You argue a lot about small things

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Plenty of couples argue about little details in a playful way. Things like what to eat and what to watch can cause entertaining spouts of banter between you two. However, if these arguments are causing actual emotional tension for one of you, perhaps you’re operating on different levels of emotional intelligence. It takes humility and comfort to take these small spats for what they are.

You disagree on big life choices

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The larger, relationship-defining moments in life are always difficult to navigate. It could be moving house, or anything that shakes up a couple’s day-to-day operations. Your partner may not be as serious a planner as you, avoiding long-term responsibilities. This is normal, of course, but if it mismatches with your plan-driven approach, it could be your focus on different aspects of intelligence.

You struggle to make conversation

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This will show itself early on in the relationship, after the initial ‘tell me about yourself’ questions have run out. If from there one partner’s curiosity is satisfied or they aren’t interested in learning more about the other, it’s likely the relationship won’t last much longer. A person’s curiosity is a good sign of intelligence and interest, and something they look for in partners.

You are more sexually adventurous than your partner

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While IQ is a heavily flawed measurement of anything meaningful (with results changing based on the time, whether or not a person ate that day, how much sleep they had etc.), a broad trend suggests that a higher IQ is linked to a higher sexual libido. If even Madagascan vanilla isn’t enough for you, it might be time to experiment with some spice.

Your partner is a picky eater


Picky eaters can be a little infuriating for some people, who see the stubborn behavior as childish and immature. Many people’s aversions come from negative past experience, which is an understandable response, and nobody should be force-feeding them things they genuinely dislike. However, as intelligent people tend to be more curious and open-minded, this can cause a clash if there isn’t some compromise.

Your partner is uncomfortable with silence

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Even married couples require alone time. Being able to reconnect with your thoughts, assess how things are going and how you feel about them is essential to maintaining yourself. Intelligent people are often introverted; even if they maintain a thriving social life, they value time alone with their thoughts. A partner who is uncomfortable sitting in silence might find it difficult to adjust.

Your partner doesn’t like trying new things

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While routines can be comforting and are often essential, people with a higher intelligence are naturally more curious, wanting to go to new places and try new things, as the repetition of life starts to feel stagnant. Your partner may well enjoy the activities, but if it doesn’t scratch that same itch for them, they may burn out trying to keep up.

You don’t mind being single

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Research trends suggest that smarter individuals often struggle finding partners. However, it has also been shown that they are more comfortable with single life in the first place, being self-aware enough to know that relationships require a lot of effort to maintain and may end unpredictably. Understanding that you are not always in the right place to start a relationship is a sign of intelligence.

Your partner struggles with your mental health

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A Study from Scientific America found that intelligence is positively correlated with diagnosed mental illnesses. Since a key sign of intelligence is understanding your emotions and working to better them, smarter people are more likely to get help for their symptoms. This understandably puts stress on the partner, who has to empathize and accept that sometimes they will be unable to fix issues for you.

Your compatibility changes

Compatibility in a relationship is something that becomes more obvious as you spend more time around each other. Partners who don’t mind altering their patterns and routines as time goes on demonstrate a willingness to adapt for the health of the relationship overall. This shows self-awareness and an ability to think outside of themselves.

Your partner loses their temper easily


Emotional intelligence is linked to better emotional regulation, meaning smarter people often control their spikes in feelings with more rationality. If your partner frequently loses their temper or acts impulsively to deal with their feelings, it’s likely they deal with emotional regulation issues. These can be helped with patience and the right support.

Your partner has cheated in the past


The exact number of people who have cheated on a partner is hard to measure, since it’s something many would feel uncomfortable admitting. A 2015 study by YouGovAmerica found that one in five of those surveyed admitted to being unfaithful. Cheating doesn’t make a person awful or irredeemable, but it does suggest a lack of the emotional intelligence needed to avoid hurting somebody.

You often have to explain things

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If your intelligence lies in specific fields that aren’t of much interest to your partner, it could get exhausting for both of you that conversations keep having to pause for a lesson. Developing a high emotional intelligence to go along with this can help solve the problem, as you learn how each other acts and navigate conversation stumbles easier.

