Chemistry. That undefined je ne sais quoi that people search for endlessly. No one is quite sure how to describe it in words. It is simply that “special something” you know you will feel when you meet the right person. People spend years searching for it, and often have no idea exactly what they are looking for other than a feeling.

What no one seems to realize is that chemistry is more definable and predictable than how it is portrayed in the movies and on TV. It is more than the indescribable and romantic notion that we were brought up to believe.

I have found through personal experience, and from years of relationship coaching, that chemistry is hardwired by our historical past. It is defined by how we first saw love, which for most people goes back to the relationship, or lack of relationships, between their parents.

From the time we are small we notice aspects of our parent’s relationship (whether they argued a lot, got along great, were supportive of each other, did not speak to each other, etc.) and as we grow into adults looking for our own partners, we tend to be attracted to people who are similar to one of our parents.

Here’s an example:

My mother was a very funny, charming, talkative, and emotionally intense woman. My father was a cognitive, cerebral, and brilliant ivy-league lawyer. He was overall a wonderful man. He was proactive in his word and had extremely ethical values, but was always very emotionally unavailable.

As I began dating I found over and over again that I was attracted to men that were smart, ethically valued, and commitment oriented, like my father, but they were always emotionally disconnected. If I met someone who was very charming, touchy-feely, and open emotionally, I wasn’t interested; the chemistry was not there.

My history dictated the men I felt chemistry with…and I am not the only one.

I find that this pattern occurs over and over again with everyone that I work with. The problem for a lot of people is that their search for ultimate chemistry can hinder them from finding a meaningful and lasting relationship. Chemistry does not always equal relationship success. I was lucky that my chemistry led me to appropriate and committed partners that were brilliant, ethical, respectful, and willing to work on the relationship with me, but this is certainly not always the case.

If your chemistry has consistently led you to individuals who are inappropriate for you in terms of values, lifestyle, and relationships goals, than you are doomed from the start. Relationships need more than just chemistry to survive.

So, how do I use this information when making a match?

While chemistry may not be the only thing to look for in a partner, it’s very important that two people are attracted to each other. There has to be an underlying spark for them to want to continue to get to know each other. Since chemistry is defined by our history, I am able to predict who my client will be attracted to by interviewing them during our first meeting. I ask about each of their parents as individuals and about their parent’s relationship with each other. I also learn about their own past romantic relationships, what has and has not worked, as well as about their current relationship goals.

I then take a step back and look for patterns in the answers to these questions. By doing so I am able to pinpoint the types of people they feel organic chemistry with, and determine if those relationships have been healthy or problematic. If the answer is problematic, then I know that I have to tweak their chemistry pattern a bit.

Tweaking chemistry is not as hard as you might think.

Back to my personal example:

I had a tendency to be drawn to emotionally unavailable men. Luckily, because they were commitment oriented I was able to have successful relationships. This is demonstrated in my eleven-year marriage. We have worked very hard on our relationship, don’t get me wrong, but it is a wonderful and committed relationship.

If I had been attracted to emotionally unavailable men that were ALSO commitment-phobes, then my relationships would not have been successful. My chemistry pattern would have been negatively affecting me. To change my success rate I would need to tweak my strategy so that I could meet men that were cerebral, like I was attracted to, and also wanted to be in a committed relationship. By doing so my success rate would go up without having to compromise traits I was organically attracted to.

The benefit of working with a matchmaker is that we can do this investigative work for you from both ends. It can be hard to see these patterns in yourself, and it can be even harder to figure out if someone you just met has the same long-term relationship and life goals as you do.

I have the advantage of being able to interview potential matches for my clients. I look for compatibility as well as for traits that I know my clients will be attracted to. By leading with compatibility and tacking on the chemistry factor at the end, the match is much more likely to be successful long term.

Want to pinpoint your own chemistry habits and date more successfully?

Take a look at your personal history. Write a list describing the following:

– Each of your parent’s characteristics
– How your parents each related to you
– How your parents related to each other
– People you have had relationships with in the past and their characteristics and traits- both positive and negative

Look at these lists side by side and notice any commonalities. What traits seem to pop up on multiple lists? Do you continue to be attracted to people that are unavailable emotionally, not looking for a relationship, or are dishonest? Are you attracted to people who have great senses of humor, are happy, playful, condescending or who are very sensitive?

Figure out where you can tweak your natural chemistry patterns by weeding out the negative and focusing on the positive traits you are attracted to. By doing so you will without fail have more relationships success.