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livelaughlove21's avatar

Are you and your SO evenly matched intellectually?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (14682 points ) January 2nd, 2013 from iPhone

Whether you’re dating, engaged, or married, are you about equal in book smarts with your partner? If not, who is the more intelligent of the two of you? How does this affect your relationship.

Is being intellectually stimulated by a smart partner important to you? Or would you rather be smarter than him/her, or vise versa? What are your reasons for this?

Now, I’m not talking about smart vs. stupid. Intelligence levels vary from person to person and, for some reason, is often subjective. Less intelligent does not automatically mean stupid.

(This is in General to avoid irrelevant and potentially insulting jokes. Keep that in mind.)

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39 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Mostly. When it comes to book smarts, and anything regarding grammar, I mop the floor with him. But with things like history, and a few other areas, he totally kicks my butt. We kind of balance each other.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yes. I was already married once to someone who wasn’t my intellectual match. It was terrible at the end. Now, my partner and I are good at different things, intellectually since intelligence is so multi-faceted but when I tell him something and he tells me, we get each other…we get that we can get each other, even if we don’t exactly know the subject at hand. Our brains really love each other, how they work together – when he needs to figure something out in his work (IT), he talks to me and makes new connections. When I need to bounce ideas off him for my work in academia, he just makes me go to these new lengths. Really, he’s quite incredible at figuring out things. I am the same with people. Together, we’re a good team.

Bellatrix's avatar

There isn’t only one form of intelligence. In some things I am smarter than my husband, in other ways he is much brighter than me. We balance each other out. Any differences aren’t so great that we can’t communicate in that area. Having someone who looks at things in a different way is very valuable.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, we specialize in different areas, but we are on the same intellectual plane,

cookieman's avatar

Echoing what’s been said above, yes – but we have different areas of expertise.

I don’t think I could be with someone who wasn’t intellectually stimulating in some fashion.

Mariah's avatar

School comes easier to me I think, but he is very smart. And he has far more ‘common sense’ than me.

janbb's avatar

Yes – we were.

Sunny2's avatar

I think he was more intelligent than I, but we understood each other well and had extremely similar values. Now he is both physically and mentally impaired and I take care of him. He can still make me laugh.

cutiepi92's avatar

I think he’s more intelligent than I am, he thinks we’re equally intelligent and brags on me all the time. shrugs It depends on what it is. We both have our strengths and weaknesses

josie's avatar

She is probably smarter than me ( she is a doctor for Christs sake) but she thinks I am smarter than her. Pretty good balance I figure.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Note even close. My wife is much smarter than I am.

burntbonez's avatar

My SO is about as responsive as a television.

Are there any other single people around here?

janbb's avatar

@burntbonez I am single.

serenade's avatar

My ex-gf was not nearly as smart. i had to throttle down to ¼ power as a matter of course and was starved for intellectual discussion, which often brought me to Fluther.

My new girl is an equal or better, and it’s really wonderful when i can get her to put down the sexytime and talk to me.

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo here; Don’t make me laugh.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I asked this because I always hear how important it is to be intellectually matched in a relationship. They say married couples are normally within 5 IQ points of each other.

I’m a college student and I guess I’m lucky in that I’m naturally good at school and I don’t have to study all that hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA. I wouldn’t call myself an intellectual in that I don’t read for pleasure, I don’t care much for museums, and I don’t even enjoy watching the news or keeping up on current events like many intellectuals do. I am, however, book smart and pride myself in being logical, realistic to a fault, and brutally honest. My major is Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice, so it’s not as if I’m pre-med or studying molecular biology or something, but I’m certainly above average when it comes to level of intelligence.

My husband is a high school graduate that makes about $50K a year, pretty damn good for not having a degree, considering the cost of living here is pretty low compared to other areas of the US. Honestly, he’s one of the smartest in his family, but that’s not saying a whole lot. He’s a good ole southern boy and has a lot of practical trade skills that I know nothing about, but it’s safe to say I’ve got him beat on book smarts. He is an incredibly hard worker, is driven, and has an interest in getting a degree eventually so he can move up in his career. I think he’ll have some trouble, because he spent all of his time in high school hanging out with friends and chasing girls instead of focusing on school. His freshman year GPA was a 3.5, so he’s certainly capable. I just didn’t come along in time to keep him on track and he did a lot of slacking off, which explains any shortcomings. It’s really not his fault, considering his family of origin and their screwed up values and priorities.

