On the fourth date, I began to panic a little. I still wasn't feeling that elusive oh-so-important "spark" with the gentleman in question, despite him being hands-down the most mature, caring, and respectful man I had met since I began dating again a couple of years ago. My dating experiences were littered with flakes, dullards, weirdos, or guys who just wanted sex, so it was a HUGE relief to meet a guy who, while not exactly my type, was courting me diligently and treating me like he truly wanted to be with me. I didn't worry about a lack of "chemistry" on the first date, or even the second. I thought surely it would kick in.
Besides, what is chemistry anyway? I read a quote once that said "Chemistry is often just your dysfunction saying hello to another person's dysfunction" and I started to believe that. This time, I wasn't looking for "chemistry" but just a good, solid guy who seemed into me. And I had him! So why didn't I want to kiss him yet? Did I even need to want to kiss him yet?
Given what I know about modern dating so far, there seems to be a rather rigid timeline that people follow. And woe if you aren't hitting those milestones when you should be. It's worse than your kid not talking until he's 12. From what I gather it seems to go something like this:
First two minutes of date one: "Spark" or "chemistry."
End of date one: First kiss.
Middle of date two: Hand holding. Googly eyes.
End of date two: First make out sesh.
Date three: First "hello" kiss.
End of date three: Guy mauls you in your lobby or on your front step whilst you protest, "No, no, I'm a good girl!"
Date four: At someone's apartment.
End of date four: Guy gets to second or third base.
Date five or six: Sex.
Date seven: More sex.
Date eight: You really had to pin him down because the got busy and "wasn't getting" your messages.
Date nine: You demand to know where you stand.
Date ten: Guy disappears. You have no idea what happened.
Okay, so for some lucky types, dates 8-10 might end with talk of the future or, at the very least, taking your respective online dating profiles down.
The problem is when you're WAY off these milestone markers (OMG, it's date four and we've only kissed for like two seconds!) you start to panic, even if you like the guy.
The panic = Do I like him? If I do, why don't I want to get busy with him?
The guilt = Am I making him waste my time with me? Could he be out with someone who is really into him instead of me?
And for the record, I split costs on dates so I don't have the guilt = OMG, he's paid out so much money and I still won't snog him. I'm terrible.
But there comes that time when you just don't know. Does the lack of a spark just mean that you need more time than other people to feel something fluttery in your stomach? Or does it mean that the sexual chemistry is just not there, never going to be there, and you shouldn't torture yourself trying to make it happen?
Do we put too much pressure on ourselves to feel fireworks too soon? And if you do feel fireworks, what does that mean? Fireworks right away doesn't mean you know the person. You could feel fireworks with a dude who turns out to be a serial killer. So what did those fireworks get you?
Thoughts? When did you first feel sexual chemistry?
Image via EmilyRachelHildebrand/Flickr