Can you be from different political parties and live happily ever after? If you had asked me this 20 years ago I would have said of course you can! What a silly question. Today, I’m not so sure. One of the trends I see in today’s dating apps (yes, I did that again- and quit again) is that more and more people write things like “If a red hat offends you, please move on” or “If you’re a Trump supporter please swipe left.” Our political affiliations and beliefs are no longer open for conversations in the dating world. Does this apply to long term relationships as well? Can you be with someone whose political views are drastically different than your own?
Do you remember the 1990’s political couple who disagreed on everything, but were still happily married? No it’s not a fairy tale; their names are James Carville and Mary Matalin. They have obviously been successful with their differences, but is that realistic in today’s political climate? It feels to me that our political culture has changed so much that it effects our personal relationships. I know in my family we’re politically split right down the middle causing some very heated and uncomfortable holiday dinners. Unfortunately, the trend I see is that people aren’t agreeing to disagree, but instead are verbally attacking each other’s character when they disagree. Maybe this is why it seems to me that political differences are a deal breaker for a lot of couples. And if Facebook is any indication of our political culture, I’d say a lot of friendships have suffered tragic ends at the hands of politics.
The differences in political parties feels very personal in today’s climate. Take the party affiliation off the table and for me it’s all about issues. I have a certain belief system about people and our world that I believe at a core level. I don’t need someone with the exact same views, but if we have polar opposite views and we’re both passionate…how can that play out? I’ve debated this whole politics thing many times in my head. I have no issue with friendships where we differ, but a significant other? I’m honestly not sure I can handle that long term. That may anger some people, but it’s my truth. I went out with a guy who had a certain hat on his front seat….I read it and tossed it into the back. The hat represented something that I disagree with strongly. Of course we debated politics some and we both feel justified in our beliefs. We had to agree to disagree and not discuss politics, politicians or certain issues. What I didn’t like is that when a certain story came on TV we’d just look at each other biting our tongues. For me, it felt like I was having to quell part of who I am. He probably felt the same way…and this is why it’s an issue for me.
Politics and relationships. It’s infiltrating our dating apps, social media and our interpersonal relationships. That isn’t wrong per say, but in the dating world it does add another confusing layer. On a personal level, I think it’s great that people are becoming more active and interested in local, state and national politics. I studied Political Science in college and I’m always open to a healthy debate and learning something new. What I’m not into is arguing, demeaning or spewing hate because of differences. That to me is disrespectful and never okay with me in any relationship.