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


“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.


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?


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.

Join our conversation (239 Comments).
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  1. 121

    So does that mean that you, Evan, are advocating that women date less intelligent and assertive men – which, logically, would mean that you are advocating for men to date smarter and more assertive women? Not sure how well that would work, at least for the majority of the population… I seem to remember you writing articles arguing against just that – arguing how women need to be more in touch with their femininity, instead of exhibiting the characteristics THEY find attractive in men (which I 100% agree with! – hence my confusion at this article):  https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/understanding-men/can-a-smart-strong-successful-woman-get-a-smart-strong-successful-man/


    I’ve always been attracted to intelligent, assertive, and ambitious men.  Strong-headed, opinionated, even a bit arrogant men don’t bother me (in fact, I like them) – as long as they’re right.  As I got older, I learned to distinguish who was right and who was delusional – i.e. who truly was intelligent, assertive, and ambitious, and who was just blowing smoke up their own ass. Once I learned how to read and see through people, my dating life got a whole lot easier. Since then, I’ve been in relationships with men who were/are as smart or smarter than I am, and who were more assertive and experienced than I am. Really not that difficult to get that if that’s what you need, and know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. My boyfriend is extremely intelligent, and a lot more knowledgable and experienced than me. I never seem to have a problem dating these kinds of guys, and having successful relationships with them. In fact, as I stated, I had more problems with dating and relationships BEFORE I realized this was the type of guy I needed to go for.

    Also, I’m not following your 2% argument. The IQ bell curve is pretty much the same for women as it is for men. The top 2% of the male IQ population is mirrored by an approximately corresponding  2% of the female IQ population. So a woman with an IQ of 100, who insists she must date a man smarter than she,  would, theoretically, be happy with a man with an IQ of 105, given that his other characteristics are satisfactory to her.

    My point is that it’s not the intelligence, it’s your vibe and your attitude. If you’re going into dating with the attitude of always arguing or pointing out where the other person is wrong, of course you won’t be successful, and this goes for both men and women.

    Also, not all smart people are argumentative smart-asses, and not all argumentative smart-asses are smart.

    I do agree with you that one has to compromise — or, rather, pick one’s battles wisely when it comes to dating. I don’t like using the word compromise when it comes to relationships because it implies that one is somehow settling, which isn’t true.


  2. 122

    You are TOO FUNNY and that is why I read your column…

  3. 123

    Do you consider yourself smarter than your wife? Honest question here.

  4. 124

    This is heartbreaking. The same virtues that are required for a successful relationship with a low intelligence person are the same for high. i think it might be more accurate to say that smart people are hard to be with because they cant do those things easily, rather than they cant at all.

    when you’re smart as hell, and are with a woman who is also smart as hell, you have to practice a little intellectual suicide by accepting them as an “equal but different” party, rather than saying “Im brilliant and stubborn and so is she, so we will never work together”

    Both parties (especially the male) need to realize that when in a relationship, it is from two to one, which means fully embracing something you don’t believe, ALL THE TIME. Yep, I said it. (Cringe now) If this isn’t done in an equitable way however, the other will harbor resentment. I am not suggesting you keep tabs, but if you see signs of shutting down or bad heat, step off and let the other person lead the narrative for awhile. Free and together is better than free and apart, especially if you love that person.

    You’re damning smart people out of having relationships, and we already feel condemned. This is discouraging as hell. :/

  5. 125

    This is so depressing. Tired of dumbing myself down. Guess I can be even more miserable.

  6. 126

    The problem with this advice is we are women, not men so Evan you have simply reverted to doing what men have always done – marrying someone you consider less intelligent than you (and I obviously cannot judge whether that is the case). Don’t think that women will be happy to make the same compromise because the world over women have always preferred more intelligent men and it is absolutely not the case that following a male trait of finding a less intelligent partner will make us happy because ultimately we love you with all your difficult traits. Give me the opinionated, argumentative, difficult man with a brain any day and I’ll love him to death. I’d take that with all the drawbacks any day of the week over someone less intelligent that will be a walkover. What men need in women is NOT what women need in men and never has been.

    1. 126.1
      Karmic Equation

      You’re still operating under the assumption that “educated” = “intelligent”.

      That is not the case.

      Your assumption itself is a case in point. Intelligent people don’t make that assumption.

  7. 127

    Not quite. Yes there are many different types of intelligence but for me uneducated will never be of interest for a multitude of socioeconomic reasons that you and I will never agree on. I definitely do not want in a man what a man wants in a woman. The kind of man who sits around being passive and being permanently agreeable is definitely not the kind of man I like being around. I would much rather a strong intelligent man who stands his ground and can man up when the going gets tough and I think that is a big difference between men and women. I can see how intelligent alpha man and beta woman complement each other, strong woman and beta man less so as I can get that kind of support from my girlfriends. From a man I need intelligence, strength and the ability to stand up for himself and me if needed. Being intelligent and opinionated does not necessarily equate to wanting to have to take on the male role in a relationship. Equality in the workplace is great, in a relationship I don’t want to wear the pants. Not at all.

