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Intellectual Compatibility in a Relationship

by Jill Avery-Stoss

People are capable of connecting on a number of levels and on any combination of them, according to therapist Steve Sisgold in his article for Psychology Today titled "How Compatible are You Two?" Intellectual compatibility, in particular, refers to the harmonious sharing of thoughts, ideas and opinions. People in a given relationship aren't required to have matching or even similar IQs in order to be intellectually compatible. Their intellects must simply complement one another.

Different Types of Intelligence

There exists a variety of shades of intellect. Some people have affinities for musical or literary arts, for instance, while others might be intrigued by politics or economics. Many people simply enjoy learning, while critiquing and debating newly processed information. For two people to be compatible intellectually, they need not always share the same interests. They may feel a connection in the general enjoyment of learning or experiencing abstract ideas and concepts.

Willingness to Give and Take

Compatibility is encouraged by the willingness of partners to both teach and learn from one another. You may not especially enjoy modern art, but might find pleasure in visiting new exhibits with your partner, who is passionate about it. Conversely, you might look forward to taking this partner to a film festival. It is an opportunity to share something meaningful to you with someone you love. When either or both parties in a relationship are rigid in terms of what they consider intellectually stimulating, the relationship will likely be less rewarding.

Dissimilar Intellectual Interests

A relationship is not necessarily doomed if participants lack any intellectual connection. If you and your partner will not or cannot bond at this level, you may find that the relationship is still fulfilling on all others. If this is the case, each of you can seek intellectual companionship via friends or family members. If your relationship is also relatively devoid of emotional, spiritual, physical and sexual bonding, you and your partner may want to reevaluate. Similarly, if either of you is unable to reconcile the absence of an intellectual connection with the other, you may not be able to manage a healthy relationship.

Fundamentals of Intellect

Just as you don't need high or matching IQs to connect intellectually with your partner, adequate compatibility does not require that you constantly exercise one another's brains. Some of the main components of intellect include the ability to communicate -- about anything -- openly, honestly and respectfully, as well as the sharing of a common worldview or philosophical approach to life. These qualities in particular contribute most to intellectual compatibility, according to the Intimate Couple, an online resource dedicated to cultivating intimacy and passion in marriages.

About the Author

Jill Avery-Stoss is a graduate of Penn State University and a writer and editor based in northeast Pennsylvania. Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.

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