I have no idea why I’ve been inspired to write so many blog posts about relationships of late.
… okay, that’s not entirely true. I do know why, but I’m not going to go about explaining that right now. Here’s another installment in “Relationships As I See Them”.
A Chemistry Primer
You’ve heard all kinds of people talk about “having chemistry”. People who don’t seem to click have “no chemistry”, people who are bad for each other but still find themselves in bed have “sexual chemistry”, etc. What I’ve observed, though, is that most people (while appropriately using the word) don’t actually understand what it means.
To put it in layman’s terms, chemistry is when two compounds interact with each other. They not only respond to each other, they also each change how the other reacts into the future. The addition of salt (sodium chloride) to water (dihydrogen oxide) is a great example of this: the two compounds remain essentially separable, but when they are together, they react very differently to heat, air, and metals (as a small for-instance) than they would independent of each other.
In terms of humans, it means that a guy may be a total jerk-off with one chick, but he’ll be the epitome of awesome with another. Likewise, a broad may be insufferably clingy and smothering with one fellow, but confident and independent with someone else. If either of these people find themselves leaving that relationship and moving into another, their experiences will come with them, and they will find that they will tend towards that awesome/confident personality instead of the former jerk-off/clingy one.
The hardest thing to understand about chemistry is why and when it hits. There are folks who have great relationships on paper – good balance of commonality, strong sense of what they want, agreement on all of the important points – but there’s some critical spark missing. They may even try to make a go of it, but it just winds up being an exercise in futility and exhaustion.
And then there are people who seem to have very little in common – different age groups, different political views, different tastes in music and/or food – and they get along famously, being more tolerant and accepting of their partner than anyone thought possible. No one can explain why it works, but it does (although sometimes a bad day might take a little more patience).
It’s not just the sex (though excellent chemistry can be expressed there). It’s some other je ne sais quois. We use the word “chemistry” to describe that unknown quantity, but not everyone knows how to use it well.
The best laid plans (so to speak)
The biggest obstacle to understanding the value of chemistry is knowing what the boundaries are. Some people have intense sexual chemistry and can pleasure each other like no one else on earth, but the rest of their relationship is incredibly toxic, kinda like those really cool glow-in-the-dark toys that turned out to be radioactive or some such. This is a scenario when the sex definitely does not make up for the damage, and you should get out as soon as you realize it’s unhealthy.
BUT! You can take what you learned about your own pleasure and translate that into your next relationship. Let your partner(s) know about the preferences and desires that you discovered and help them fine-tune it. It may not seem “as good”, but chances are, it’ll actually just be a little different. And if you have a healthier chemistry with them, that “different” can wind up “better” in the end.
Still other people have an excellent intellectual chemistry and can talk about a multitude of things across the board, but the bedroom doesn’t really get lit up like a Roman candle on the Fourth of July. If there is also a good bit of emotional chemistry in there as well – real love and mutual trust and respect – you can work with this, within reason. Fatally incompatible sexual styles notwithstanding, most people are pretty flexible about fun-time antics as long as their overall needs are being met.
The stunningly beauty of complex compounds
Ultimately, we’re all looking for someone that we have excellent chemistry with on many levels. We want the passion of the sexual chemistry, the stimulation of the intellectual chemistry, the comfort of the domestic chemistry, and delight of the recreational chemistry… and I’m sure we all know, to a one, that this is a really tall order to hope for.
The thing is, someone else out there is thinking the exact same thing – maybe even a few “someones”. Don’t wait by the phone and keep yourself chaste waiting for the Perfect Fit – let yourself experience and grow as much as you can. One of the great things about that Perfect Chemistry is that as long as you didn’t rush into something incompatible out of sense of fear or hopelessness, they will come along at exactly the right time.
Chemistry is both a very exact science and also an enormous mystery. It’s one of the most breathtaking parts of being a human.