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Does my boyfriend need to be of the same intellect?


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My boyfriend and I are both 21. I have always been very curious, felt emotions very intensely, and loved stimulating conversations. He, on the other hand, gets bored by intellectual conversations (about history, philosophy etc) and doesn’t have any particularly strong opinions. He doesn’t even have a favourite song - he merely listens to the radio haha. I’m also a big reader, whereas the only books he’s ever read are the ones he had to read for school. He’s more into football, the gym, the pub, etc.

However, he loves me so deeply. He looks after me in ways I could only dream of, he absolutely spoils me (as I do him!), and makes me so happy. We have fantastic day trips together and he indulges me in all my quirks and interests. We’ve been together for two years and I’ve never felt safer and more in love. I’ll add that he is also extremely helpful and reliable around the house:)

Sometimes I do wonder, however, if our differences in intellect (for want of a better word .. he’s much smarter mathematically than I, however I’m far more curious about the world around me) make us incompatible. I always hear about couples having lots to talk about, and when I suggest a topic that isn’t football, anyone we know, or a situation directly affecting us, he’s not interested. I feel like I often just talk at him! 
However, I have friends and family whom I can have these discussion with. I’m not for want of someone to talk to, it just isn’t my partner, and I’m wondering if this is a non-negotiable for other couples? It does frustrate me sometimes when he offers absolutely no opinions on anything haha!

Edited by Luna Lover 28
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9 minutes ago, Luna Lover 28 said:

he’s much smarter mathematically than I

It's ok that he's more intelligent than you are, but it seems he's simply not interested in your discussions on random topics.

Arrogance is not a good thing. It seems insecure.

Secure people accept others for who they are rather than social climbing with hoity toity airs.

Edited by Wiseman2
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Only you know what your contentment level is while spending time with him on a regular basis. I'd say if you're at an 85 percent, that's realistic and worth continuing on with him. If it's less, where you're more regularly bored, frustrated, etc. in his company, then it's time to free him to be with someone who he's more compatible with and vice versa.

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You don't like the way his family treats the family dog and you are questioning your compatibility regarding how his "intellect" doesn't match yours.

You claim to be happy and to feel loved, so why are you looking for things to nit pick?

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Yeah I think if someone is happy and in love they don't start questioning the relationship and finding fault to the extent you are. You seem to feel as though something is missing in your relationship and trying to rationalize why you feel dissatisfied. 

 

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In answer to your question it would be a total dealbreaker for me and I say that knowing 100% that this is my individual personal opinion and it's a very individual preference. 

And I mean the way you describe it-he's not intellectually curious, doesn't want to talk about more than a few topics, you think he's smart math-wise but not otherwise smart so the admiration is missing - you want someone you can admire for his intellect/intellectual curiosity and you don't.  I also couldn't be with someone who was not an avid reader even if we read different nonfiction or fiction genre.  Again that's just me and I mean that 100%.

I dated a number of men who I felt weren't bright enough or well spoken enough or intellectually curious.  I had and have no interest in being spoiled/pampered or doing the same.  Nor would that ever compensate for incompatibility in intellect/smarts/ intellectual curiosity.

Also I love exploring new places (not such a fan of the logistics of travel but once I'm there....) - so does my husband.  We've been to many different cities and countries together, many cultural activities - the theater, symphony, opera, museums, hiking at national parks - if he didn't want to do those things, didn't enjoy those things - dealbreaker.  Especially since we both want our son to see as much of the world as possible -that's hard and frustrating if only one parent wishes to do that.  

And since we are in related fields and our jobs have a fair amount of stress, he "gets" what I do for work and I get what he does and we can talk about it in a smart way and be supportive not only emotionally but understanding it contextually. That's always been very important to me.  

My humble and personal opinion.

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This together with your other thread about his family's dog strongly suggest you are not happy in your relaitonship and are looking for reasons to justify ending it. 

It might be time to acknowledge that you're not compatible and have grown apart. 

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7 hours ago, Batya33 said:

In answer to your question it would be a total dealbreaker for me and I say that knowing 100% that this is my individual personal opinion and it's a very individual preference. 

And I mean the way you describe it-he's not intellectually curious, doesn't want to talk about more than a few topics, you think he's smart math-wise but not otherwise smart so the admiration is missing - you want someone you can admire for his intellect/intellectual curiosity and you don't.  I also couldn't be with someone who was not an avid reader even if we read different nonfiction or fiction genre.  Again that's just me and I mean that 100%.

I dated a number of men who I felt weren't bright enough or well spoken enough or intellectually curious.  I had and have no interest in being spoiled/pampered or doing the same.  Nor would that ever compensate for incompatibility in intellect/smarts/ intellectual curiosity.

