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4 Types of Dating Chemistry Decoded by a Matchmaker

Wondering what dating chemistry is? We delve into the four types of dating chemistry, including tips for navigating them in the dating process.

Going on dates and meeting new people is exciting and hopeful, but it can also introduce all sorts of questions, like “Did we really connect?” or “How do I know if we should go on a second date?” It all comes down to dating chemistry, and sometimes that chemistry doesn’t develop during the first date. 

There are four types of chemistry that might pop up throughout the dating process. We cover each one here, including matchmaker tips to be aware of, so that you’re better equipped to navigate the dating world.

But first, let’s answer the question, “What is chemistry in dating?” Romantic chemistry is a way to describe things that are felt—or not felt—when meeting a person, and it’s frequently used to justify important dating decisions. The term pops up commonly after first dates (were there or weren’t there signs of chemistry?). While some say romantic chemistry is indescribable, there are some tangible features of this term.

Physical Attraction

Physical traits are often the first features you encounter when meeting someone for the first time—whether you see them from across a room, on a dating app, or through a matchmaking service profile. And that initial attraction is important in terms of initial dating chemistry. Whatever appeals to you about their physical appearance makes you want to be around them; it draws you into their orbit. 

And while people might say that looks aren’t everything (and they aren’t), they are important in terms of sexual attraction. You want to be sexually attracted to a partner because this helps lead to greater physical intimacy, keeping the love alive throughout the relationship—because flirting is fun no matter your age. 

Matchmaker Tip: Physical Attraction

While physical attraction is important, it isn’t everything, and it doesn’t form an authentic bond between two people. Perhaps you’re attracted to someone because of societal or cultural constructs, or maybe they fit the “type” that you’ve been drawn to in the past. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to physical traits, and that’s okay! But don’t let these preferences keep you from meeting new people who might not fit your desired look. It’s imperative to observe and consider more lasting characteristics so that even when appearance changes, other features of chemistry in a relationship remain intact. 

Emotional and Intellectual Attraction

When you’re looking for a compatible partner, emotional and intellectual attraction should be at the top of your list. We’ve paired these two types of dating chemistry together because they comprise the bulk of any successful relationship: communication, respect, challenging intellectual ideas, and trust.

Emotional attraction might feel like a lot of different things: You understand each other’s senses of humor, you feel safe being vulnerable with one another, there is mutual respect, and so on. You might be drawn to their personality, their confidence, and their mannerisms. 

Intellectual attraction usually involves having stimulating conversations—the ones where you could keep talking for hours about various subjects. 

Emotional and intellectual attraction go hand-in-hand. Having engaging conversations can lead to finding more out about each other, thus creating more emotional attraction. Plus, the more emotionally and intellectually connected you are, the more you might feel physically attracted. 

Matchmaker Tip: Emotional/Intellectual Attraction

Emotional and intellectual attraction don’t always signify romantic chemistry. Just because you hit it off with someone in conversation, you like their personality, or you feel like you can be vulnerable with them doesn’t mean that they’re the person for you. You can feel these things but not align on values, future priorities, and more.

Make sure that you’re always paying attention to your deal-breakers and ensuring that you also share similar values.

Familiar Attraction

Some people use the term dating chemistry to describe how they notice something familiar in their date, like they fit a certain type of person that they’re normally drawn to or act like other people in their current life or in the past. Perhaps the person you went on a date with has similar interests and fits into your “world” or maybe they fit the description of people you have a history of dating.

Familiarity can be a sign of compatibility in terms of meeting someone who fits your personality and makes you feel comfortable. Humans have an innate desire to feel safe, and familiar attraction is one way of reaching that goal. 

Matchmaker Tip: Familiar Attraction

If you listen to your gut only and pursue this sense of familiarity, it can help maintain emotional safety, yes, but it can also limit you from expanding into new possibilities (you end up dating the same types of people over and over). In other words, familiarity has the potential of keeping you in unsuccessful, looped dating patterns.

Consider these examples: If your childhood experience was loving and nurturing, you likely value and seek out those traits in partners, continuing to nurture your present relationship experiences in those same familiar, loving ways. On the flip side, if past experiences were abusive and/or disruptive, you may seek out partners who perpetuate those familiar feelings, even when they’re harmful. 

These cycles operate subconsciously, but you have control. Try to directly identify where the familiarity is coming from to help you decide if it’s positive familiar attraction.

Soul-to-Soul Attraction

Every once in a while, you might meet someone and feel immediately drawn to them without knowing why. Sometimes, people describe the feeling as ”we just met, but it feels like we’ve known each other for a very long time.” This type of magic moment is known as soul-to-soul attraction—you can’t quite put a finger on why you feel this way about someone. 

Matchmaker Tip: Soul-to-Soul Attraction

If you don’t feel that instant connection with someone right away, don’t write them off! It could simply mean that they don’t look like anyone you’ve been initially attracted to before or maybe the first-date conversation felt stilted. 

Soul-to-soul attraction can be, but isn’t always, instantaneous. True connection is also developed over time. Don’t give up too quickly if you don’t feel the immediate click.

Now that you understand the four types of dating chemistry, make sure to keep your mind and heart open as you meet new people—you never know who you might end up with.

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