Why Being Attracted to Smarter Men Is the Biggest Reason You’re Single

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“I can’t help what I’m attracted to!”

If I had a dollar for the number of women who have said that to me, well, let’s just say I’d be writing this from Tahiti, not Los Angeles.

And I can’t disagree with you: attraction is NOT a choice.

Yet if the very thing you’re attracted to never leads to the relationship of your dreams, don’t you think it may be wise to make some adjustments?

I think so.

You’d make adjustments if you didn’t feel good about your body on January 1st.

You’d make adjustments if you were only looking for jobs on Monster.com and it never got you a job.

You’d make adjustments if you alienated your co-workers and wanted to feel better from 9-5 every day.

We’re constantly making adjustments in life.

Except in one arena.

You’d make adjustments if you didn’t feel good about your body on January 1st.

Should it be any news that it’s the one arena in which you struggle the most?

And a big reason you struggle to connect with men is because you’re so bright.

I hear ya.

Like many of you, I’m a bit of an intellectual snob. I read voraciously. I like to discuss weighty issues. I know a little bit about a lot and can pretty much hold my own in any cocktail party conversation.

You want to know something else about me?

I’m a know-it-all.

I’m difficult.

I’m moody.

I’m opinionated as hell.

I’m a workaholic.

I’m an egomaniac.

I always want things my way.

Now before you decide that you hate me, I’d like you to consider two things:

First, does that description remind you of any of the men you’ve dated in the past?

If so, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

That’s the thing about really smart guys. They live in their heads. They’re somewhat tortured. They know what they’re worth. They have enough information and ammunition to be impossible to argue with. They can be endlessly fascinating and even more frustrating.

You’ve seen this yourself MANY times.

And yet you still say you want a man who is smarter than you are.

Hmmm…

Sounds like a pretty exhausting relationship, doesn’t it?

Sounds like the price you pay for dating a great conversationalist is pretty steep, huh?

On one side, you get a brilliant, stimulating mind, which really turns you on…

On the other you get a narcissistic, difficult, self-obsessed, coldly logical man who is much more concerned with ideas than feelings, and much more concerned with himself than with you.

Once again… Hmmm…

Before I forget, there was one other thing I wanted you to consider:

You will STILL be attracted to geniuses, but you now know that they do not make for a good fit in your life. Never have. Never will.

Very smart. Know-it-all. Difficult. Moody. Short-tempered. Opinionated. Workaholic. Egomaniac. Judgmental. Always want things your way.

Does that describe anybody else besides those brilliant men you’re drawn to?

It certainly describes my clients. And I wouldn’t be all that shocked if it somewhat described you as well.

And when two people who are that smart, that opinionated, and that strong-willed get together, it should obvious that sparks will fly — and tensions will mount.

So while I’m not judging you for being just like I am — I AM pointing out to you that if you insist that you can ONLY be attracted to men who are smarter than you, you are relegating yourself to less than 2% of the population (before we consider things like looks, height, money, religion, humor, charm, attraction, values, etc.)

Moreover, you’re relegating yourself to a man who is NOT A GOOD FIT FOR YOU.

And therefore, it doesn’t matter if you’re attracted to only MENSA men.

The key to your future successful relationships is going to come in opening up to smart guys without all the baggage that comes from being brilliant and driven.

That does NOT mean that you are going to find yourself with a man who has never read a newspaper, who has no interest in foreign travel, or who can’t keep up with you and your friends.

It does mean that you need to accept men who are not in the 98th percentile of intelligence, and recognize that there are plenty of amazing, bright, relationship-oriented men who may not be smarter than you.

It’s not all or nothing.

We compromise on things every single day.

Your job isn’t perfect. You put up with it for 10 hours a day.

Your friends and family aren’t perfect. You put up with them for the rest of the time.

And yet you still hold your boyfriend to a ridiculous standard, as if a man who went to a state school and doesn’t watch Sunday morning political talk shows is a dullard.

I know, I know.

You can’t help what you’re attracted to.

Me either.

But I spent the first 35 years of my life chasing women who were just like me — the smartest women in the room. And I put up with the same things that you have to deal with from men — selfishness, difficulty, self-righteousness and so on.

I married a woman who was smart — who gets every joke, who knows about Shakespeare and classical music, who has definite opinions about Israel/Palestine — but she’s not necessarily in the 98th percentile of intellectual curiosity.

And you know what?

It feels GREAT.

