The Chemistry Conundrum

Dear Sherry:

I recently met someone who is a really fine, decent person. We have had four fun dates together. Then we kissed for the first time. It was just -- nothing. I kissed him again. Still nothing. I feel like I'm being superficial, but he just doesn't turn me on. Is chemistry something that can grow?



Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Denise:

I polled all my girlfriends on your chemistry conundrum, and there are two opposing (and both rather spirited) camps on this issue. Julie, on the one hand, flatly says, "Dump him unless sex isn't important to you"; Susan, on the other, is happily married to someone who didn't initially get her spark plugs sparking. Her take: "My theory is that men and women who aren't ready to make a commitment are only attracted to people that would be inappropriate for a long-term relationship. After years of dating every hot bad boy I could get my hands on, I met a really, really sweet man. Okay, he wasn't Tom Cruise, but after we got to know and care for each other, the attraction came. And it's still there."

My bottom line: Chemistry is certainly not to be discounted, but if the "mental connect" between the couple is four-star, plus the guy's a "fine, decent person," plus you're not dating anyone anyway, give it a shot. By "give it a shot," I don't mean hop into bed with him. I mean continue spending time with him, sharing fun experiences, telling each other your dreams and fears. Make it clear that you need to keep the sex part on a VERY slow boil. (Fine, decent men are usually okay about such things.) And if one night in the future his lips look very kissable, go for it. And if you still don't get that "special" feeling, well, at least you'll know you gave it a fair try.