Differences in Personality, Intelligence and Education in Relationships

Mismatched couples come in many forms that produce varying levels of incompatibility. They include differences in personalities, levels of intelligence and education.

Commonly, people fall in love and ignore these common signs of incompatibility even though they may be visible early in the relationship.

Many years may go by before the extent of the mismatch is recognized.


Compatible personalities are generally essential for an intimate relationship to develop. Aggressive people have difficulty living with passive mates without conflicts occurring. Once the bloom of love has diminished, aggressive spouses may become aggravated by the quieter, passive and often shy or dependent partner. More likely, boredom develops. Often the passive or dependent person wants more tenderness and warmth, especially during sex, than is offered by a more aggressive partner.

Marked differences in personality types are apt to create relationship problems. An introverted and inhibited person clashes with a suspicious and angry spouse.

A fearful and phobic partner has trouble with an outgoing and fearless mate. One who is afraid of getting close to people may be in conflict with a person who reaches out and befriends everyone.


The levels of intelligence can negatively impact a relationship when the woman is decidedly more intelligent than her mate. Some couples can survive this, but eventually, the woman outshines her partner in work, play and in their interaction. The various positive elements in the relationship often compensate for this difference and thus relegate intelligence to a low level of influence.

Many couples can handle a relationship when the woman is less intelligent, though it often backfires when the difference is too great and the woman lacks the capacity to adequately interact. The way a person uses intelligence is often more consequential than the actual intelligence quotients.

The freedom to express warmth, love and deep caring influences a couple far more than knowledge of current events. Reaching deeply into a person’s feelings and sharing intimate and meaningful discussions markedly affects the viability of a loving relationship. Sensitivity, empathy and intuition are powerful forces for true compatibility.


With a large number of women (half of all college students) seeking graduate and post-graduate education, the marked differences in this area have diminished. How this influences marriage is difficult to assess.

Advanced education usually determines knowledge and expertise in certain limited categories. A PhD in chemistry, physics, anthropology and other subjects does not fully indicate the educational breadth a person attains. Being self-educated and a dedicated reader can help many people become highly educated, often more than those with advanced degrees.

At times problems arise when a highly educated person marries a relatively poorly educated person. Their ease of communication may suffer. Thus the intimacy and shared pleasure of conversation may falter and cause rifts in the relationship. By making the pursuit of education and learning life-long, problems in this area will tend to be minimal.

Incompatibility in relationships occurs in many guises and needs to be recognized early before there is an erosion of the intimacy and love that partners share. Ways to diminish and even overcome deficiencies that may arise are available. Learning more about various techniques to modify personality, in addition to psychotherapy, if needed, can remove barriers that may influence compatibility.

Improving education can reduce feelings of inferiority and enhance communication skills. Intelligence is not irrevocably fixed and can be modified through increased creativity and developing areas that strongly interest you or where you believe talent exists. As self-esteem rises a greater desire to improve oneself develops and this can become a winning combination for self-development.

Intelligence comes in many forms and is not necessarily linked to an IQ test. Not hiding from the differences and seeking change and sharing the methods to improve the relationship despite incompatibility can overcome most difficulties that couples face. Do not compare yourself to anyone else, You are a unique person and so is your partner. Find ways to support and assist each other as you work toward change and personal growth.

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