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. 141

    Actually no, smart men do like smart women, at least if the wives of the men at Mensa meetings are anything to go by. At that level of intelligence people aren’t moody, difficult etc, it’s a stereotype, of anything they’re overly empathetic and hyperaware of peoples feelings to the point of being afraid of offending people. Psudeo intellectuals on the other hand…

  2. 142

    Did you guys even read the article? Or just the title? I’ve browsed through the comments here 90% fall into one of two categories:

    a) Women asserting they won’t date dumbasses and they would rather be alone forever.

    b) Men lamenting mean old Evan picking on intelligent dudes.

    Evan never said date dummies! People have all different kinds of intelligence, and if you listen to people you can figure out what type they are. Often I think people balance better with an intelligence type that’s not your own.

    I feel like my social intelligence is high. My bf has a high observational and creative intelligence. We balance each other really well 🙂  Plus,  both of us are high in emotional intelligence, and I think that helps a lot too.


    1. 142.1
      Karl R


      I think you’ve just expressed the frustration  Evan constantly feels.

  3. 143

    Great article, but there is a major flaw with your argument that fundamentally invalidates  it — You associate intelligence with lack of agreeableness, and that that is simply not true. At least, not to a significant degree that one can use the word “intelligence” to accompany both. Out of the big five personality factors, agreeableness is one that is least (not) associated with intelligence. “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.” — When it’s only  a few intelligent people, who are not significantly  “opinionated and strong-willed”, it’s quite a different story. Might I also remind you that people who  are below the 50 percentile can be just as, if not more, opinionated. Conversing with such people is often  more frustrating than with someone at the 80th percentile, who is able to make coherent and logical arguments to backup  their opinions. I’m not sure about yourself, but I would definitely date the latter.

  4. 144

    Goodness, you have a very simplistic view of yourself and others. Lots of generalizations and missed opportunities for more complex understanding of human behavior (not to mention, self-awareness).   As just one example, you lump qualities together that shouldn’t be, ie, all smart men are driven and know their “worth.” Worth to who? In what context?   All of them driven? Hardly.   I didn’t read the comments, but I think you demonstrate in your article that there are many different types of intelligence, so when people speak of this, they need to start by defining what intelligence or being intellectual means to them.   Male or female, we are not all on the same page when speaking about this. Sorry, but I’m inclined to think your article is much more about self-worth and the stories people tell themselves to get it than it is about intellectual or smart people.

  5. 145

    Your article assumes that the woman is of average intelligence or slightly higher.

    Where as most women attracted to geniuses would most likely be above average. And any woman who has a genius level iq would have a harder time relating to men not of genius lever iq as you suggested. Maybe you should try and be little more specific who your audience is next time.

  6. 146

    But according to you, your wife has a man who is smarter than her. So it seems like a bit of a contradiction.

  7. 147
    Paul Lashomb

    “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.”

    But isn’t this a contradiction? If it’s something that’s “not” a choice, then how do you choose to “make some adjustments?”

    Also, some of the descriptions that you use for males that are highly logical aren’t true of all rational thinking males. Some will be cold and self-centered. Others, though, might be cold and insecure. It’s really a mix. For instance, as a PhD student in Physics, I’ve encountered many different very, VERY smart individuals. However, very few of them were ever self-centered. The ones that were, were usually extremely intelligent. The rest, however, myself included, were all quite insecure. Getting PhD’s in Physics, one of the harder degrees to obtain of any field, and, yet, many of us are insecure. I’ve seen a great variety in personalities and character traits among my peers. Some of them are very kind-hearted, some of them thoughtful, etc. So, while the that is intelligent will likely be more logical than “feelings”, he won’t necessarily be  narcissistic, difficult, self-obsessed, coldly logical man. Even then, if he is “coldly logical”, for instance, teach him how to “feel.” That’s part of what makes relationships important is that we are able to give the good parts of ourselves to each other. Give the good parts of yourself to the other person who is lacking them. That’s how you grow. If you’re not growing, I feel like you’re missing out on one of the more important parts of a relationship.

