Relationship Chemistry Definition – Is it Love?

Chemistry in a relationship is like a performance; one is electrifying and another is boring. But no matter what, for love’s sake, you have to keep working at it to make it better.

Chances are you’re reading this because you’re in a relationship lacking in chemistry and wondering whether to stay or go. Maybe the chemistry was once there, but you no longer feel “in love.” Or it was never there and you suspect you made a big mistake. Consider this: Maybe the real issue isn’t so much the lack of chemistry but some other problem you haven’t identified.

ChemistryHow do you define chemistry? I think of it as a strong attraction that includes love, lust, infatuation, and a desire to be involved intimately with someone. Chemistry is emotional desire for relationship. It is outside of the realm of reason. With it, you may be attracted to someone who you know, intellectually, is not good for you. Without it, you may be with someone you respect but are not attracted to. At best, you can have both chemistry and love; at worst, you may have chemistry and misery or no chemistry and misery. Regardless your definition, chemistry is unconscious; we don’t “choose” who we’re attracted to. Even so, we aren’t helpless. We can do much to understand and manage it. Following are guidelines that can help you navigate the minefields of attraction.

  1. Do you have to have chemistry for a successful relationship? No, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you will learn to love someone. Yes, it’s possible; but if you aren’t attracted to her, you may come to resent your decision. Be honest with yourself; do not choose a relationship primarily because “she’s a good person.” This is a formula for disaster. On the other hand, if the attraction isn’t there, it can grow. Many times people grow to love one another as they get to know each other better.
  2. Because it’s unconscious, searching for chemistry in a relationship is a hit-and-miss proposition. You can find it, but you’ll have to be patient. How will you know you’ve found it? You won’t be arguing with yourself whether or not you love him. If it’s a debate, then either the chemistry is missing or he’s a poor partner for you.
  3. Once found, you’ll have to be patient again – or you may make a mistake you’ll deeply regret. Chemistry isn’t the end-all, be-all solution it may appear to be. Because it’s unconscious, feeling deeply attracted to someone can be a result of childhood issues you’re unaware of or haven’t resolved. A big red flag is when you see a problem in your partner and you tell yourself things like, “This isn’t such a big deal; I can handle this,” or “I know he has a problem, but he’s working on it,” or “He really loves me; I’m sure we’ll work it out.” Ignore these problems now and you’ll have much bigger ones to contend with later.
  4. If you’ve made it past these hurdles, you have one more challenge: The test of time. I’ve been coaching and counseling couples since 2000. One of the comments I hear most often is, “We’ve been married for years, but haven’t felt ‘in love’ since the early part of our marriage.” The “high” of new love rarely lasts more than a couple years. Once over, you’ll need to replace it with something more substantial: caring, respect, forgiveness, and an ability to communicate. These things can be learned, but you’ll have to work hard at them. Some may be difficult skills for you to master. You can definitely do it; roll up your sleeves and get to work!
  5. Can you recreate lost love? Yes! In order to do so you must have one essential ingredient – willingness on the part of both people involved. My experience with couples is once a person has “given up,” has decided in his heart he no longer wants the relationship, the chances of rekindling love are minimal. You don’t have to have a lot of willingness; faith the size of a “mustard seed” can be enough. Counseling to help resolve underlying problems and to motivate you can be helpful. Keep the faith!

David Cantu
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Chemistry in a Relationship – Is it Love? How Do You Define it?- Article © 2009

Marriage Communication Skills Coaching and Marriage Conflict Skills

If you fight a lot, join us at any of our upcoming workshops or give us a call to schedule an intitial session. 512.653.4316
Speak up; the alternative is grief.

I heard this from a friend recently: “Why is it like pulling teeth to get others to open up and say, ‘I really don’t like it when you…’”
On the same day another friend lamented, “I have so many people in my life who stew, steam, get so mad at someone, and tell everyone except that person.” Both of these people were understandably frustrated at others’ unwillingness or inability to speak their minds. Whether you have problems expressing yourself or you’re frustrated with people in your own life who don’t express themselves, the following suggestions can help you change or understand their experience.

Do you have a difficult time being assertive?
Do you avoid confrontation? Is making decisions a struggle for you? You aren’t alone; many people deal with these challenges. Often we learn to be passive and fearful as a result of childhood relationships in which parents and other adults hold all the power. From the vantage point of a child, the feeling of helpless makes sense. You may have learned to cope by giving in or backing off, rather than “arguing,” or remaining steadfast. You may have been raised by controlling or abusive parents and never learned confidence. Whatever your experience, it’s simple to see that we become what we practice. For you, authority and intimate relationships include both love and danger. The decision to protect yourself by “going along and getting along,” while necessary as a child, is kicking your butt as an adult. Regardless, you can still learn confidence and assertiveness.

