Can a Relationship Last if You Are Not Attracted to Each Other?

Compatibility comes in many forms.
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Attraction is usually the first thing that leads two people to pursue a relationship, but sometimes, one partner is more attracted to the other. When neither person feels a strong attraction to the other, though, the question of whether their relationship can last depends on whether there is anything solid they can build on outside of the physical realm.

1 Love at First Sight

A lot of people want to believe in love at first sight, the idea that you can meet a new person and immediately know that you want to be with that person. Of course, this kind of overwhelming first impression doesn't really have the depth or intimacy of genuine love. It's actually just attraction, although it can sometimes develop into real love over time. Not all relationships start out with such a powerful feeling of attraction, so if you don't immediately feel this way about the person you're dating, that's not enough reason on its own to end the relationship.

2 Attraction Fades

Even if you decide to only date people you feel strongly attracted to, that attraction will likely fade after some time. Most people don't have butterflies in the stomach every time they see a person they've been dating for two years. If you took the policy of only dating people based on strong attraction to its logical extreme, you would have to break up with each new partner when you reach a level of comfort. And that is not a good strategy for building fulfilling relationships.

3 Attraction is a Spectrum

The other problem with only dating people based on strong attraction is that feelings of attraction are often based on deep emotional compulsions. According to psychotherapist Ken Page, writing for "Psychology Today," this can lead you to repeatedly fall for the same type of person even if that type of person is bad for you. Luckily, this is mostly a problem for intense love-at-first-sight feelings, not for more moderate feelings of attraction. If neither you nor your partner feels a powerful sense of attraction but you do feel some degree of attraction to each other, this may actually signal compatibility. Early feelings of attraction between two people grow into emotional intimacy as they get to know each other deeply. A warm glow can be a better basis for a relationship than a fiery and intense attraction.

4 Maybe You're Friends

If you examine your feelings and find that you truly don't have any attraction toward the person you're dating, then you may not be compatible as romantic partners. On the other hand, something about your partner interested you enough to start dating in the first place. Nobody wants to hear the "just friends" speech, but you don't have to completely sever the relationship either. If you are both not attracted to each other but you like spending time together, then maybe this isn't the end of a failed romance but the start of a great friendship.

Scott Thompson has been writing professionally since 1990, beginning with the "Pequawket Valley News." He is the author of nine published books on topics such as history, martial arts, poetry and fantasy fiction. His work has also appeared in "Talebones" magazine and the "Strange Pleasures" anthology.