When you are young you care only about the chemistry. As we age, chemistry being as elusive as it is and with people being marriage-minded, we tend look at the paper and ignore the importance of a connection. I believe those are the people you see trolling Craigslist for the butterflies, excitement, and magical sex they are missing in their marriages.
Me? I did things backwards.
My first real, adult relationship was paper-based. There was no chemistry whatsoever. But, we had a lot of fun together. I think that was mostly because, being ten years older (I was in my early 20s) and owning a software company, he treated us to weekends at B&Bs, vacations, dinners out, and shopping on a regular basis. It was easy to have fun together when all you do is have fun together. Eventually the sex felt pretty gross, and after several years, with no real commitment or future, things sort-of died and we both moved on.
After him, I had a lot of relationships that were a mix of paper and chemistry, a few that were just chemistry, a few that were just paper. My marriage . . . I don’t know what that was unless turning-30-and-panicking-about-being-single-without-kids is a category. Not that it keeps me up at night, but I still wonder what I was thinking when I did that.
My Ex was chemistry only. We didn’t even want the same thing at the same time. He looks terrible on paper. My strategy was that chemistry like that didn’t come along but once in a lifetime. I threw caution (logic, intuition, pretty much everything, except my heart and nether regions) to the wind and jumped into that
hot lava-filled volcano relationship with two feet. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done . . .
Someone recently said to me that in everything, there must be a mix of emotion and logic. You have to balance what looks good on paper with how you feel. I think that’s true, in the long run. But, following that philosophy is harder than it sounds.