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3 Reasons Why Love and Intelligence Often Go Together

Love is a matter of the mind, not just the heart.

Key points

  • Open, effective communication, more likely when the bond has a strong intellectual component, can resolve relationship problems.
  • Wisdom can present differently in men and women because of cultural and societal reasons.
  • A bond steeped in intellectual humility can ensure that both partners in the relationship feel seen and heard.
Source: Christin Hume/Unsplash
Source: Christin Hume/Unsplash

We all have a personalized list of qualities that we seek in an ideal partner—a list that seems to get longer and more specific with each passing year. These cover everything from a sense of humor to hygiene to political values, and even pet-parenting skills.

There is one quality—more specifically, a compatibility metric—that can help us slash our checklist considerably. An intelligent partner with whom you can form an intellectual connection can be a boon when it comes to the quality of your relationship.

Mental health research gives us three reasons why finding an emotionally and cognitively intelligent partner might be the missing piece to our relationship puzzle.

1. They are skilled communicators.

Couples’ therapists will be the first to tell you that most relationship problems stem from a communication breakdown. This means that relationship problems can often be resolved through open and effective communication—and this is more likely to occur in a bond with a strong intellectual component.

Finding an intellectual equal ensures that all cards are on the table and that misunderstandings are fewer and farther between. This is probably why, according to research, intellectual connections tend to last longer, and qualities like physical attractiveness are more relevant for both men and women for short-term relationships.

Relationship longevity isn’t just a result of effective conflict resolution; intellectually stimulating conversations also play a role. Two people who can keep up with each other emotionally and intellectually can turn even the most mundane chat into a satisfying and expansive experience.

2. They complement your intelligence.

Different life experiences lead to distinct intellectual strengths and ways of thinking. Research published in Frontiers in Psychology has shown that wisdom, a quality associated closely with mental prowess, can present differently in men and women due to cultural and societal reasons.

While you may bring the strengths of decisiveness and practicality to the table in your relationship, your partner may show an incredible capacity for empathy, compassion, and other prosocial forms of wisdom.

This could push your collective capacity for growth farther than you could ever take it alone. Being exposed to distinct but complementary worldviews makes life exciting and enriching.

3. They are always open to learning.

Any intellectual match worth its salt has an appetite for change. Perhaps the truest test of an "intelligent" person is how well they understand the limits of their intelligence, according to research published in Personality and Individual Differences. A healthy long-term relationship is usually built on a foundation of intellectual humility—i.e., the flexibility to change your mind about things and discern when you should.

A partner that is cognitively flexible, open to counter-opinions, averse to binary thinking, and genuinely open to the possibility of being wrong shows intellectual humility. A bond steeped in intellectual humility can ensure that both partners in the relationship feel seen and heard.


Finding or being an intelligent partner is not about having a high IQ or multiple degrees. In most cases, it is about developing your character and approaching your relationships with genuine curiosity and empathy.

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