So how do you know if your guy is right for you? I've spent most of my life looking for the answer to that question, and I'm sure you have too. I've rounded up all the usual suspects-love, compatibility, a consensus among your girlfriends, you name it-and I've tried to discover, If this is what you have starting out, do you end up with a happy, healthy, long-lasting relationship that brings out the best in you?
After getting input from more women than on any research project I've ever been involved with, I now see that the true answer is something very different from what I'd thought. The true answer is something that has the power to change all of our lives, save us endless heartache, and bring us a ton of happiness.
The best way to figure out if someone's right for you is to look at your chemistry. If real estate's all about location, location, location, relationships are all about chemistry, chemistry, chemistry.
My clinical experience confirms that when a couple doesn't have good chemistry, well, you just wouldn't want to bet money that their relationship will last. When they do have good chemistry, they usually end up having a good, long-lasting relationship.
So if you want to know if he's Mr. Right and if you'll be happy together, check out your chemistry.
How to Check Out Your Chemistry
As you'll soon see, there are five dimensions to chemistry, and you need all five. But at heart, chemistry is all about how it feels to be together. All that really matters is how it feels when you're with each other.
Chemistry is not about compatibility, or how well you fit together. It's about how the fit you have feels to you. You have good chemistry if it feels good to be together. If it feels bad to be together, you have bad chemistry. If it feels like nothing much when you're together, you have no chemistry. That's it.
You might be thinking that I'm talking about sexual chemistry. Well, that's a part of it, but there's a lot more to chemistry than that. You have good chemistry when it feels good going for a drive together. When it feels good just lying in bed and talking. When it feels good sharing problems with each other. When it feels good goofing off together. When it feels good the way you work things out after you get angry. When it feels good just knowing that you're in a relationship with each other.
Here's how people I talked to described having good chemistry:
"I just feel at home with him. Like he's family, like I've known him my whole life. Plus we have so much fun together."
"I think that on paper people wouldn't think we're all that suited for each other, but we just enjoy being with each other so much, even when things get stressful."
"I feel we belong together. We just click. There's so much respect. And when we talk to each other there's a kind of happy flow."
"We both have tempers, but even it we get mad at each other, it doesn't feel scary and it goes away very quickly. Then we'll start making out!"
"My other relationships were a lot of work. We have some issues, but mostly it's trouble free. Mostly, I feel really safe with him."
"When we're with each other, we can't keep our hands off each other, but it's funny because it's also so relaxed and easy."
"There's this amazing connection between us. It's like he's my lover and my puppy and my best friend all at the same time."
Even if you always hated science in school-this is the kind of chemistry you gotta love. It's the kind that makes it clear that the two of you are right for each other.
Chemistry Starts at the Beginning
From the moment we lay eyes on a guy, we try to figure out the chemistry. I'm sure you've been on a first date and sat in a restaurant chatting back and forth across the table, and part of you seemed to kind of float out of your body and ask, "How does this really feel?" And some sort of reading came bubbling up.
Maybe you realized you felt bored or depressed. Bad chemistry. That tiny little joke you made hit the floor like a meatball-uh-oh, he doesn't get you. When he tried to impress you, he made you feel sorry for him instead. When he said something that should've made you feel sorry for him, you thought he was irritating. The supposedly clever things he said seemed horribly lame.
But maybe with the next guy you had that glimmer (or maybe a bonfire!) of feeling that whoa! maybe there's chemistry here. This one was getting under your skin-you felt intrigued, excited, connected, alive. He teased you, and it turned you on-how did he know to do that? Your little joke brought out a little joke from him, and the next thing you knew you were making each other laugh. Later when he told you his sister had died of cancer when they were both kids, he said it so simply you couldn't help feeling sad, and yet it made you strangely happy that things had happened to him that made him human.
Your feelings might not have been 100 percent positive, but they point to good chemistry. You found you were willing, maybe eager, to go along for the ride. At least as far as the next stop.
If there's good chemistry when you're first getting to know each other, you should trust it as a sign that it's worth moving forward.
In fact, chemistry is the most reliable indicator of whether or not you should move forward at every stage of your developing relationship.
THE GUY SPEAKS: "I absolutely agree. Every time I've gotten stuck in a bad relationship it's because I didn't force myself to think about how it really felt for us to be together. Then one time instead of nitpicking the relationship to death a woman said to me, 'You know, we just don't do it for each other.' I was relieved. And when I finally did find good chemistry with a woman-well, it was clear. That's what I'd always been looking for."
Not the Fit, but the Feel of the Fit
You can't predict chemistry. Many of us have set up friends we were 100 percent sure would get along great with each other, and yet when they met, they got on each other's nerves. And we've all had the experience of meeting the most unlikely person and right off things just click like mad.
Chemistry is the feel of your fit. So it should he natural to know if you have it or not. You just feel it. But of course we're human beings and we always find ways to complicate the most natural of things.