Is intense physical chemistry a sign that the two of you are meant to be? Or is it a signal that you’re going down a familiar path leaving you heartbroken again?
How can you tell if intense chemistry is love versus simple lust?
The rush of connecting with someone new when it seems you’re naturally in sync can be exhilarating! The conversation flows easily, you have butterflies in your stomach, and when you finally kiss the chemistry is off the charts.
Next thing you know you’re obsessing about him constantly and it feels like you’re walking on air.
So, what do you do when you feel intense physical chemistry? How do you make the right choice so that love will last when you’re in such a state?
How do you know if he’s your soulmate, or if he’s just another guy who’s going to break your heart?
While chemistry is an important ingredient to lasting love, it’s not the only important component. Many dating coaches will tell you to use your common sense and choose a nice, stable guy, and forego the chemistry altogether.
But what if he doesn’t turn you on? Can you really have a fulfilling relationship with the “should guy?” You know this type: He’s a good man, a good provider, and your family and friends think he’s great.
To your brain, it certainly seems like a better alternative than dating the guy who makes you weak in the knees, because that feeling has always led you to heartbreak hotel. This guy is synonymous with “the one that got away.” You’ve always wished and hoped that you could love him enough to make him commit and be yours forevermore.
The truth is there are more than two types of men in the world, and you aren’t destined to remain stuck in the same lather/rinse/repeat cycle of unrequited love. You can approach love in a whole new way, satisfy both your heart and your mind, and create lasting love with someone who turns you on and is also a good long-term match.
Love vs. Lust — What’s The Difference?
You’re likely aware that lust is surface-level attraction thinking it’s all about chemistry and sex. Attraction can grow into love only when you add in emotional connection, shared values and beliefs, compassion, and respect. Then you have the real thing.
Lust is temporary and fleeting. Love can last a lifetime and grow deeper through the years.
Lust is not triggered by a physical attraction alone. You can find yourself lusting after someone who isn’t the most handsome, or the tallest, or even the one with the hottest body.
So, what triggers that intense chemistry?
Part of the attraction is chemical and sensory. Attraction is driven by the biochemistry of the brain. It is an entirely unconscious phenomenon between two people. The way he smells, the color of his eyes, the sound of his voice, all of these can factor into what triggers intense chemistry for you.
The other part comes from a subconscious recognition of a familiar pattern. Here’s the deal: You learned how to receive love in your family of origin. The dynamic you learned is now locked in your subconscious mind and this familiar pattern plays itself out in your adult intimate relationships. It’s like your own personal GPS for love that was created when you were a little girl. This setting for love in your subconscious mind may no longer be a match to what you desire as an adult woman.
When your subconscious recognizes a match to your emotional and energetic patterns from your childhood, it sends you a signal that says, “This is familiar! This is familiar!” The problem is it doesn’t distinguish between familiar “good” or familiar “bad.” It just highlights the familiar dynamic, making those who match your childhood wounds stand out.
This is why you can be drawn to the same kinds of men who are not a good fit for you long-term. Like a moth to a flame, you can’t help but meet up with the guy you know will break your heart.
Intense Physical Chemistry Does Not Guarantee Happily Ever After
In fact, the exact opposite is often true. The people who are most likely to trigger intense physical chemistry (that can include anxious butterflies in your gut, sleepless nights obsessing about him, and feelings of exhilaration when you’re together) are often the ones who are the most emotionally unhealthy for you to get involved with.
The problem with intense physical chemistry is that it can blur your vision so that you don’t pay attention to the red flags that are right in front of you. Does he alternate hot/cold, one day super into you and then disappears for a few days? Is he reaching out to you at the last minute for a hook-up? Does he push your boundaries or ignore your feelings when you’re upset?
To determine whether this is love vs. lust, you’ll have to get some objectivity by slowing down the dating process. You’ll also have to be aware of your own patterns and strategies for giving and receiving love so you don’t sabotage your results. Discovering an ideal match for you takes time.
1. Do you lose yourself in the relationship?
If your friends complain that you disappear every time you feel intense sexual chemistry with a new guy, you may have an unhealthy pattern of sacrificing yourself in a relationship. Merging quickly and allowing your needs and wants to take a backseat to your partner’s is a clear signal that you have an unhealthy pattern that needs to be addressed before you can find lasting love.
A healthy relationship is when one whole and a complete person comes together with another whole and complete person. Together they create a new entity — the relationship. Instead of relying on the other person to complete you, or fix you, there’s a balance of effort between the two of you to keep the relationship thriving.
Use extreme caution if you continually bend to your partner’s will and give up asking for your needs and wants to be met. Be aware of twisting into a pretzel to try to earn love. Remember, you are worth loving as-is — no change required.
