Ive dumbed myself down for d*** so many times – heres why it never works out

With over 120k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers.

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Anyone else find it hard to meet people who you are intellectually compatible with? It’s a big problem for my friends and me.

It’s easy to find people who you find attractive or who you’re compatible with on a surface level but finding an intellectual match who you also fancy and can have great sex with feels like a struggle.

I don’t think that intellectual compatibility has anything to do with intelligence – it’s not about IQ or academic achievements (a lack of which doesn’t indicate a lack of intelligence), for me it’s more about being on the same wavelength.

I’m not particularly intellectual, University Challenge fries my brain, I got a B, a C, two Gs and a U in my GCSEs, I’m not very well travelled, and I haven’t read any classic literature, but I am bright and switched on, and I am stimulated by deep conversations. I don’t need someone who is especially intelligent, but I do need someone who can meet me where I am at.

Do you need help with YOUR relationship issue? Write to Lala here [email protected] if you want your questions answered completely anonymously.


I met a guy a few weeks ago who, on first meeting, seemed perfect. He was very attractive, had a good job, and was easy to talk to (for ten minutes in a bar). We exchanged numbers and initially had a good conversation on WhatsApp. I told him a bit about what I do without fully telling him what I do (because I write anonymously). I basically said I help people to avoid/escape abusive relationships through an online community of supportive women (and a few great men).

He said: "But does abusive relationships come from both parties not just men?"

I replied: "Domestic violence can happen regardless of gender, but it disproportionately affects women who date men. Particularly when it comes to murder and sexual violence"

He said: "Apologies if this comes across rude, but are the majority of your community now lesbian or open to dating women?"

Me: "You can't choose your sexuality."

Him: " What does that mean?"

Me: 'It means, you can't just become a lesbian because you had an abusive relationship."

Him: "Oh Fair dues, but have people within your group switched to women?"

Me: " If they can switch then they must have been bisexual to start with. But no, none of my followers have become lesbians from following me as far as I know."

Him: "Wow have I hit a nerve or something? I'm just asking as I don't know anything but interested to know."

Aside from the obvious fact that we are nowhere near on the same wavelength, this is RED FLAG behaviour. I hit a nerve the second I mentioned helping women to avoid abuse. He heard "I help women avoid men." Perhaps men like him? His first question was 'What about men?' It was passive aggressive. He was triggered by my job. He had to belittle it by basically saying "If you dislike abusive behaviour from men then you have no choice but to move to women, because we ain't changing" His whole 'wow, have I hit a nerve' when I hadn't said anything that would indicate he had, also felt a bit gaslighty.

But beyond the red flags, it’s very clear that he and I are worlds apart. He’s at the stage where he thinks people can become lesbians by following an Instagram account and I really don’t have the time or energy to be teaching him concepts that he should have got his head around in Year 6. Ten years ago, I would have probably tried to work on it but now I know that there is no point. The conversation ended there.

I never understood the importance of intellectual compatibility in my younger years. My primary concern was whether I fancied them and we liked the same music, or went to the same festivals. If I fancied a guy who wasn’t very bright, I wouldn’t care if I mentioned something about feminism and he said: “I heard Femfresh wasn’t needed for women.” I would just ignore it and remind myself that I could get my intellectual stimulation from my friends, or I would see it as a teachable moment. I would either ‘d*mb down’ and become as basic as them, or I would take on the role of teacher and try to get them up on to my wavelength.

It never occurred to me not to date them and instead to wait for someone who enjoyed the same conversations as me. I didn’t prioritise a mental connection, and as a result I ended up in a 5.5 year relationship with someone who I had nothing more than surface level compatibility with. I learnt the hard way that thinking that I could get the stimulation my relationship lacked from friends, just made me feel very lonely. And that the student/teacher dynamic in a relationship just leads to resentment, on both sides.

The issue of intellectual compatibility is relevant to everyone, but there are particular issues that affect women who date men. A lot of men claim to want strong, independent successful women but in reality, many are turned off by it. This was proved in research by Buffalo University in 2015. The men in their study claimed to want intelligent women but only as an abstract concept, when it came to the idea of physically meeting those women, their intelligence became a turn off.

It appears to be to do with a threat to masculinity, many men feel emasculated by women who appear to be their intellectual match or smarter than them. It can also come from a fear that those women won’t want them, so they reject them first to avoid humiliation.

It’s cool, we don’t want these bellends anyway. But we do need to be very careful not to intentionally dull our intelligence in order to appeal to men. Many of us have learnt that acting a bit ditzy is quite attractive. Old dating books actually teach women to pretend not to be able to do or understand certain things so that we can make our man feel like a smart strong saviour of a man .

I have pretended to be much less bright than I am on many occasions so that I can make a man feel superior. I then learnt that things never work out well if your partner thinks you are inferior, especially if you are pretending to be so. If you have to pretend to be someone else in order to appeal to a potential partner, then I can guarantee that the relationship will not end in happiness.

Being in a mismatched relationship leads to boredom, a loss of confidence in the person who feels that they are the less knowledgeable one, resentment on both sides, a sense of competing against each other, and loneliness. Feeling misunderstood or unheard, or that your partner just doesn’t get you, can make being in a relationship feel lonelier than being alone.

Problems will arise if you aren’t on the same page. We have to seek more from partners than the basics and we have to see a lack of intellectual compatibility as a big red flag. We can’t force it with people who think you can become a lesbian from following feminist accounts Instagram just because we think they are gorgeous.

It will never work. Reach higher, never bend lower.

Do you need help with YOUR relationship issue? Write to Lala here [email protected] if you want your questions answered completely anonymously.

For more wisdom, follow @Lalalaletmeexplain on Instagram.

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