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15 Highs and Lows of Dating Someone Smarter Than You

Should you date someone smarter or someone dumber? There’s good and bad on both sides, so use this guide and ask yourself who’d be a good fit for you!

dating someone smarter

Dating someone smarter than you can be a double-edged sword. You get the perks of having a girlfriend/boyfriend with a high IQ, but you are also subjected to the disadvantages of dating someone who knows more than you do.

Confused over whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing? Learn the highs and lows of dating someone with an SAT score higher than yours, and ask yourself what you’d prefer yourself.

Let’s face it, intelligence is the hottest new criteria when it comes to dating. Being physically attractive is not enough anymore. More and more people are gauging their partners based on their conversation skills, interest depth and intellectual achievements.

It’s not difficult to find your own Mark Zuckerberg, but do you know what you’re really signing up for when you’re dating someone smarter than you?

Intellectual Disparities in Relationships

When it comes to relationships, we often hear about the importance of shared interests, emotional connection, or even height differences. But what about the brainy stuff? You know, dating someone smarter than you. It’s more like having a personal tour guide through the encyclopedia of Everything You Didn’t Know.

First off, let’s chat about intellectual compatibility. It’s like finding someone who can keep up with you on your favorite trivia night, or challenge you in a game of chess. It’s not just about being a know-it-all, it’s about how well your minds click together. This brainy bonding can be a big deal for relationship satisfaction. Imagine having deep conversations that don’t just skim the surface but dive into the Marianas Trench of thoughts and ideas. It’s pretty cool, right?

Now, why do some of us find ourselves attracted to those who could probably win Jeopardy? Psychological theories suggest that we might be drawn to smarty pants because they’re intriguing, they challenge us, or maybe it’s just really hot to watch someone passionately explain quantum physics or the finer points of art history. This attraction to intelligence can add a whole new layer of dynamics in a relationship.

But here’s the tricky part: dating someone smarter than you can sometimes poke at your self-esteem. It’s like being in a constant state of “Am I smart enough for this person?” Or it can swing the other way, where the smarter partner might unintentionally play the role of the teacher rather than the lover. It’s important to remember that a relationship isn’t a classroom, and you’re not there to score an A+ in intelligence.

How do you know if your partner is smarter than you?

What makes a person smart? Is it their grade point average? Is it their ability to analyze problems and solve them efficiently? Or is it their vast knowledge of nerdy fandoms?

No one can judge a person’s intelligence through these things alone. You have to go through rigorous standardized tests and get checked by credible psychologists in order to validate the level of your IQ.

Knowing a person well enough helps in determining whether they are smart or not as well. Growing up with a person can tell you a lot about their intelligence. High grades, published papers and practical application achievements can also show you the depth of a person’s intelligence. If they are confirmed to have a three-digit IQ in the genius range, then they are definitely smarter than most people.

If you and your partner are both on the same level intellectually, I guess the comparison will be based solely on who knows more than the other. Whether they got high grades in school or graduated Magna Cum Laude, a person is only as smart as you make them out to be.

Perks of dating a person smarter than you

The advantages outweigh the disadvantages in a situation like this, primarily because smarter people can help you become a better person intellectually. There are a lot of good things to consider when you’re dating someone smarter than you.

1. They solve problems faster

It’s not just their intelligence that gives them an edge when it comes to problem solving. By taking the higher position in terms of intellect, your partner will assume the role of problem-solver in the relationship. Although it won’t work 100% of the time, you can rest assured that they are tackling challenges with a vast arsenal of knowledge behind them.

#2 You can ask them anything and they will almost always have an answer. It’s like having a human Google search bar at the breakfast table. Aside from knowing a lot of things, smart people tend to work harder to provide you with information. When they feel that their intelligence is being challenged, they will go through their stores of backed up information in order to provide an answer to any random question.

#3 Having them around makes you want to be smarter. It’s human nature when a person competes with the people around them. In a relationship, this is doubly so because a person will want to be on the same level as their partner. Instead of resenting your partner for their intelligence, use the situation as a catalyst to strive to become better in your chosen field.

#4 You will rarely need a calculator. Smart people have the multiplication table tattooed in their subconscious. Let’s admit that as adults in a tech age, we have forgotten how to solve simple problems without consulting our smartphones. Smart people still know the square root of 144. If not, they will make more of an effort to find the answer just to prove that they do know it.

#5 You learn something new every day. Smart people have an insatiable appetite for learning. Whether it’s about a newly discovered quark, a dip in the stock market or a weird inscription found in a bathroom downtown. They love learning about new things and with that enthusiasm comes the joy of sharing it with someone they love.

#6 You are theoretically safer in their presence. They can think of solutions to get you out of a locked room or solve a math problem that could prevent you from getting crushed in an earthquake. They have the capacity to think quickly on their feet. This is one of the traits that can come in handy in any emergency.

#7 Your parents will love your partner. It’s easier to overlook tattoos and body piercings if your boyfriend/girlfriend can recite Shakespeare’s Sonnet 14 or quote Stephen Hawking and dissect his theories.