Because most of our lives are not spent discussing the finer points of Proust, or the best way to fix the 2-party system, or the science behind String Theory… our time is usually spent talking about fixing up the house, raising our daughter, planning our next vacation, figuring out what we’re going to have for dinner, etc.

Thus, my wife doesn’t HAVE to be like me — because we’re great together.

So if you believe in self-help, if you’ve read books about spirituality, if you’ve gone to shrinks and taken weekend seminars, and yet you still think your husband has to be on the exact same wavelength as you?

Sorry.

He doesn’t.

He just has to respect you. And you have to respect him.

My wife hasn’t done any of that personal growth stuff and you know what?

She’s happy. Better than that, she’s CONTENT.

Have you ever been with a brilliant guy who is, at heart, a miserable person?

I’ll bet you have.

And I’ll bet you’d do it again — hoping for a different ending this time.

Once again, there’s no different ending.

Brilliant men tend to be bad partners. You’ve seen this numerous times.

So, from now on, you’re going to discover the virtues of smart, kind, thoughtful, generous, easygoing, commitment-oriented men.

You will STILL be attracted to geniuses, but you now know that they do not make for a good fit in your life. Never have. Never will.

You CAN get the relationship you want; just not with the man you always thought you wanted.

Trust me, the reality is FAR better than the fantasy.

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Comments:

  1. 101
    averagegirl

    I don’t want a guy that smarter than me, i just don’t want a dumb jock and don’t want to date a sexist pig who thinks he’s a “nice guy” and entitled to to the “best” women.

    Are those high standards?   I like normal, employed, funny smarties. I’d like someone comparable in attractiveness and income to myself.   And i’m not, you know, making shit tons of money.  

  2. 102
    P.J. Barron

    This whole post is ironic. Evan you don’t know everything. Stop Projecting your issues onto everyone else. I suppose its okay when the woman is a know it all??? We see it all the time a women being intellectually dominate. Its accepted as if she knows best and must control her animal of a man or he would certainly destroy the world. But when a man happens to be of a higher intellect than according to you he’s a know it all, emotionless ass hole no one can stand. Evan you are only proliferating the issue that everyone has cognitive biases and no one wants to be wrong. its natural for one to want to feel in control but even making anymore of this than a fleeting thought “living in your head” is the main component of these perceived disconnections in relationships. The subject in its entirety is a case of ironic over thinking. In short try not to think to hard in terms of who is smarter so that it doesn’t compound your insecurities and cloud your mind of whats truly important…THE OTHER PERSON.

  3. 103
    Lorena Lamas

    I have to say, I was entranced by your article and completely pulled in, whilst blown away. The entire time thinking you were possibly a female (feminine energy?) and made a point to continue reading.  

    Anyhow, the reason for my comment is I realized you mentioned the %2 ordeal and your being smart quite suddenly and it became a strong point.

    I went from relating myself to disowning myself in that sense.

    On top of that, I spent the rest of the day unintentionally focusing my thoughts on what my level of intelligence means on a societal level, and more importantly, a personal level.

    I would like to ask your take on how it feels, and what exactly is, to be in this %2.

    The only mental comfort aside from proclaiming myself ignorant is assuming your standards are a bit high.

    Thank you for your time.

    And you article was amazing and provocative, well done. I would have preferred to email this small news, however. I am apparently an asshole to try to do so.

    *Applauds for the common social cause*

    That comment about any convo at any cocktail whatever, gosh, it just *POOF*

    In a good way 😉 thanks!  

  4. 104
    vic

    This is so good!! written so brilliantly! one of the reasons is probably because IM A SMART WOMAN DATING A SMART DUDE! having ego clashes and being unable to open up and avoiding being seen as puny and shit everything you have mentioned above! This is such an eye opening article! I love this! 🙂  

  5. 105
    SD

    Thank u so much, u have answered all my questions. I get attracted to these smart guys but end up with heart-ache nothing else.

  6. 106
    Etta

    Apparently the correlation coefficient for IQ is higher for spouses than it is between parent and child meaning that we tend to choose for mates someone closer to our own IQ, the best biological option for offspring. Friendships with or without benefits are different.   It’s not as critical that they work closely and permanently to give children the advantage of two committed adult mentors/providers for at least half of the child’s lifetime. Thus, choosing a more intelligent mate might have underlying biological appeal but maintaining a long relationship is more likely with two similar intellects. Personally, I think this whole attraction thing boils down to biological urges whether we admit it or not, that is, procreation not sex.  