2. Are you hyper-focused on chemistry?
If you reject someone outright after one date because you don’t feel intense chemistry, then you may be putting too much emphasis on the wrong qualities for love to last. It can be exciting and romantic to have a 24-hour first date, but it is unlikely to end well.
Chemistry is a necessary ingredient for a healthy relationship. You should never sacrifice it. But don’t put more importance on attraction than all the other qualities necessary for a relationship to thrive and last.
You may think you know after one or two dates if there is any chemistry, but you can have off-the-charts chemistry with someone who is not at all the kind of person you would want as a life partner.
To determine love vs. lust you need to have the spark of chemistry present, and then discover over time if there is enough there for love to develop between the two of you. Ideally, you’ll want to cultivate discernment through the dating process. Love and affection become even stronger when you feel emotionally safe and supported by your partner.
3. Are you addicted to the feeling of falling in love?
Falling in love is so intoxicating that many scientists equate it with the high that comes from high-quality drugs. And the truth is, you are on drugs when you are in the Romance Stage of a relationship. Your brain is literally being flooded with chemicals when you feel infatuated with your new guy.
Feelings of euphoria, and the release of a medley of chemicals in the brain, including dopamine (pleasure), adrenaline (fight or flight), and norepinephrine (alertness), can make falling in love into an addictive rush. Adrenaline, for example, causes your cheeks to feel flushed, your palms to feel sweaty, and your heart to race when you’re with someone you like.
If you crave these feelings and get bored quickly when the chemicals wear off you could be addicted to the feeling of falling in lust. The problem is that you mistake it for love.
Just like a drug addict, you’ll have to wean yourself off those feelings and develop the skills to navigate through the inevitable power struggle that comes when the chemicals wear off. Lasting love is possible when you know how to recreate the romance with someone you’ve known for years.
4. Is your subconscious sending you a warning?
Fear and excitement feel the same in your body. The adrenaline that causes your heart to race, your breath to become shallow, and your palms to become sweaty is triggered by both of these emotions. The difference between fear and excitement is your internal dialog while you are experiencing these body sensations.
Many motivational speakers will encourage you to take your fear and turn it into excitement. If you are terrified of speaking in front of a group, you can tell yourself that you are actually excited to share your expertise and those body sensations are occurring simply because you care.
However, the reverse is also true. You could confuse a fear response for excitement. Your subconscious is yelling, “This is familiar! This is familiar!” when you meet a handsome stranger. Unfortunately, this part of your brain cannot judge, so it has no idea if the familiar is good for you or bad for you. Its job is to steer you toward what you already know.
To discern between love vs. lust it’s up to you to recognize the familiar signal and avoid falling into your unhealthy patterns.
5. Are you filling in the blanks & slanting toward the positive?
All those chemicals flowing through your brain can easily cloud your vision. The hope that you’ve finally met your soulmate can further confuse your sense of reason. People who get scammed by “Tinder Swindlers” ignore obvious signs. They get caught up and invest emotionally in someone they barely know or never met.
Instead, approach the early stages of dating (both online and IRL) with healthy skepticism and never give a stranger the benefit of the doubt. That has to be earned over time. So, don’t share personal information or make excuses for bad behavior because you really want it to work this time.
Do not wear rose-colored glasses through the dating process and allow yourself to be objective and discover who he really is.
Then once you’re in a committed, long-term relationship you’ll want to put on your rose-colored glasses and see your partner in his best light. That’s because he will have earned the benefit of the doubt through his consistent actions over time.
It’s Not Only Love vs. Lust — How To Transform Lust Into Love
Just because you feel intense sexual chemistry doesn’t automatically mean that the relationship is going to end badly. Chemistry and attraction can transform into a healthy, respectful, loving relationship. You must know how to move beyond just the physical and evaluate if something more meaningful is possible. Take time to discover if you are compatible beyond the bedroom.
Use your emotional guidance system to determine if he can be the right man for you. Notice how you feel when you are with him and how you feel when you part. If he triggers feelings of insecurity or a critical inner voice, then he’s probably part of your unhealthy pattern.
Pay attention to how he spends his time, his energy, and his resources. This will give you insight into what is really important to him and can help you discover if you share similar life goals and values.
Notice what happens when you make a request or when there is a conflict. Does he minimize your feelings or get defensive?
Or is he able to hear you, share his feelings and be vulnerable? When you can navigate through your differences to repair and reconnect then you can create magic together.
Yeast is necessary to make bread rise, and you need chemistry to keep the spice alive in a romantic relationship. You won’t ever be satisfied with just a cracker when you really want chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside yummy bread.
Don’t put aside physical chemistry as if it is something you don’t need or can’t trust simply because it has caused problems for you in the past. Instead, notice when the chemistry is so intense that it throws you off as this is likely a signal that this is not the right person for you long-term.
SOURCE: Your Tango