There may any number of reasons which bring two people into a relationship – they may be physically drawn to each other, they may share common interests or they may be attracted to each other’s personality, however different from their own. But the core of any successful relationship is made of certain common building blocks like love, trust and respect for each other.
Yet, despite the presence of mutual love and trust, a relationship may sometimes become unsatisfactory to either partner on the grounds of intellectual incompatibility. This happens when dissimilar interests drive partners away from each other and they find that they no longer enjoy common topics of discussion. If you find that your relationship is facing something similar and is making you unhappy, maybe it is time you decide to take stock of what is missing.
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The first step towards dealing with intellectual incompatibility in your relationship, is to decide how important this is a factor is to you, in having a successful relationship. Couples need not have the same level of IQ, to be happy with each other. Again, a relationship is made of two separate individuals and as such, it is natural that each has his or her own interests. The very fact that two people want to come together, means that they are looking for ways to complement their individual selves, and not searching for a clone of their own selves.
Moreover, psychologists and behavioural scientists these days are increasingly discovering that there are different types of intelligence – spatial, inter-personal, musical, theoretical and many others. While one partner may be more clued in to numbers and figures, another may be better at managing people and relationships. Neither of them can be considered inferior in any absolute sense and each has qualities necessary for a quality life.
Finally, the foundation of any successful relationship comprises mutual love and trust. Other factors may contribute to greater levels of satisfaction, but need not be mandatory, to have a happy relationship. So if you feel that you and your partner are happy to be with each other, and having fun together, there is no need why you should get into a flap over intellectual incompatibility, which in most cases is thrust on you by so many ‘free marriage compatibility tests’.
However, not all relationships can be happy by meeting just the basic requirements. After the initial euphoria of physical and emotional attraction is over, a relationship needs more substantial grounds to hold the partners together. Common values, shared interests and the ability to offer each other something new, come to matter more in the long run.
“Man does not live by bread alone”, goes the famous saying. Something similar is true for a relationship as well, which needs more than just love to be fully satisfying. This is especially important, if you are looking for a long-term relationship. Consider whether you would like to spend your entire life with someone who does not match up to your intellectual wavelength. What will you talk about after the declarations of love are over, what will you do together to make your lives enriching? If you find immense satisfaction in an intellectual discussion and your partner’s idea of an interesting evening is watching the daily soap on TV, maybe you should consider whether such a marriage would be fully satisfying to you.
Again, in an intellectually incompatible relationship, there is a greater chance of partners seeking out other people to share their interests with. A more cerebral partner, for instance, may begin spending more time with a college mate or co-worker, if he or she finds more satisfaction in such intellectual exchanges. This may eventually lead to an emotional affair, and the beginning of the end of the main relationship. These are some of the dangers of an intellectually incompatible relationship, but whether it can survive or not depends upon how the partners relate to each other and the outside world.
However, if you find yourself wishing that your relationship offered you more opportunities of having a stimulating discussion, here are a few ways to resolve the issue.
Encourage your partner for self-growth
Take your partner to operas, museums and art galleries, for wider exposure. Often, it is easier to learn something new through an audio-visual medium, rather than through lectures and seminars. Whatever outing you plan, just make it sure to make interesting. While driving to the venue, you could also give your partner a brief introduction to the play or the paintings you are about to watch. Also do some research and provide interesting snippets about the person whose works you are going to see or hear. For instance, before catching a production of Doctor Faustus, reveal to your partner that its writer, Christopher Marlowe, was arrested for being a spy during his lifetime. This is likely to get your partner’s attention.
Don’t force anything on your partner
Remember, that if you pressurize your partner to follow your intellectual pursuits, it may only make him or her balk at your efforts and may even offend his or her sense of self-respect. Instead, make options available to your partner and leave it up to him or her to choose. For instance, leave CDs of Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven lying around and when your partner is bored of rock and grunge, maybe he will try out your music. Or let your partner know that you have discovered a great writer of love stories and show her some Jane Austen classics. If nothing else, it will intrigue her to know what kind of love stories they are.
Enlarge your circle
Look among your former college mates, club mates and co-workers, for more chances of intellectual conversation. Meet up with them regularly, or join hobby societies like book clubs. This way you will have enough opportunities for following your interests, without dragging your partner into it. It is enough that your partner is your lover and companion and that you both have a good time when you are together.
Finally there are no absolute rules when it comes to intellectual compatibility in a relationship. Your feelings are your best guide. If you perpetually find something missing in your personal life and yearn for different company, consider expanding your social circle. But if you feel happy and fulfilled around your partner, despite having different personalities, remember nothing else matters.