Listen to the podcast here
Is there chemistry? That’s a necessary question. But the bigger question lies right behind that! Because different types of chemistries lead to different futures. This is why it’s so essential to understand how your “chemistries” have guided your love life. In this episode, we’ll explore which kinds of chemistries to follow–and which to stay away from–for a happy future in love. These insights can change your entire search for love–and empower you to love yourself more deeply!
Table of Contents
- Simplest Path To Happiness In Finding Love: Ask This Question
- The Sexy But Unsafe Chemistry
- A World Full Of Possible Chemistries
Is There Chemistry? Here’s What You Need To Know
Is there chemistry? That’s a question that we ask ourselves and get asked, but the richer question lies right behind that. What kind of chemistry is there? Because different chemistries lead us into different futures. In this episode of The Deeper Dating® Podcast, I’m going to share what kind of chemistries can lead to happiness and what kind of romantic chemistries lead to pain, so stay tuned to this episode.
Hello everybody and welcome to The Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating®, and Cofounder of DeeperDating®.com, a site where single people can meet in an online environment that’s respectful, inspiring, kind and fun. Today, I’m going to talk about the different kinds of chemistry there are. The ones to watch out for and the ones to pursue, and the ones to cultivate and grow. In this episode and every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. Those are the most important skills of all for a happy, rich, meaningful life. If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating® path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list there. You’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. You’ll also find transcripts of this and every other episode. Now let’s jump in.
People say all the time, “Well, there was no chemistry” or, “Well, there was chemistry.” As if there’s either chemistry or no chemistry. That’s a really limited understanding of how this works because there are different kinds of chemistry. The first question, appropriately is, “Is there some kind of chemistry?” The next question that has to be asked and is so important for anybody who wants to have a wiser search for love is this, “What kind of chemistry is it?” Because there are different kinds of chemistry and each different of chemistry, if you follow that relationship, is going to lead you down a very different path and into a very different future, and a very different life. The question is not just, “Is there chemistry?” It’s, “Is there chemistry and what’s the nature of that chemistry? What parts of me are engaged in the chemistry of this relationship, and what am I learning about where that’s going to lead me in my future?” We’re going to talk about that today. We’re going to talk about chemistries that are good to choose to follow, and chemistries that aren’t so good to choose to follow.
In our culture, there’s a kind of relentless focus on quick matching. Getting the matches and getting it quickly, and getting the matches with the people with whom there is the most obvious and immediate chemistry. What’s troubling about that is the hottest and most immediate chemistry is often to people who your unconscious knows are capable of hurting you in ways you’ve been hurt before, are very capable of not seeing your worth or value fully, and you get engaged in wanting to prove your value to them. These things are not conscious until we make them conscious. This relentless focus on, “Is it a match?” and “Is there chemistry?” just ignores that depth. Then as we get wiser in our search for love, we learn this and we begin to look at it differently.When you have to bend yourself into a pretzel to get the other person to value you, that's not the kind of chemistry you're looking for. Click To Tweet
That’s why so much of online dating is so skilled at finding and creating matches, but not at creating intimacy. Looking for chemistry and choosing quick chemistry, but not necessarily choosing the kind of chemistry that’s going to lead to happiness. Interestingly, in the field of research, I have learned that there’s a great deal of research on how matches are made about initial attraction and how people match, and what makes them match, but there is dramatically less research on what creates quality matching. What creates matching that can really turn into relationships that can last? There’s some but there’s not a lot because of this focus on this simple definition of chemistry, instead of this richer one that I’m just encouraging all of you to take into account. By the end of this episode, you’ll have done some deep and rich thinking about your different chemistries and what they’ve led you to. You’ll begin to move toward making choices about following the kind of chemistries that really lead to happiness, joy, meaning and peace.
Simplest Path To Happiness In Finding Love: Ask This Question
By knowing the different types of chemistry that there are for you, you will change your future. That is what this work is all about. I’m going to talk first about the kind of chemistries that we want to look for and follow. This is something that I have talked about before. It’s a way that we can have so much more control of our search for love, and it’s by asking ourselves one question as we search for love. Let me tell you, asking this question just makes such a profound difference. It truly, truly, truly is, I think, the kind of simplest path to happiness in finding love, and that is this question and I ask it in a kind of spiritual way. I use the word soul but for you, maybe heart might be more appropriate. The question is, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?”
Is there a feeling of goodness, of trust, of solidity, of generosity, of consistency? When you make your first question, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” You are infinitely more likely to choose someone with a lot of goodness inside them, a lot of integrity inside them. Actually, some research has shown, there’s not a lot but there’s some, and some research has shown what are the things that make the difference between somebody just matching for a quick amount of time and actually turning into a relationship, and two huge factors in that are these, that you feel like the other person likes you back, that’s one. The other is that you have a sense of their trustworthiness. Those are the two things that help matches turn into ongoing connections.
