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Chalk and cheese - education - can it work?

(62 Posts)
mrskhardy Fri 30-Dec-16 23:36:33

Basically, I was wondering if it is unreasonable to suggest that corresponding educational attainment is an important factor in a relationship's longevity?

AIBU to think that someone who doesn't have a very basic education will struggle being married to someone with a significantly higher level of education or vice versa?

Is it possible to be so, completely different and be happy? Can it work if one person cannot spell/read the very basics and another is in the process of a PhD?

Please be kind, this is a genuine worry.

Can anyone tell me their success stories?

JohnLapsleyParlabane Fri 30-Dec-16 23:37:56

My mum has a masters. My dad left school at 15. They've been married nearly 40 years. Mostly happily. It

MeredithsTequila Fri 30-Dec-16 23:40:02

I didn't marry my husband because he has this degree and that Masters and this job.

I think that a shared work ethic is more important than academics.

steff13 Fri 30-Dec-16 23:41:41

I wouldn't be interested in someone who's intelligence was not similar to mine. Actual formal education I'd be less worried about.

G1raffePicnic Fri 30-Dec-16 23:41:58

Many many families around here the dad went to uni but the wife didn't.

Manumission Fri 30-Dec-16 23:42:04

I don't think the educational level matters, but raw intelligence does.

ivegotdreadfulpmttoday Fri 30-Dec-16 23:45:01

I'm a graduate from a prestigious uni and professionally qualified. DH has a few O levels. We've been together 20 years. We met when I was in my late twenties so by that time I was more able to see past educational achievements to the person. He used to worry a bit when meeting my colleagues that they would look down on him. If they have it's been well concealed. Our friends and family are all very different in their educational achievements but by now it's all massively overtaken by what everyone has been busy doing with their lives.

OhisHOME Fri 30-Dec-16 23:46:25

I know what you mean online dating I'm likely to dismiss someone with no education beyond school unless they display intelligence in some other way

DullUserName Fri 30-Dec-16 23:46:49

Qualifications do not matter. My DH has an ONC & HNC. I have MSc and PGCE. The difference is because his family encouraged him to get a job at 16 and had no expectations of further education. My parents just assumed I'd go to uni. It doesn't define us or divide us.

Helenluvsrob Fri 30-Dec-16 23:49:34

Agree it's intelligence not education ...

My mum trained as a teacher straight from school, during the war ( miners daughter demonstrating true grammar school social mobility !). My dad left school at 15 and went into industrial lab work without any formal qualifications. When they met he was a forrester with the national trust.

Dad took o levels at night school in the mid 50s and went into teaching himself.

They were married for nearly 65 yrs !

However if someone is illiterate because they don't have the capacity to learn to read and write rather than not having the opportunity I think that relationship might struggle.

Kitsandkids Fri 30-Dec-16 23:49:44

I do think you need a similar level of intelligence but that doesn't equate to needing the same level of education.

My husband failed all but two of his GCSEs and that's basically where his education ended. I did well at GCSE, went on to do A Level, then went through university and completed a post grad qualification. So on paper I am much more highly educated. However, he is very clever and if he'd been pushed a bit more at school, and by his parents, he could have got much better qualifications. At the time it wasn't important to him, though he regrets it now.

Our different education has never been a problem because we are very much on the same 'level' intelligence wise I think. And actually I think he is more intelligent than I am.

I don't think it works very well if people are on different 'levels' of intelligence. I knew it was never going to work with an ex boyfriend when we went to the cinema and saw a film with a few twists. When we came out and talked about the film I realised that he hadn't understood the twists at all and I had to explain the whole plot to him. Obviously everyone has things they find difficult to understand but this seemed so obvious to me I worried I'd end up patronising him if I had to explain lots to him so we broke up.

LunaLoveg00d Fri 30-Dec-16 23:52:07

I'm sure I read that you are most compatible with someone of similar level of intelligence. Not the same as education though, as some very bright people have little formal education.

