Why Chemistry is Not the Key to Authentic Connections

Marie-Judith Jean-Louis
6 min readJul 10

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Many of us have been led to believe that chemistry is the ultimate guiding force in finding a suitable intimate partner. But, what if that concept is flawed? Although intense, chemistry seems to lack the essential components for a lasting, nourishing and fulfilling intimate relationship. That’s why I believe we should shift our focus from Chemistry to Alchemy. So let’s explore why that may be the case.

What is Chemistry in a relationship?

If the health of an intimate relationship was represented by the heat that comes from a fire, chemistry would be akin to a sparkler that lights up when two people come together. It’s exciting, it’s unpredictable and it’s automatic. It might give off heat when you’re close to each other, but it has a limited lifespan.

When I hear people talking about the importance of chemistry with a potential partner, it seems to specifically refer to physical chemistry. This type of chemistry is often characterized by a strong physical attraction and a magnetic pull between two people. It involves a desire for closeness, touch, and intimacy. And although you feel like you can’t keep your hands off of each other, that kind of interaction is not necessarily conducive to a long-lasting healthy relationship. Here are three reasons why :

1. Chemistry Doesn’t Last.

Chemistry, as commonly understood, often fades over time, especially when it’s mostly physical. That initial spark we feel with someone may be exciting and enticing at first, but it’s not a solid foundation for a long-term partnership. As time goes by, and people change, the intense chemistry that drew us together can diminish, leaving us wondering why the attraction waned and why what seemed to work before no longer does. If chemistry was the sole foundation of the relationship, when it’s gone, there’s nothing left to support it. In that case, it’s clear that chemistry alone is not enough to sustain a healthy relationship.

2. Chemistry Doesn’t Mean Compatibility.

We often mistake chemistry for compatibility, assuming that a strong initial attraction equates to a suitable match. But there are plenty of examples of couples with extremely high physical chemistry that are in a toxic relationship. I believe the lack of awareness of people’s capacity for growth in the intimate department cloud their judgment when it comes to finding a partner. They often overlook compatibility because the chemistry is so strong, not realizing that chemistry levels can vary over time, as mentioned previously. Compatibility goes far beyond surface-level attraction. True compatibility involves shared values, vision, goals, and a mutual understanding and acceptance of each other’s needs. Chemistry alone cannot guarantee these essential factors for a successful relationship.

3. Chemistry is Unconscious.

One of the main pitfalls of relying solely on chemistry is that it requires little to no effort or participation. Chemistry by definition is unconscious. It’s a byproduct of an attraction that has little to do with our own will. Unfortunately, many also expect chemistry to do all the work for them. This hands-off approach to an intimate relationship will inevitably lead to a state of complacency. And complacency in a relationship is lethal. Without actively participating in building and developing our intimate relationship, we’re creating a breathing ground for stagnation, frustrations and missed opportunities to a fulfilling love journey.

Instead of fixating on chemistry, we should prioritize the concept of alchemy in our search for a life partner.

What is Alchemy in a Relationship?

If the health of an intimate relationship was represented by the heat that comes from a fire, alchemy would be akin to a campfire two people get to build together. The amount of heat they get from the campfire depends on the energy they put into it by tending to it. They may need a spark or lighter to get the fire started, but they can keep it going for as long as they want by consciously participating in building and maintaining that fire.

I believe alchemy in a relationship is a more conscious form of chemistry. Not only does it involve a strong attraction, but it also involves a deep emotional, intellectual and spiritual connection. It comes with an understanding that we have influence over these connection through our awareness and our conscious actions. This ensure that the connection is compatible on all levels and provides a great foundation for a long lasting healthy relationship. Here are three reasons why alchemy is the way to go:

1. Alchemy is Sustainable.

Unlike fleeting chemistry, alchemy has the potential to endure. It is built on a foundation of shared values, trust, and emotional connection. With alchemy, we lay the groundwork for a relationship that can weather the storms and challenges that life inevitably brings. It puts the success of the relationship in your own hands. You won’t control it but you’ll be contributing to it by being attentive to each other, aware of your own impact on it, and make it part of your habit to tend to it on a regular basis.

2. Alchemy Promotes Growth.

The beauty of alchemy in a relationship lies in its ability to foster personal and shared growth. There are no manuals to teach us how to create a healthy relationship. Every connection is different, every people have their own challenges and experiences, and everyone changes over time. So there’s a need to be attentive, to constantly learn about each other and ourselves, and to be open and vulnerable enough to outgrow old habits that no longer serves us in a relationship. For example, you may have been uncomfortable opening up to your partner about your feelings in the past. But in a healthy relationship, you’ll have to outgrow that unhealthy habit. That’s how you get to participate in fostering a healthy relationship. Putting effort into your own growth will benefit you, your partner and your relationship. It encourages us to continually evolve and invest in our relationship. By actively participating in the alchemical process, we open doors to deeper understanding, empathy, and connection with our intimate partner.

3. Alchemy is Conscious.

Unlike unconscious chemistry, alchemy requires awareness and intention. It calls for open communication, vulnerability, and a willingness to work through challenges together. One of the main challenges couples face over time is the lost of spark or intimacy in a relationship. When alchemy is the foundation of a relationship, the couple will address this challenge by looking into how their behaviour changed. Maybe they stop putting effort into connecting with one another on a regular basis, which eventually dimmed the flame between them and all they needed to do was to take time everyday to connect through something as simple as a heartfelt hug every morning before starting their day. By embracing the conscious nature of alchemy, we create space for growth, compassion, and mutual support.

There’s nothing wrong with considering chemistry as a factor in the selection of an intimate partner, however, it shouldn’t be the dominant factor if we’re looking to build a healthy relationship. While chemistry may hold initial allure, it falls short in providing the sustenance needed for a lasting and fulfilling relationship. By shifting our focus towards alchemy, we get to embark on a love journey that can lead to a deeper connection that can be passionate, nourishing and even healing.

So, I invite you to reconsider the common narrative about chemistry and seek alchemy over chemistry when it comes to finding your intimate life partner. I’d love to know what your thoughts are regarding this. Let me know in the comments

P.S. I’m hosting a group discussion on this topic on Zoom, Wednesday July 26, 2023 6 PM EST. Click here to join us.

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