The above phrase is intended to be a compliment but is ultimately the demise of a relationship. I blame the belief that you can accomplish anything through hard work.
A boyfriend works the same way, right? Push him, encourage him and support him, and he’ll finally finish his degree, quit his late-night bartending job and get on your level. He will get there because you are good for him.
Spoiler alert: This isn’t how it goes. You will feel defeated, exhausted and disappointed until it inevitably ends in a giant waste of time. However, it does not have to be a complete waste if you learn, make the change and decide that this time, your partner will be good for you.
By dating someone smarter than you and good for you (rather than you being good for him), you will notice:
HE WILL PUSH YOU
No more settling for good, or even great. This person will always keep you on your toes to make sure you’re continually improving because he is constantly improving, too. We have already established that you’re a quality human being; therefore, you’ll likely feel the need to keep up with your successful partner and even engage in some healthy competition.
He gets a promotion at work and you counter by landing a new big client. He decides to take a Lynda lecture on graphic design. You use the membership to teach yourself coding. He constantly inspires you to be the best version of yourself.
YOU’LL LEARN SOMETHING
A partner who is well read may introduce you to books and ideas that you would have never picked up without his encouragement. One who is interested in politics and current events will keep you up-to-date on topics you should know, in order to at least appear like an informed member of society.
Someone who has specific skill or talent can teach you a new prowess. A partner who is smarter than you will, well, make you smarter.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Someone who thinks at the same level as you (or below that level) will never challenge how you think. Being with someone who can think on a complex and developed level will be able to shed new light on situations and entice you to really evaluate your own ideas.
Through discussion and debate, your ideas will either strengthen or adjust and therefore, become more thoughtful.
THE JAY Z AND BEYONCÉ EFFECT
You may be thinking, “So doesn’t one part of the partnership lose out?” If I find someone smarter than I am, who is also good for me, then doesn’t he or she get the short end of the stick, resulting in a never-ending cycle of disappointment? Not necessarily.
You both can be smarter than each other. You might be a leader, a go-getter and a knock-on-every-door-and-ask-questions-later type. He might be a listens-to-audiobooks-on-economics, writes- reviews-on-the-latest-episode-of-Cosmos and listens-to-TED-Talks type.
You both bring separate but equal elements to the table. Hello, power couple! With both of your brilliant brains combined, you make up for each other’s shortcomings and in turn, are good for each other.
The key is in knowing your self-worth and what you uniquely need in a relationship. With each new prospective partner, evaluate not only what you can stand to gain, but also what you can give. A relationship where both parties are constantly learning from and challenging each other will result in never getting bored.
Likewise, acknowledging each other’s strengths will bring a high level of respect and admiration for one another; it’s a healthy way to proceed. This is how you go from “you’re so good for him” to “you guys are so good together.”