When There’s No Physical Chemistry

Dear Michele,
I have a question. I am dating a guy, we started with emails and then a few more weeks of talking on the phone. When I met him and saw him for the first time I just wasn’t attracted to him physically. At the end of the first date I decided to have a second date just because he was the sweetest guy and really fun… Now we have been dating for a few months and I still don’t feel attracted to him. He is an amazing person. I feel happy spending time with him. He has everything I was looking for in a guy but physically he’s just not my type. Sometimes I think that I need to be thankful for the qualities he has instead for what he doesn’t have. What do you think? Do you think that I should continue dating and see what happens?

Thank you so much, C.

Dear C,

You have a very common question, and a common dilemma. When singles ask this question, I normally suggest that they try a few dates to see if the attraction grows. Lots of relationships started slowly with feelings and attraction growing over time. However, it looks like you have given the relationship enough time to blossom in the passion department. Matching up both character qualities and physical attraction can seem like a hard thing to do. I sense that what you are asking is which one is more important? The answer: both are important.

Having someone you enjoy spending time with, can talk openly with, is accessible and available to you, and seems to share the same feelings are really the basics for starting a romantic relationship. But, they are also the basics for starting a great friendship. How can you tell the difference between the two? It comes down to attraction.

As much as it’s enjoyable to be with someone who “matches the resume” you are looking for, in the long run the lack of passion is likely to become a problem. A secure, happy marriage includes a satisfying sex life. It’s good to be aware how important sexuality is to your potential partner, because in general both men and women long for the closeness and intimacy that physical affection can bring. And if it’s not there, one partner can be left feeling perpetually rejected .. which over time can lead to resentment and some real challenges.

The “magic dust” of attraction is hard to predict. We are created to be passionate with each other. It is normal and healthy to be so attracted to a person that you want to tear their clothes off. You may not do it, but that drive is meant to eventually bond the two of you together. Our sexuality is gift from God and a beautiful aspect of a healthy marriage. You may want to ask yourself why you are willing to move forward without it? It’s not too much to ask to have both a best friend and a passionate lover in your future spouse.

Are you choosing someone who you are not attracted to in order to live chastity more easily? You may also be in a place where it’s easier to just be with someone for the companionship. Could you be avoiding being alone? Try to start first by examining your heart, and with prayer and discernment, you are called to be completely authentic with him about your feelings (or lack of). It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great friendship. I had an initial date with a guy from church, but later I had to tell him that I wasn’t attracted to him in that way. Not only did we become great friends and prayer partners, he was the one of the first people I called to celebrate after my engagement to my current husband, and I was thrilled to attend his wedding last year. And he gave some great guy advice along the way! It may mean that this person is meant to be in your life, but just in a different role.

Hope that helps,

Michele Fleming, M.A.