Reinventing Romance: The Chemistry Conundrum

Over-40 dating expert gives advice on chemistry: Can platonic friends become lovers? Can a relationship survive without physical attraction?

By Sherry Amatenstein

Honesty and caution are well and good, but don’t let the fear of following your libido into an unhealthy liaison keep you in a relationship that will never catch fire. Dr. Schwartz says, "If this guy who has the hots for you is great but will never be an exciting partner, and down deep you have the awareness that you’re settling…well, that’s not fair to you or to him."

After five months of mostly platonic dating (there were a few passionless kisses), Sharon held on to "great guy" Tim with the ferociousness of a Titanic passenger clutching a life raft. Until one night she went solo to a party and, a few margaritas in, found herself necking in the corner with a bartender 20 years her junior. "It was wildly inappropriate and crazy and Scott wasn’t anyone I’d want to see again — there’s nothing in common besides, well, you know. But it woke me up. I’m not dead, and I’m tired of being scared. I know enough not to get involved with the wrong man. And I’m obviously willing to give a good guy a fair shot. But when the fair shot is done, it’s time to move on. I’m ready for new adventures."

Sharon may not have found chemistry with Tim but she’s recaptured something more important — the discovery of a zest for passion, a lust for life. And that’s something to hold onto, whether or not there is a man in the picture.

Originally published on, June 2007.

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