You don’t think of your partner as a friend


Many people enter relationships with a narrow idea of what role a partner should fill, regardless of their intelligence. These don’t tend to last, as high emotional intelligence is the key to strong and long-lasting love. If you can’t connect with your partner on a deep enough level to consider them a good friend, things likely won’t last long.

They don’t enjoy small talk

Small talk is often overlooked as part of a healthy relationship. In everyday life, it does get excruciating having to form an opinion on popular events that doesn’t invoke enough of a reaction to continue the interaction longer than necessary. With an intellectually similar partner, however, small talk provides an opportunity for stimulating and fun conversation.

You don’t feel yourself growing

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Relationships between compatible, intelligent people, will provide plenty of opportunities for mutual growth. You will learn a lot about both yourself and your partner as you tackle and overcome challenges together. If you feel as though after a while neither of you have been able to learn or grow, this could be a sign you focus on different aspects of intelligence.

They struggle with boundaries

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People with high emotional intelligence are often aware of who they are and what they need, meaning they will be able to set boundaries and have the fortitude to stick to them. A less intelligent partner is more likely to break these boundaries, even if they’re things you have openly discussed and mutually agreed on.

Your partner has had a string of short relationships

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Dating culture has changed quite dramatically thanks to the popularity and expedience of dating apps. While a flat number of relationships, or a ‘body count’ has nothing to do with a person’s worth or intelligence, it could suggest that they favor superficial partnerships, or that they are unwilling to change to keep them going.

You feel misunderstood by your partner

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It can be frustrating trying to communicate complex feelings at the best of times, even more so when you have to figure out how best to portray them in a way your partner understands. They haven’t done anything wrong in this situation, but the stress and anxiety of being with someone who can’t understand the world through your eyes can cause a slow build-up of resentment.

You avoid confrontation with them

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It may sound counter-intuitive given how communication skills are tied to intellect, but research has shown that intelligent partners often avoid pressing conflicts in a relationship. This often comes from a place of overthinking and self-preservation, hoping the issue will just go away if ignored. Avoidance is considered the least productive form of conflict management.

You have issues with attachment

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While emotionally intelligent people tend to be comfortable on their own, there seems to be an inverse effect for ‘traditional’ intelligence. A study on Mensa members showed that people with a higher IQ tend to have emotional dependency issues, including a fear of abandonment and anxieties surrounding intimacy.

Your partner doesn’t consider your input

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A key part of developmental growth is learning to work in a group setting, and realizing that everybody has their own thoughts and ideas worthy of consideration. Intelligent people tend to display more empathy and are willing to work together to solve problems, whereas stubborn and self-driven people try to do so themselves, often with worse results.

Your partner can’t judge tone

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As self-monitoring and social adaptability are signs of high emotional intelligence, someone on a lower level might not be as aware of their audience or surrounding. This can lead to jokes that don’t quite land and upset people, or them misjudging the tone of conversation. This is by no means a deal breaker, as emotional intelligence is achievable through learning.

Your partner assumes things a lot

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Perhaps they make assumptions about your relationship, your own behavior, that of complete strangers, or some combination thereof. In any case, making judgmental guesses based on minimal evidence is a trait often associated with lower intelligence, as it implies a lack of curiosity to learn more about the situation. It also ignores that initial observations are almost always incorrect in some way.

They struggle to admit being wrong

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People who are less secure with their intellect will often double down on something when they are challenged, as they fear that to admit fault would be embarrassing. It takes self-awareness and empathy to admit wrongdoing and understand that, in most cases, a simple apology would be fine.

They have never lived by themselves

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Most women and many men above a certain age have either lived by themselves or learned the skills required to be independent while living at home. Without having had the responsibility of keeping a house clean, doing laundry, cooking their own food and providing their own entertainment, your partner likely lacks the survival intelligence many people look for.

