- Gender and Relationships
He's Funnier, She's Smarter, Can This Work? - Relationship Advice
I'm dating this guy for a little while now. We get along pretty well but overall we have this huge difference in our personalities. He's hysterical. Everyone loves to be around him. He cracks a lot of jokes and he's always the clown. I on the other hand tend to be somewhat serious. I'm very intelligent and I struggle to get him to have a serious conversation sometimes. I think sometimes he uses humor to cover up that he's just not that smart. I don't want to settle and wind up with a relationship that is less than I deserve.
Can two people on two separate intellectual levels make it as a couple?
Yes. But when one person is judging the other, no. They can't.
I received your email, Eva, about 2 months ago and had worked out a Hub about intelligence but didn't feel it was what I wanted to put out there. Then I realized that a few other emails I'd received relate, even though they aren't about intelligence, they are about other differences. Today a friend suggested the same topic. So here we go.
Another email I received from Jessica asked me if her and her husband will be alright, despite the fact that she's more religious than he is. She describes herself as a strong Christian doing the right things in life, and she described her husband as weak and lacking.
Let's face it. The odds of you ever finding a carbon copy of yourself is slim. Finding someone exactly as smart as you are, or exactly as religious, or exactly as anything is just not really possible. Plus, if you did, how do you know it would be interesting or compelling enough to create a forever bond?
I wrote a Hub called When One of You Wants Kids and the Other One Doesn't. I realize of course that some differences make the relationship impossible. As long as you aren't talking about something as life altering as having kids, these differences you're seeing can be just fine.
No matter who you're with, and no matter how much you agree on some things, there will always be things that are different. From politics to music to which one of you is funnier, there will always be difference.
Eva, the idea that your boyfriend is someone everyone likes to be around speaks volumes. His personality sounds charming and fun. I don't know that I would say he's not intelligent if he knows how to keep people smiling. Maybe he isn't textbook smart or maybe there are subjects you know more about. Those things in and of themselves aren't issues. The issue is the tone in which your email was written. You seem to have the idea that you're the better half of the couple because you believe you're smarter. And that is a huge issue that isn't going to be OK.
It's just like Jessica's situation. There are tons of couples that are from different faiths, or varying degrees within a faith. There's no reason for that not to work. The problem is Jessica seeing her husband as weak because he thinks and feels differently than she does about religion.
It's been my experience that when a "christian" tells you they are a better person then you are, they are doing just about the most un-christian thing they can. It's also been my experience that when someone has to tell you how intelligent the are, they probably aren't. A former friend of mine in Cali used to point it out to people all the time. How he was so well educated and worked at a University, and how incredibly smart he was. One day one of our group turned to him and said, "I'm so glad you keep telling us you're intelligent, because it sure isn't obvious. We never would have guessed on our own."
Eva, of course the bottom line is if you think you are settling, you should get out of this relationship. It will build and accumulate, and he doesn't deserve it. Resenting him for the rest of your lives isn't fair. If being intellectually challenged is a very important aspect of coupling for you, then by all means you should end this and go out into the world and find someone more compatible with what you seek. There are probably many women who would love to be around a guy that is funny and is the life of the party, and is surrounded by people that love to be with him. So let him go, let him find that woman that will appreciate him for who he is.
No matter what you discover to be important to you in a relationship, you have the right to that feeling and the right to go out in the world and find it. I support that journey, and I encourage you to take it.
I just want you to realize that making the decision that this isn't the relationship that you really want, doesn't mean that he is wrong or that you are better than he is. It's just that you want something different.
Just as if he said he wanted to end things because you're too difficult to be with and you're always judging, and that he would prefer to be with someone who has more fun and accepting and isn't always so serious. That doesn't make him better. It just means there's a difference that he'd rather not have in his relationship.
No relationship can work if one of the partners feels superior to the other.
If you think you're partner isn't really good enough to have you, this will end in disaster. If you're with your partner trying to change him into what you want him to be, you're headed for a crash. If you can't love and appreciate them for exactly who they are right now, then it's time to end things.
If you do decide that this man is good hearted, and fun, and sweet, and that you really do love him for who he is and you want to be in this relationship, I think you will be surprised at how much easier it is now that you're conscious of the situation as a whole. You're both bringing something valuable to the table, even if these things are different. Hopefully you can celebrate the great things about him instead of focusing on the things that aren't there.
I don't know of couples ending because one is smarter. But I do know of many couples that ended because one was more critical and more judging than the other.
Best to you Eva as you figure out what it is you want in life, and as you go out there and make it happen.