Can You ‘Create’ Chemistry?
Most of us have probably spent a great deal of time trying to enhance our looks or making sure we say just the right things in an effort to win over that adorable guy who just might be Mr. Right. However, what happens when Mr. Right (you know the type-he’s educated, successfully employed, well groomed, thoughtful, and respectful) does come along, but you just don’t feel any chemistry?Is it worth trying to figure out whether you can make a go of it for the long-run or if you can MAKE chemistry happen?
Can You Create an Attraction to Someone?
Renowned psychologist and researcher Dr. Robert Epstein, who has expertise in interpersonal relationships and sexuality, believes it is possible for women to develop an attraction towards a man they admire.
“Women, in fact, are pretty good at that, maybe because they’ve had to be throughout history. So, women can do that to some extent. (However), men are very bad (at that), extremely bad; they are hopeless,” Epstein says.
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According to Epstein, women can enable themselves to develop a physical attraction for someone because they are able to base their attraction on characteristics that are not just physical. “It’s probably not going to happen immediately, but over time women can, in fact, fall deeply either in love with or in lust with a man’s sense of humor, a man’s kindness, a man’s money, or a man’s power. For a lot of women, that turns into genuine physical attraction,” Epstein says.
For example, Epstein has a friend who isn’t exactly considered to be a stud, yet he ended up marrying a beautiful woman because he was always nice to her. “After quite a while, she developed feelings for him because he was persistent and helpful,” Epstein said.
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“It’s going to take some time,” he added. “You can’t force (attraction), but I think probably a lot of women have the ability to cultivate it or to grow it.”
However ,”if you meet someone and you find that person to be revolting physically, it’s unlikely that that person can do much to suddenly create the perfect chemistry with you.”
Serena Wadhwa, Psy.D., LCPC, CADC, a Chicago-based clinical therapist who specializes in stress addictions and relationships, points out that there is also a difference between sexual chemistry and being attracted to someone.
“I don’t believe you can ‘make’ yourself sexually want someone; however, you may be able to increase your attraction to someone, depending on what aspects of the person interests you. Your body, which I think is more of what sexual chemistry is about, responds the way it does based on a variety of factors (i.e., genetics, experience, abuse history, etc.). We may be attracted to someone, but this doesn’t imply a sexual chemistry.”
Can It Last?
When an attraction is developed versus one that is innate, experts say it is still just as possible that it will last over time. “It can last. I’ll give you a very famous example, a wonderful example, of one of the greatest romances of the last century,” Epstein says. “Charlie Chaplain’s fourth and final marriage, when he was in his fifties, was to the daughter of Eugene O’Neill, the famous writer; her name was Oona O’Neill. She was 19 years old when he met her. They each were deeply, deeply smitten with each other and he apparently never looked at another woman the rest of his life.”
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“It was a real romance, but clearly she was smitten by characteristics other than his physical appearance because he was not youthful and strong at that point. He was rich and had some degree of power, but the main thing that he had was an extraordinary intellect. He was a very, very interesting person.”
Pierre Lehu, who has co-authored a wide range of books from Sex For Dummies to the Top 10 Secrets for Great Sex, believes that in many cases, relationships are ended after a person’s friends or family members weigh-in with judgmental remarks, thereby ruining the attraction.
“I think a lot of the problem is peer pressure. I think if two people were on a desert island, it’d be a whole lot different,” Lehu says. Ultimately, relationships shouldn’t revolve around other people’s opinions, Lehu says. “(That) is sad because that’s not what matters. What matters is how you two feel, how two people feel.”
Lehu also encourages people to remember than no one is perfect and that all relationships involve compromise. “In fact, if you let love blind your eyes and only look at the pluses, one day your eyes will open and the relationship will be doomed. But if you can see the whole picture from day one, then you’ll never be disappointed and with a little effort, you can create a relationship that will last forever.”
In the movie Ash Wednesday, Elizabeth Taylor played a married woman who had gained some weight and began to age. After finding out her husband Mark (played by Henry Fonda) was having an affair with a younger woman, she had a face-lift and got in shape. Sadly, her hopes that Mark would once again find her desirable were dashed because he still saw her in the same light.
“Once you are safe and secure within a marriage, most people let themselves go to some extent. Unfortunately, that can destroy the chemistry,” Epstein says.
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There are also instances when someone does recognize another person as attractive but simply doesn’t feel any chemistry, Epstein adds.
In the end, say you can try to let chemistry develop if you are attracted to the person and the time may be well worth the effort.
How do you feel…do you think it’s OK to let the attraction build? On the flip side, would you alter your appearance or characteristics to make someone attracted to you or do you think it’s best to wait for “the one” who finds you irresistible just the way you are!?