General Question

sprstar's avatar

Should you stay in a relationship if you are great friends and very compatible with your mate and love them, but there is no physical chemistry?

Asked by sprstar (102 points ) March 18th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

56 Answers

Randy's avatar

It totally depends on the situation. To me physical chemistry is down the bar from compatibility and love. If there is none though, that could be a different story. By no physical chemistry, I’m going to assume you mean no physical attraction what-so ever and in that case I wouldn’t think you should stay in the relationship. They call it making love for a reason. If your not attracted to them it just seems there is a slight problem somewhere.

On the other hand, as long as there is any sort of physical attraction, it sounds like an awesome deal to me.

deepseas72's avatar

That’s a tricky one. Everyone functions differently. Some people, I’m sure, might have no challenge with this, but to most couples, it probably poses a fatal challenge to the relationship. You need to ask yourselves where sex ranks in your priorities. Also, are you one of those rare couples that can partake in (mutually agreed upon) sex outside of the relationship, and maintain a close emotional (but nonsexual) commitment between yourselves?

eadinad's avatar

Yes. There are ways to regain physical chemistry, and if you are both devoted to the cause, it can happen. Being great friends and compatible with someone is a lucky and rare thing that you can not force. Perhaps you should look into seeing a couple’s sex therapist.

If that is too big of a step for you, though, there are simple things you can do within your relationship. Assuming you two are able to talk and be honest with one another, try setting goals and plans for the kinds of things you could do to feel sexier, more intimate, more sexually fulfilled, etc. It might also help to schedule time for sex, at least in the beginning, so you don’t get into a rut.

Good luck.

squirbel's avatar

You know, I had a similar situation. The guy was cute, he was totally interested, smart, settled – all the good stuff – but I honestly wasn’t attracted. I couldn’t even imagine kissing him – it just wasn’t clicking. Not to say I wouldn’t, but it was like the chemistry wasn’t clicking.

I could only imagine that if we got into a relationship that it would be downhill. I’ll be honest – I’m one of those females who doesn’t rank sex as high priority. It’s like third place to “attention” and “affection”.

Just imagine the two of you, married… in an awesome vacation spot. How do you feel? Or even imagine him or her coming home after work…

I don’t know, that usually helps me decide if I want to date them or not…

jcs007's avatar

By just asking this question, I’m guessing that you already want more than just an emotional relationship. However, you know yourself better than I do, so your guess is better than mine.
Is it really love or just an extremely strong emotional tie?
Is this yearning for physical chemistry a fleeting one or will it snowball?
I think that your answers to those two questions will give you a better idea of what to do. I really think you should act swiftly when it comes to relationship problems because prevention is so much easier than damage control.

hearkat's avatar

In my experience, you don’t know until you try… The last 2 men I have been in love with I didn’t find very attractive and didn’t feel a ‘spark’ at first. But I pursued it because I liked them in other ways. Once we did take it to a physical level, I found that their personality characteristics had made them become more attractive to me, and we had developed a passion for one another. Then I couldn’t keep my hands off them ;)

squirbel's avatar

You know, I have second thoughts. If you are great together in every way but attraction/sex, it might still work. Sex is more than attraction, it’s an emotional activity! If you guys are really into each other, after some practice and better understanding what each other likes, I know you can make it work. And as you get older, and sexual activity becomes less rampant, you’ll still have everything else that you love about each other!

This view is saying that long-term is greater than short-term.

cwilbur's avatar

How important is sex to you? If it’s very important, the relationship is doomed. If it’s not very important at all, you can probably make it work.

chaosrob's avatar

Go rent “Secretary.” If you can say they’re in love, then there’s hope for you.

bkinibotombabe91's avatar

i mean we all know that “looks” shouldnt count, but if theres no spark between you two, wouldnt it be nice to find someone else to have that with??

Emilyy's avatar

No. I ended a relationship like this last year after two years together and realized that the whole time, I was dating more of a friend than anything else. We were very compatible and had a great time together, but there was just no chemistry, so we had to force it. It wasn’t about just sex, either. We actually had okay sex, but I just never wanted to do it. I didn’t lust for him. When we did it, it was good, but I had to talk myself into it. Towards the end of our relationship I was wondering if my birth control pills were to blame for my decreased libido. It just became apparent after a while that we were actually just great friends who were trying to force a romantic relationship, and it wasn’t working. We had great conversations, lots of fun, etc, etc. But he and I can do all that same stuff as friends and it works much better without forcing sex.