  7. 107
    bob

    If the author was truly in the top 2%, intelligence-wise, he would realize that not all women can date men who are dumber than they are, and that if ALL people followed this advice, nobody would mate up, because somebody is ALWAYS the smarter one in a relationship.   Written like a true 90th-percentiler.  

  8. 108
    Samantha

    Terrific article, Evan. It’s funny I always manage to land on your articles via Google when I’m trying to solve my latest dating dilemma. My latest is that I’m currently hanging out with a man 15-yrs my junior (*was rather uncomfortable with this at first, as he was the one interested in me!) but as it turns out… this may be the healthiest thing I’ve encountered in a VERY long time as I’m realizing that one, I need my independence and two, I can be rather difficult to be with (as you so eloquently stated here).

    But the Silver lining is that, while we’re both smart – he’s not one of the corporate/MENSA go-getter types you outlined here. I’ve dated those and like you said, they wound up being disasters. My parents’ marriage IS that disaster. My friend is far more religious than me, and I’ve been in Recovery working on my love/codependency issues – so it kind of works out. I’ve been also starting to learn to shut up my yap – which I’m glad to see that major difference between what is “honesty” and what is being tactless.  

    Thanks for all that you do Evan. You’ve definitely made a difference in my life through the years.
    – Sam from L.A.  

    1. 108.1
      pattycake

      yeah, it’s funny how that happens, huh? ……

  9. 109
    anonymous

    Hmmmm…I’m not sure why anyone would SPECIFICALLY want to date someone who was more intelligent or intellectually curious than they are, but I can totally understand people wanting to date people on their own wavelength. I’ve been in relationships with men who were less intellectually curious than me and it was boring and frustrating. I couldn’t connect with them.

    Surely this advice is just ‘don’t date dickheads’, not ‘don’t date very intelligent people’. I consider myself very intelligent – nay, I have the damned proof 😉 I graduated top of my year from uni – and I’m also highly empathic and compassionate, not cold, nor argumentative (I’ve never argued with a boyfriend, and yes, I know that’s not ok either). My point is, why generalise about people in this way? There should only be three things you ask yourself when you meet someone, surely: 1) Are you attracted to them? 2) Do you enjoy hanging out with them? 3) Are they are nice person? (i.e. do they show empathy and concern for your welfare?) If anyone doesn’t tick all boxes then they’re not right.

    (Although I came here because I searched ‘I never seem to find anyone attractive’, by which I mean ‘no one has ever ticked all three boxes’, so perhaps I’m going about this the wrong way somehow…)

  10. 110
    Echo

    I’ve had both: men who were brilliant, and every bit as self-absorbed as you describe above, and men who were bright, and thoughtless, reactionary, impetuous, and fickle.

    I think, rather than a matter of intellect, it’s a matter of personality. Either a man is going to take the time to consider his faults and their effects on other human beings around him, or he isn’t. Choose the kind, thoughtful man, and if he’s smart, so much the better.

  11. 111
    Aidan

    Hmm, I’m a smart 35yr old lady, and is always attracted to smart guys but I’ve never dated one because I don’t believe in laws of attraction. But after a while, when u know they aren’t smart it can get really exhausting.. Guess I have to really look out for that smart one and hopefully this time it will work! Truthfully smart is just a bonus!

  12. 112
    Jack

    I’m having a dating problem… I consider myself smart, and I “know a little about a lot” I feel like I can think faster and about more than most. My main problem is finding girls that think simmilarly to me. I am only a sophmore in highschool and have a lot of my life infront of me, but what im wondering is are there many people who understand that being smatter isn’t just knowing more but more about knowing how to look differently at different scenarios and being able too find solutions to your problems. In my past expirences with people I dont think the average person knows that… then agian I might be wrong about my definition in the first place. Im just wondering if anyone feels the same way.

     

    Im also wondering if im the only one who feels like they think differently than everyone else. It might be something like me being mentally older than I really am and I just need to wait untill everyone else around me catches up… if anyone here has any advise and thuthi they felt or feep the same way I do go ahead and reply… it would be nice to feel like im not the only one.

     

    Ps: Sorry for not proof reading.

  13. 113
    Mrs. Smartypants

    What baloney! Know-it-all? Egomaniac? Always want things your way? Those are not byproducts of   intelligence, they are the fruits of bad manners mixed with vanity and insecurity.

