Do You Have Intellectual Chemistry? 3 Signs You & Your Partner Are So Compatible
We can all probably think back on a date where the conversation felt like non-stop fireworks. Finishing each other's sentences and discovering you're interested in similar things, or even having your ideas and statements playfully challenged can be an exhilarating experience. That's why intellectual chemistry can feel like such a powerful element that brings the perfect amount of snap, crackle, and pop to a relationship. So, do you have intellectual chemistry with your partner? And if not, is that bad? Well, I spoke to NYC relationship expert Susan Winter to find out how to know if it's there, and what it means if it's not.
According to Winter, it's important to note that not being an intellectual match doesn't mean you aren't compatible in other ways that outweigh intellect. "You don't need to be an exact intellectual match," Winter tells Elite Daily. "Though it's fabulous when it happens, it's not always necessary. They do need to be close enough to you intellectually that they're not lagging behind or holding you back."
Now that we know it doesn't have to be a deal breaker if you're a little mismatched, here are the three main signs you and your SO are vibing intellectually.
1. It feels like you always have something to talk about.
According to Winter, a surefire sign that you're on the same page intellectually is that you regularly have stimulating conversations. "No matter what the topic, you and your SO seem to flow," explains Winter. "There's an innate sense of ease and intellectual dimension. You find you no longer have to keep your conversation harnessed to specific subjects."
If the conversation feels stagnant or forced, then this could mean that you're not connecting intellectually, but fortunately, this can be improved. "Intellectual chemistry can be improved if both partners have a keen interest in the same topic or area of discipline," says Winter.
2. Your partner is your intellectual peer.
It's not often that two people have the exact same body of knowledge, and Winter notes that this isn't necessarily important in a relationship. "Your partner doesn't need to know what you know," says Winter. Sometimes, teaching each other new things and learning can be a really fun part of an engaging dynamic. That said, having to explain things that feel like common knowledge to you might not work for everyone.
"It's a huge relief not to define a word you've just used in a sentence," explains Winter. "[When intellectual chemistry is there] they don't need a tip sheet to follow along when you speak. You don't need to edit yourself, or simplify your language and concepts."
3. You feel energized after speaking to your partner.
If you notice you often feel a boost of energy after talking with your partner, Winter says this is a great sign that your minds complement each other. "Your conversations are enlightening and stimulating," says Winter. "It's exciting to be intellectually challenged while having fun."
Just think about your close friends — there's something so unbelievably satisfying about sparring with your besties who just get it. Even though you might not have the same opinion on everything, you find their ideas fascinating and they feel the same way. If you're starting to worry that you and your partner are far from having intellectual chemistry, then this could actually be totally OK, as long as you're not bothered by it.
"It's possible to sustain a relationship with someone who's not your 'mental match,'" says Winter. "Not all partners are intellectual equals. This is where we need to decide which qualities we most value in a mate. It's the overall blending of those qualities that determine our happiness and partnership sustainability."
In the end, if you've decided that there are more important qualities to have in a partner, and your SO checks those boxes for you, then there's no need to panic. Everyone has different needs and priorities in a relationship. The most important thing is to listen to your gut. If you're both happy with your relationship, then that's all that matters.