    1. 147.1

      I think also a distinction should be made when the phrase “intelligent” is used. I think why everyone is getting confused or mixed responses is because intelligent means something very different to everyone. In fact, “genius” is kind of overly used, now, as well. Someone who is a “genius” according to their IQ make up a VERY small portion of the population. You’re looking at less than 1% of the population. So, to find someone that’s attractive, wants kids, etc. AND is a genius is a pointless endeavor. I’ve known some undergraduate students that were more intelligent than some graduate students that I know. Also, it depends on what field you’re in if you want to get into which individual will have a higher IQ. So, for instance, if you want someone really smart, then go for someone in Engineering or Physics that’s getting their doctorate or masters. Those are very intelligent individuals. However, they’re not “geniuses” still. There may be one or two of them in those places every once in a while, but they’re still not “geniuses.” I think this is important because many of the physicists that I’ve encountered are in very good relationships and many are married. It’s totally possible. However, it is true that there are also true that the more intelligent the person is the higher the likelihood that they’ll have difficulty with relationships — or, simply not want them, altogether. If they are actual “geniuses”, then they likely don’t want something as “distracting” as a relationship, to begin with. So, yes, dating an intelligent person might be difficult; however, that’s no reason to give up on them. That’s just silly. You won’t find a guy that will fit all of the items of your “checklist.” However, relationships with intelligent men can still be fulfilling. It’s just that in some areas, it will take work. But this is true of ANY relationship. There will always be some areas where you’ll need to work. If the guy is less intelligent, then that comes with its own set of problems. It just depends on which problems you’re willing to deal with and which areas you are willing to grow in.

    2. 147.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      Not a contradiction at all. Just because you’re attracted to a genius narcissist doesn’t mean you have to date him. There are plenty of women I am attracted to whom I’ve weaned myself off thanks to experience and wisdom. And if I can do it, readers can, too.

      1. 147.2.1

        So, essentially, one should date someone they’re not attracted to?

        1. Callie

          Or not date EVERYONE one is attracted to. Most people have a variety of what they are attracted to and maybe should consider that some options aren’t the healthiest for them and should not pursue them.

          That being said if one is ONLY attracted to genius narcissists, and they constantly find themselves in bad relationships because of it (narcissists are not usually the best and most giving of partners, they also often end up being rather emotionally abusive and can often gaslight their partners – and I’m speaking of all genders here), then I do think they should stop dating for a while and seek some therapy to work on finding other more healthy attraction options.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Not exactly sure what black and white world you live in, Paul.

          If you LOVE steak but your doctor says you will die by continuing to eat it regularly, are you forced to go on a hunger strike? Never enjoy a meal again?

          Of course not.

          You are left with a thousand meals that are not steak. Some taste bad, but the majority of them, with proper seasoning and preparation, actually taste great.

          I’m merely pointing out that if the people you are the MOST attracted to have NEVER turned out to be good partners, perhaps it’s wise to open up to other partners who might not be AS blindingly attractive, but still quite attractive, and, more importantly, have the potential to be compatible. This is a foundational precept of healthy relationships and any person who willfully misinterprets this to suggest that I’m saying to “settle” or date someone unattractive is either obtuse or disingenuous.

          You don’t necessarily marry the HOTTEST PERSON you’ve ever met. You marry an attractive person who’s a great PARTNER.

        3. Paul Lashomb

          What kind of black and white world I live in? Lol That’s how attraction works; you’re either attracted to something or you’re not. If you’re into redheads, for instance, you’re not just going to stop being attracted to redheads just because someone tells you that it’s not a good idea — if they were to come up with one.

