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"Granted, a lot of that was because he rubbed his genius in my face," she says.

After an experience like that, perhaps a silly partner who lets you be yourself and would rather discuss what movie you'd like to see than compare and contrast the Roman empire and feudal Japan feels more your speed.

"After dating a know-it-all-type, another 29-year-old woman needed a reprieve from conversations that were always mind-numbingly specific and intense—and left her feeling exhausted.

"My ex was so smart that he made me feel dumb," she says.

Gentlemen might say they prefer brains to blondes, but it seems that when faced with a romantic evening of oysters with a woman who might have far-superior brain power, many would rather pass to spend it with someone with far less mental wattage.

For a new study, psychologists at the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University and University of Texas questioned 105 men with a series of experiments and discovered that smart women made them feel less masculine. – that even though most men like the idea of dating an intelligent woman, put them in front of one and that attraction suddenly withers. In theory, men may like the idea of a partner with a successful career; perhaps it plays to their inner George Clooney.

She's not the first and hardly the only woman to express a similar sentiment: Some women need a challenge, a man who encourages her to be her fastest, smartest self.

"We've all heard the sentiment that when passion fades, you need something else to keep your spark alive," says a 23-year-old friend.

As well as the Legion d’Honneur, a CBE and honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, I have 32 honorary degrees – all of which I’m really proud.

For years my single girlfriends and I have been told by the men we date: .

We’ve heard the same refrains for decades, in breakup talks with men in their 20s, 30s, even their 40s.

Not all, but many men are only comfortable when they can have the last word.

These alpha types might seek to avoid partners who compete with them intellectually, looking instead for someone to bolster their ego, rather than destroy it.

I didn’t want to open the book because it felt too close to home. Because in it I found empathy for the women who hear these things and the men who say them.

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