You’re likely already familiar with the term “chemistry,” used to describe two people with an obvious and intense connection with each other. But did you know that there is more than one type of chemistry? And no, we’re not talking about the science subject — though that is very interesting as well!
The type of relationship chemistry you’re likely familiar with is romantic chemistry, as this is the one we typically hear about. But chemistry does not have to be inherently romantic.
There are four basic types of chemistry: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. You’ll notice that none of these types of chemistry are labeled “romantic.” This is primarily because romantic chemistry is typically a mix of these different types of chemistry. What someone views as “romantic chemistry” can differ depending on what they value in a romantic relationship.
So, what about intellectual chemistry? Intellectual chemistry refers to the feeling of mental attraction to someone else. As mentioned, intellectual chemistry does not have to be romantic, and it may be more or less important for some partners. But, one certain thing is that connecting mentally with someone can improve the intimacy and strength of a relationship — no matter the nature.
Why Is Intellectual Chemistry Important in a Relationship?
Truthfully, most people value a relationship that sustains them physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Often, the initial physical attraction of a new relationship wears off or shifts into something else. During this time, the value of intellectual chemistry increases dramatically. If you feel mentally aligned with your partner, the change in your other areas of attraction can come as less of a shock.
As mentioned above, a mental connection with your partner can help improve a relationship’s strength. Why is this? Well, typically, when we enter a relationship, we are looking for fulfillment in a few different areas. According to an American Psychological Association study, we, as human beings, deeply enjoy meaningful conversations with anyone we can have the pleasure of talking to. We crave connection, and finding fulfillment in speaking to our partner is a vital part of many relationships.
Signs of Good Intellectual Chemistry in Your Relationship
Your Conversations Are Easy
If you constantly feel like you need to rephrase or re-interpret your and your partner’s words, conversations may get tiring. If you feel that you and your partner understand each other and you can easily navigate even new topics and viewpoints together without getting constantly lost or frustrated, that is a sign of good intellectual chemistry.
Conversations Are Exciting
The more excited you feel about conversing with your partner, the stronger your intellectual chemistry is. Having conversations about your interests and shared favorite subjects but also having deeper conversations that explore your beliefs, preferences, and personal values are crucial to continually having engaging and exciting discussions in your relationship.
Your Opinions Are Respected
Intellectual chemistry is characterized by finding similar topics fascinating, but it does not mean that you and your partner have the same exact feelings about everything. Just think about how boring conversations would be if all you ever heard back was “yeah” or “I agree”!
But you should never feel like you are belittled or wrong for having a different perspective. Couples with good intellectual chemistry will respect each other and find conversations that introduce new opinions and viewpoints exciting — not frustrating.
You Both Teach and Learn from Each Other
As mentioned above, you don’t need to know the same things or have the same opinions as your partner to have intellectual chemistry. Learning something from your partner and having your partner learn stuff from you can be incredibly rewarding and exciting in a relationship. Not only can this help your relationship to grow as you both grow as individuals, but it can also be a great way to keep introducing new and exciting concepts and topics to discuss with your partner.
You Feel No Need to Compete
Don’t get us wrong, good healthy competition can be a good thing. But you should not feel like you are constantly competing with your partner. Whether you’re constantly trying to find out who is “right” about a particular fact or argument or something else, continually competing can be draining and leave you feeling more frustrated than anything else. Rather than seeing disagreements as conflicts and your partner as a rival, couples with good intellectual chemistry will see these disagreements as learning experiences and want to learn from each other.
You Share Curiosities and Humor
Sharing favorite subjects, hobbies, or interests is a great sign of intellectual chemistry. But did you know that having a similar form of humor is an excellent example of this type of connection as well? There are so many different types of humor, and it is a more valuable method of communication than many people think. Many studies have explored how humor can help build bonds and sharing humor with your partner is no exception.
How to Foster Intellectual Chemistry
While any type of chemistry is typically something that you notice at the beginning of a relationship, it can be cultivated over time as well. Intellectual chemistry is an excellent example of this because the longer you are in a relationship with someone, the more experiences you have together. Intellectual chemistry is simply about having similar experiences and interests to connect through.
So, if you want to foster more intellectual chemistry in your relationship, do things with your partner! Go to events or watch shows or movies that you like and talk about them. Start a two-person book club or take turns reading books aloud. Take a class together or learn something new together. Have those late-night conversations where you relive some of your most questionable decisions in your childhood.
One important note to make here is that there is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that only fulfills one type of need — such as only physical or intellectual. Maybe intellectual chemistry is not that important to you. This is fine! For some people, sexual chemistry is not essential, and others may not find spiritual chemistry necessary. The key is to recognize that if you intend for a relationship to only fulfill one, or not all, of these needs, you need to have that conversation with your partner so that you can decide if you are both looking for the same thing.
Learning More About Intellectual Chemistry
Maybe you feel that you aren’t getting what you are looking for in terms of intellectual chemistry in your relationship, and you are wondering whether or not you can grow this chemistry. In this case, you may want to consider talking with a couples or relationship therapist. A therapy session can help you to understand where your roadblocks are and whether or not you and your partner can (and want to) overcome them. Sometimes, you and your partner may not have aligned goals or desires from the relationship, but sometimes, you may simply not be communicating your desires to each other effectively.
If you are feeling unfulfilled in your relationship, but you and your partner are willing to work together to figure out how to ensure that both of you are satisfied, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today at Love Heal Grow to talk with one of our couples therapists!