          The way that would be more meaningful is, rather than telling people to stop being attracted to what they find attractive — which is just something you can’t really get away from as it’s part of who you are –, that they should at least be aware of problems that can occur and where they should be prepared if they choose to continue going after the type of person they’re attracted to. Nobody is a steak. There’s always going to be something that you’ll have to put up with about someone. Dating “dumb guys” isn’t going to fix that; they’ll just have their own set of problems that women will have to deal with. So, rather than advising them to date men they’re not attracted to and end up with just as many problems as they usually run into — which, once again, will likely cause the relationship to fail again –, they should, instead, be aware of the problems that women who date “smarter men” face and to be prepared to face those issues. Because facing issues that come up is a large bulk of a relationship. If you date someone “dumb”, they’ll be dumb an it will cause problems. Date someone “smarter”, and they could be narcissistic, etc. and it will cause problems. You don’t get away from these problems. Trying to change what you’re attracted to won’t make a difference because you’ll still end up dating people that come with their own set of issues. You can’t ever get around that.

          And I never said you marry the “hottest person”; I simply said that, if you’re attracted to someone or attracted to something about them, then you can’t really fix that; what you can fix, however, is working on yourself or finding a person who is constantly working on improving themselves, as well, and working on these areas that can be a source of tension.

          However, a distinction could also be made between things that you’re “attracted to” and things that you just “want” in another person. As an example, suppose I was attracted to women with red hair. Then that’s just a part of who I am and I can’t change that. However, suppose that I am also looking for someone that knows exactly what I’m thinking. Apart from being an ideal feature, it’s not so much something that I’m “attracted to” so much as it’s just something I want. I wouldn’t find the other person “unattractive” if they couldn’t read my mind. That’s an example of something that I should stop looking for as it’s not only something that I won’t ever find, but I probably wouldn’t actually want, anyways, if I found someone like that. But I’m not changing what I’m attracted to. But being told that I need to stop looking for redheads and date blondes, instead, since redheads can be crazy — pardon the stereotype used to make the point –, then I’d be much better off with a blonde and should stop looking for redheads. Instead, I should look for the redhead if I’m attracted to her, and learn to handle how “crazy” she is and work on myself. Especially if she’s willing to do the same and work on herself to be with me with all of my annoying features. That’s how love works. You don’t run away because it’s hard; you acknowledge the problems and work towards resolving them, just like you would with anyone else.

  8. 148

    Many of us men are very smart to stay single as well with much more money in our pockets too.

  9. 149

    Ignoring the hell there would be to pay if you were to write a post with the genders reversed, maybe consider that it isn’t so much about the fact that the men are intelligent but that the women are opinionated, workaholic, egomaniacs (as you framed it). That just sounds like a person who has A LOT of growing up to do, who is maybe used to expecting to have her cake and eat it too (which is to say, unreasonable and entitled). Forget it: it’ll probably just be easier to dismiss my retort as that of a moody, distant, intelligent man who isn’t deserving of all the love your readers are (if they only grew up and learned to compromise; yeah, reading between the lines, i see what you did there).

  10. 150
    Lee Lee

    I’m more “intellectually” intelligent than my husband and he knows it. AND loves that about me. If I start to bore him with my theory’s he kindly tells me to save it for my forums.

    He is more emotionally intelligent than I am, and is above average intelligence IQ wise.   I’m learning from him, and he learns from me. He hired me to help him with some editing of his business content, and He helps me with empathic listening and social skills.

    Weve both grown tremendously bc we use our strengths as a team, and see our weakness to be dealt with as a team.

    I couldn’t be happier with my choice for a life partner. I spent years chasing the man that had it all- but I couldn’t relax and be myself around them. My husband calls me Kooky and smiles when he says it. I don’t need him to share every interest and get every joke.   I need him to love me for who I am and show up 100% authentically as himself for himself and for our family.

    Ps,   I have friends that I can spin around in my head with for fun.  It’s nice to have multiple outlets!


  11. 151
    Noneya Bizzniss

    I am straight. I have even experimented to know. I would suck a tranny girls dick every single day for a women who could hold an intelligent conversation with me. I can’t find a woman who can hold a real conversation about anything. I don’t even care anymore, I just want kids, and I am really alarmed at the seeming IQ of available partners. It makes me too afraid to want to try.

  12. 152

    Interesting article.

