Why the spark is overrated
After a first date, a very common statement we matchmakers hear is, “He/She was really nice and we had a lot in common but I didn’t feel the spark.”
Feeling the spark (also known as the butterflies, a connection, nervousness, or chemistry) on a first or even second date is often just your nervous system being activated.
Our nervous system gets activated based on past experiences and it is often rooted in something unhealthy. Like being on a date with someone who is love bombing you (too much, too soon which is a sign your date could be a narcissist. It feeds into your need to be validated), or being with someone who is aloof or emotionally unavailable (it becomes a challenge or triggers your feelings of not being enough), or bonding over shared past trauma.
A study was done where they interviewed couples in long term, healthy, happy relationships where they asked if they felt the “spark” when first meeting. Only 11% of the couples were a yes. The rest said they only felt the chemistry later, after really getting to know each other.
So it is completely healthy to not “feel” a spark when first meeting, and should actually be expected. To that end, you owe it to yourself to book that second or third date. In fact, the slow burn IS the better predictor of long term compatibility and success as a couple.
That fast burn that a lot of people chase, rooted in a superficial strong physical attraction and those “unhealthy” sparks, will usually fizzle out just as quickly, because it lacks any sort of foundation.
And not to mention, getting singularly wrapped up in how physically attracted you are to your date might make you miss the stuff that’s really important. Like are you aligned on your basic goals and values? Do you feel at ease and safe in their presence? Can you be yourself? Or, and this is so common, are you missing those really obvious red flags because you are too busy getting lost in their beautiful eyes?
Taking your time to really get to know someone on all those other levels (namely, emotionally and intellectually) IS the strong foundation for a longer term connection. It will also allow you to just see more clearly, and give you the time and space to check in with your intuition.
This is conscious dating – being self-aware and knowing the difference between those unhealthy and superficial feelings of attraction and REAL compatibility. It is being present, and taking it slow and checking in with yourself often. And, ultimately, giving people a fair chance to show you who they really are.