“Women often say they don’t feel chemistry with me after a first date. Am I doing something wrong?”
Attraction. Spark. Desire.
The feeling of “chemistry” is what most people hope to find when they go out with a new person.
Ideally on a first date, both people will feel mutually attracted to one another and a relationship can develop from there. Sometimes, however, that feeling of attraction is one-sided.
Do you ever find yourself in situations where you’re very attracted to your date, but she doesn’t seem to be feeling the same way (yet)? Do you catch yourself wondering,
“Why don’t women feel chemistry with me, and how can I change that?”
When one person “feels it” and the other doesn’t, what’s going on here?
That’s what we’re going to figure out today.
We’ll talk about…
- determining the likely reasons your date might not feel head-over-heels after a first meeting,
- being free of the “pickup artist” mentality in favor of maintaining behaviors that will lead to a real, long-term, healthy relationship, and
- sparking the release of exciting “chemistry” brain chemicals using healthy techniques to increase romantic bonding.
Before we dive into all of that, however, let’s take a step back and discuss why chemistry is such a big deal in the first place.
Why is it important that both people feel chemistry at the beginning of a relationship?
Most people can agree that in long-term relationships, the hard-to-breathe, butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling eventually fades. What you’re left with once that’s gone are hopefully the bones of a strong relationship that will keep you together for the long haul:
- Good communication
- Shared values
- A compatible set of life goals
- Stable love and affection
All the good stuff, right?
So why does it matter if you skip the “butterflies” altogether and get right down to it?
Here’s the thing:
Both physical and emotional intimacy require that “bond” feeling in order to develop.
When you take two safe, sane, and stable people and put them together in the absence of a sexual spark, what do you get?
Don’t get me wrong, stable friendships with the opposite sex can be awesome. But if you want your relationship to encompass the whole picture of romantic connection, you need chemistry to draw you to one another.
That’s why in this article we’ll be talking about why chemistry happens, why it sometimes doesn’t happen, and how you can encourage that mutual attraction naturally.
Now let’s get into it.
Let’s talk about the first half of this week’s question: “Why don’t women feel chemistry with me?”
The truth is, there are several things that could be going on here.
When women are asked why they don’t feel chemistry with otherwise compatible men, they often don’t know the answer to this question themselves. Some offer a few examples of particular turn-offs that get under their skin.
For the sake of giving you the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume you’re not committing one of these chemistry-killers:
- Coming across as needy or clingy
- Moving very fast, very early on
- Creating a feeling of pressure or coercion
If you suspect you may have tripped into one of those pitfalls, your first order of business is to fix that behavior.
However if you’re careful to always be respectful and you’re pretty sure you are emotionally stable and pleasant (again for the sake of this article, we assume you are! :P), what else could be going on here?
It could be that you personify the big three qualities that would make you a fantastic boyfriend in the first place: you’re Safe, Sane, and Stable.
It’s a real thing, according to scientists who study attraction.
It turns out that nice, emotionally-available behaviors don’t prompt the same release of “excitement” neurotransmitters (think adrenaline, dopamine, and endorphins) in your date’s brain as feelings of danger and uncertainty do.
As a result, even though you may be an absolutely great catch, some women will accidentally classify you as “boring.”
Don’t worry, though, it’s truly not personal, and it’s not a conscious choice on their parts. Additionally, we can work with this (more below!).
What these women have experienced is a phenomenon known as the misattribution of arousal.
If your date happens to be a woman who has experienced things like trauma bonding or intermittent reinforcement in her romantic life previously, she may have developed the tendency to misconstrue instability as a sexy, exciting trait in a man.
So when you come along with your stable job, emotional availability, and reliable pattern of behavior, she feels like something is “missing.”
She probably does not consciously recognize that the missing piece is excitement from negative things that happened; all she knows is that something feels less exciting than before.
Let’s dissect a common knee-jerk reaction to that information:
Surely you’ve heard the phrase “nice guys finish last” before.
It’s a popular misconception that stems from the following faulty train of logic:
- Experiences have taught me that women are more attracted to “jerks” than “nice guys”.
- In order to attract women, therefore, I need to stop being “nice” and start being a “jerk”.
However, if you took the time to explore the misattribution of arousal, trauma bonding, and intermittent reinforcement links in the previous section, you understand why this last-ditch reaction is immensely detrimental if your end goal is to find a healthy and consistent long-term relationship.
