When She’s Smarter Than Him: How Intellectual Incompatibility Affects Relationships

When She’s Smarter Than Him: How Intellectual Incompatibility Affects Relationships


When you think about compatibility, what comes to mind?

Obviously having similar interests is important, such as what you like to do for fun. Another aspect often is having similar life goals and whether or not you are both on the same journey together.

However, did you ever consider how intellectual incompatibility could affect your relationship?

It’s not simply a stand-alone issue. In fact, intellectual incompatibility can influence other areas of relationship compatibility.

If you are finding yourself struggling with your relationship, it may be that you need to consider whether you and your partner are intellectually compatible.

What Is Intellectual Compatibility?

Intellectual compatibility means that both you and your partner align when it comes to one another’s knowledge and intellectual capacity. Merriam-Webster considers the definition of intelligence to be “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations.”

Now take a moment to consider that. Intelligence is more than simply passing tests or even earning a college degree. The three key words to take away from that definition are: learn, understand, and deal.

And those words are much more relevant to the success of a relationship than whether one person is smarter than the other.

Learning Matters in Relationships

Believe it or not, the ability to learn is critical to relationship success.

Granted, everyone has different styles of learning. Maybe you are more of a “hands-on” learner, while your partner learns best from reading. We all share traits of the three major learning styles: visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. And that’s not a problem.

What actually matters about learning is:

  • Your willingness to learn, grow, and improve yourself
  • Your capacity to apply that learning to your life

So, if you and your partner have different perspectives on learning, then there may be a relationship mismatch.

Also, if one of you isn’t willing to learn at all, then how can you both be able to grow together in a relationship? After all, learning about one another is key to creating a strong relationship bond.

Understanding One Another

When you and your partner learn something new about each other, that knowledge creates a better understanding for each of you. And with understanding comes awareness, acceptance, and caring.

If you understand why your partner sometimes feels stressed, you can better support them. However, if you don’t care about understanding your partner, then how is it possible to truly love them?

Love requires the ability to understand. And if one of you isn’t able to get there, that could signal an incompatibility with your relationship.

Dealing with Life

Really, you can substitute the word “coping” for “dealing” as a description of actions when you’re facing challenges in life.

Sharing a common intelligence means that both of you have the ability to cope with difficult situations as they come up. That includes challenges in your relationship and with life in general.

Also, the capacity to learn and understand helps you to develop better coping skills when faced with stress, anxiety, or even anger.

That can mean the difference between being able to handle a situation calmly and objectively or collapsing in the face of adversity. And the latter often leads to people using negative coping strategies (such as drugs and alcohol) to deal with these problems.

If You’re Intellectual Incompatible, Is Your Relationship Doomed?

Not necessarily. It is possible to become more open to learning, understanding, and dealing/coping. We all have the ability to improve ourselves, whether it is in our careers or with our relationships.

The key is that this should not become a competition where one partner feels obligated to “catch-up” to the other. Rather, make it a process where both of you are finding ways to improve yourselves and come closer together.

As you can see, intellectual incompatibility doesn’t mean raw intelligence or I.Q. Rather, it is the ability and willingness to learn and grow, both as individuals and together as a couple.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please call 949-760-7171 or text 949-244-8572 or email jimswaniger@gmail.com.