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With love being a battlefield, how important is the size of the mental guns you bring? Is intelligence just a number, or is it the root equation that will multiply your issues? Well…
As a relationship counsellor, I am very privileged to be allowed access to the intimate minutiae of different lives. As a result, I have spent time with a vast array of people who fall into different places on the spectrum of intelligence. I’ve discovered that the level of intelligence often differs from the other, and this poses an interesting question.
Does a relationship require equal intelligence to be successful long term?
When we talk about intelligence we tend not to consider that there are many different types of intelligence. We automatically think of our IQ (Intellectual Quotient), which refers to our mental ability. However, there are other kinds of intelligence that are equally important in a relationship. Your EQ (Emotional Quotient) refers to our ability to perceive, control, and express emotions, which is especially important in romantic relationships. What is also very important and may be more significant than your IQ and EQ in achieving relationship fulfillment is your Curiosity Quotient. CQ is our curiosity quotient and this means having a hungry mind and a desire to learn and experience new things.
Studies suggest that a partner’s IQ score between 10 and 15 points either side of your own is ideal for intellectual compatibility. Our difference in IQ can affect our relationships in many ways. I know a young couple who are currently navigating this situation, which has manifested into problems with their intimate relationship. When she shares her world with him he finds it enthralling but also crippling, as her IQ is quite a bit higher than his. Her knowledge of the arts and passion for the early Renaissance combined with her interest in social cognition lulls him into a stunned silence. He’s unsure what to say, so he says nothing. His eyes slowly glaze over and he ends up disconnecting mentally. She is beginning to find herself feeling reluctant to try and discuss more complex concepts with him. She becomes frustrated and impatient with his lack of knowledge and inability to process the information she is sharing with him as rapidly as she would like.
As a society, we have come into strife with the idea that we will meet “The One”. That storied individual that will become our lover, best friend, confidant, co parent, soul mate, intellectual equal and the list goes on and on. The idea of finding this person is extremely problematic for our unions.
As a society, we have come into strife with the idea that we will meet “The One”. That storied individual that will become our lover, best friend, confidant, co parent, soul mate, intellectual equal and the list goes on and on. The idea of finding this person is extremely problematic for our unions. We have come to expect that just one person can check off our immense list of needs. A concept, at its root, is unrealistic. An expectation to place upon one person to replace the entirety of a whole community of people, such as our friends and family. The young couple I mentioned above are actually very compatible. They love and respect each other. They enjoy a deep friendship, have the same values and goals for their futures. They agree that they do not want children and the role that their extended families, culture, and religion will play in their relationship. All of these aspects set the framework for this couple to build a healthy, happy and fulfilling relationship, despite the difference in their IQ.
As for a tangible solution to the above problem, she shares her love of the arts with her partner in amounts that are palatable to him and has found intellectual companionship with her friends from university and work. The thing to remember, is that our partners do not have to fulfil every need we have, just the ones you deem as most important.
That being said, we are all capable of growing and evolving. Our IQ is not fixed, and thusly not that big of an issue. What counts is a more effective use of our minds, especially our CQ and EQ. Keep those in mind when bridging the intelligence gaps in our relationships. By doing this, we position ourselves to enjoy a fulfilling relationship regardless if our intelligence is equal.