Now I date someone new and it’s refreshing to wake up fantasizing about him, a feeling that I haven’t had in over two years. I’m taking the same birth control pills and there’s no problem at all with my libido. I didn’t realize that this was out there because I was so focused on trying to force a lusty romance with my ex. That’s the bottom line—I was focusing too hard on it. Lust isn’t something you should have to work towards. It should just happen. And if it isn’t, find someone else.

I believe that you should be able to find someone who you are compatible with who ALSO gets you totally hot.

softtop67's avatar

no absolutely not wait for the whole package

zolmie's avatar

In a perfect world, I would say yes… But if the spark isn’t there its not a bad idea to remain just friends. I’ve tried to be in a relationship with no spark and it just didn’t work out. Maybe it will for you though. Good luck : )

sprstar's avatar

There’s been a lot of interesting feedback here! We had been dating for over 4 years and now thinking of ending it. We are great friends – just no physical chemistry. I would say that love and friendship are prioritized higher than sex, but things feel very incomplete without that intimacy. Like EmilyNathon said, when it comes to sex, things seem forced and almost obligatory because we’re in a relationship. I long for intimacy and romance, but have feared losing a really great future husband that would make a great dad. My fear is also if I stayed with him, and we married, that the temptation for me to cheat would be greater if we continued to lack a physical connection. My family fears that I would be letting go of a great guy, and then there’s the concern of being able to find another great guy + the physical attraction.

Thanks again for all your feedback – it’s awesome to hear everyone’s opinion.

unacornea's avatar

i think it depends whether you are already attached and in love with them. my partner and i have to work on sex, it has never come naturally, but it gets consistently easier and better, in terms of a long-term relationship it really works for us. but there have been lots of points of frustration and if i hadn’t been committed as i am, i would definitely have looked elsewhere for that intensity i was used to. i’m glad i stayed here though.

sprstar's avatar

I love my boyfriend, but have never really felt in love with him. I guess it could seem as if we were friends from another life and we just have this love type connection…that is, if you believe in that kind of stuff. I guess my next question would be, if we stayed together, how can sex get better with someone you’re not sexually attracted to? It’s really like having sex with a friend – I’d imagine that feeling would be awkward.

Angelina's avatar

Everyone deserves a loving, caring and passionate relationship. If you accept less, then you’re selling yourself and your partner short.

gooch's avatar

Think about it when your spouse is 70 they won’t be as sexy but they will be your best friend still. I would rather spend my life with my best friend because looks fade over time.

squirbel's avatar

I was starting to feel alone there gooch! Yay for comradarie~

Emilyy's avatar

I don’t think that being “sexually attracted” to someone or having “chemistry” with someone means that they are just good looking. I wrote a previous post about my ex who was a great friend but we lacked in the chemistry department, but he was very attractive! I’ve had way more chemistry with people who might not be considered very conventionally attractive. So I sort of disagree with the “looks fade over time so marry your best friend” argument, because I think that having chemistry with someone means SO much more than just whether or not you find them physically attractive. You should marry your best friend, but I believe you also need to have a sexual and chemical connection. If you have a deep connection, then that kind of chemistry won’t fade even when your partner’s looks might.

sprstar's avatar

@EmilyNathon: Your answers are something I’ve been able to relate really well with. My boyfriend is a good looking guy – just no chemistry. And, in the past I have dated guys, actually mostly date guys that are not considered conventionally attractive, and have had way more chemistry. That just one of the reasons it felt weird that I had no chemistry with this guy. Anyhow, I think I’m feeling more convinced that’s there’s a whole package out there for me. :)

zolmie's avatar

EmilyNathon said it perfectly!

unacornea's avatar

you might try reading the book “the erotic mind” by jack morin. it might sound weird to “work on” your sexual attraction to your partner, but for us, working on it has helped.

sprstar's avatar

thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll have to check that out. :)

Emilyy's avatar

Honestly, sprstar, I spent so much time with my ex, and it doesn’t mean that I didn’t love him but it is SO refreshing to have a truly unstoppable, unmistakable, romantic, lusty, sexy, can’t stop thinking about you connection with someone. I spent nights with my ex wondering if it could get better or if I should settle for him because we got along so well as friends. I’m glad I didn’t settle.

