Although romantic chemistry might seem elusive, Kimberly Seltzer, a therapist, dating, and makeover expert at Elite Image Makeovers, says that magic spark can almost always be traced back to four factors: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual attraction. Here’s a breakdown of each.
“Most people can define which features they find attractive,” says Seltzer. “It’s often a list of x,y, and z.” But it’s not all cut and dry. “Attraction in the physical domain is the one you see the most shift in over time,” she says. That is, someone might initially find their date only moderately attractive, and then see that person’s attractiveness increase as they get to know them on a more intimate level.
“This is the way somebody makes you feel,” says Seltzer. “Do you feel loved, nurtured, cared for; is the other person putting his or her feelings out there; are you putting your feelings out there?” One indicator you and a potential partner might be lacking emotional attraction is if the person seems great in theory, but you don’t feel a spark. There are ways to overcome this, says Seltzer. “Many people don’t put themselves out there when they first meet someone,” she explains. “Instead, they talk in facts.” Skip the small talk about jobs and number of siblings and go deep. Ask about your date’s journey—their likes and dislikes; their plans for the future. Share similar things about yourself. “Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is key,” says Seltzer.
Intellectual compatibility. Similar to physical attraction, many people have an idea of what they’re looking for in terms of intellect. For example, a person with a sense of humor that relies on sharp wit will feel more compatible with someone who can match their smarts.
Spiritual compatibility. Of the four domains, spirituality is the most difficult to define. “Some people put religion into this category; for others it can be choices like veganism and ways of life,” says Seltzer. “On first impression, you don’t often get a handle on this domain. It develops over time.”