When you make your question, “Does my soul feels safe with this person? Do I have this innate sense of this person’s goodness, commitment to values that really matter to me, including in their integrity, in the way that they treat me, in the way that they treat other people?” When you make that your question, the first thing that happens that is amazing is that you somehow stand straighter. There is a self-love that you have and a self-dignity that you kind of develop. It gives you the spine that you want. It helps you organize around really, really, really what matters most. Because when you don’t do that, the message is I’m going to sell out on that stuff if there’s chemistry and if someone is interested in me. That brings us down a path that we don’t want to go, that makes us so susceptible to unhealthy relationships.A triggered sense of insecurity often comes from another person's unavailability or unsafety. Click To Tweet
This question, “Does my soul feel safe?” You know, we can tell much more quickly than we think by how the person talks to the waitperson, by how they talk to us as the dating continues, how they talk about difficult things, how they treat us, how they communicate with us, how they live their life with their friends. This is something that I have seen so much in the work that I do, in my intensives, in my courses, that people begin to say, “I lose my taste for people with whom I don’t feel safe, and I get out of there, and I get out of there more quickly,” which is such a hugely important thing. In other words, this is like living self-love in dating when you say this. When you say it and you make this conscious decision that you’re only going to pursue chemistries that include that wonderful chemistry of sensing someone’s goodness, safety and solidity, which combined with a person who is sexy to you, that is just happiness. It’s real happiness.
Just to say a little bit more about these kind of chemistries. Do you remember a time in your life when you have felt that kind of chemistry towards someone in a romantic relationship? That kind of “My soul feels safe” feeling, in combination, of course, with being attracted to them. Let yourself just remember that because you kind of want to orient yourself so that that’s what you’re looking for. As you remember it and develop more and more of a taste for that, truly, truly, truly your dating life is going to change. Your search for love is going to change, and hence your future is going to change. So simple but so true, because you are acting now on self-love instead of that other place which is like bending yourself into a pretzel to get the person to be interested, to think you’re irresistible, to want to be with you, to value you, to treat you right. When you have to bend yourself into a pretzel to experience that, that’s a huge, huge sign that something is really not safe, that it’s not the kind of chemistry you’re looking for.
If there’s nobody who you can remember in your life with whom you’ve had a romantic connection, which has that feeling of, “Myself feels safe with this person,” then think about a friend that you feel that with, and what that’s like because that is what you’re looking for. That’s bedrock. It is the only place you want to build your home. Now, let’s talk about some of the other kinds of chemistries and I’m just kind of talking about two chemistries. It’s a little bit binary because there are so many different kinds of chemistries. I think a huge and important question to ask yourself is, “Where have you felt that chemistry of attraction combined with goodness, integrity, generosity and safety that you feel from that person?”
The Sexy But Unsafe Chemistry
If you haven’t had that yet, welcome to your future because you can choose that. It’s a little scary because you have to say no to so many people, but it’s a future that you can absolutely choose. When you make that, your question and your focus on your intention, your dating life changes on its axis. Okay, let’s talk about another kind of chemistry and that’s a chemistry that’s sexy, exciting, erotic, delicious and hot, but it’s not safe. It’s not truly safe and you feel it inside. You’re always tweaking, manipulating and trying to convince yourself that you’re just being too sensitive or you should just be more detached, and you shouldn’t worry about that and let that go. You’re always doing that to convince yourself that that weird unsafe feeling where your feet are touching the ground in this relationship, this sense of shakiness or not rightness, you’re doing all these things to convince yourself that it’s really okay. That convincing really translates into, “I’m not enough and I have to fix myself.”There are so many different kinds of beautiful chemistries in this world, but we need to develop a taste for them. Click To Tweet
Remember some kind of maybe bad boy, bad girl, bad person, kind of sexy-sexy, cocky, not so friendly, not so nice, or wonderful and glorious and then disappears, or wonderful and glorious and then just doesn’t treat you well, or is wonderful and glorious in there but they’re not so honest. Those kinds of relationships where your feet don’t feel safe on the ground, but this person is sexy and you’re desirous. Also, they’re available and they’re there. Maybe they love you and that is breathtakingly hard to say no to. Just remember those kinds of experiences, because those kinds of experiences where you can’t say in an essential way, “My soul feels safe with this person in terms of their integrity, their decency, their availability, their solidity.”
The thing is that those relationships often feel so sexy. That’s this unconscious thing of looking for someone who is just doesn’t love you fully, which increases their sense of value. They must be pretty special because you’re obviously not special as them, and decreases your sense of value. This is a rich another kind of the point. If you find in a relationship again and again that you were feeling insecure like a deep insecurity, very often it’s because the other person is not safe, does not fully value you for who you are, but you don’t translate it. Often we don’t translate that into, “This person is not treating me the way I want to be treated. There’s something off here. There’s something not right. There’s something that doesn’t align with my values.” Instead, we think, “Why am I feeling so insecure? I have to get over this insecurity.” Often, that triggered sense of insecurity comes from another person’s unavailability or unsafety.
