Dating people with a different education level

What are your thoughts on dating people who have a different education level than you? Does it bother you? Would you feel odd dating someone who didn’t go to college if you went to college? How about if you have a Ph.D, would you date someone who didn’t go to grad school? If you didn’t further your education beyond high school, would you date someone who did? etc. etc.

My ideal would be to date someone who at least had the college experience, even if they didn’t graduate, so that we would’ve had some similar experiences. Not having attended college would also be okay with me as long as they’re motivated and have a plan for their life.

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13 thoughts on “Dating people with a different education level

  1. Joanna says:

    [I think education level is only a superficial quality used to rule people out on dating sites. When meeting people in real life, nobody wears a sign saying that they have x degree or have or have not completed high school. Your judgement of a person would then be based only on the interaction you had with them. If they happen to mention it because it is relevant to the conversation then that quality is included in judging the person as a whole.

    Also, education is not always indicative of how bright a person may be. I know complete social outcast losers who graduated college and a very intelligent person who dropped out of high school. Since I have known him, he got his GED at 25 and went back to college at 29. He just completed his freshman year with all As. But when I met him at 24 I thought he was very smart, and was surprised to find out he had never finished high school.

    Sure education may be indicative of what kind of job or career you go into, but having a degree does not guarantee you a job that makes a lot of money. All it does is show that you’ve studied something intently. Whether that knowledge can be utilized by the job market is another discussion.

    Hypothetically, I would date a man without regard to his education level. I would not date a man if I didn’t like his attitude or similar aspects of his personality. My boyfriend has a degree in image technology that is useless to his current job. My mom has a degree in early childhood education that is useless to her job. They are both happy where they are at and wish they had the foresight to skip the expensive waste of a degree.

  2. Maracuya says:

    [I always thought that I would date someone with a college degree, but my boyfriend doesn’t have one (he went to school, didn’t finish, joined the military and is in the process of slowly completing his degree as he works.) And that’s fine by me. He has career goals, responsible with his finances, and he’s funny and well-read. I was surprised to find out when I first met him since he’s so well spoken.

    That said I’d like him to definitely get his bachelor’s for job flexibility, choice, and pay later. But the degree wouldn’t change him in any way. Although it’s without a doubt something on a case by case basis.

  3. Happy Pants says:

    [At this point, a good portion of my life has been spent in academia, and thus a lot of my life experiences come out of school-related things—studying abroad, living in communal housing, writing papers, etc. Dating someone who doesn’t have that same background can make things a bit difficult, but if there are enough other interests that we share, it shouldn’t matter.

    That said, I do require someone be intelligent, if not intellectual (although again, sharing an interest in literature, art, culture, all that really pretentious liberal-elite crap, is important to me). In other words, if you don’t have the degree, at least show me you’re well-read or at can string a few sentences and coherent thoughts together. I’ve dated guys of varying education and intelligence levels, and I can say that having to define words in conversation makes both parties feel bad, but having to listen to a bunch of (what one person considers) pretentious bullshit gets old really fast.

    TL;DR: education is a big part of my life, and I’d like it to be a part of my SO’s, but as long as he has a decent vocabulary and can split a check, I don’t really care.

  4. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Joanna makes a lot of excellent points.

    The comment about education level on dating sites is very valid; however if one were to think about it when first meeting someone for the first time; a majority of the time one question typically asked is “Where did you go to school?” It almost goes with the usual, “What do you do?” It also makes me think of a study I recently read that stated that women are more likely to respond/message men on dating sites who list a higher income than those who do not (guess that explains the large lack of messages I received when on those dating sites).

    So, while I do agree that education level is largely utilized on dating sites; weeding out those you don’t even want to bother with, it still comes up frequently in most social situations too.

    These days it has become a social norm to finish high school and then go to college; completely different than most of our parents generations (my folks were born in the 50’s). Unfortunately, those that do not get a diploma, or degree, are often looked down upon…and that is highly unwarranted.

    Education and intelligence are two completely different things; at least in my opinion. And even intelligence can be broken down between what I often consider school knowledge and street knowledge (smarts).

    Someone can be incredibly knowledge smart but extremely socially lacking (think Sheldon Cooper). Others can have limited learned knowledge but incredibly savvy when it comes to common sense and dealing in just every day life.

    I’ll use myself and my sister as an example. My sister is more intellectual on a learned knowledge level than myself. Her GPA was better than perfect and she always excelled in school environments. I suffered in a few places but was largely able to still get by with good grades. However, when it comes to general “street smarts” I may be in a better position than she is. Not calling her socially awkward, but in our particular situation I have lived on my own for a number of years where she was engaged during college and has really never been “on her own”.