#8 At least one of your kids will win a Nobel Prize. Although there are no studies that ultimately confirm the direct passing of intelligence through genes, evidence suggests that it can be nurtured through their environment. It’s okay to hope for the best, though!

#9 Bragging rights. ‘Nuff said.

Endless Conversation Starters: Ever been on a date where the conversation dwindles to an awkward silence? Well, date someone smarter, and you’ll find that’s rarely a problem. They’ve got a brain teeming with topics ranging from the latest scientific discoveries to historical anecdotes. Whether you’re queuing for coffee or stargazing, they’ll always have something fascinating to bring up. It’s like your personal talk show, minus the commercials!

Creative Date Ideas: When you’re dating someone smarter, get ready for some out-of-the-box date ideas. Forget your standard dinner and a movie; they’re more likely to suggest a night at a science museum or a day deciphering ancient scripts at a library. These dates aren’t just unique, they’re adventures into new realms of knowledge and fun. You’ll never be bored, and your dating life will be as varied as the pages of an encyclopedia.

They Boost Your Critical Thinking: Hang around someone smarter, and you’ll find your critical thinking skills leveling up. They’ll challenge your viewpoints, push you to form well-rounded opinions, and help sharpen your mind. It’s like a mental gym where the brain gets its workout, making you a more thoughtful, informed person.

Networking and Opportunities: Dating someone smarter often means they have a network of equally intelligent and resourceful individuals. This could open doors for you in ways you never imagined, from career opportunities to social gatherings. You’ll get to meet fascinating people from various fields, expanding both your social circle and your understanding of different worlds.

Improved Problem-Solving Skills in Daily Life: Ever struggled with figuring out the best way to organize your living space or how to optimize your daily routine? A smarter partner can offer ingenious solutions to everyday problems. Their ability to think critically and approach issues from unique angles can make life smoother and more efficient. It’s like having a live-in consultant for the daily puzzles of life.

A Different Perspective on the World: Dating someone smarter can profoundly change how you view the world. Their knowledge and insights can open your eyes to new ideas, cultures, and philosophies. It’s not just about accumulating information, it’s about gaining a deeper, more nuanced understanding of everything around you. Your world view expands, making life a richer and more interesting experience.

Pitfalls of dating someone smarter than you

It’s not technically the worst-case scenario, but dating someone smarter can open up the floodgates of a dam filled with repressed insecurity. If you have a low tolerance for annoying clever facts on a day-to-day basis, it won’t bode well for your relationship either. So, why is dating a person smarter than you not a good idea?

#1 They can be exasperating. This is basically the most well known complaint of people who are dating smarter people. Some smart people can be overconfident, stubborn and self-righteous. If you know how to handle these types, go ahead and enjoy your daily dose of existential love quarrels.

#2 They can be pushy. They see the potential in everyone. If they think you can do better, they will almost always do everything in their power to “motivate” you. This can sometimes come off as suffocating and can also instill a fear of disappointing your partner.

#3 They can get lost in their own world. Intelligent people have a tendency to space out more times than the average person. This can pose a problem in terms of communication. You may think that they’re ignoring you, but the truth is they are just thinking.

#4 Your priorities can clash. Although your careers are usually a separate subject, being smarter may mean that your partner has a more mentally challenging job. This can stress them out and make them disregard your needs in the process. Try to understand that they feel they need to prove themselves more because they assume that it is expected of them.

#5 You want to prove yourself to them for the wrong reasons. It’s akin to the situation of dating a supermodel. Although they loved you for being the average Joe or Jane that you are, you still can’t help but think that you should have harder abs or a better haircut. When dating a smart person, some people are determined to prove that they can be just as smart while forgetting who they are in the process.

#6 You can’t be smarter than they are. As I’ve mentioned above, the intelligence of a person cannot be judged easily. In a normal everyday situation, the person who is right is labeled as the smart one. If your partner is used to knowing everything all the time, they can take your being right as a slight to their intelligence. There’s nothing worse than seeing a loved one’s face after you proved them wrong using Google.

Smart or not, your partner is someone that you have to live or spend time with on a day-to-day basis. You have to appreciate them for the good things and understand them and help them out through the bad. Every relationship consists of two people who have their own talents, skills and attributes to add to the table.

Intimidation Factor: Sometimes, just being around someone who’s a walking encyclopedia can feel intimidating. You might hesitate to share your opinions or ideas, fearing they’re not ‘smart’ enough. This can lead to you feeling overshadowed in conversations, making you more of a silent partner rather than an equal one. It’s like being in a constant mental arm-wrestling match where you feel you’re always the underdog.

Complex Conversations: Ever find yourself in a conversation that’s so over your head, you might as well be listening to a foreign language? When dating someone smarter, this can happen often. They might dive into complex topics with enthusiasm, leaving you scrambling to keep up. This isn’t just about feeling lost; it can also make you feel disconnected from them, straining the relationship.