On a personal level, I couldn't be with someone who was shallow and unthinking and who was only interested in reality telly and one particular football club (looking at you, BIL as the most boring, ignorant and unaware person I know)

Twofurrycats Fri 30-Dec-16 23:55:57

My mother is a highly educated linguist, my dad had zero qualifications and legged it from school asap (was furious that a rise in leaving age kept him there an extra year). They had a long and happy marriage because they were both interested in life and learning in different ways (among other things). It isn't academic qualifications that matter in the end, in my opinion, it's your life interests. I know I couldn't be happy with a man whose interests were football and the bookies, for example, whatever their education.

mrskhardy Sat 31-Dec-16 00:22:38

Thank you for the thought provoking replies and for the lovely, happy endings!!

Helen - the thing about 'capacity' is probably the main concern.

It is true that intelligence and educational attainment are not one and the same.

Unfortunately, the relationship I refer to does not appear to have the 'balance' that the lovely examples provided here do have.

There's lots of explaining and reiterating and so little retention. It's very frustrating and upsetting (for both partners).

IMissGrannyW Sat 31-Dec-16 00:26:37

Given your update, you don't need my comment, but I echo those above... I've got 4 o'levels and some secretarial qualifications, he's got a second degree from one of the top two universities in the country. We've been married over 20 years. We're not always happy and content, but the education we both received isn't the cause of any stress.

SisyphusHadItEasy Sat 31-Dec-16 00:30:33

DH out matches me in intelligence, but not educational level. He is very bright, but school was not kind to him in the days where learning disabilities "did not exist".

I have a post-grad degree. I don't think that educational attainment is so much a factor as similar intellects. Part of me thinks it is a biological drive, part of me thinks it is less instinctual than that.

manicinsomniac Sat 31-Dec-16 00:36:53

YA mostly NBU

I agree with everyone else that it's intelligence and intellectual curiosity that needs to match rather than education. Of course there's a strong correlation between intelligence and education level but the two won't always be the same for many reasons, including the examples given.

I' sure there are also examples where love conquers huge differences but I suspect they are the exceptions not the rule.

musicposy Sat 31-Dec-16 00:41:32

I think the example you give is more problematic.

I have good O and A levels and degree, was pretty much top of my year in the lot. DH got a couple of CSEs (pre GCSE) at low grades - 4s, 5s, and left school.

I did worry about the imbalance initially, but DH is definitely not stupid. He's done a lot of learning as an adult and his intelligence complements mine in many ways. He can beat me at chess and many card games easily. If we are watching a film he's always the one to predict the ending/ who did it, whilst I'm still working out who's who!

By the time I met DH I was a bit fed up with debating ethereal, political and cultural issues with my uni cohort and DH was just so relaxing and fun in comparison. We're still together 25 years later, and it's still fun. Education hasn't mattered one bit, though I think he's actually quite bright, so I'm not sure it helps you much!

Itsallgoodimtold Sat 31-Dec-16 00:47:14

Shared values outweigh anything else in my opinion.
Discussion of shared values will highlight discrepancies in intelligence.
Academic qualifications are not on par with intelligence 😀

DailyFail1 Sat 31-Dec-16 02:46:36

Academic attainment doesn't equal intelligence or success and is not a predictor to happiness/affluence either. There are many ways to measure intelligence/success/potential happiness with a mate, but that doesn't mean a thing when applied to relationships (romantic or friendly) which start with chemistry. To give you an example I left school at 16 with only GCSEs and within 15 years was working in a traditional phd graduate job earning six figures. I was rejected time and time again by people (for dating and friendship) for my lack of qualifications because they wanted someone 'on their level' and that stupid belief hasn't changed despite me being on the same level as the CEOs of their companies. I still get excluded by certain snobby parties. It stinks.

Manumission Sat 31-Dec-16 02:50:22

Are you the MNer in oil and gas daily?

CauliflowerSqueeze Sat 31-Dec-16 02:54:35

Lots of explaining and reiterating and frustration and upset on both sides sounds like a major issue to be honest.

DailyFail1 Sat 31-Dec-16 02:58:27

Manu - hedgefund

Manumission Sat 31-Dec-16 03:00:36

There's lots of explaining and reiterating and so little retention. It's very frustrating and upsetting (for both partners).

Agree with cauliflower. That sounds draining and difficult. There's no easy solution, either, when it's an issue of ability.

I know a septuagenarian who has -essentially- ruined their life by maintaining a "no divorce ever" position while married to someone with half their IQ. It had knock on effects.

Manumission Sat 31-Dec-16 03:01:07

Ah thanks daily. Snotty crowd eh?

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