If you are a nice, stable, emotionally healthy man looking for the same thing in a partner, you have already accomplished an amazing thing.
Do not sacrifice that awesome high ground in the mistaken attempt to create chemistry by being more unstable and “exciting”.
Women who are attracted to instability in potential partners often must come to terms with this past trauma before they can experience healthy romantic relationships.
It is so, so, SO much more healthy and rewarding to remain confident in the fact that you are “Safe, Sane, and Stable” and to look for the same qualities in a potential girlfriend.
Whether she started out with a healthy mindset or she developed one through years of personal work, the right woman for you will recognize those traits for the amazing things they are and will reciprocate in kind.
And that is the basis for a true, healthy relationship that can last a lifetime.
How will you know whether a woman is able to recognize your good, stable qualities as attractive traits? The fact that you have these qualities will be enticing and attractive rather than “boring” to her.
Being attracted to someone with attributes that would make them a great long-term partner is a sign of emotional maturity.
As long as you both check those boxes (being safe, sane, stable, and attracted to the same traits in the other person), you can move on to building chemistry in fun, happy ways.
And, since you are safe, sane, and stable, you have the awareness and wherewithal to consciously have a lot of fun adding in elements of “danger” and “uncertainty” in totally safe, respectful ways that are uplifting for both of you. More below!
Now let’s figure out the second half of this week’s question: “How can I change that?”
With the previous section in mind, perhaps the best way to rephrase the question is, “How can I change that in a healthy way?”
At first, you may simply want to give it more time.
Many people require an emotional connection to be present first before chemistry and sexual attraction can develop. And, it can be difficult to feel emotionally connected with someone after a first date.
That said, you can still work in little moments of proximity and touch to move things along on a chemistry-level. If there’s a resonance and connection happening, a brush of the hand can be absolutely thrilling!
So if you are on the slower-paced chemistry lane, that’s okay! Try a few healthy, fun ways to increase excitement and prompt the release of those exciting neurotransmitters.
It’s definitely possible to trigger the brain’s chemical arousal reaction in a positive way!
Spice up your dates and release that rush of bonding hormones by…
- seeing a scary movie in a dark theater together (and holding her hand so she feels safe with you by her side, of course!),
- going for an adrenaline-inducing kayaking trip down some local river rapids,
- perfecting your pistol marksmanship by taking her to the shooting range, or
- riding thrilling roller coasters at an amusement park.
Not only do these activities promote the bonding chemicals necessary for her to feel “chemistry,” they should also net you some bonus points for date creativity!
Also, embrace the chemistry in the air as you get closer to her…
Chemistry is made or broken early, in those small moments of connection as you’re first getting to know each other. She needs to see that you are comfortable with proximity and touch!
Here are a few ways to (a) determine if she’s feeling chemistry too by how she responds to you and (b) develop the chemistry that much further.
- Stand a little closer to her than you normally would during a conversation. If your usual personal bubble is about three feet, try taking it down to two feet and see if she takes the hint and closes the distance even further!
- Take innocent opportunities to make light physical contact. Sitting side by side in a movie theater? Perfect. The outside of your knee might just find the perfect opportunity to “accidentally” brush against hers. Or maybe she’s right-handed and you’re left-handed, so your arms keep touching as you reach for more popcorn.
- If that goes well, deliberately make light physical contact. Place a hand on the small of her back as you guide her to walk in front of you. Hold her hand. Brush hair out of her face. These touches are obviously something you meant to do, so they up the ante; she will know you’re interested in getting closer to her, and she will have the opportunity to show you if she’s into it too.
Set the scene using any of these tips (or think of your own using the principles of proximity and touch!) to create an environment where chemistry, excitement, and desire can grow naturally in a fun and healthy way!
Conclusion on “Why don’t women feel chemistry with me, and how can I change that?”
Now you’ve had a basic primer on how neurotransmitters affect attraction, and you know what you can do to stimulate that reaction. Yay!
- evaluated the potential reasons women may not feel immediate chemistry,
- reinforced why it’s super healthy to wait for the right woman, who will see your healthy relationship potential as a fantastic attraction factor, and
- set the scene to help chemistry develop in happy, healthy ways.
Of course, learning how chemistry and attraction works is only one step in the process of elevating your dating skills. If you’re ready to level up even further, download our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead.”
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