Chemistry or Connection – How to Know the Difference

As we head into fall and the holidays, it’s the time of year for romance. Dating increases as summer wanes. It’s also a time when we are prone to get caught up in chemistry. The thrill! The passion! Romance! It’s lovely and magical. It’s such an exquisite experience. We are also prone to overlooking issues when we get intoxicated by romance. We can get confused about chemistry versus connection.


Connection and chemistry can be different. Often, people believe that chemistry is the thing to search for when desiring a relationship. Dating site profiles are teeming with desires of having chemistry with someone. Chemistry has its perks. The high we feel when we are with someone that we have chemistry with—this shared, invisible blast of hormones—is hard to resist. It’s highly comparable to heroin. It’s very addictive. And it isn’t necessarily what is healthy for us.

We confuse being magnetically drawn to someone, to someone healthy for us. Being strongly drawn to someone is most likely chemistry. Don’t confuse the two.

True connection isn’t synonymous with chemistry

True connection isn’t synonymous with chemistry. Depending on the person and their conditioning when they were growing up, chemistry is the familiar feeling we have when someone matches our childhood conditioning. If you had a loving and supportive family that was affectionate, spent time with you, and took care of you, then you find that chemistry with someone will be a healthy thing. It will match a more healthy connection.

 Chemistry is that magnetic pull

If like most of us, you had a less-than-perfect family, one that was not always supportive or possibly even abusive or controlling, then you will find chemistry with the very thing you will eventually find hurtful and difficult. It’s familiar to our brains. Our brains are hard-wired with our childhood experiences, emotions, traumas, successes, failures, and societal beliefs. It’s a melting pot of all of it. When we meet someone who has had similar experiences or carries the complementing wounds that we do, we will feel a strong (almost uncontrollable) magnetic pull. Our brains can get attached very quickly. We might not even know what hit us. What we know is this familiar feeling of potent attraction and amazing happiness that we suddenly feel for the person.

We are high on the love drug!

We are high on the love drug! High on hormones. The feel-good hormones! Dopamine is at a very high level.  It’s so high that we often cannot make healthy decisions, we overlook issues.

This is chemistry, and it feels so good in the beginning. We feel on top of the world. Until the triggers happen and we find ourselves in the same kinds of hurtful situations we have experienced before. The roller-coaster ride begins. We feel amazing, and then we feel down and low. It’s confusing. That confusion can keep us in a loop for a long while.

 True Connection Attraction Grows 

In contrast, in a true connection, we find a person who offers us support, love, and affection; but here we might not feel chemistry. It might feel foreign to us in the beginning. It might even feel off-putting at the start. Even bland or boring. We might question the attraction. Some describe it as a “meh” feeling. It certainly is not the same as Cupid’s arrow that we feel with chemistry.  We can grow to find that stronger connection and attraction with that person. It will progress and deepen gradually.  This is because the brain is experiencing something different, something outside our comfort zone or what is familiar.

It takes mindfulness to avoid chemistry

It takes mindfulness of ourselves, our wounds, and our true desires to see the difference. As we grow and heal, our attraction and chemistry will also change. We can find a deeper connection to someone that will support our self-love and growth. We still have difficulties, as they too will trigger us in a way that is an opportunity to grow and look at our shadows. The connection doesn’t feel like we’ve won the lottery–the high of the chemical cocktail we have with chemistry. It won’t feel like the pits of hell when it goes sour. It feels fulfilling and supportive with ups and downs. It’s contented and grounded like we have met someone we can grow together with. It is a sound foundation.


When we seek romance outside of what our true self needs, we get caught up in desire, passion, and sexual energy until the thrill is gone! When we realize the other person’s behavior or way of expressing love isn’t like ours, we wonder what we ever saw in that person. We suddenly wake up from the high and get sober.

 We quickly get hooked on chemistry

Thinking I was past the “chemistry” hook years ago, I met a man for tea.  I knew about the effects of chemistry and the signs. We had tea and even though when I got home I heard in my head, “Is this chemistry?” “It feels like a drug,” it still got me. What would be, in my mind, tea and friendship turned into a nightmare of rehashed issues and eventually abuse. It only took three meetings to be past the point of no return. In my mind, I thought I could resist it. Part of me knew what was going on, but something else was at the steering wheel, my subconscious. It confused me enough to question myself.

It takes awareness and willpower to resist

Growing from that experience, I now understand we only have a brief span of time before our brains get hooked. Some experts say 3 dates we are hooked on the heroin-like cocktail and our brains become attached to another person. It takes a great deal of awareness and willpower to resist that strong magnetic pull. It’s like sobering up before the alcohol has worn off.

I understand if I question whether or not it is chemistry; it is chemistry. Just because I understand chemistry on a cognitive level does not mean I am immune to it.

Now, I strive only for true connection and attraction that grows and deepens. I’m committed to avoiding getting caught up in chemistry as if my life depended on it.  I’ll take true connection over chemistry any day.