Also, one other thing—for me, a huge indication of my “spark” or “connection” with a person is how you act when you talk about him or her. When someone used to ask, “So, how are things with you and B?” I would shrug and say, “Oh, they’re fine.” Now, when asked about my new flame a smile comes across my face and whoever I’m talking to says, “Look at her! She’s glowing!” I never glowed with my ex, even though he was a total catch. Find someone who makes you glow.

bgdbeatnik's avatar

If you promised to stay with them, then yes you should. It’s not so bad to be with a close friend for the rest of your life.

cwilbur's avatar

@bgdbeatnik: um, it’s bad enough to be with a good friend in a sexless but “monogamous” relationship for 2 or 3 years. Been there, done that; break the promise, as honorably as you can, and go find real satisfaction.

trainerboy's avatar

If yo want to stay with him then go for it. If you don’t, then break it off. There is no rule on this as far as I know, it is a matter of what do you want to do? Thatis up to you.

emilyrose's avatar

EmilyNathon: You should set one of us up with your handsome ex! : )

Emilyy's avatar

OMG, no kidding! He would probably love that. I mean, I don’t know if he would love me soliciting him on Fluther, but he was telling me that he’s ready to date someone new.

punkrockworld's avatar

No, you should look for someone with whom you have that attraction. That’s the fun part…

MissAnthrope's avatar

It’s not really a romantic relationship without sexual compatibility (and/or lack of sex)—that’s a platonic relationship. I know it’s really rough to love someone a lot and to know they’d be a great parent, and to want to hang on to them because they’re your best friend. I’ve been there.

The problem is, as you said, when the ‘spark’ isn’t there, I think it’s human nature to wonder if there’s something else out there. I think I was in a very similar situation to yours, and I would see couples together who were very obviously in love and very attracted to each other, and I would get to missing that part of a romantic relationship.

Not only that, but I find it a lot harder to accept someone’s quirks and the things they do that annoy me, when I’m not madly in love with them. Without that spark, all the irritations just build up and it doesn’t make for a fun friendship, much less anything else.

It’s a tough call and I think only you can decide which way to go. Would you be happy spending your life with someone you just don’t feel that extra ‘oomph’ for, but at least have a rapport and mutual caring, or would you rather have that romance, the spark, and with it, some really hot sex? Keep in mind that just because you let the one go, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others out there. You could find someone who’s your best friend, would be a great dad, and also really do it for you in romantic and sexual terms.

I think the point you made about the lack of said hot sex, in that it may make you wander, is pretty valid and I happen to agree with you.

Judi's avatar

I know this is an old question, but if you’re not married yet, and you have doubts then don’t let it go any further. If you had said that the spark died after you had been married a few years I would tell you that if you burn the fire hot it is bound to die down every once in a while. It turns into warm embers, and sometimes feels cold, then things pick up and heat up occasionally, but it’s rarely the same passion as those first months and years. Not worse (unless you let it be) just different and in many ways more real.

toyhyena's avatar

How long has the relationship been going on? If you’re female, supposedly you’ll grow attracted to them sexually with time. I think it’s a bit different for guys though. Otherwise, I don’t see why you guys can’t just be best friends? :D A general reply to the question, based on the info you provided, would be “sure”.

btmanley's avatar

Just speaking from experience on this one… my best friend (now my wife) was not physically attracted to me for about 5 years (before we started dating). But about 3 years ago all that changed (and no, I didn’t all the sudden start making more money ;) Sometimes it takes time to be attracted to someone in that way. I’ll tell you this for sure: It’s way better to be with someone you’re really good friends with and not physically attracted to than to be with someone you’re attracted to but can’t get along with.

lovelace's avatar

if you aren’t attracted to him, you might be more apt to cheat on him with someone you are attracted to. if ya’ll have all that together, you should easily be attracted to him.

onesecondregrets's avatar

No. Physical chemistry is not something you can build, or break like trust. It’s either there or it’s not. If it’s not there, there’s no creating it. It’s better off as a really great friendship than anything else.

jellyfish's avatar

Why are we girls looking for best friends in our guy when we have fab girlfriends we can call up for that?? – yes – you need lashings of sexual attraction with yr bf – it is a great and gorgeous part of being together. in fact its essential – I am not of the marry yr best friend thing

Turtle's avatar

The other side is that the crazy butterflies chemistry does go eventually. It is replaced by other hormones more conducive to raising children than the procreation stage. So compatability at the end of the day is more important long term as the honeymoon stage is just that….a stage. The problem is that people become addicted to that excited lustful feeling and when it goes they think they have fallen out of love. That is the time however that people just have to put some work into keeping the spark alive.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Sure, if the physical attraction isn’t particularly important to either of you. There is no blanket answer- as long as it works for that particular couple that is all the matters.

