Testimony: living as a couple with a gifted person

couple HPI TDAH atypique

Article updated on May 2, 2023

Welcome to Suivez le Zèbre, the first blog dedicated to neurodiversityin France. Here you will find information about Giftedness (High Learning Potential), hypersensitivity, autism spectrum disorders (including Asperger’s syndrome), DYS disorders and ADHD.

It’s not always easy being the partner of a gifted person! Relationships are complicated enough. As soon as you start moving in together, living with a zebra (synonymous with gifted) can be confusing!

Living with a zebra man or woman!

May the force be with you!

Love for zebras is one of the most intense feelings in the world, in the galaxy, in the universe!

How do you deal with this when you yourself are not gifted, but rather have your feet firmly planted on the ground?

Living with a gifted person: a daily headache?

Sometimes, our partner may even wonder if it’s really the same person he’s dealing with! Is there not a little schizophrenia or bipolarity in all this??? No, no, no!

People with high potential have an atypical way of functioning, which can cause them to switch from one mood to another quite quickly… I think it has to do with hypersensitivity and emotionality, which we sometimes find hard to manage…

I’m Mel Poinas, founder of Suivez le Zèbre. I was identified gifted at the age of 30 after taking the WAIS 4 test with a neuropsychologist.

it’s hard for me to tell you what it’s like to live with a gifted person in all objectivity… Which would make me ask myself even more questions when I’m already asking myself enough.

I took the easy way out and asked Julia, my wife of several years, to testify. I hope our testimony will speak for itself and help many gifted / non-gifted and even gifted / gifted couples!

Everyday life as a couple with a gifted person

For the first time on Suivez le Zèbrewe’re going to write a 4-handed article!
And personally, I was really looking forward to it! I’ve been bugging her for weeks about writing this article because I also really wanted to get her take on our relationship.

For those new to the concept of zebra, gifted or high potential, you can find out more about zebra characteristics here >> Gifted characteristics from an adult zebra!

Otherwise, for a more traditional definition in the rules of the art, go to >> Characteristics of gifted people, high potentials, zebras

Let’s go for a sort of me-to-her interview! For once you won’t get my point of view, but the insight of someone who is not gifted and who didn’t know about giftedness until she met me.

For you, what is a gifted person, a zebra, a high potential?

I didn’t really know anything about giftedness until I met you. On a daily basis, it’s so much a part of you that I can’t separate it from your qualities and faults.

Today, when I think about it, for me, being gifted means having potential in one or more particular areas, a more developed aptitude for certain things.

There’s the analytical side too, I can see it, you’re always thinking, asking yourself lots of questions, about everything and anything.

It’s kind of weird because you’re a very subtle person and clever, but when it comes to huge things, you’ll take everything at face value! You’ve got a good sense of humor but no second degree, and you take things to heart very quickly.In fact, you’re sensitive!

I’d say that living with a gifted person is like living alternately with a child trapped in an adult body or an old man trapped in an adult body (laughs).

How does this translate into our daily lives?

Well you can be stubborn, when you want to do something one way, it’s going to be hard to get you to do it any other way! Plus, you’re an ultra-perfectionist, you like things to be done well, or at least your way (having said that, that’s very cool, I’m excluding the fact that you’re messy). Laughter, mood swings, lots of projects.

In the kitchen, you like to organize knives, dishes, groceries and the fridge in your own way. And I have no choice but to adapt to you.

You’re a bon vivant who loves life and tries to take things as easy as possible to avoid setting on your little bike.

You don’t like things being moved because you don’t like having to look for them when you need them. The “everything in its place” and the “it makes more sense to do it this way“…

Even so, you’ve got a baby side. We always have to help you look for things you’ve lost. Every night you ask me where your pajamas are. The same goes for the dog’s leash, your keys, your credit card, your briefcase and your luncheon vouchers. Your car is almost as precious as Leon’s, and at the time of writing I still haven’t driven it. Yet you’re not materialistic, but I know it’s because you like to take care of things.

You’re also often in your own bubble, so when you’re doing something and you’re concentrating, you’re not listening, and sometimes that can be annoying. Once we know, we just have to wait for you to finish doing your thing so we can have a normal conversation…

Your commitment to unlikely animal causes: building huts for hedgehogs, beehives and logs for lonely bees, bird boxes and so on.

Are there any “advantages” to living with a gifted person?

Definitely the practical side! You’re super resourceful, with plans A,B,C,D,E! In New Zealand, you fitted out the van, in your apartment, you built a closet when you’d never held a saw in your life before… There are never problems, only solutions.

