The good feeling that’s actually disastrous for your love life.
By Dr Lori Beth Bisbey — Last updated on Jun 10, 2023
Love at first sight seems like a great way to identify your boyfriend as a potential soulmate, but basing a new relationship on instant sexual chemistry or attraction is actually not so great.
If you’re looking to build a committed, healthy relationship, then falling in love with someone you only have a sexual attraction to could actually ruin your ability to make the relationship last.
Deep relationships need more than chemistry
Margaret and Barry met at a concert when he was in the wrong seat. The attraction was intense and instant. So much so that they agreed to share the one seat and Margaret spent the concert sitting on Barry’s lap. That night they spent at a local hotel where Barry had a room.
The sex was phenomenal, better than they had ever experienced with anyone else. It was the beginning of a deeply sexual relationship that lasted a number of months.
Why didn’t the relationship continue after a few months? Try as they might, Margaret and Barry could never recreate the connection they experienced on their first night together. After a while, they both became frustrated and the relationship ended.
This scenario is not unusual for relationships that start with instant sexual attraction. It is just one of the problems that can arise when people know nothing about each other except that they have a strong attraction to one another.
Instant karma’s great (but doesn’t last)
Instant attraction can be great. At least you know that you both want each other, right? Sex is an important part of any romantic relationship. It helps you feel closer and can deepen your romantic connection. An excellent emotional connection without sexual attraction often leads to long-term dissatisfaction. Ultimately, it can lead to someone being put in the friend zone.
There are, however, downsides to instant attraction that can cause impulsive behavior. Safe sex conversations can be forgotten as you ride the wave of your attraction. The attraction can override other considerations about compatibility.
Instant attraction plays into your fantasies of meeting that one princess or prince who will be your ideal mate. This person sweeps you off your feet, and any problems will melt away as long as you are together. If only this were true! In reality, no relationship will solve all problems. Relationships help you to solve problems when your partners share your vision for the future and provide you with support to enable you to harness your best problem-solving techniques.
Instant attraction can provide an incredible ego boost, too. Someone finding you so attractive that they act impulsively can make you feel irresistible! …At least for the moment. When that attraction begins to wane, that can feel awful, though.
You find yourself questioning the whole experience. Was there really an attraction? Was it all a dream? Were you fooling yourself? It can also leave you questioning the other person. Is that person really of value if there is an instant attraction?
Take the time and get to know each other
Jona and Jen couldn’t resist each other when they met at a party given by friends. They didn’t stay very long because they could not wait to be alone with each other. They spent the next three days in bed, only getting up to order food and head to the loo.
Jona noticed they didn’t talk much during this time, but she didn’t care. She couldn’t get enough of Jen. Their sexual tastes meshed so well! But after three days, Jen had to return to work and they said reluctant goodbyes.
Jona and Jen didn’t even last another month. When they finally did have a conversation, they realized they had very little in common. Jen prized deep spiritual and philosophical conversations. Jona found these conversations extremely dull. Jona’s interests ran toward sports, architecture, and politics. Despite the intensity of their sexual connection, they could find no way for their minds to connect.
The “ugly” of instant sexual attraction is two-fold when it arises:
When there is an intense sexual attraction, you might not pay attention to your gut impulses.You ignore the potential danger signs and can find yourself with people who don’t understand consent.
People can find it hard to say no in situations of instant intense attraction and when they do say no, they may not be heard or listened to.
Boundaries and limits are often pushed when an instant attraction takes hold. You don’t take the time to assess the situation and the person fully. The chemical and hormonal reactions override your logical thought and often override your gut impulses as well.
So how do you avoid the ugly? Even with the intense attraction, take a deep breath. You have time to think. You are not going to miss out by taking the time to check in with your gut and make sure that you actually feel good about moving forward.
How do you tell if an instant attraction is worth pursuing or if it will result in a lasting relationship?
Can you simply accept the attraction for what it is and have great sex together without looking for more? If so, then enjoy the experience and revel in the sensations and the physical joy.
Does your instant hottie also have the potential to turn into a lasting relationship? Hopefully, you have already worked out the priorities for your lasting relationships.
Do you have a list of ideals? Values? Necessary qualities? Qualities you would like to see? Deal breakers? If you have done this exercise, you should be able to quickly assess if your instant hottie also has some of the qualities you desire in a lasting partner or if they have any of the deal breakers. This can help you to make more considered decisions even in the face of the intense heat.
Is the communication between the two of you easy? If you are able to talk easily and feel comfortable with each other even during the most intensely sexual beginning of your relationship, you are more likely to be able to pursue the relationship further.
If you can both be responsible, taking care of yourselves, each other, and any other partners, even with the intense fire burning between you, then the relationship has a much better chance of enduring beyond the initial attraction phase.
Sometimes this type of instant attraction is a great place to explore sexual fantasies that you might not have felt comfortable sharing with a long-standing lover or partner. When you have just met someone, you often care less what they think of you. If they reject your fantasy, so what? You will never have to see them again.
Using this type of intense attraction to explore without strings is a great way to become more comfortable with your own fantasies and desires and to learn to communicate about them in new ways. This practice can lead to more successful enduring partnerships.
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Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey is a psychologist and intimacy/sex coach who helps individuals, couples, and polyamorous groups create their ideal last relationships.