Lorenita's avatar

I belive it’s very important to have the chemistry.. my ex boyfriend and I were together for four years.. we were the best friends, he is an amazing guy, tender and whatever you want but I realized we just didnt have that kind of chemistry.. i didnt wanted to have sex with him and it seemed forced everytime.. it just had to end…so I think physical attraction is very important..!

shortysith's avatar

It is important for sure. I was with a guy for six years, and realized that I was dating someone more of a friend than a lover. You need to have both to have a lasting relationship. You need a friend, and someone who can get you totally worked up :) Best of luck with your decision!

emmy23's avatar

In my opinion, I would say that it seems like you guys would be better off being best friends. I mean physical and emotional chemistry are key parts of a relationship. Both very important. Without the physical, it just seems like the relationship is lacking. Keep the guy in your life as a really good friend and find someone that can make you weak at the knees =)

LexWordsmith's avatar

Stay in what kind of a relationship?

—a committed, exclusive pairing in which the other person has expectations about physical intimacy that are different from yours? That would certainly be unfair to the other person.

—a deep, but non-exclusive, friendship where the other person can be physically intimate with some third party without your feeling hurt? Sure, that would work, if it were possible, but i’ve never actually seen it be possible in a case in which the third party is of the same gender that you are.

LexWordsmith's avatar

If there is no physical chemistry, why do you call this person a “mate”? Even if you are having sex and perhaps even are open to the possibility of children, if there’s no spark on one side, but just a generously obliging, unobligated routine on that person’s part, that’s not what most people (i think) would call “mating” (unless there are very unusual physical circumstances, such as a female partner’s having been subjected to clitoridectomy (“female circumcision”).

trailsillustrated's avatar

no if theres nothing physical it’s out the window

LexWordsmith's avatar

@trailsillustrated : i disagree—a loyal friend who gets pleasure from satisfying your physical urge and likes the same hobbies/pastimes you do and has a compatible senese of humor can be a wonderful spouse, if s/he has no desire to cheat on you.

Lorenita's avatar

Well perhaps you two are moving to one of the most hardest parts of a relationship..you might be so used to be with eachother that’s becoming routine, even the sex part. If that’s the case it’s up to you to keep the flame of love alive..=)

LexWordsmith's avatar

that would be “the flame of passion”. The love is still there, bcause love consists in treating the happiness and well-being of the beloved as being as important to you as your own. Desire is something else entirely—it is not beneficent, but possessive.

BBQsomeCows's avatar

if you cannot date without sex it ain’t love

noraasnave's avatar

I would say that if you can settle for spending your life with anyone but your soul mate then go for it. Otherwise, the rest of your life would be spent wondering, looking secretly, or hoping that the other person will change to become your soul mate (which never happens).

LexWordsmith's avatar

i was understanding “mate” to mean someone to whom you are bound by vows that the society that the two of you live in treats as sacred. If it just means “current significant other”, than my answer is “No, if the physical desire is something that, to you, is very important not to do without.” But then what does it mean to say that you “love” them—love them in the way that you would love a sibling, or a child, or a best friend? or love them in such a way that you consider the two of you to be, metaphorically, one flesh, one indissoluble unit? Here, only you can make the call.

jessicamarie's avatar

maybe it means you aren’t ready for physical…stuff…yet…just take a break and let him experience stuff with other people and you do the same…then try again in the future

Zen_Again's avatar

I agree with @BBQsomeCows – simply put if you cannot date without sex it ain’t love

Shallow? Perhaps.

I tried it. It sucks.

(She didn’t.)

amberrae's avatar

No that would make them a really good friend!

Coloma's avatar

Well..take it from the old chick, haha…..short answer, no.

I am in my early 50’s now and sex is less important than it was in my 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, BUT…no attraction/chemistry would not be a good match for the long term.

Of course, it can go the opposite as well, my ex husband and I were very sexually compatible but were a miserable match in other areas. lol

Relationships are a lot of work, period.

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