Dating Someone With a Degree: Does it Matter?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/11/2013 | 04:05 PM EST

It May Not Be So Shallow To Date Someone Based On Education

Typically when we date, we tend to look for someone who we have things in common with. Whether it’s race, religion, family background, or something as simple as musical taste, having similar interests with your partner is very important. The old adage that “opposites attract” doesn’t hold up as much as people would like to admit.

But what about educational status?

While it may seem like a shallow thing to put on your list when looking for the most compatible mate, for many, particularly those with degrees, having a college education is a necessity. Demanding that the person you’re dating has a degree isn’t that far-fetched. It makes sense when you consider the fact that people without a college education are more likely to be unemployed. But with a recovering economy, many argue that even with a college degree, you may end up in the same pool of applicants with only a high school diploma. However, research shows that those with a degree earn significantly more, not to mention they’re more likely to find a job...and faster.

Even when you throw out all the hard numbers, there are practical reasons for wanting to date someone with a college or advanced degree, like having more of a safety net - nobody wants to date someone with an unstable financial future. Then there are the not-so-practical reasons. For some, educational status is more of a marker of class. Educated people date other educated people and then have educated babies - if only it were that simple. But on a micro level, education means far more than status. Just like your environment shapes who you are, so does your education. For many, one’s education shapes who you are as a person; your personality, the way you think, how you look at the world and how you engage it. Considering that, it’s understandable why someone would put college education at the top of their list. Sometimes a college education makes the difference between your pillow talk being about the latest gossip on The Wendy Williams Show or the U.S. Government’s foreign policy.

But that’s not to say that someone without a college degree isn’t capable of being successful or being a desirable partner - there are exceptions. Many of today’s greatest entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, didn’t finish college, or attend college at all. However, it’s important to note that they came from educated households, where their entrepreneurial drives were facilitated. Being smart is cool, but there’s a difference between intelligence and being educated, though nuanced it may be. While no one wants to admit it, educational status does matter. We live in a country where education is stressed upon our youth, yet dating someone based on their educational status remains quite a taboo topic.

There’s nothing wrong with dating someone without a college degree, but if that is something that is important to you and your happiness in a relationship, go for it. Who you choose to date should be a decision that is made by you and for you.

(Photo: Henry Chaplin/Getty Images)

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