Also I love exploring new places (not such a fan of the logistics of travel but once I'm there....) - so does my husband.  We've been to many different cities and countries together, many cultural activities - the theater, symphony, opera, museums, hiking at national parks - if he didn't want to do those things, didn't enjoy those things - dealbreaker.  Especially since we both want our son to see as much of the world as possible -that's hard and frustrating if only one parent wishes to do that.  

And since we are in related fields and our jobs have a fair amount of stress, he "gets" what I do for work and I get what he does and we can talk about it in a smart way and be supportive not only emotionally but understanding it contextually. That's always been very important to me.  

My humble and personal opinion.

I agree with this. It's a highly personal choice, but I can't be with people who are not interested in learning and having intelligent conversations. It's very important to me to be able to do that, or else i get frustrated. Do you see yourself being happy with this guy as he is for the long-term, or would get bored of him? Would you be able to live with him and be immersed in this dynamic every day?

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10 hours ago, Luna Lover 28 said:

Sometimes I do wonder, however, if our differences in intellect (for want of a better word .. he’s much smarter mathematically than I, however I’m far more curious about the world around me) make us incompatible. I always hear about couples having lots to talk about, and when I suggest a topic that isn’t football, anyone we know, or a situation directly affecting us, he’s not interested. I feel like I often just talk at him! 

However, I have friends and family whom I can have these discussion with. I’m not for want of someone to talk to, it just isn’t my partner, and I’m wondering if this is a non-negotiable for other couples? It does frustrate me sometimes when he offers absolutely no opinions on anything haha!

I've been married for a long time.  My husband and I have a lot in common yet we have our differences, too.  My differences are satiated by my best friends who share my philosophies if they're too in depth and heavy duty for my husband to digest.  My best friends are my outlet. 

I too have a husband who spoils me, always has my back, is so handy around the house, fixes and repairs everything, my plumber, electrician, he does yard work, fixes and maintains our cars and always fills up each car with a full tank of gas.  He grocery shops, runs errands, cooks, does laundry and housecleans.  He's a great provider.  He's a jack-of-all-trades and wears many hats!  He's helped me raise our sons ever since they were newborns.  He always picks up the slack.  I can lean on him for everything.  I'm very fortunate and blessed.  He's reminiscent of my late father-in-law (FIL).  He's humble, low key, soft spoken, a gentleman, kind, trustworthy and sincere just like my late FIL. 

We agree on how to raise children and pets, too.  We raised our 14 year old Golden Retriever properly and she passed away several years ago.

If you prefer to have intellectual, philosophical conversations with your boyfriend and he's not willing to be the man you want him to be, then he's not for you long term.  He'll never be good enough and he'll never make you happy if he can't and won't be on the same wavelength as your conversation with him. 

Strong opinions are important.  Sometimes my husband doesn't always enjoy listening to my strong opinions but he appreciates my angle and philosophy regarding life and people in it.  To his surprise, often times whatever I say is a discovery for him which benefits both of us.   He's a good listener.  He also gives me very wise, great advice. 

You have to weigh what's important to you.  Either compromise and appreciate your boyfriend's strengths and good qualities and whatever integrity your boyfriend possesses or find another boyfriend who meets all of your requirements. 

If lowering your standards goes against your principles, then your boyfriend is not for you long term nor as husband material. 

This decision is yours. 

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I don't see it for me as needing to have intellectual or philosophical discussions -small part of it- I read the OP differently. If someone isn't intellectually curious it's a dealbreaker for me including for friendship.  And a compatible sense of humor. I'd be bored out of my mind if my husband was not curious about the world around him, enjoyed learning for learning's sake, wanted to explore different cultures, do cultural activities, be interested in history and current events- not necessarily to have philosphical discussions at all but simply a thirst for learning, a desire not to be in just a narrow existence.  We like to watch Jeopardy together for example -that's not deep but it means we're both into using our brains to try to figure out the answer and we enjoy joking about the contestants. I read the New Yorker when I can and enjoy telling him about what I'm reading or showing him a cartoon and often he enjoys hearing about it. 

He tells me about Star Trek episodes -and even though I reallly don't like that show I do my best and since I am a curious person once in awhile what he tells me resonates with me and is interesting.  That's what I mean. 

Also yes the ability to have conversations in depth about things that matter to our neighborhood, the world, people we want to contribute to or help.  

He's also very handy as was his father -they each have/had a tool box.  It's never ever an either or IMO.  To me it's also about valuing higher education and those sorts of accomplishments but it need not be.  

So yes I would have married him even if philosophical discussions were not his favorite - but I had to admire his intelligence, emotional intelligence, character, integrity and intellectual curiosity (and, related, a love of travel, exploring the world, being well read, being up on current events and being able to discuss all of the above)

OP -here's a takeaway -both Cheryln and I have a strong sense of what is important to us - in a partner - get 100% clear with yourself on what specifically is important to you.  And what can be compromised.  Do that for yourself -it's hard work, you'll have to reevaluate or tweak at times but it helps you choose the right person for yo. 

