Why is it that so many happily married couples say they met “the one” when they least expected it?
When people actively seek their soul mate they may date around like crazy, sign up for multiple online dating sites and otherwise play the field. With all that work it should seem logical they would have the most success. And in many cases, they do. However, we’ve all heard “I met the one when I wasn’t really looking” enough times to know there is something to this phenomenon.
In Mars and Venus on a Date, John Gray, PhD explains that the people who experience this feel lucky because they weren’t consciously looking. There’s a saying “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The same concept applies here.
People put themselves in environments (whether consciously or unconsciously) that allow them to meet a potential partner with whom they felt immediately chemistry. Here’s where it gets fun: By understanding the conditions for this “lucky meeting” to happen, you can deliberately speed up the process of finding your partner.
First we need to understand there are two different kinds of chemistry: healthy and unhealthy.
Unhealthy chemistry is often fueled by selfish desires, unmet needs and co-dependency. Without properly getting to know someone the connection can feel very superficial and physical, which tends to fade fast. The good news is that by learning to recognize unhealthy chemistry and not act on it, you increase our ability to feel healthy chemistry.
Here are Gray’s four elements of healthy chemistry:
1. Different Interests. While people may not realize their differences right away, the most successful couples tend to have more different interests than similar ones. This is not to say they don’t have shared interests—they do. Think about it like this: if you chose someone exactly like yourself, you would never be stimulated by new experiences and information. By experiencing something new with a person, a new part of you has a chance to come out. And when this happens, you feel more energy and automatically become more attractive.
>> Go to places where people will have different interests from yours. If you never read, go to a bookstore. If technology confuses you, go to the Apple store. If you love health food, check out a fast food joint.
2. Complementary Needs. Dr. Gray teaches that men want to feel successful in a relationship and in making a woman happy, while women want to feel supported and secure. When a man has what a woman needs, she feels chemistry. The opposite is true for men: when a woman needs what a man has to offer, he feels chemistry. This simple mutual dependency creates what Gray calls healthy emotional chemistry. The cool thing here is by consistently feeling the joy of being needed and meeting those needs, men begin to look past the surface physical chemistry because they get a much deeper satisfaction from the pleasure of making romantic gestures and feeling a woman’s responses. This positive reinforcement allows women to feel free to be receptive and pleased time and time again.
>> Go to places where you will meet people who will feel complementary needs. For women, go to a bike shop and ask for help or check out a salsa club and find a dancing partner. Men can look for situations where leadership is required and go there. Volunteer and be of service, lead a group or a panel, walk your friend’s dog in the park. Being in these situations can automatically bring out the best in both men and women.
3. Maturity. Humans are naturally attracted to people who reflect our level of depth or maturity. Our maturity changes with experience over time—this is why people typically date within their age range. Each time you gain experience in dating and learn from those experiences in a positive way, your maturity and discernment increase. This is why it’s so important to take steps to know yourself first in order to recognize when you’ve met your match.
>> If you’re looking for someone with a high level of maturity, it’s your job to cultivate the same. Spend time reflecting on past relationships: What worked? What didn’t? What do you want out of a future partner? Assess your habits and see where you can gain more wisdom and self-control. Are there any addictions you need to kick? New habits you’d like to create?
4. Resonance. People feel major chemistry when they meet someone with similar values that resonate with their own. This is the chemistry that inspires you to be the best you can be. This is not to say you will always have the same viewpoint on issues concerning spirituality, family, career, environment, health, money, politics, etc. But it does mean you will be able to see your partner’s viewpoint and respect where they are coming from. This is the basis of what makes us compatible with someone over the test of time. It’s also what will keep partners together during tough times.
>> Go to places where you will meet people of similar values. If you’re religious, become actively involved in your place of worship. Be active in your support of the environment or a particular politician. To find others who value mindfulness, go to a yoga or meditation class. Remember that similar values are much deeper than similar interests.
When these four components are present, you can build strong healthy chemistry with someone over time, leading to a sustainable, loving partnership. While taking these steps are not a fool-proof way to meet The One, they are a great practice in building chemistry with people. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!