You understand things up fast… Sometimes even too fast. 😀 Again, I think this is typical of zebras.

You’re a devoted person, we can count on you, me, your friends, your family… You’re there for the people you care about. You’re generous too, but you’re selective. You have to “earn” your trust. And your “big kid” side makes you a very endearing and sensitive person.

You’re ambitious and a go-getter, you’re always full of projects and desires, and that’s pretty cool becausewe never get bored and want to follow you.. And then, anything is possible

Even if you don’t like being pushed around at first, you always take the time to think things over and consider a proposal. You’ll have to give yourself time to make the idea your own, but you’re still pretty keen on a lot of things.

Are there any “disadvantages” to living with a gifted person?

I think everyone has their little faults in everyday life, but the main thing is to enjoy living with them! And that’s what love is all about! As far as you’re concerned, once we get to know you, we’re rarely surprised by your reactions to this or that situation. I just know you’re going to take things to heart than I do.

The only small drawback I can say is that you’re going to be a demanding person in general. So demanding with otherstoo! And sometimes it’s true that it’s a bit annoying to see you getting on my nerves about something that doesn’t mean that much to me! 😀

But once again, it’s all about getting to know yourself and the other person, so you can anticipate minor mood swings.

I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that you’re a zebra but I know you have trouble with crowds, people, the city! Too much noise, too much mixing… But we’re very similar in that respect, so it’s not a disadvantage for me.

Something that can be surprising is the need for rest and sleep! Here again, I don’t know if all gifted people are like you, but 10 hours a night minimum to recuperate… and an extra 2 hours during the day, that’s a lot!

3 tips for a good relationship with a gifted person

First and most important tip: COMMUNICATE & UNDERSTAND!

Like other zebras, you’re always asking yourself questions and analyzing everything.sometimes you go so far in your thing that we feel a bit overwhelmed. I often ask you what’s going on. How are you? What’s on your mind? I’m interested in you. When we don’t agree, I’ll try to understand your point of view so you don’t lose your temper. Generally speaking, we need to listen to you and let you express yourself.

Ask your “gifted person” how he or she sees things. You have to be interested in who you are, in your “uniqueness” and NEVER REJECT YOU. I know that if I were in denial, if I didn’t accept your atypical zebra side, you’d have trouble feeling legitimate in our relationship.

Second tip: AUTONOMY

Letting a high-potential person have his or her independence while being very present.

That’s a bit of a problem when you’re a couple! I know that sometimes you need space, to be alone, and at the same time you need me to reassure you, to be there for you, to support you in your ideas, your projects, your choices

Because you care about me, my opinion is super important to you, and I know you’d be disappointed if I didn’t get involved in your life… I see it especially with the blog😉

It’s that child-in-an-adult-body thing again! You’re super independent, you know how to do lots of things, but you need reassurance (you do!).


It’s true that I have a lot of patience and I think you know that! I very rarely get angry, so I’m not going to put up too much of a fight because I know it has to come from you! Well, sometimes I have to hustle you for a few things 😉

Patience goes hand in hand with tolerance, in the sense that I know and accept that you don’t think like me, that you wouldn’t act like me in a given situation.

You’re going to have 36,000 ideas and projects all at once… all of which I know and, above all, tolerate because that’s just you.

What’s really nice is to see that on some points we agree 100% with each other, and on others not so much. We complement each other really well on a daily basis.

And, I think the key to making it work between a zebra and a non-zebra is to let the other do what he likes and give him the space to do it. We share a lot of time together and a lot of our passions. We love sports, travelling, going out and making friends, but sometimes it’s good for us to get away from it all!

Being a happy couple with a gifted person

Definitely and happily! Once we’ve figured you out, you’re not “that weird” anymore 😉
In fact, it’s all good! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Love makes you love anyone! 🙂

To remember

To find the perfect balance as a couple with a gifted person:
– communicate
– give him his space
– ask him regularly how he feels
– be a good listener
– take a step back
– assert your desires and needs when necessary
– be patient
– try to empathize to understand what he’s feeling
– share things together
– take an interest in his daily life
– enjoy life together 😊

Would you like to testify and help the readers of Suivez le Zèbre? Tell us your story on the blog:

You can also find more information, resources and tools on High Potential in Mel POINAStestimonial book, part of which is included in this article. With a lot of humor, Mel tells the story of the discovery of her High Potential and the routines she put in place to finally find her place!

Le livre

Écrit par une HPI !
Un témoignage et des solutions concrètes pour découvrir, comprendre et apprendre à vivre en étant HPI.

To go further, you can read

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