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Good E-mail but No Spark


Dear Dr. Warren,

For a little over a month I e-mailed back and forth with a match who I was really attracted to. His pictures looked great, and the e-mails he sent evoked really deep feelings—it was surprising!

But then we met, and although we had a nice time, the “spark” just wasn’t there. What happened? Should we try going out again? We do have a lot in common. I’d hate to think that we spent all that time getting to know each other and it turned out to be nothing.

Jenn in Nashua, NH


Dear Jenn,

Thank you for your question.

There are two basic qualities that must both be present for a healthy relationship to develop into something really special: Chemistry and Compatibility. eHarmony members are matched with one another for their deep compatibilities in core values and personality attributes, but chemistry is something that each member must assess on a match-by-match basis.

Having both chemistry and compatibility in a relationship is so important, and pursuing a relationship that has one without the other is a recipe for disaster. A relationship with lots of chemistry but no compatibility may be exciting at first, but when the initial excitement wears off both partners may find that they’re compromising too much to compensate for the incompatibilities between them. Likewise, a relationship with compatibility but no chemistry runs the risk of developing into a passionless relationship, and you don’t want that either.

That being said, each person has a different timeframe when exploring chemistry with a potential partner. Some must have chemistry with their date right away, while others prefer to date a person a few times before making a judgment.

If you think there is a possibility that you could develop chemistry with this person, I suggest communicating with him to find out his perspective on how your date went. Then if he agrees, perhaps consider meeting him for another date in which you can both enjoy yourselves without all of the pressures of a first date.

On the other hand, if you know in your heart that he’s not the right person for you, try not to feel down about a lack of chemistry with him. A “great person” does not always translate into a “great person for you” unless he meets your unique relationship needs, and chemistry is one of those needs.

Also, when searching for the right person for you, there is no such thing as wasted time. By getting to know even one of your matches you’ve gotten many steps closer in experience to know what you want and what you don’t in a partner.

Going forward, one practice that may help you assess chemistry prior to meeting face to face is to take some time to talk on the phone a few times before meeting. Often a person’s voice will give you an indication of how attracted you’ll be to him when you meet face to face for the first time.

Let us know how you do.

Dr. Neil Clark Warren