  8. 128

    Sounds like every since women earned rights to become equal to men in this new age, nothing make sence anymore. You females want to learn and do as men do but get up set when you cant find a man. This is a mans world while a woman is to be a man’s help mate along with bringing life on earth. Im not saying its ok to disrespect a women in anyway at all, but we are not made to be equal to each other. The man runs earth with hard work, protecting it with intelligeing. The woman is sit back relax,   take care of smaller things like the house hold and tending the childern, yet can still enjoy life as men do. A man wants a women for what she is born to be, not for trying to keep up with what men do in the work place or how much she knows. Men and women are forgetting thier roles on earth

  9. 129

    Women arent attracted to intelligence, and thats what this article implies. Its aTOTAL contrivancy. Lets show some maturity and not censor a word for a womens chest.


    Official lyrics @ 00:16
    “Convictionless existence”

    @ 00:16
    “Clandestine glass brightest students”

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    “Confessed all this grade genius salience”

    @ 00:16
    “Try this sandwich weak tits hips”

    Official lyrics @ 00:28
    “Being so gorgeous”

    @ 00:28
    “Banging subconscious”

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    “Pink insult born jealous”

    Official lyrics @ 01:28
    “On mutilation”

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    “IQ your place sunny”

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    “Argue yale blaze silently”

    @ 01:28
    “Our university”

    Women in general arent clever. The only time they score higher on average than men is in a short window 11-14 years old. In all other age ranges they are inferior. Its a biological fact, and its because testosterone potentiate dapominergic metabolism in the frontal lobule cortices. In the modern world and the first, women have a 80% probability of reproducing, and it has basically nothing to do with their accomplishments. They simply dont compete against eachother directly to the same degree men do, period. Its a tournament species. Even in sports that dont require physical strength, for example a game similar to chess called starcraft 2, the participation of women is abyssal, as well as their performance. The reason why is biological, and thats what makes the culture the way it is. They dont have the same drives. They also have more brainspace dedicated to the processing of odor at the expense of others. Developing a child isnt energetically or nutritionally free either, hence why after you control for body mass, they have smaller brains. Saying brain size isnt a factor in intelligence is stupid. Its also what percentile is dedicated to the frontal lobes. But whales and dolphins……. stop, these animals DROWN if they dont switch hemispheres. They literally never sleep. Stop saying/thinking ignorant things because it absolves you the harsh reality that women in general measures of intelligence, are not as smart. Yes, they have advantages, but none that matter in regards to invention, and what makes civilization tick forward. Respect that, and by the way…… “IQ” implies knowledge, which implies know “your place”. I shouldnt find so wishy washy unrealistic vapidity at the expense of facts when looking for it in the search engine. Screw your political correctness, your subliminal fascism. Ive gone all my intellectually fit life experimenting with this concept, intelligence can be attractive. Heres the reality, it isnt, period.

  10. 130

    Hello all,

    While i was reading his article i was laughing on myself, thinking how is that can be possible I’m that type of man who has a INTJ personality type, and the matter is, i have even wrote down exactly the same article on how can a smart guy find the right girl for him and why it’s too difficult to do so …etc

    I’m   struggling to meet just someone who has this issue or just anyone who has got into it, and made it eventually finding his partner or just a close friend, because if you are one of us that means you have really been so selective, choosing your friends

  11. 131
    Sheryl Zettner

    The thing is that I have dated dullards as well, and that is just as painful. Just in a different way.

    I can appreciate the argument to this post though.   Intellectuals are often egomaniacs, although probably not as bad as pseudointellectuals.

  12. 132

    Who says you are smarter than me?

  13. 133

    its the same for guys as well is am also a bit of a intellectual and i like challenging the common held conceptions of the current day and i think the reason we have trouble  with finding someone  is sharp intellect is intimidating to loads of people especailly as we  can see through all the crap someone tries to pull plus a lot of people dont like thinking away from their cultural  conditioned way of doing so. in saying that we are not compatible with a lot of people which reduces the number of potential partners considerably however in saying that we are more likely to find someone unique which in my opinion is worth the wait.  Patience is a  virtue and and one with virtue is a good soul  

