Social Question

LeotCol's avatar

Do people ever feel threatened by a significant other's intelligence?

Asked by LeotCol (2240 points ) January 20th, 2010

My girlfriend keeps telling me how smart I am. True or not, its what she says. I personally feel like she is just as smart as me if not smarter. But sometimes I worry that she may feel threatened by it. Just by the way she looks sometimes when I say something she deems “smart”.

I sometimes don’t say things that I may find interesting about a topic for fear of her thinking “How does he know all this stuff?”. Even though she herself baffles me sometimes with stuff she knows, I never feel threatened in any way.

Have any of you felt threatened by a partner’s or even friend’s intellegence?

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34 Answers

wunday's avatar

I know exactly what you mean. I once had a girlfriend who told me she was intimidated by me. She had been watching me from afar, as it were, and when I noticed her, she was thrilled. Oddly, in the end, it was I who was devastated. She was a complicated person, very beautiful, very sexy, and she had some kind of je ne sais quoi that snared me like a fly in a spider’s web.

The relationship was impossible for any number of reasons—not the least of which was that we lived on opposite coasts. She, however, could see this more clearly than I, and broke it off, leaving me devastated for reasons that were not apparent to me at the time.

Sometimes I wonder if she was so intimidated by my intelligence that she couldn’t take it. I did my best to undermine her reverence, and to show her I respected her, but it didn’t work, I guess. That was the first time that I became aware of my little problem.

ucme's avatar

Well she must be pretty smart, after all she picked me. So no, not threatened.More like I admire her style.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

Oh no, I’m enamored by a great intelligence. I get lost and unsure of how to procede often, as I can’t take into account that which may outthink me, but I sure do love to try.

mowens's avatar

People can feel threatened over anything.

HGl3ee's avatar

My SO is very intelligent, and I tell him all the time “I love your brain!” I have never felt threatened by it at all, I’m so proud of him and everything he is capable of! He never ceases to amaze me and I learn so much from him. I have nothing but respect for that big beautiful brain of his <3

tinyfaery's avatar

Not at all. Intelligence is one of the main things that turn me on about my wife.

Trillian's avatar

No. Never. Apparently I’m the intimidating one. HATE it.

Jeruba's avatar

No. He knows and understands things that I don’t get or don’t do very well at, but that’s no threat. Rather, I consider it a great advantage to have the benefit of his mind in matters where I fall short. I can offer him the same benefit in other regards. Intellectually we are peers, or we would never have seen each other as potential partners in the first place, never mind staying together for 32 years.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

I find it thrilling, refreshing and a relief, actually.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No.It doesn’t intimidate me.If I don’t know something,I’ll ask;)

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I do! but not for inteligencexD cause I know I am smarter than the girl. The is this one girl in my school, her family is like rich and stuff and she is alwasy nicely dressed.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

OMG, its like if you come off as too smart, your arrogant and a Mr. Know it all… yet if you come off as “less intelligent” your inferior and beneath them. You seem to can’t win. I think its cool when your with someone that is really smart because you can learn a lot from them and visa versa if the roles were reversed.

downtide's avatar

My partner is a certified genius (IQ around 168 or so) and although I don’t feel threatened, I do feel inferior because of it.

lexipoorocks's avatar

Well not even one person is the same not even identical twins. So yes she could be threatened but she could also believe you are really smart! And if she does feel threatened then she is kind of a nugget because you arent suppose to be jelous of how smart other people are. I know that is said commonly but you really arent. Even though sometimes you cant help it

daemonelson's avatar

Sometimes. Usually it’s just because of a subject she knows way more about. This is just because I really do like to learn things.

Evens out, I suppose. Since there are also things I tend to ramble on about, about which she has no clue.

JLeslie's avatar

Have you ever asked her if she feels threatened by it? Why guess? Maybe she just marvels at what you know. As long as she is interested in learning, I would say no problem. If she is the type that just thinks what you say is over her head and she feels lost and stupid all of the time, then not so good. But you said many times she knows things you don’t. So it sounds like each of you is smart, but more knowledgable about specific topics.

My husband and I are fairly similar on IQ, I think I might be a little higher, but he is more accomplished in his career, more focused. He frequently asks me how I know something, because I tend to know a little about everything, where he knows a lot about a few things. Anyway, it isn’t a competition, you can both learn from each other.

DominicX's avatar

No, I am not intimidated by intelligence. I love the opportunity to get to meet and speak with people who are more intelligent than me. I do not consider it threatening. In fact, I’d consider it relatively insecure to decide against a partner because they were ‘too smart”.

