Think You Two Don’t Click?

Ready to write off your date for being too old, too young, divorced, or for having way different interests? Read these reasons to reserve your judgment.

By Rachel Greenwald

hemistry on a first date is always tricky: Our brains show up with a rational list of likes and dislikes, fine-tuned through years of dating. But while we sit across from our date and mentally check that list, we don’t give our bodies (especially the heart) a chance to experience an intangible connection and attraction. As a dating coach, I frequently see how the brain shuts off too soon before the body has a chance to react. Learn to reserve your judgment for a while longer, however, and you may find yourself warming up—and wondering what took you so long!

Below are five common chemistry busters that you should ignore, at least long enough to go on a second date. You may start noticing some unseen benefits to that “flaw” you noticed the first time.

Chemistry-buster #1: Your date’s too old—or young
Dates who are older than your ideal age range often raise a red flag. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll
Love arrives in a package we least expect, and you’d be crazy not to explore it.
end up with someone who can’t keep up with your energy or lifestyle. Maybe the concern is that this person is past child-bearing age, or the opposite—ready for a child when you’re not. Perhaps you’re worried that one day you’ll end up playing nurse to an elderly spouse. All valid concerns, but remember: Age is no guarantee of anything. Women in their prime childbearing years can be infertile. Healthy young men can get struck with disease. Ask yourself this: If you find someone you love who’s your ideal age and things didn’t turn out the way you planned, would you stay by his or her side? Chances are good that you would stay, so grab love where you find it, no matter the age, because there are no guarantees in life.

If someone is younger than your ideal dating age, you might wonder whether he or she is ready for a serious relationship. Ask yourself this then: Why did this person decide to date someone so much older? Perhaps because commitment is high on his or her list of priorities, too. Also ask yourself if your date were ten years older, would it be a perfect fit? If the answer is yes, then go for it 100 percent. Love can arrive in a package we least expect, and you’d be crazy not to explore it. Why let a few years get in the way?

Chemistry-buster #2: Your date’s height or weight seems undesirable
Whether your date is too tall or too short or too heavy or too thin, you may have a bad gut reaction when you see someone for the first time if they’re not in that narrow range considered “just right.” But I would bet anyone a million dollars (yes, that’s right!) that if I polled 1,000 married people and asked “What’s the #1 reason you’re happy or unhappy with your spouse?” that 999 of them wouldn’t mention height or weight. My point is this: If long-term happiness is not a function of height and weight, why would you rule someone out so fast based on those criteria? If you know that in the long run personality counts more than looks, don’t you think you should give someone at least a second date if his or her personal qualities are awesome?

Chemistry-buster #3: You and your date have waaay different interests
Sure, in the ideal world, you and your date would both love knitting and tennis. But what if he’s a golf fanatic or she’s a fervent bridge player? Is there any hope that the two of you are compatible? Yes, and here’s why: Having separate passions gives you time to pursue your own interests, the chance to learn something new, and best of all, feel excitement when you’re finally together at the end of the day. Realistically, how much time do you think happily married people spend together? It’s certainly not 24/7. Having separate interests allows you to build other friendships, which is healthy in a
Remember: it’s easier to “rule out” than “rule in” on a first date. Those who seek to “rule in” end up with a much better chance of finding love.
relationship so that you’re not reliant on your mate to fulfill 100 percent of your needs. And ask yourself this: If you two end up living together for the rest of your lives, think about how much time that is. Don’t you think you’d want at least a bit of time apart?

Chemistry-buster #4: Your date’s divorced
Of course, there are questions when someone is divorced. Is he/she able to sustain a relationship over the long haul? What part did he/she play in the past marriage’s failure? All valid questions to suss out at some point, but they’re definitely not reasons to steer clear of divorcés altogether. For starters, divorce is so common these days that if you rule them out, statistically you’ve just eliminated more than half of your chances to find love. What’s more, in my experience, divorced men and women are wiser about relationships than their single counterparts. And ultimately, would you rather be in a relationship with someone who gave a committed union a chance, even though it didn’t pan out, rather than someone who couldn’t commit at all? This person has proven a willingness to take a leap of faith… and that’s rather rare these days.

Chemistry-buster #5: Your date’s a bad kisser
So the date was amazing… until you leaned in and learned this person’s kissing skills weren’t up to snuff. But don’t walk away, because the good news is that this is one of the easiest problems to fix. Whatever the issue is (too much saliva, a darting tongue, limp lips, etc.), chalk it up to a style preference rather than sub-par skills. In fact, his ex-girlfriend or her ex-boyfriend probably liked it that way and may even have taught the technique! So ask yourself a key question: Was there any correlation between how your last mate kissed and how good the relationship was? Chances are, one had nothing to do with the other.

So, the only obstacle now is finding the right words to communicate what you like. Next time you kiss, gently make a suggestion, but stay focused on the positive. Instead of complaining about what you don’t like, say “I like it when you kiss me like this….” (and show him/her your best kiss). I bet with patience and a little trial and error, you can turn your date into one amazing kisser.

Remember: it’s easier to “rule out” than “rule in” on a first date. But I can tell you from coaching hundreds of singles over the years that those who seek to “rule in” end up with a much better chance of finding love. Next time you find yourself tempted to pass someone over because you see a superficial deal-breaker up front, consider slowing down and giving your body a chance to seek some chemistry… because it may very well be there if you ease up a bit and give things some time.

Rachel Greenwald is the author of Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School. She is also a dating coach and matchmaker. She is a frequent guest on The Today Show and has been featured in dozens of magazines from Oprah to People. If you would like to ask Rachel a question, please visit her website at

Want to find out what kind of person you’ll have great chemistry with? Take our free quiz and get a personalized profile at

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