Could you date someone with an educational gap?
Some would say the only reason they attended university is to elevate their social/class status, so why would they then date/marry someone lower than this desired status? Surely, if you tried it just wouldn’t work because your lives will be so different. Education is important.
However, this is probably quite an outdated, elitist way of thinking.
Intelligence isn’t all about formal educational status. In fact, I know from experience at University that formal education does NOT guarantee WISDOM, or good old common sense. In fact, most of the people I am closest to are not university educated. We have a good connection because we understand each other on more important levels than whether we have used Google Scholar or not. Funnily enough, I do believe in mixed education relationships, despite my Russell group dating history.
Advantages of same education dating
Firstly, dating someone with the same educational background as us is just more likely to happen. This is due to how our education determines the settings we find ourselves in.
The tick box culture that has grown through online dating, also encourages us to choose those similar to us. Come on, it is unlikely that we are going to skip our degrees in a tick box . We didn’t put ourselves in all that debt for nothing!
You could argue “love is blind” in some form exists, therefore someone ticking our boxes doesn’t matter. Psychologists agree that “love is blind” exists, but after three months of a relationship we can see again. Therefore, finding someone dis-similar to us through “Love blindness” is unlikely to work out in the long term.
Due to evolution, we use assortative mating, which is a systematic pattern to choose partners who are similar to us. If you don’t want to be called a snob, blame evolution. A university of Maine study found that no matter how different a woman was to a man, if he found her attractive, he was twice as likely to find something about her that was like him.
Finding someone similar to us feels more comfortable and natural. Undeniably, education is a big part of who we are. It’s okay if this just feels more right for you…
It’s okay to have an education preference… to an extent.
During my time researching this topic, I found that when I proposed the question, “Would you date someone without a degree?” to women with degrees, the common automatic response was one of defence. The defence was as if I was accusing them of a form of snobbery. The responses also made me feel like I was accused of being a bigot myself for even considering the question. I believe these responses were filled with nerves. They were nervous because they may be judged if they would prefer to be with someone with similar formal education, especially as a member of the gender who throughout history has had to fight for access to formal education.
I don’t think that there is anything wrong with preferring to be with someone with a similar educational background. This way, you are more likely to want the same things in life and be going in the same direction. There is nothing prejudiced about believing this is just more convenient/realistic for you.
It is also okay to have a common preference for a certain trait. Some people are more attracted to men with prominent muscles, while others love them lanky. (P.S. I’m neither, so hopefully there is someone long term for me.)
There are people who are more attracted to those who think intellectually the same as them. This intellectual compatibility is more likely to happen with someone who has a similar educational background as you. The only way this preference could be classed as bigotry is if you completely ruled out chances with anyone without a degree. There is nothing wrong with understanding that you just usually find yourself more drawn to those with a specific trait/background. Just accept that it is not impossible for you to fall in love with someone different.
Disadvantages of same education dating
Despite finding ourselves surrounded by people with similar educational backgrounds, some of us could be less likely to find love this way. If heterosexual women voluntarily chose to only date in this way, they’d be putting themselves at a disadvantage. In today’s climate, women make up a higher percentage of graduates, 11.9% more. Thus, heterosexual female graduates would be lowering their chances of finding a match, if they ruled out men without a degree.
Studies have found that men who are in relationships with women who are more educated than they are, are happier. Which contradicts the idea that a man feels emasculated if a woman is more intelligent and better paid than he is. However, we can only assume that the men who are fearful of this, simply don’t enter these relationships! Bob who is not worried about this, is more secure in his masculinity! Which is probably another contributor to a happier relationship. So ladies! Go ahead, don’t limit yourself! Find a secure man! (Hello to the women with science PHDs! I only have an undergraduate in Theatre!)
We all also apparently have a natural inclination for “self-expansion”. In theory, our spouse would be happier with us if we are able to expand their knowledge. If this is true, and you didn’t go to Uni, you didn’t have to if your significant other has a degree! On the other hand, how could these relationships be happy, if the person with the higher education can’t expand their knowledge…?
Why it shouldn’t matter
We can be happy in a relationship, regardless of the existence of an education gap or not. This is because there are other forms of knowledge. If you have a great lasting connection with someone, that is probably down to the fact that they make you a better person. Even if you both have one degree or three, you didn’t necessarily study in the same fields and thus you can still help each other to grow in multiple areas. This is because there is so much in this world that we do not already know.
Research has shown that happy couples are successful because of their similarities in personality/emotional intelligence rather than interests. For example, they stay happy because they negotiate well with each other about what film to watch. What would be fun about always agreeing on watching a Stephen Fry programme?
As people with degrees, we don’t only talk about academia. We are humans with a vast range of interests and emotions after all.
Your intelligence is not determined by a degree. Someone who didn’t go to university could teach you about an experience you may have never had. Wisdom is about more than books, and there could be many reasons other than potential, that stopped someone from going into higher education.
If our conversation can keep me intrigued and you can break the peripheries of my current mindset in some way, then you have potential for me.