I know that my boyfriend isn’t as academically-oriented as I am. I know he doesn’t have interests in things like language and history (for the most part). But his whole life he’s had people tell him he’s “dumb”, which just isn’t true. That’s what people who don’t know him think. When you get to know him, you’ll find that he is quite clever, he has amazing artistic ability, and he is just an all-around wonderful person. :)

ModernEpicurian's avatar

I’ve never found myself intimidated by a significant others intelligence, however on more than one occasion I’ve had them say that they feel intimidated by me. I have to say that I hate it.

For me intelligence has never been anything of importance when choosing a partner (they have to have certain levels of intelligence, granted, but that’s just to ensure that I don’t get frustrated and am able to have decent conversations etc.). However, it must become an issue for them, I just wish they would (have) believe(d) me when I have told them that it doesn’t bother me in the least that I would be considered more intelligent than them. That just happens to be one of my gifts, they have other strengths that I have never and will never posses.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have heard people saying they like that their partners are as smart, smarter or not as smart as them – personally it wouldn’t work for me if my partner was not as smart as I am (using whatever definitions I deem acceptable)...I am with a person that is my intellectual equal and that is very important to me – that he gets me and my ideas…some people say to them intelligence in a partner isn’t important as long as they’re kind…I always have images of them with their dogs when they say that…

Blondesjon's avatar

Only when she throws her brain in a pillow case and beats me with it.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir . . . some people say to them intelligence in a partner isn’t important as long as they’re kind…I always have images of them with their dogs when they say that…

wow! If that ^ is intelligence give me dumb every time.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Blondesjon that wasn’t intelligence – must everything I say be so? I just said that’s what I picture…people want kindness over intelligence…and I picture a dog instead of a person…this has nothing to do with what I think of these people…but if you want dumb, you can have dumb whenever you want…luckily you have a smart wife, though, so I’m not worried and have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate you always following my comments with something snide…or has it been a week? because it never gets old and makes me think you have quite the boring life

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t feel threatened ever but a few times a little bit intimidated by their areas of expertise I really couldn’t engage them on when I would have liked to.

Cruiser's avatar

Nope…I am much more threatened by ones lack of intelligence. :O

YARNLADY's avatar

My husband of the past 35 years is probably one of the most intelligent men on the planet, and that is one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place.

Sometimes it is a problem because he has a hard time with the interface between his thought process and the rest of the world.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

@YARNLADY I can totally understand because I know people like that. Sometimes I have run into people who are so smart they literally loose touch with the world around them. Or they have a terrible personality =\

Axemusica's avatar

It’s funny, often I’m quite reserved. If any flutheries knew me in RL they would be amazed at how much I’ve interacted on fluther. Only people that have known me for a long time know of my intelligence.

I’m not sure if any of my past girl friends were intimidated by it, but often times now’a’days it’s harder and harder to find someone that’s “up to par” with holding a conversation with me. I’m kind of a “know it all” and really feel like I need to express my opinion a lot. I rarely repeat myself, even so much so, that I get agitated when I’m asked to repeat myself more than twice. I’m also quite a smart ass and due to my quick witted nature I often am quick to make people laugh.

Though, give me a nice environment, a few drinks and some intellectuals to converse with and the topics will most likely turn heads of passer bys.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I have always had a very high IQ in the top 0.2% of the population. My second wife and the mother of my children grew increasingly resentful of this and became very abusive because of her insecurities.

My current wife loves me for who I am and is bright and wise although she never completed university.
I appreciate her and never feel superior to her despite my advanced education and long career in academia.

She is my equal in all the ways that matter and my superior in some areas. We are totally comfortable and respectful of each other.

I adore her and value every moment with her and I think she feels much the same.

belakyre's avatar

I’d be pretty proud to have an intelligent significant other.

Leanne1986's avatar

I’m sure other people do but I don’t. My boyfriend is quite a bit older than me and so understandably has more experience and knowledge than I do in certain areas. I am inspired by this more than anything. If I ever have a question about something he is the first person I go to. I love the fact that he has a mind full of information that is often useless but always interesting!

tinyfaery's avatar

@Axemusica Maybe it’s your ego that people can’t stand to be around.

Axemusica's avatar

@tinyfaery Haha, ego. Thanks for assuming I think I’m better than others. I just find most people uninteresting. Believe me, I have no ego.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oh yes you do.

Axemusica's avatar

@tinyfaery well everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I’m not going to waste energy trying to convince you otherwise, so…

Coloma's avatar

Greetings people! Newbie here…for how long, one never knows! lol
A very simple way to figure out if ego is involved in any interaction with others is to examine your need to be RIGHT!

Big dif. between bright souls that in-joy bantering and stimulating the gray matter with a bevy of peers for the sake of deepening our knowledge and open mindedness, vs. the egos need to trump others to bolster it’s sagging self image.

Ask yourself how often you feel the NEED to be right over true desire for knowledge, understanding and connection. ????

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