Can you explain the feelings behind ‘spark’?

What's on your mind? What's bugging you about your love life?

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Hi Meredith,

I'm in my 30s and am single. Guys have told me they don't feel a spark. I don't know what that is. My friend says it's a strong feeling and can't be described.

How can you tell if you have a spark with someone? Do you know instantly?

My more specific dating history: I go on dates with guys. Maybe by the fourth date, I get a text saying we aren't a match. Recently I dated a guy for about three months. We weren't exclusive. Around the third month, he called and said we didn't have a spark. He said if he doesn't feel the spark at that point, it won't happen. I wanted to be with him.

I don't know if I had any spark with any guy. I liked them. I have been on all these dates and haven't been in a long-term relationship. I was hoping that with this guy, after dating that amount of time, we would be a couple.

– Sparked

The concept of spark is difficult to explain. It feels different to different people, and it evolves over time.

When I was younger, it had a lot to do with physical stuff. Sometimes I overlooked problems because I mistook attraction for spark.

There was a time in my life when I misidentified drama as spark. If someone made me feel like I was on a roller coaster, I believed it was spark. Now I know that's something else.

It's nice when spark is more about chemistry – when you feel excited because you're with someone who's great company, and you want to know more.

This makes me wonder: have you wanted to date some of these people more than the others? Have a few of the people you've dated felt more magnetic? Have they made you laugh – or interested you in unique ways? Because that's spark. Maybe it's all the same to you, but I imagine you've wanted to continue seeing them for different reasons.

It might help to think about why you wanted to be with this specific person, the one who bailed after three months. Was it because you wanted to be in a couple with anyone? What made him special? Thinking about your feelings – and writing them down – might help you notice them when they pop up again with someone new.

Just so you know, it's pretty common these days to have a lot of short relationships. Dating apps can be a great way to meet people, but there are always more people on them, so it's easy to move on. You might be better off meeting someone through a hobby, class, or shared activity, where people keep coming back and they get to know others over time.

If you do more of what you love in the real world, you might be able to find sparks with someone by bonding over the thing you both love.

– Meredith

Readers? Can you define spark? Any advice?