The issue we have is that I can be insensitive or impatient with him if I have to explain something to him or if he has no clue what I’m talking about. He’s no moron, but he sometimes says I “make him feel stupid” so I’m working on my sensitivity with that.

That’s really the only problem with our intellectual differences. We have no trouble with conversations, he makes me laugh, we love all the same movies/shows/comedians/activities, and have fun together. And, if I’m honest, the fact that he puts up with me and my moods is pretty amazing.

I’ve only had one boyfriend that matched me intellectually. I didn’t feel anymore mentally stimulated in my conversations with him as I do with my husband. I think it works for us on most days. We’ve just got different skills.

burntbonez's avatar

I think you’re right to try not to make him feel stupid. It isn’t kind or respectful, especially since he is your husband. You may be frustrated that he doesn’t know what you expect him to know, but be patient, and teach him. Encourage him to read on his own. Eventually he will catch up.

linguaphile's avatar

I used to despise “intelligent” guys because they seemed to also often come with an excessive dose of arrogance or entitlement. I abhor and have zero patience for overly entitled personalities. So, I married a not-so-intelligent guy who came across as really nice. It wasn’t just his lack of academic knowledge—he really didn’t have a lot of common sense, problem solving skills, drive or critical reasoning skills.

After a while, I realized his lack of knowledge and processing power was immensely frustrating. I had to clarify, repeat, explain almost everything I said beyond the general daily conversation topics. He was a hard worker, I give him that, but also turned out to be the most entitled and arrogant guy I’ve come across. I felt like I had married a 8 year old spoiled brat.

It was so bad that when my daughter was 6 years old, she and my mom saw my ex husband do something inane. She looked at my mom, sighed and said, “You have to understand my dad.” This was without me saying a word to her about her dad.

I’m now with someone who is completely my intellectual, academic and sense of humor equal. I can’t say how much of a relief it is to just be understood and have an equal flow of conversation going. I can never “go back.”

Coloma's avatar

^^^ Oh I hear you!

My ex husband was not a vibrant and curious personality as I am.
No, it was ultimately a terrible match, the intellectual mismatch being just one of many incompatibilities as time wore on, and yes, we are divorced. haha
We married very young and I was not at all stimulated in an intellectual manner.
He had his talents, but I was starved for stimulating exchange.

A mind mate is extremely important to me and I won’t make the same mistake twice.
I used to joke about being a racehorse married to a donkey, talk about unequally yoked, I left the poor ass in the dust. lol

Pingu's avatar

No, I think I am both intellectually and morally superior to my significant other. But that may be because he is a cat and I am a human.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes. I actually know much more about science and medicine, and he knows more about some other topics, but overall our intelligence level seems to be very similar. I had the advantage of parents who knew a lot about a lot and asked a lot of questions and talked to us about everything. So, I think the breadth of my knowledge about many different subjects might be a little broader than his, but his willingness and stamina to study and understand a subject is more than mine. He works harder than I do at learning.

wundayatta's avatar

All my SOs have been my intellectual equal or better. That’s because having a good brain in my partner is terribly important to me. There are probably a million reasons for this, but if it isn’t obvious why this is important, there’s nothing I can say that will explain it.

Anyway, over my life, my partners have been writers and artists and professors and lawyers. Most have graduate degrees. All have been very interested in the world and in continuing to educate themselves, even if it isn’t formal education. I just hope they feel they have found someone intellectually compatible in me. Obviously, most were not compatible overall, since our relationships ended, but at least when we were together, I hope I didn’t disappoint them too much, intellectually.

hearkat's avatar

He and I are differently smart. I am more left-brained and he is more right-brained. I’ve attained a higher level of education, but he is much, much more better read than I could ever be. We balance each other well.