If you’re feeling consistently insecure or frequently or chronically insecure in a relationship, don’t be so quick to assume that you’re just insecure, because there’s a really, really good chance that something in the person’s way of being with you is not making your soul feel safe inside. Often, these relationships are very roller-coastery. The person might have some attributes that are highly sexy to you like the way that they look or they might be very wealthy, or they might have a great deal of success. They may have personality qualities that you just adore, creativity, generosity, there may be kind of sexy qualities of being dominant and aggressive or sexy qualities of being pliable and submissive, fierce leader, or someone who backs you and supports you. These things that can be really sexy and glorious, but is there that shakiness in the ground, that shakiness, that unsafety, that unstability in the ground beneath your feet? We have to learn to honor that as well.
Try to remember if you have experienced that kind of experience, like a relationship with someone where that beautiful sense of transparency that comes when you know someone’s going to be truthful and kind wasn’t really there. That feeling of safety and being loved, treasured and accepted wasn’t really there. What happens for you in that circuitry when you’re attracted, when there’s chemistry with someone like that? Just take a minute to remember what that’s like. Those feel so much like love and they also trigger those deep-down places where we feel like, “I’m really not kind of enough so I get it. I get it why they’re not quite that into me.” Those triggers are there for all of us. All of us can be triggered or almost all of us can be triggered in those ways, which is why it’s so important to be able to know these different chemistries to look at your life history and patterns and see what those are, where they have led you?
A World Full Of Possible Chemistries
There is not just one chemistry and there are not two chemistries. There is a world full of possible chemistries, and some of them are highly erotic and romantic, some start out gently erotic and romantic but grow, some start out erotic and then turn into friendships, some touch different parts of our being. There are so many different kinds of chemistries. Just like we’re discovering that there are so many different kinds of gender identities. This makes me think of a beautiful book by Michael Cunningham called A Home at the End of the World. I tell this story sometimes. This boy is in front of the mirror and he’s making up his face, and half of his face has shaving cream. He’s got this guy thing going on. This man thing that he’s imagining or emulating, and then he puts on makeup on the other side of his face, and he just looks at himself. He says, “I didn’t know that there were so many different kinds of beauties that could exist in this world.” What I want to say is that there are so many different kinds of beautiful chemistries in this world, but we need to develop a taste for them. This is something else that I think is really important to know. It’s something I talk about a lot.
When you’re with someone who is safe, available, decent and just present, you might find this strange experience of your desire plummeting and then thinking, “Oh my God, I guess I just wasn’t attractive enough.” You think, “I am so superficial. The people who are really good for me, I just run from them,” but whatever it is, you kind of like leave because you don’t want to hurt them anymore and you realize you’re not interested. What this is, is something that I call “the wave” which so many of us have, which is this wave of disinterest, judgment, boredom or desire to get away, or suffocation that happens when we find someone who’s just plain available. When we are used to deriving our spice and our chemistry from people who are not that available, there is a shift that needs to happen. What I would say is that wave is actually a spasm of fear. Like a wave, it hits us and then it goes away.
If you are changing your kind of path of chemistries for people who are available and decent, and make your soul feel safe, understand that that white-hot roller-coastery sexiness will go away and will need to be replaced with a new kind of sexiness, which is the deep revealing of who you are and being met, held and caught by the other person. When you can reveal that romantically, sexually, spiritually, and the other person is there for you, it’s just the most incredible experience. For those of us who are used to pursuing these chemistries of the rollercoaster, this will take a little bit of getting used to. It’ll take a little bit of our friends reminding us of how wonderful this person is or telling us, “You fuck this up and I’ll kill you.”
The other thing that happens that is really cool is this approach of understanding that we are going to just choose what I call “Attractions of inspiration” versus “Attractions of deprivation”. This approach begins to heal our attachment wounds. When your deep-down insides know that you, as the gatekeeper in your dating life, is going to only choose relationships that have this goodness, and this safety, and this rightness, that deep inner part of you is going to begin to relax and feel more secure. When you choose someone like that, that relationship will deepen your capacity for secure attachment, and it becomes a very virtuous cycle. When your deep insides don’t feel safe because they know that you’re going to be pursuing these other kinds of relationships, there’s a sense of insecurity and unsafety, which exacerbates ways in which we might have an anxious or avoidant attachment style.
That’s kind of like another benefit that happens is we learn self-love by making these choices. I’m very excited to hear your experiences with these things, and I’d love you to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, and you can go to Ask Ken and leave me messages there. You can leave recorded messages. You can let me know if you want me to use your recording, or if you’d just like me to kind of paraphrase. If I don’t hear that from you, I will just paraphrase. I want to hear your stories of playing with this, experimenting with this, and the shifts that happen for you because they’re going to be good ones. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Deeper Dating® Podcast, and I look forward to connecting next episode.
Watch the episode here:
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!