    Personally, I would rather have someone who has street sense over an official education any day. It’s like standardized testing…just because some got a good score (has a diploma/degree) doesn’t mean they are “smart”.

    Heck…most of my vocabulary came from reading comic books.

    Bang! Zow! Bamf! Snikt!

  5. theattack says:

    [I’m not going to be PC here. I want someone with an education. That doesn’t mean that I’ll rule out someone who doesn’t have one, but I would like for there to be some reason for it other than a lack of interest. It’s totally fine if they haven’t gotten there quite yet, or if they had too many obstacles to overcome to go to college. But I need someone who sees the value of education, even if they don’t have it themselves.

  6. resullins says:

    [Ok, I’m lazy and not reading everything above this… but here is my two cents.

    Education level doesn’t matter in the slightest! What will REALLY matter is intelligence level. If you’re the kind of person that likes to discuss the socio-political ramifications of the events and causes of the Vietnam war, you’re not going to want to date a woman who’s idea of good dinner conversation is Kloe Kardashian’s new lipstick color or Gwyneth Paltrow’s atrocious baby names.

    However, labeling education level as how smart or driven a person is, is short sighted and shallow. My bf only has technical training after high school, and I have a 4 year degree, but we are of the same intelligence. He just doesn’t like watching Jeopardy with me, cause I remember stupid facts better than he does!

  7. Dennis Hong says:

    [To add to what the attack said, I think that education often reflects one’s core values, which then affects one’s life goals and ambitions. And I think these are vital to have in common with a (serious) significant other. While I’ve never necessarily ruled out a potential date because of education (or lack thereof), the few women I’ve dated who never went to college, I just couldn’t find much in common with.

    Then again, I admit I’m way over-educated, so… there’s that, too.

  8. lilredbmw says:

    [I think this is something that is a personal preference, right? I went to college, but I never finished my degree. I did pursue other goals that required eduacation, but not a college degree. My husband, however, is very intelligent and completed college, with honors and the whole bit. I consider him the brains, while I am the athlete of the family. I think it is important to have passion, whether it is athletic, academic, etc. I actually think that it has worked out for us that we are kind of opposites. He doesn’t challenge my athletic ability, and I have come to terms with the fact that he is just slightly more intelligent than I am.

  9. Sabrina says:

    [I often find myself lying about or downsizing my education on first dates. I have an MBA and undergraduate degrees from prestigious schools. While men are impressed, I can see they are intimidated when their own education is not on par with mine. I know very few guys who are willing to date “up.”

    At the risk of sounding anti-feminist, I want the man to make more money than me, and I’d prefer it if he went to equal or better schools than me.

  10. karlos says:

    [I have no strong feelings about this, although people who are around as educated as myself (degree level) are probably going to be the one’s I’m attracted to. Not due to their education, but due to the fact they probably have similar life goals and lifestyles.

    Plus, any lower than that and I have to start dating high school girls, and that’s illegal.

  11. PKP says:

    [Education is no guarantee against idiocy. I’ve met plenty of educated people who were basically like the mental version of the muscular guy in the gym who treats everyone else like crap because they’re strong. I’ve three university degrees, honours, and all of that but I don’t usually bother telling people. I figure if the person I’m talking to thinks it’s important that I have a degree, then I don’t much care about their opinion. It means I could lie and tell them I have a doctorate and they’d suddenly change their idea of me, which is kind of pathetic. Give me someone who values deeds, not words.

  12. Dave Jag says:

    [Ultimately I have to say that “Love conquers all”, but if I were a betting man, I’d say that more times than not, someone who was interested in bettering themeselves through formal education would be partial to someone who shared that trait. Shared hobbies and interests are a strong aphrodisiac, which makes perfect sense!

  13. Claudia says:

    [For me it has a lot more to do with intelligence level, shared interests and relatable experiences. I very much enjoy learning new things and prefer someone who shares that specific interest. Plus the college experience isn’t something that you can explain. While the 2 will be different, there is a level of understanding from that very important developmental time.

    During my first year of grad school, I dated someone who was finishing up his undergrad in the same field. The difference was less in the actual degree status and more in the quality of schools. Also his was online only which meant he didn’t get the college experience so that added to the issues. Though had that been the worst of it, it would have turned out better.

    Being a girl in tech, it’s a lot less about education level anyways. I’ve had a lot more issues with dealing with their insecurities based on my ability in an industry that men are “supposed” to be better at.

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