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16 hours ago, Luna Lover 28 said:

I have friends and family whom I can have these discussion with. I’m not for want of someone to talk to, it just isn’t my partner, and I’m wondering if this is a non-negotiable for other couples?

Join some groups and clubs. Volunteer. Take some classes and courses. Go to college or apply for graduate school. 

Get involved in fitness and sports. Focus on getting your own finances (takes math ability) and finding your own place.

 Stop going to his home and calling him, his family and their pet "stupid".

Get a good profile and pics on quality dating apps and start talking to and messaging men. Leave this guy and his family and their pet alone.

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I think the other thing is you are 21. So you are probably going to have to date and have relationships with other guys to help you get a sense of what works for you. And you are also going to grow up and what is important to you will change over time.

It sounds as though this guy met your needs for security and attention and that made you happy for a while. But now you realize that you want more and feel something is missing. So it is probably fairer to break up with this guy and look for someone you are more compatible with. 

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It's important for me to share similar intellect with my husband.  I wouldn't want to be married to a man whose sole interests are superficial subjects.  I've known some people in my midst who only discuss what they bought, stores, sales, discounts, where they went, what they did, movies they've watched, other people's lives, tasks, chores and mundane small talk which to me is quite boring!  I can save that type of superficial chatter for acquaintances. 

My husband and I discuss world events, local news, politics, our shared Christian faith, philosophies, human psychology, values, music, theater, real estate, finance and all sorts of topics.  Especially pre-pandemic, we enjoyed outings, museums, theater, symphonies, ballet, parades and various excursions. 

It's important to have a lot in common so you can relate instead of constantly having to refrain from certain conversations because both of you cannot relate. 

There are some couples who compensate for this deficit by having outlets elsewhere such as friends, family, in-laws, individual interests, hobbies, sports and the like. 

Determine what you envision for your boyfriend or someday for a permanent life partner. 

Either accept your boyfriend as is or search for a more suitable boyfriend and perhaps a husband someday if this is your vision or goal for your life.  It's your choice.

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On 4/2/2022 at 3:23 PM, Luna Lover 28 said:

Sometimes I do wonder, however, if our differences [...] make us incompatible. [...] I’m wondering if this is a non-negotiable for other couples? It does frustrate me sometimes when he offers absolutely no opinions on anything haha!

Speaking only for myself, intellectual simpatico is of primary importance.

I could not and would not base my future on partnering with anyone who does not challenge and inspire my MIND, which I view as the largest human sex organ.

I have friends, and I can make plenty more, but I'm monogamous, so I only get ONE life partner.

I've come to learn over time that when I involve myself with the wrong match, I might fool myself for a while, and I might even enjoy him for a time. But then I get depressed.

There is nothing equivalent to the hell-on-earth of settling for the wrong partner.

Just my opinion--people pair for all kinds of reasons, so I'd salt my statements to taste.

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If you want things to go for the long haul, and that's marriage, life partner, then yes you need something/ passions you both have in common. That deep intense love wears off over time, and you need that intellectual compatibility to sustain interest in each other. I'm at an age (58) where is see couples that have been together for 15-25 years either can't stand being around each other or jealous the other spends time doing their hobby, or going through a divorce once the kids have left the nest. They realize they don't share interests, one goes one way the other goes the other way. They have nothing to talk about, etc. 

Me and my husband have passions we both share for the last 32 years, and we both have other things we don't. It's a wonderful balance of sharing, and having our own time. 

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I agree with smackie9. 

I enjoy engaging in intellectual conversations with my husband yet we have our own lives outside marriage such as friends, hobbies, sports, interests and the like.  We don't do everything together.  There is a happy medium. 

During other times, when we are together at home, away from home or wherever, we definitely enjoy conversations which don't always revolve around mere superficial chit chat. 

It is extremely important to be compatible.  I never have to think twice before discussing something with my husband.  Discussing, communicating or corresponding with my husband should feel natural as opposed to feeling limited because we can't relate on the same wavelength which would feel awkward, uncomfortable and disappointing. 

Whenever you observe a person, think about your future with him.  Ask these types of questions to yourself:  What type of husband will he be for me?  What type of father will he be for my child?  Where does he see himself 10 years from now?  Where do you see yourself with him 10 years from now?  What are his values?  What type of personality and character does he have and will it suffice or fall short?  Should I resign myself into accepting how he is or do I want more of a man?  Those are some heavy duty questions you need to ask yourself.  Never shortchange yourself and settle for second best or mediocrity because you'll live to sorely regret it later.  Strive for the best because it will pay off later.  You need to cover all of that.

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Agree with both.  Also I think there needs to be mutual respect and admiration -not of the pedestal sort - but yes mutual.  To me that includes respecting your partner's intelligence (yes, including emotional intelligence).  Also if you do have a child the child will see that his parents respect each other in how they regard and treat each other and to me that's really important for the child.  

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