Your partner is bigoted

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This is a fairly obvious point, but many people overlook ignorant, bigoted behaviors and won’t mention anything, even if it bothers them. Bigotry doesn’t have to destroy the relationship. However, if your partner reacts negatively to you pointing it out in private, it suggests they do not take your concerns seriously, which is a sign of low emotional intelligence and a lack of respect.

They won’t give you space to think during an argument

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Disagreements are inevitable in any relationship, and most of the time they can be solved with an honest and caring conversation. When things escalate into a full-on argument, it’s easy to lose control of your emotions. An intelligent couple would agree to take a break to gather their thoughts, allowing time to cool off and come back to the conversation with a more reasonable attitude.

They never surprise you

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While not essential to a functioning relationship, small loving gestures here and there are greatly appreciated by nearly everyone. Such gestures are also considered to be a sign of relationship intelligence, as it shows you think about your partner and their feelings when they aren’t with you. A lack of surprises isn’t a bad thing, but could indicate they think less about your future together.

They talk more than they listen

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Some people are naturally more chatty than others, which has no inherent bearing on any kind of intelligence. Talking at somebody and talking with somebody are two completely different things, though. Conversations within a relationship require listening and understanding what the other person expresses, which is a skill that requires intellectual dexterity.

They don’t understand your ‘love languages’

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While the idea of love languages seems a bit woo to many people, the concept is built around solid psychological principles. In short, love languages are how people like to show and receive affection: some prefer giving gifts, physical touch, or words of affirmation. Part of an intelligent relationship involves picking up on these traits and finding a balance with your own.

You wish they were smarter

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While this is somewhat on the nose, conversation can become strained between couples operating at different levels of intelligence. A good sign you are too intelligent for them is simply wishing that they were smarter. It’s not unnatural to want your partner to grow, but if it means that much to you, it probably means you aren’t happy with where things are.

You don’t want to talk to them about certain things

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There are several reasons why somebody would want to avoid a topic of conversation. It could be out of trauma, for health reasons, or simply an aversion to the subject. If your partner seems to bring such things up anyway, it could be that they lack the emotional intelligence to understand you. Worse yet, it might indicate they do understand but ignore your concerns anyway.

They don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable around you

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If you are able to put your ego aside and recognize that vulnerability is not a weakness, this shows an inherent trust and understanding in the bond you share with your partner. Not everybody is comfortable showing raw emotion, but a relationship requires an equal investment in one another’s happiness and well-being, which is unlikely to happen when one won’t let their guard down.

You apologize more than them

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Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is a powerful but overlooked sign of emotional awareness. It demonstrates you are capable of introspection and empathy, while in an already uncomfortable situation. If your partner rarely apologizes for mistakes, or instead doubles down and raises their voice when angry, it shows they lack the ability to think outside of themselves while emotional.

You misjudge one another’s intelligence

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A study from Poland found that on average, people were likely to overestimate their own IQ score by around 30 points, and their partner’s by around 37. The test subjects were all couples that had been together been together for over six years, and both partners were found to have almost matching IQ scores. This implies that similar intellects can result in longer-lasting relationships.

Your partner struggles to socialize

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Many people struggle to maintain friendships as they lead busy lives and have a lot of responsibilities that get in the way. However, if your partner has difficulty making and keeping friends due to anxieties or insecurities, they likely have lower social intelligence than you. This can be a good opportunity for them, to have a partner who can help them develop this skill.

You like to be intellectually challenged

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Some people refill their social batteries with debate and stimulating conversation, which is appropriate and engaging in the right circumstances. If that is something you also seek in a romantic partner, it is probably essential to keep you engaged with the relationship. It can also be frustrating to a partner who would rather change the topic.

You’re not engaged by their interests

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Relationships can work regardless of a perceived intelligence gap when there is a true appreciation for one another’s interests. Intelligence often shows itself best when we talk about things we love, when it becomes apparent that you channel your enthusiasm and energy into, say, a hobby or TV show. You may feel your partner is too intelligent if you simply dislike their interests.