Chemistry and Online dating

Dear Dating Coach,

I read something you wrote about REAL chemistry... I've been dating a number of women from online (sometimes far away) where we seem to have a lot in common, can talk for hours, enjoy one another's company--but neither of us seem to be able to make a physical move. Eventually, what tends to happen is one of us decides there must not be "chemistry" of the physical kind.

There seems to be an expectation (at least in the women I've dated) that there be that instant intoxication and only rarely have I met any women where that happens. I'm much more inclined to take it slow and become a great soul mate with someone--but I'm not comfortable making the first move unless it's obvious the woman wants me to, and that is somehow making them uncomfortable. Is there anything I can do? I'm tired of having all these platonic female friends. I'm also not that interested in "The Game" techniques where one acts a certain way to increase attraction. Mainly because I'm not a very good actor, and I want something real. Any help is appreciated. --Chemistry Challenged

Dear Chemistry Challenged--

You have just described one of the downsides to online dating. Finding out if you have chemistry doesn't happen until after you have already invested some time and energy- and distance further complicates everything.

Let's face it, long distance relationships are a challenge even when the couple has already begun a relationship and decided that it is worth traveling the miles for. This doesn't mean you absolutely shouldn't consider women who live far away--you just need to approach it differently and/or seek out women who are truly willing to meet you halfway.

For instance, if you begin a cyber relationship that really seems to be clicking--don't wait too long to suggest a first meeting. Depending upon the actual distance, you could compromise by finding a halfway place to meet, one that will require both of you to drive or fly there. Once you have found the place, you can agree to spend a few hours together, and return home by day's end. If the woman hesitates or shows real reluctance to meeting--she is probably ambivalent about dating from a distance or doesn't feel a strong enough virtual connection to go to the time and expense required.

Another option is to narrow your geographical search limits. Think about what you can realistically handle, and what distance would be workable for two people. I don't know your age or circumstances--but a long distance move is a major upheaval for adults with careers, children, grandchildren and/or established roots and social support systems.

If you meet a woman online who lives in your area, you still need to experience each other face to face before you can begin to assess your chemistry connection. Don't wait more than two weeks for a first meeting. It can and should be short, so that it is easy to leave if there are no sparks, but can be extended if there are.

Lastly, I want to address your reluctance to make the first move. If a woman's body language, conversation and overall attitude express an interest, go for it. If you read the signs wrong, she will let you know. Believe it or not--women overall do like a man to make the first move, as long as he is respectful and appropriate. To not do so could leave her with the impression that you are just not that into her. It is also more practical in the world of online dating to move fairly quickly to a first meeting, as many first dates don't go on to a second one and it's best to know this quickly.

I have written quite a bit about chemistry, online dating and long distance dating. Go to to read them.

(from July 2008)

Want to read other columns on this subject?

"Just Not That Into Her?"
List of more
"Attraction and chemistry"

"Missing the Right Chemical Connection"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008-2015 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

Distribution Rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site.

Reprint permission will be granted, upon request, to student newspapers, universities, and other nonprofit organizations. Advance written permission must be obtained for any reprinting of this material in altered or modified form.