    Different opinions 😐

  13. 153
    Anne Laughton

    Dearest Evan ,

    It’s an interesting article for Americans . You really made some great points . A little about me …I have a 147 iq and I’m a world traveler . I’ve been married twice and men are attracted to me no doubt because I’m attractive and very feminine . They find out later how smart I am and they seem to love it . But I have had both .. average men and brilliant men . The brilliant men are the best providing they are European . For instance , I find German men , Dutch men , Egyptian men to be very smart . American men lack sex appeal in so many areas and I find a lot of them cry baby’s . They have no clue how to even hold a conversation and ask a women out . The older men from the fifties are much more interesting but they are just too old for me . I’ve been single too long and I know it’s because I’m in America . As soon as I go to Europe , I’m on a different play ground . I can’t wait to take my next trip . Men are more educated , romantic and love the idea of commitment. I guess it also goes for European women as well .

  14. 154

    Wow, this article, and this thread, is just overflowing with over-generalizations. No, I’m sorry, not every intelligent man is self-absorbed, short-tempered, and moody (and most intelligent people do not make over-generalizations like that…). It sounds like  the author is confusing geniuses for ibankers or business execs or other *conventionally* successful and ambitious people. Ambition/social success is very different from intelligence, even if some modicum of intelligence is needed for them; career paths like business tend to reward confidence and decisiveness and competitiveness and people skills more than they do brains. Try looking for reflective or thoughtful intelligent types; you might have more luck.

  15. 155

    While the article has good points, there are certain implications that need to be jettisoned. I am not sure if it’s because of sour grapes, but let’s be honest: You will want certain qualities in your partner and it wouldn’t make you selfish, narcissistic or overly picky. These implications are: Attractive women are selfish, crazy drama queens who will cheat. Intelligent people are arrogant assholes who will look down on you. Fit people are show-offs who use you as a trophy. But average ones are always better. If it’s so, many would go to street and pick a random person who is “average” in everything, then they would have hit the jackpot, no? The truth is, you have to have something in common with your partner. If you feel you have to censor yourself constantly to accommodate your partner and make them understand it’s not a good relationship to be in. You need to find different type of partners.

    These “intelligent men” are not aliens from other planets. They have flaws like everyone else but that doesn’t make them incapable of being good partners. (Plus, there are women who show similar characteristics as well, it’s probable that these women would like them just the way they are.) For every intelligent man that’s self-obsessed and narcissistic, there are intelligent men who are tired of being assumed to be those things just because of this trait. Besides, there are plenty of those who have these traits who are not all that brilliant.

    Of course looking for “better-looking, smarter, richer, stronger  and what not”  type will be to one’s detriment, not only from a realistic angle but just as vital self-esteem angle. If you perceive your partner superior to you in every aspect, it’ll alter the balance drastically, you will put him on a pedestal (in case we are talking about women as this article suggests, for men this is also valid) and feel useless. What do you bring to the table anyway? This is a surefire path to disappointment. Looking for someone  similar  in some aspects and  complementing  would be way better.

  16. 156
    Captain Harlock

    While at a repasse after a funeral, I once told a relative that the most probable reason I’m still single (and will always be) is the fact that I don’t date others in my profession (science and academia). I mentioned, as an analogy, how a lot of folks in show biz don’t date or marry other folks in show biz. The most evident reason is that they desire a partner who is not part of that “scene”, if you will. And we know that the culture, scene, or whatever you might want to call it, does breed a lot of dysfunctional personalities, a lot of drama, and a lot of BS that not only carries into the personal life, but also diffuses into the gossipy circles and cliques that are inherent to the scene.

    Academia is no different. When you have all of these very smart and very educated folks together, you tend to get a feel for the culture that one has to conform to actually starting back to when we’re all getting our advanced degrees. This has an effect on how you view the world and how you view others (just like to get up the ladder in showbiz, there may be a lot of things that you are required to do that you may not feel comfortable with). The ivory towers of academia also have their traditions, rituals, brownnosing, and hierarchy, just like Hollyweird. Perhaps a partner who is not a part of that culture or scene is like a respite and a sanctuary.

  17. 157

    This is generalizing. It’s not fair nor accurate to do so.

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