ETpro's avatar

Yes. We are a perfect match. We both think we are incredibly bright, and that the other is close to being an imbecile.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@livelaughlove21 One thing that might help you with your husband is not confusing education for intelligence—or perhaps teaching him not to confuse them. You need to explain things to your husband because he hasn’t read about them, but the same thing might be true even if he had a PhD. I have quite a bit of formal education—and I’m working on more—but my wife still has to explain things to me if they are outside the areas of my learning. Perhaps it might help to remind him that the only shortcoming he has is shared by every single person in the world—the shortcoming brought on by the simple fact that there are more things to learn than there is time to learn them.

cutiepi92's avatar

@linguaphile That’s sad to hear :( Not all incredibly intelligent men are arrogant, but I suppose I can see how a good number are. My SO is a computer engineer and has great common sense but is seriously one of the most humble people I have ever met. I don’t know if I could deal with someone not as smart as I am, I get irritated having to thoroughly explain something more than once lol

AshLeigh's avatar

My boyfriend will insist that I’m smarter than he is. Really, I know more about history and language. He knows more about math and science. It’s all a matter of the subject. He’s very street smart.

linguaphile's avatar

@cutiepi92 My current SO is a university professor, and not arrogant. Yay! :) But yes, it’s hard to find someone who’s not just intelligent but also good at reasoning and seeing different perspectives. That’s what I need the most to feel like I’m balanced—someone who can reason well and follow my train of thought, and vice versa. I’m glad your SO isn’t arrogant—that’s equally as important as intelligence, and makes them more fun as well!

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

I think when it comes to book smarts, my wife has me beat (except in math). But when it comes to life smarts and experience, I got her beat. But that’s strictly a matter of opinion and sometimes there seems to be exceptions to that rule.

Sometimes she knows better than I do at certain life situations and sometimes I know better than she does at certain “book” situations.

To me though it doesn’t really matter who is smarter or better AT something. We work together as one unit. So if she’s smarter or better at something than me, it benefits us both and vice versa.

newtscamander's avatar

I think we are. We both have specific areas in which our knowledge exceeds that of the other of course. For example, I know a lot more about the human brain and my English is much better, while he knows more about technology and history than I do.
I think we learn from each other a lot because of it. When I do my history homework, I might ask him whether certain facts are correct, and in turn, when he stumbles across an English word he doesn’t know, I’m his portable dictionary/ translator.
Intellect is definitely something I look for in a partner.

If I had to choose, I would rather be smarter than my partner than less intelligent. I chose this option because I have often found that people are condescending to those they think off as less intelligent, and I would hate it if my partner was condescending towards me. I might miss intellectual challenges in such a relationship, but if I were in love with him, I don’t think it would matter to me that much.

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Deshi_basara's avatar

I have dated girls that were very book smart, others that were street smart, and yet others that were complete idiots. I have never claimed to be a smart man, but I havent met many people that have the same level of applicable intelligence that I do. I aslo have a wealth of completely random (read: useless) information that I haven’t really seen in anyone else.

But to be honest, I feel if I found someone that was on par or above myself, they would absolutely hate me. I’m cynical, a huge goof, and really random; plus almost none of my view points are commonly shared.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

My SO is probably more intelligent than she makes out to be. That doesn’t mean to say that she’s deliberately stupid, it’s just that she does have a different way of thinking. Everything is either right or wrong, good or bad, no middle lines. I found out yesterday that she’s taken up programming. I thought I was a geek. I didn’t do much in the way of computer languages beyond Vbasic, and before that it was just BASIC (the language, not how simple it apparently is – it was really simple, but a pain in the ass to achieve anything with it without a struggle if there were bugs in the program).
Mental health issues aside, she’s as smart as I am – she just has a different way of thinking because of them.

Deshi_basara's avatar

@lightsourcetrickster God did basic suck or what? 3 hours to write a program that counted to 10. (exaggeration…. slightly)

burntbonez's avatar

I think it is better to appreciate the positive qualities of your mate than to think of it as a competition between the two of you. You’re a team, and you work side by side. I suspect there are some couples that do thrive on over competition, but hidden beneath that, they know they are on the same team, no matter what.

If the differences between you are seen as a problem, not a strength, then the relationship has a problem.

ucme's avatar

We each have our own areas of expertise & are more than likely evenly matched intellectually.

Shippy's avatar

I’ve always dated smart men. Or intelligent men. That to me is far a bigger turn on than a hunk. I have also dated intelligent and less intelligent women too, some where extremely gorgeous but oh so boring. I find the mind the most stimulating thing about a person. I could care less if you were fat, thin, had a six pack or where bald.

I prefer them to be far more intelligent than I, since then I can learn from them. Currently I think my SO is MORE intelligent than me. But he disagrees. Anyway you cut it, he has the most beautiful mind and beautiful soul.

downtide's avatar

My partner is significantly more intelligent than me. I find it intimidating and frustrating a lot of the time.

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