    My IQ is in the 130s, my husband’s IQ is in the 140s. We’ve been very happily married for over 20 years. Our intelligence lets us enjoy similar humor, similar interest in social  issues, similar goals for  our family.  Our lives are wrapped up in each other and our children. Success in love happens when two people have the wisdom to put aside their pride, to be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and quicker still to seek forgiveness. Humility is a choice, not a temperament.

    My husband and I have worked hard to instill in our children that intelligence is like beauty or athleticism: they are gifts, not achievements, and what you do with those gifts is what matters.

  14. 115
    Janelle

    Wow.

    I’m not going to lie, I actually googled “How to find an intellectual man” and this is what made its appearance.   Have you ever thought about what the ideal relationship for an intellectual woman even is. First, you’re NOT a woman,   so it’s probably difficult for you to even imagine.   On top of that,   you’re not an intellectual woman whose discredited a number of ways already in this society.   We have to succumb ourselves already to the mediocre aspects of this world just to survive,   and now a man is telling us not to date “up.” Sorry,   but I’m bored with men who can’t hold an intellectual conversation,   debate or stimulate my mind. I require that for a meaningful   relationship. Anything else would leave me unsatisfied. And, to generalize intellectual men this way is unnerving.   This advice is horrible  

     

     

    And the marginalization of intellectuals and oppression of the female   never ceases. Smh.

    1. 115.1
      Joek

      Sorry, your grammar and syntax belie your claim of “intellectual”. Yes, I’m criticising that.

       

      Also, I’d recommend reading mor of Evan’s work, perspective, and history before condeming him. Again, your criticism before understanding him makes me question your “intellectualism”.

       

      Oh, and the victim card is overplayed.

      SMH

      1. 115.1.1
        Janelle

        I’m telling the world what I feel like as an intellectual woman. If you’re going to criticize my grammar and word choices,   please back up your argument by stating specifically what makes my grammar and syntax unacceptable.   Otherwise, your point is not valid nor accepted. I feel that this advice benefits the man of the relationship. I’m not discrediting him, just this article. I’m fully entitled to my opinion.

    2. 115.2
      Russell

      There is nothing wrong with wanting a man who can hold an intellectual conversations, but the problem is that women are earning degrees and post graduate degrees at a much higher rate than men.   Overall, bachelors and post graduate degrees combined, women earn about 140 degrees for every 100 degrees earned by men.

      The good news is that being able to have an intellectual discussion has zero to do with a college degree.   It has more to do with curiosity, and a desire to learn new things.   That’s part of it anyway.   A guy who likes to watch educational TV like Discovery Channel, History International, etc., and then go online and learn more about that stuff, can have very intellectual discussions.   Same for somebody who likes to keep up on the news.   I have met men who did not have a degree, but enjoyed having intellectual discussions, and were quite intelligent, while I have also met men I went to college with who couldn’t hold a conversation if it had handles on it.

       

      If “dating up” is the real goal, then we are back to the fact that there are far more women earning degrees than men, and the men who do have degrees don’t always prefer a woman with a degree.   For most men, with or without a degree, the priority is a combination of looks that please his eyes, along with a personality that makes him want to be around her.   Education comes in as   lower priority somewhere down the priority list.

       

      Most men, even uneducated men have things they are very passionate about, and they tend to know quite a lot about those things.   Many men don’t care to talk to women, because women only want to talk about women things.   Often, the last things they want to talk about are things that he is actually passionate about.   I am not faulting men or women in this, but you can’t blame a man for not being into conversation when it always has to be about things that only she is interested in.

      Maybe he is passionate about cars, or sports, or hunting/fishing, or the news/politics, or history…especially military history, or maybe he is passionate about guns, and loves to target shoot.   I know some women who know more about guns than most men because they chose to become passionate about one of her man’s passions.   Of course in the beginning it takes effort because it is all new.   But before long, she knows a lot, and the more she knows, the more she likes it.

      If you aren’t willing to do that, isn’t it kind of selfish to expect him to be interested in the things you are interested in?   Like it or not, men and women often have different interests.   If you need to be able to have discussions with him about things you are interested in, you might start out talking to him about things he is interested in.

      1. 115.2.1
        jules p

        thank you Russell. She just doesn’t get it. I mean women are only ever interested in women’s stuff. She should learn something about men’s stuff like politics, history, world affairs, etc. She may have a hard time with the learning curve on these topics as a woman, but it will be worth her time in the end I n attracting a quality man who takes her with him to go fishing and shooting.