Woman with Hands on EyesBeing assertive means speaking up for yourself and confronting difficult situations.
The reason this is difficult for you is that it’s more familiar to you to sulk or pretend “it isn’t such a big deal.” You likely bottle up your emotions, stew until you can’t stand it any longer, and then lash out. That’s your roller-coaster. You probably have what you imagine are good reasons for your behavior. Still, you’re unhappy; you know you have a problem; and you’re afraid to tackle it. Your complaints aren’t doing you any good because the world isn’t going to change for you. It’s time for you to take action, unless you’d rather remain frustrated, indecisive, and scared. What’s your choice? If you’ve truly decided to do something about this, I encourage you to follow this simple recipe.

1. Begin to address simple decisions with authority.
You’ll make mistakes, but the consequences of holding back from these simple choices are much more painful. Make a choice and move on, don’t dwell on “what ifs.”

2. Speak with someone you trust and can confide in; share with her how you’ve been afraid and lacked assertiveness.
Let her know you intend to change this about yourself. Ask if you can begin by being forthcoming about something that’s bothered you in your relationship with her. Hard as this may seem, it’s a small and important stepping stone on a new path.

WomanStrongWeb23. Be on the lookout for similar situations with other friends, family and co-workers.
You’ll find opportunities to express discomfort or frustration – speak up! If you miss a chance and become aware after the fact, prepare yourself mentally for a more assertive response. Do it soon; the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be.

4. You’re likely to find yourself at a loss for words sometimes.
This is to be expected. Think about it or ask a friend for advice about what you could have said. Situations when others are hostile can be especially hard to deal with. This is why you’ve begun with more manageable relationships. “Baby steps” are helpful in building self-confidence for those more challenging encounters.

5. When dealing with a combative person do not justify your actions,
become defensive, validate your view, explain the situation, or deny your behavior. Each of these responses is natural, but will only fuel his anger. Instead, acknowledge facts, verbally recognize his emotion, take responsibility for your choices, and ask what he would like to happen.

6. Assertiveness is not aggressiveness, but it may feel like it.
You’ll feel uncomfortable, maybe even sick, being firm. The discomfort is temporary and a normal response to change. You’re feeling this because you’re being different and stepping out of your comfort zone. Don’t let this stop you.

7. Be respectful in your communication.
Assertiveness isn’t an excuse to be inconsiderate or cruel. However, the pendulum often swings in the other direction; look for balance. Work on being both forthright and kind. This takes practice, and I’m sure you can do it.

David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
The Art of Communication: Speak Assertively, Kindly, and Effectively – Article © 2009

Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination, Stop Procrastinating Today!

Sometimes things can be tiring, but putting them off is exhausting!

Man SleepingOf all challenges for people, I suspect procrastination is the most common of common denominators.
Think about it, how many people do you know who never struggle with putting things off? How about yourself? Is it a problem for you? In my own life, I’ve dealt with many of my own shortcomings; but until this year the one thing I’ve put off was, you’ve got it, procrastination.

I’ve heard avoidance called many things
, including lack of discipline, putting things off till the last minute, and the thief of time. It’s all of these things, but the definitions don’t solve the problem for us. The one thing I haven’t heard it called is a lack of consciousness. We certainly appear to be conscious when we ignore something, but I think we instead are pushing the thing out of consciousness. By avoiding something, most often we’re trying not to think of it. Instead of accomplishing the task, we see it and then sweep it under the rug – the rug is our consciousness. Following is a simple solution; I encourage you to try it.

HourglassWhen we put things off, we have the feeling that something lurks within us
and keeps us from accomplishing those jobs. This assessment is correct; that “something” is an unwillingness to do what we feel we should do. My solution began innocently a couple years ago. My refrigerator broke down and I didn’t want to fix it. I did things to make me feel that I was working on it, like getting advice from a friend about the problem and buying the broken part and the tools necessary for the repair job. Even though I was taking action, I was still procrastinating. When all was ready, about three days later, I handled the problem differently than usual. Every day for the next nine days I left the repair items in plain sight. Each time I would see them I made a conscious decision: I would say to myself, “I am not going to repair the refrigerator today.” On the surface it may appear that I was still procrastinating, but the difference was that I was now making it a conscious choice. As a result, I didn’t have the nagging feeling that I was putting off something important. On the tenth day I remember looking at my work area and saying, “I’m going to get this thing fixed!” That day I repaired my refrigerator.

Fork in the RoadThe next time you find yourself tempted to put something off, stop
and ask yourself whether you want to do it or not. Voice your decision out loud to yourself or to a friend – don’t just think the choice. The power of this is that by bringing consciousness to your actions, you’re accepting full responsibility for the consequences. You will be much less likely to give yourself grief after you decide not to do something. Self-punishment creates a vicious cycle that burdens you more and more. Consciousness helps break that cycle. You’ll more often find yourself choosing to get things done. A final caution: Don’t expect yourself to change overnight. Be patient.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
It’s Time to Put Off Procrastination! – Article © 2009

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