Feeling Undervalued: In a relationship where one person is significantly smarter, you might feel like your contributions are less valued. Your achievements, though important to you, might seem trivial to them. It can lead to a nagging feeling of inadequacy, where you constantly question your worth in the relationship.

Lack of Common Interests: Sometimes, the intellectual gap can translate into a chasm in interests. They might be all about quantum mechanics while you’re more into reality TV. This disparity can make it hard to find common activities you both enjoy, leading to a disconnect in how you spend your quality time together.

Over-Reliance on Their Opinion: There’s a risk of becoming too dependent on your smarter partner’s opinions or decisions. This can be especially true in areas where you feel less confident. Over time, it can erode your ability to make decisions independently, affecting your sense of self and autonomy.

Difficulty in Emotional Connection: Intellectual prowess doesn’t always equate to emotional intelligence. If your partner is more comfortable in the realm of ideas than emotions, it can lead to a lack of emotional depth in your relationship. You might find yourself longing for a deeper emotional connection that just isn’t in their wheelhouse.

Pressure to Keep Up: Dating someone smarter can sometimes feel like you’re running a race where you’re always a few paces behind. This can lead to an exhausting cycle of trying to catch up or prove yourself intellectually. It’s like being a perpetual student, where the learning curve never flattens.

Social Dynamics: When in social settings, you might find your partner inadvertently dominating conversations with their knowledge. This can sometimes put you in the background, making you feel more like an accessory than a partner. It can also affect how you’re perceived by others in your social circle.

The Know-It-All Effect: Let’s face it, constantly being corrected or having facts ‘clarified’ can be grating. Even if they’re not trying to be condescending, their know-it-all attitude can be off-putting. It’s not just about feeling corrected, it’s about wanting to be heard and respected for your own knowledge and experiences.

[Read: Should a girl dumb herself down just to impress a guy?]

Tips When You’re Dating Someone Smarter Than You

So, you’ve got a bae who’s got more brainpower than a supercomputer, huh? No sweat, here are some handy tips for making your relationship work when you’re dating someone smarter than you:

Embracing and Respecting Differences: Remember, variety is the spice of life! Your partner’s intelligence is just one part of them, like your killer sense of humor or your ability to make the world’s best pancakes. Celebrate the differences instead of seeing them as a barrier. This way, you turn what could be a point of contention into a source of diversity and excitement in your relationship.

Fostering Open and Honest Communication: It’s vital to keep the lines of communication wide open. If you’re feeling intimidated or overshadowed, talk about it. It’s important that your partner understands your feelings. This creates a supportive environment where both of you can express your thoughts and feelings freely.

Recognizing Each Partner’s Strengths and Weaknesses: Just because your partner is the Einstein in the relationship doesn’t mean you don’t bring your own unique strengths to the table. Maybe you’re the social butterfly who brings warmth to your partner’s life or the practical problem-solver who can handle life’s more tangible challenges. Acknowledge that each of you has different yet equally valuable strengths.

Maintaining Self-Esteem and Individual Identity: Keep nurturing your self-esteem. Remember that your worth isn’t determined by how much you know or don’t know. Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself and maintain your sense of individuality. This helps in keeping the relationship balanced and healthy.

Encouraging Mutual Growth and Learning: Look at your relationship as a journey of mutual growth. Maybe you can teach them a thing or two about emotional intelligence or a subject you’re passionate about. This way, both of you grow together, learning from each other’s strengths.

Avoiding the Comparison Trap: It’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly comparing your intellect to your partner’s. Instead, focus on your journey together as a couple. Celebrate your partner’s successes without feeling like it’s a competition.

Keeping a Sense of Humor: A good laugh goes a long way. Don’t take everything too seriously – being able to laugh at the quirks of your relationship can help keep things light and enjoyable. After all, laughter is a key ingredient in any successful relationship.

Finding Common Interests: It’s important to find activities you both enjoy. This could be anything from hiking, cooking together, or binge-watching your favorite series. Shared interests keep the connection strong beyond intellectual conversations.

Being Supportive, Not Competitive: In a relationship where one person is noticeably smarter, it’s crucial to be supportive rather than competitive. Cheer them on in their intellectual pursuits and show genuine interest in their passions. This creates a supportive and loving environment, rather than one of rivalry.

Setting Boundaries Around Intellectual Dominance: Lastly, it’s okay to set boundaries around intellectual dominance. If you feel like they’re unintentionally mansplaining or lecturing you, it’s alright to gently remind them that you’re their partner, not their student.

Each person brings their unique qualities to the table

The intelligence factor in a relationship is just one of many aspects that contribute to its success. It’s completely okay to feel a bit out of your depth when you’re dating someone smarter than you. What’s important is recognizing that relationships thrive on mutual respect, understanding, and love, not just on intellectual compatibility. Each person brings their unique qualities to the table.

So smart or not, don’t feel threatened or overconfident by the highs and lows of dating someone smarter than you. Just because your partner has more IQ points than you do does not make you any less of a person, and more importantly, any less of a lover!

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Danielle Anne
Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...
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