Most psychologists agree there are five key areas that couples need to connect on to stay together happily long-term.
They are compatibility, having common goals, moving at the same pace through life, the right timing – and one other mysterious ingredient that is arguably the most important of all: Chemistry.
Tracey Cox says you need to have chemistry to have a successful relationship
Lust at first sight. Instant attraction. Feeling really comfortable around someone after exchanging two words.
Finding yourself ignoring the hot person trying desperately to chat you up and instead feeling an irresistible urge to kiss their unattractive friend.
Feeling like you know someone’s soul when your eyes lock.
And there’s a simple way to tell if you’ve got it with your partner: if you have to think too hard about it, you haven’t.
Chemistry is instant: it’s either there right from the start or it develops rapidly.
Apart from being none-too-subtle, chemistry is illogical, irrational and out of our conscious control – which is why it can land us our perfect match or in scalding hot water.
Chemistry doesn’t care if this person will dump you after three nights, taking the family heirloom with them, or whether they’d make a fabulous parent for future children.
It works on a primitive level – like whether your body wants to get close to theirs.
Scroll down for Tracey’s chemistry checklist
Relationship expert Tracey insists that chemistry works ‘on a primitive level’
It’s involuntary and feels delicious, which is why it’s so frustrating when we find chemistry with people we know we shouldn’t (your best friend’s husband, for instance).
Find it with the right person, however, and you’re streets ahead in the relationship stakes.
While chemistry alone won’t guarantee you a great relationship, I believe it’s essential for a long-term happy liaison.
If it’s not there in the beginning, it’s likely you’re not going to be aroused by your partner in the future.
Tracey says: ‘Lose the chemistry – or never find it – and you’ve lost the relationship’
Lose the chemistry – or never find it – and you’ve lost the relationship.
Which begs the following question…
Is it a bad sign if you’re not ripping each other’s clothes off in the beginning?
In a word – yes!
If you’ve only made love once or twice and a deep, tonsil-touching kiss doesn’t end with both of you ripping your gear off in the lounge room, it is not a good sign.
Burning loins, frantic underwear removal, snogging in inappropriate places – if you’re not doing it in the beginning, you sure as hell won’t be six months down the track (let alone 20 years on, when every couple goes through that ‘I’d rather eat nails than sleep with you’ stage).
‘Burning loins, frantic underwear removal, snogging in inappropriate places’ are all signs of a chemistry-filled relationship
Love without lust is friendship.
Some experts disagree with me, but I honestly don’t believe it’s possible to have a passionate relationship for life unless the passion’s there in the beginning.
Can chemistry develop over time?
If you’re both emotionally healthy and don’t have any hang-ups, my honest answer is, not usually.
But there are exceptions.
If you’ve had bad sexual experiences that have made you afraid of sex, you might be too scared to feel passion.
Tracey insists: ‘I honestly don’t believe it’s possible to have a passionate relationship for life unless the passion’s there in the beginning’
You probably won’t have ‘chemistry’ with any partner, not just this one.
Or perhaps you’ve been hurt one too many times and fear that if you give all of yourself (commit your heart, mind andbody) you’ll never survive if it happens again.
In those situations, it’s worth getting some therapy and seeing how you feel afterward.
Otherwise, think about whether this person should really be a friend rather than a lover.
What if there’s nothing but chemistry?
Can a good relationship develop when all you have in common at the start is the frantic urge to shred the sheets together?
You bet it can! Sexual attraction is incredibly powerful.
If you’re shooting off the Richter scale for chemistry, it’s well worth hanging around to see if there’s any other areas you click on and a more serious relationship could develop
If you’re shooting off the Richter scale for chemistry, it’s well worth hanging around to see if there’s any other areas you click on.
Besides, what have you got to lose?
If it does turn out to be just sex and both of you didn’t expect more, you’ve lost nothing except a few dozen weekends locked in each other’s bedrooms.
How long before you’ll know?
If you’re working through the Kama Sutra for the sixth time and still don’t know the names of their brother and sister (or even if they have any), it’s a pretty safe bet it’s lust.
If you’re still spending most of your time having sex but have at least emerged long enough to meet each other’s significant friends and family, hang in there.
TRACEY’S CHEMISTRY CHECKLIST
You’ve got chemistry with YOUR partner if…
1. You find them very, very attractive. They definitely do it for you.
2. You feel a little intoxicated when you’re with them. Even in a crowded room, it still feels like you’re alone because you only have eyes (and ears) for each other.
3. You feel like you ‘click’: your initial gut instinct on meeting them was a very definite ‘Yes please!’
4. You’re either having lots of sex or you can’t bloody well wait to start