationship chemistry as being a “spark” or undeniable connection between two people, it is safe to say that it can last for a lifetime. That initial spark is reignited repeatedly over the course of a healthy relationship, keeping two people together, even when life gets tough.
5 types of relationship chemistry
Relationship chemistry can be of 5 main types. These include –
Physical chemistry – This is when two people feel physically attracted to each other. However, physical chemistry is different from lust. You must know how to differentiate between the two.
Codependency – Codependency is when you rely on your partner for emotional needs, to an unhealthy extent. This is when you just cannot do without them, which can be difficult for you in the long run.
Shared purpose – When two people have similar goals in life, they are likely to hit it off. They understand each other’s struggles and challenges and feel a connection between them instantly.
Personal growth – People who have felt stagnant in their lives for a while may find themselves developing such chemistry. It develops when you feel that someone will help you grow in your personal ways, and contribute to your life.
Sexual chemistry – This is when two partners feel passionately attracted to each other, to the point where they feel wanting to go all the way.
Two other types of relationship chemistry are also considered important. These are –
Courting the muse.
5 reasons chemistry is necessary for relationships
Here are five reasons that relationship chemistry is necessary:
Having chemistry is a precursor to building lasting commitment and trust in a relationship.
Chemistry keeps the relationship interesting over time, as the emotional closeness will remain when two people truly have chemistry.
Relationship chemistry means that deep conversation and comfortability will come naturally.
No chemistry in a relationship can lead to boredom as the initial honeymoon phase passes.
Relationship chemistry allows you to enjoy mundane tasks, such as paying bills, buying groceries, or doing housework, as long as you are spending time with your partner.
6 Signs you and your partner have strong chemistry
Chemistry is important and can provide a lasting connection between two people in love. Since it is so important, it is helpful to know the signs of chemistry in a relationship.
Experts have pinpointed early signs of relationship chemistry, which can help you to determine from the start if you and your partner have chemistry. These include:
You feel comfortable enough to make eye contact with your partner from the start, and it feels natural rather than awkward.
There is physical chemistry, which you can tell based upon the desire to touch your partner. Whether it is holding hands or grazing their arm, when you find yourself wanting to be close to your partner through physical touch, there is a good chance you have strong relationship chemistry.
Put another way; if you have strong relationship chemistry, you should find yourself naturally leaning into your partner during the conversation, facing toward them, and responding positively when they want to hug or be close to you
You find yourself smiling and laughing, almost uncontrollably, when you and your partner are together.
You feel comfortable and at ease, and the conversation just flows naturally when you are with your partner.
Your partner pushes you to try new things and become the best version of yourself.
You become so absorbed in conversation or shared activities when with your partner that you find that time seems to pass extremely quickly when you are together.
All of the above signs of chemistry in a relationship suggest that two people have a natural connection and an emotional intensity between them.
Can chemistry grow in a relationship?
Some experts argue that two people either have chemistry, or they don’t. In some cases, this may be true. Chemistry certainly can’t be forced, but sometimes you can grow it within your relationship.
Chemistry can involve simply feeling comfortable talking to your partner about any topic, and this level of comfort can grow over time. One strategy for growing relationship chemistry is by discussing deep, meaningful topics with your partner.
This can help you to step outside the mundane, routine conversations of daily life and into new territory with your partner.
Other ways of how to build chemistry in a relationship
Make time for sex. Even if you have to schedule it, it is important to prioritize intimacy if you want relationship chemistry.
Talk dirty to each other, whether this is in the form of a racy text message or a compliment about how your partner looks in a certain outfit.
Try a new activity together, such as skydiving or any activity neither of you has tried before. Experiencing something new and exciting can draw you and your partner closer.
If you have lost chemistry, think back to the things that initially attracted you to your partner. Share these things with them, and have your partner do the same for you. You may be able to reignite that initial spark and build stronger relationship chemistry.
Spend time apart or explore separate interests. Having a life that is separate from your partner’s will help you to develop a sense of longing for your significant other. Being apart with separate activities also makes your time spent together more meaningful, which can contribute to chemistry in a relationship.
Make eye contact. It may sound tacky, but taking time to pause and connect with your partner by looking into their eyes can help you to develop a stronger connection that builds relationship chemistry.
Why good chemistry doesn’t always lead to a strong relationship?
While chemistry is usually important and can sometimes be cultivated over time, chemistry alone does not guarantee success in a relationship.
For example, you and your partner may have strong chemistry based upon an intense emotional connection, but if your partner does not treat you properly, the relationship will be unhealthy, despite the emotional connection.
In addition, sometimes chemistry is the result of our hormones having a biological response to someone, causing us to want to be close to them. This can drive us to stay with them, even if the relationship is not working.
We may also seek out people who help us to recover from childhood psychological pain. When chemistry occurs in this form, we may stay in a relationship that is not good for us, such as one where our partner is emotionally unavailable, selfish, or abusive.
You might also find that you and your partner have strong chemistry because of a passionate connection, but over time, you learn that you aren’t compatible. If you have chemistry but lack similar values or interests, the relationship may not thrive.
A relationship with strong chemistry may be passionate, but without shared values, the relationship cannot survive.
In summary, chemistry is necessary for a successful relationship, but relationship chemistry alone does not guarantee that the relationship will work. Two people must also be compatible and treat each other properly for lasting success.
That being said, chemistry is still an important part of a lasting relationship and plays a role in keeping couples happy, alongside other factors like compatibility.
If you have relationship chemistry with your partner and the two of you also have common interests and treat each other well, you may have found true love.
Chemistry in a relationship is important if you want to have a lasting connection and feel that spark with your partner for years to come. It is a commonly held belief that chemistry comes naturally and cannot be created, and this may sometimes be true.
However, if chemistry is lacking in your relationship, you may be able to use the tools discussed here for building chemistry in a relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.