I think I've been socialized to feel that if I'm really meant to be with someone, the chemistry will be there from the start -- it won't be forced, or learnt over time like a course you take in school. It should be natural... At least with my "soul mate..." And ideally, that's what I'm looking for.
You know, you date to find out what you like or don't like before you settle down, but I can't decide whether or not it's a waste of time to continue seeing someone with whom there is no chemistry from the start.
By no chemistry, I don't mean to say that you don't get along really well, or that you find them physically repulsive... But that you just don't feel any sort of romantic interest, despite having no particular reason for it.
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Honestly, the relationships that have lasted the longest for me are the ones where I initially didn't "feel" anything for them. It wasn't until getting to know them that I finally saw what was missing, and by that point, things just seemed naturally.
On the other hand, I've dated some people where I thought there was something there, but it was really just me being blinded by them being attractive or something similar. It was more wishful thinking than anything else, and eventually, that facade fell away.1