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Chemistry Between People Depends on These Traits

Chemistry Between People Depends on These Traits

There are few better feelings in the world than experiencing that newfound chemistry.

In the early stages of a relationship, even the smallest touch or briefest eye contact is enough to send tingling shock waves all over your body. This feeling is what we usually call chemistry between people, or “the spark”—a twinkle in the eye, a skipped heartbeat, or flushed cheeks that indicate two people are truly connecting. But is there a scientific explanation for what we assume to be the chemistry between two people?

What Is Romantic Chemistry?

Romantic chemistry focuses on characteristics present between two people, including mutual interests, similarity, and intimacy. According to Campbell, the more present these characteristics are, the more likely two individuals will perceive chemistry between each other.

According to Kelly Campbell, Ph.D, there certainly is. Chemistry has also been used to describe lust, but for the purpose of this article, chemistry in this context refers to mutual romantic interest and compatibility—two important components of a lasting relationship.

“Chemistry happens when various factors converge at the right time,” Campbell explains. “For example, chemistry is more likely when people are both open to the experience. It won’t be as ‘magnetic’ or easy to foster a connection if they are in a rush, angry, or already involved in a great romantic relationship—people who are happily committed tend not to pay attention to potential alternative partners (a premise known as ‘derogation of alternatives).”

01 Mutual Interest
Think about how you feel when someone can truly make you laugh. If you and your partner share humor and find one another interesting, you probably have mutual interest. “Humor goes a long way toward building connections,” Campbell says. “This factor also leads to excitement about future interactions. When you are not in the person’s presence, you are thinking about and looking forward to seeing them again.” Building that desire of wanting to see and spend time with a person again is certainly a helpful base to forming a relationship.

02 Reciprocal Candor
Reciprocal candor refers to when you can just talk to someone so easily about any topic. It means you have easy communication, a sense of trust, and feel understood in the relationship. “When this is present, people feel as though they can say anything to one another and not be judged,” Campbell says. Especially looking toward the future of a relationship, this is an incredibly important trait.

03 Personableness
Personableness refers to a person’s demeanor. Chemistry can grow if both people are genuine, down-to-earth, caring, and kind. “Personableness—or the expression of warmth, kindness, consideration, and understanding—is shown to elicit interpersonal attraction for both genders across relationship types,” explains Campbell in a study published in the Social Science Journal.1

04 Intimacy
When it comes to intimacy, it doesn’t necessarily refer to physical attraction. Intimacy in romantic chemistry is a blend of reciprocal candor and personableness. “When intimacy is present, people feel like they can talk to one another about anything, that they can trust their partner, and that their partner is a sincere and down-to-earth person,” Campbell says. It’s an intimate, trusting connection you feel with nobody else.

05 Similarity
Not to be confused with physical similarity, this trait refers to “matching each other on core attributes, such as values, morals, beliefs, and life goals,” explains Campbell. “These similarities are relatively stable and reflect who the person really is. People who are mismatched on values likely won’t last long in a relationship together because these attributes are unlikely to change and dictate how people live their lives.”

06 Physical Attraction
Last, but certainly not least, physical attraction refers to perceiving one another as sexually desirable. “This characteristic is interestingly found to impact even friendship chemistry possibly because subconsciously, people are assessing the extent to which this person will help attract prospective mates,” explains Campbell. “Friends facilitate romantic pairing (many people meet their spouse through friends) and so having attractive friends can also enhance the attractiveness of prospective romantic partners.”

What to Ask Before Committing
If you’ve found someone you really click with, it’s understandable that you’d be hesitant to break things off simply because of the difference in your age. After all, maturity is relative and can be measured in more than just years.

“Making it work is really about having enough in common to bond, enough difference to learn from each other, and similar views on partnerships,” says journalist and author Jenna Birch. But before you make any major decisions, try answering these questions to make sure you and your partner are on the same page in as many ways as possible.

What goals do you have for your life?
Think about your future goals and what you envision for your life. Things like careers, children, finances, and other major life events are worth having an honest conversation about.

What common interests do you share?
These will become even more important as you grow older together. Develop your shared hobbies and interests, as they can strengthen your connection when an age gap may create distance.

Do your values and morals match up?
This may seem like an obvious one, but dig deeper than just general good nature. Tackle touchy subjects that could lead to conflicts in the future, like politics and religion.

Are you willing to compromise?
An important aspect of any healthy relationship is the ability to compromise, but even more so when your partner is in a different stage of life than you are.

Are you resilient to outside opinions?
As social psychologist Theresa DiDonato points out, “Research suggests that age-gap couples should be prepared to encounter negative bias.” So if you’re someone who is more sensitive to unsolicited opinions, be ready to field questions and comments that you may find annoying or downright rude.

Ultimately, like with any healthy relationship, being open and honest with each other is the best way to prepare for future discord. Focus on ways to prevent the difference in your ages from creating a divide between you, and recognize that you may be at different stages of your life at any given time, and that’s okay. Mutual respect and open communication will go a long way in bridging any gap.

Kelly Campbell, Ph.D, is a professor of psychology and human development at California State University, San Bernardino. Campbell’s research focuses on couple relationships and friendships.
Source | Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 


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