  15. 116
    Luigi

    This is the most biased post I’ve ever seen in my whole existence. The only real evidence to back up your claims is your own personal experiences, and it’s safe to say that it is not enough to withstand your beliefs and lifestyle. If I understand correctly, you’re asking your feminine followers to date the dumbass in the black who can’t hold up to himself, and when they get thrown into a political or philosophical debate, they end up looking like the idiot in the room. What a crappy article this is. You are imposing your own views on men to a broad audience of women who will most likely take that advice because they are filled with ignorance.

    1. 116.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “If I understand correctly, you’re asking your feminine followers to date the dumbass in the black who can’t hold up to himself, and when they get thrown into a political or philosophical debate, they end up looking like the idiot in the room.”

      Evidently, you don’t understand correctly. And I’m certainly not going to take the time to make sure you do. Best of luck.

      1. 116.1.1
        Luigi

        No, I understood you quite clearly; you’re suggesting dating someone who is under your level of intelligence because you yourself are incapable of handling such a person. That is the most ignorant thought I have ever stumbled upon.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          No, you are putting words in my mouth that I’ve never said anywhere in 8 years of my blog. It’s impossible to defend myself against things I haven’t said, so I’m not going to begin to try. Good night and, please refrain from insulting me on my own blog. It’s not very nice. Thank you.

  16. 117
    Luigi

    Of course you didn’t say those words directly; you implemented them in your writing and overall message. I am not offending you; I am criticizing your writing and your ideas. What is the purpose of writing a blog if you cannot accept criticism? Your theory of two personalities clashing together is only one of opinion, and I am directly stating why I disagree with everything you wrote without being hostile.

    1. 117.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “You’re suggesting dating someone who is under your level of intelligence because you yourself are incapable of handling such a person. That is the most ignorant thought I have ever stumbled upon.”

      You put words in my mouth that I didn’t say, told me that I was incapable of handling intelligent people, and told me that this was ignorant. If this is not hostile, I should break out my dictionary.

      Anyway, I’m going to bed. You should, too. No reason for you to keep reading such an ignorant man’s blog. Goodbye and good luck.

  17. 118
    MonisENTJ

    Could you explain me why did you want to find a women that was smarter than you?

  18. 119
    Fletcher

    I love how intelligence alone was the only segregating factor used to determine the exact personality of a part of the human population.   Did you know 100% of smart people have pet lions and will punch you in the face if you disagree with evolution? Its a fact, I met someone before that seemed smart and he actually had his lion punch me in the face, so all smart people are like that.   You should do one on what its like to date white or black people.

     

  19. 120
    Lali

    This article is hilarious!!!! Evan equates analytical intelligence with “negative” qualities which some highly intelligent people might have or not…and he also assumes that qualities that unattractive to him, are unattractive to others as well because people who have such qualities make “poor partners”. Well, in my case, I’m way happier with a highly intelligent, moody, workaholic than with a dumb,   sensitive and “supportive” guy 🙂

    Nevertheless,  I think his message is: if you want to find a spouse you have to know yourself and find someone who balances your “negative” qualities and be flexible about your choices.   So, with that thought in mind, if you want to get married, it doesn’t matter who you marry, what matters is what the two of you do to accommodate to each other’s flaws….

    1. 120.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’ve created a false dichotomy: the highly intelligent guy vs the dumb guy. The fact is that most people are in between. So I’m not asking you to settle on someone you don’t respect intellectually; I’m asking you not to overvalue intelligence…and then complain that he’s too selfish, moody, stubborn and unavailable for you.

      1. 120.1.1
        Lali

        LOL!!!!   I’m NOT complaining 🙂   I’m happy with my extremely stubborn, moody,   absent minded   4.0   from Yale law school alumnus… We always have smart discussions and neither of us is a ‘yes” person so we discuss each   disagreement   cleverly.

        To give you credit, my smart friends who have married guys who are less smart than they are, married ten years earlier than I did.   They have husbands who cook dinner almost every night and say YES to almost every decision my female friends need to make. Does it work for them?  Yes, they are happy being the HEAD of the household 🙂   Not for me!

        I love having  two perspectives on one issue. Having a smarter   partner is like having a check and balance for   life.   For example, when opening a savings account,   a guy who is less smart agrees to whatever interest rate the wife thinks is good   but a smarter man questions the choice, grills on details, and helps by   researching to see if there is a better product for    family savings.   And having that   “check and balance”   makes a difference! Keeps me happier than having a man who will say : “Yes honey, excellent choice!” .

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