Wednesday, December 28, 2005
      ( 8:59 AM ) Rebecca  
He's a Nice Guy, But...

In today's weekly dating advice column, "Wondering" wonders how long to wait to see if chemistry kicks in.

Hi there - I am one of your long term fans - 29 years old, female. So I finally broke down and tried online dating for the first time. On the site I met this guy who is really great and very compatible with me in many ways. He is smart, successful, very kind, generous, multi-dimensional, well-traveled, and has a good sense of humor! And he really wants to get married and have kids!!!

Problem is, I am not sure I am attracted enough to him. When I first saw him my immediate gut reaction was that, while he was fine, I was not attracted to him, but then he was such a nice and interesting guy that I kept on dating him thinking maybe those feelings would evolve.

I have been out with him about 5 times now. We have kissed which was fine, but not "magical" for me in any way. He is not an unattractive guy, and I suspect that his body may actually be rather nice, but I don't know -- I just don't find myself looking at him and thinking "Oh he is so cute".. I feel really badly abut it and I am disappointed because he is so great; if only I could just get into the physical side of things!!

I mean, the man has already invited me to travel with him to schmooze with Nelson Mandela in Africa and skiing in Colorado, etc. (for real - I am not kidding). How long can I keep trying before I know for sure that I am just never going to 'feel it'? He is a good guy and I want to be fair to him...Should I just try hooking up with him and see how it goes? Or will that just make things worse?

Dear Wondering,
This is a tough one. I have polled a few (male) friends of mine to see what their advice would be, and they have said, without hesitation, "Dump him. Chemistry is too important, blah blah." (Men! Always thinking about s*x!)

I agree that chemistry is important. However, chemistry is not always instantaneous. In three out of the four long-term relationships I've had, I was friends with the guy for a good couple months before I really fell for them - and then when I did fall, I fell hard.

But if I had met them under some high-pressure dating situation - oh, let's say ONLINE DATING for example - where you're on a mission to meet THE guy, and you've got candidates waiting in line I would probably have dismissed them and missed out on a lot of great experiences. (Including getting cheated on and lied to but never mind about that 'cause I got a novel out of it!)

So. That said, how do you handle this situation? What I would probably do (and what I have done in similar situations) is to tell him how you feel, and ask him if you could try being friends to see if chemistry develops.

He might just tell you to f*ck off, because after all, men get sick of the "friends" line (who can blame them?), and there are plenty of other babes on the Internet to choose from. To be honest, when I have tried this backing-off tactic myself (not coincidentally, with people I've met online), it hasn't worked out romantically.

The upside of Internet dating is that there is a cornucopia of men out there just waiting to meet you. The downside is most of them are wrong for you.

So I say don't force it with this buy. Be honest with him and see what happens. It could be he splits. It could be that you become the best of friends and you get to schmooze with Nelson Mandela anyway. It could be that he's the love of your life but the relationship needs room to grow. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

Good luck,
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