    Sorry for the rant just my theory

  14. 134

    first of all…thanks for this insight…but my oh my…I prefer my very own company…I like her…it…my company…my life…and truly learned Not to need a man…or male support – as friends yes … they used to be a time in my formative years but somehow they turned out all like chicken shits…and without spine…well, I more or less had to raise myself…and I respect men…and women alike…and mind – respect my own life…I could hardly care about age…that I might be off the radar…or already unattractive for some guys by far… I could not give a fiddler’s fart! I d rather be alone than in the wrong company – relationship – partnership feeling lonely! Life is too short hoping that a man…or a woman for that matter could make me feel whole and complete…which I am already! And of course, I have been told I am tis or that…and oh, them high standards…indeed…highly sensitive and intelligent…so why again shall I put up with someone that has a difficult time accepting – respecting – loving me for who I am…when I do that already for myself??? When there is someone I would love to share my life – garden – company with is…is when I choose…when I want that…and marriage has to be divine…hardly only based on the physical – the material – the looks…that would get rather stale and boring after a while…truthfully, it is wonderful to be able to communicate…to trust…to enJoy each others company- the Good – the Bad, and the Ugly! It s the bridge between the physical and the spiritual that makes a true relationship…and for that I wait…even if I die in this life-time…since I am hardly afraid of death…because our bodies have all a time limit…but the Spirit will always come back 🙂 So what’s the bloody rush…the desperation…to FIND someone…Go and get lost…to be able to FIND Your Self – to Love and Like Your Self first before allowing the Right One in 🙂

  15. 135

    I would rather be single than bored to tears with someone intellectually inferior to me. Consider how exhausting it is to be the only one that brings any entertainment or excitement to a partnership. Your assertion is woefully arrogant and out-of-touch. It also completely disregards years of evolutionary predilection for a mate capable of providing top-notch genes so their offspring have a fighting chance in this ruthless world. I guess women going to the sperm bank write off all the non-Mensa candidates, oh wait no-I am pretty sure the Harvard MBA sperm has already sprung 50 babies. Give me a break.

  16. 136

    this is funny because I actually just read that intelligent people are happier being single than settling.

  17. 137

    well, that intellectually thing always happens with me! There are plenty of men who are dying to reach me but I ended up finding more intellegent one! I had an experience to be shared that men at my same age are quite immatured than me! Ridiculous thing is that, they think they are smarter than me at a particular poin,when I’ve experienced that a long time ago! And if um quiet at any point,it doesn’t mean I don’t know or have no idea about that! It ended up pathetically with him because of his immaturity and moreover he can’t even maintain a relationship with his daily stuffs! He was totally screwed up and I had this mistake that I put him on that level that he never ever deserved!!!

  18. 138

    I can’t decide if this article is trying to convince women to date down and breed with the stupid or if it’s telling me that I make men miserable. Oh well. If I’m wrong I don’t want to be right. #smartguysarethebest.

  19. 139

    Then I do not want a relatioship. If I can’t have a genius, I   am honestly not interested in anyone else. So yeah, wonderful, I rather stay single than having a boyfriend that I don’t find attractive only because he isn’t that smart.

    1. 139.1

      Not sure if sarcasm or not, but, if not, you definitely do not want a genius. And, to be honest, most geniuses don’t want anyone else, either. If someone is truly a genius according to their IQ, they are very unlikely to be in relationships. To them, relationships are distracting from their work. Also, geniuses tend to be very arrogant, as well. It’s an extreme end of IQ. It’s unwise to date someone who is a complete fool, but it’s just as unwise to date someone who falls on the other end of the spectrum. There are, however, a lot of really intelligent people that don’t actually qualify as “geniuses.” If by “genius” you just mean someone in graduate school or something, then, that’s fine and isn’t that big of a deal. But, if, however, you’re really looking for a real genius, then you’ll likely be disappointed. Both because they’re extremely rare, but also because they’re commonly severely self-centered. But, if that’s what you want, have at it.

  20. 140

    So, am I screwed?

    I’m an intellectual and, I’ve been told, highly intelligent man. I struggle with depression, but I don’t think I’m a drag or a bummer. I meet and date a lot of educated women, but the relationships don’t   last long and I feel like most of my exes never valued me.

    I’m in my mid 20s, I don’t want children, and I am an atheist, if that helps paint a picture.

    Should I stop looking for the kind of women that would want to hear about the fascinating book on anthropology I read last week?

    Who should I date for long-term happiness and a strong relationship ?

    1. 140.1


      I think the idea is not to restrict your search to  only highly intelligent women. Give all women a chance if you’re attracted to them and they’re nice. Because, if you narrow your search to only very intelligent women (as well as those who are okay with no kids and who are either atheists themselves or don’t mind that you are), you’re really limiting your options & you may find you get really frustrated.

      Try to broaden your mind beyond intelligence, and if you do meet a wonderful woman who’s not that interested in anthropology, maybe you can join an anthropology interest group and discuss that topic outside your relationship (for instance).

      When I first started dating after my divorce, I went for men in similar fields to me. After a while I found that wasn’t a great idea, as they were telling me stories I’d heard before, and sometimes our views differed on work and that almost created some competitiveness. So I’ve actually found I get along better with people who work in completely different fields. So then I’m learning something new and we are enriching each other’s lives in different ways. If I want to talk about my area of expertise, I have work, friends etc. What we want in a partner should be different to what we want in a friend. A friend is someone who’s fun to hang out with for short periods of time, a partner is someone we ideally will want to live with day in and day out.

      It’s unlikely that everyday you’ll want to discuss highly intelligent topics with your girlfriend.

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