They say that love conquers all. But, in today’s political climate, can it overcome opposing viewpoints?
Regardless of your politics, we can all agree that it’s a hot topic for most people right now. Almost everyone has an opinion and we’re not afraid to share it. We’ve seen friendships end over of our differences while others were born from our common philosophies. We’ve had heated debates with family members at the kitchen table and even heavier arguments with strangers on social media. We’re more divided than ever before and that’s sad news if you’re currently single and looking for love. After all, it’s difficult enough to meet someone you’re attracted to, who also shares your interests and is actually ready for a real relationship. Right?
In a recent article for NPR, Dr. Helen Fisher, the chief scientific adviser to Match.com, says that new research shows both liberals and conservatives are moving away from the middle of the political spectrum. “There’s a real distinct difference that we’re seeing today, and all singles are becoming more rigid in their views,” she says.
Now, more than ever, shared political ideals seem to be high on everyone’s wish list. A recent article on Huffington Post cited a survey released by a popular dating app which shows that today’s singles are more likely to shun people on the other end of the spectrum, with 71% of singles claiming politics is a deal breaker.
For so many people, dating across the aisle is a massive no-no. So, what does this mean for your love life?
HOW POLITICS CAN SHAPE YOUR LOVE LIFE
Can you find love with someone on the other side of the aisle and build a great relationship? Yes.
Despite the recent divide, we’ve all witnessed couples with opposing political views uniting and thriving. Certainly, well-known couples like campaign managers James Carville and Mary Matilin have been able to make a marriage work. What’s the secret? These happy couples have one major thing in common: Mutual respect. It’s imperative that you admire and respect the way your partner thinks, feels about the world, how he or she arrives at their decision making, and the values they hold dear. Labels won’t be sufficient here. You’ll need to do a deeper dive and learn about the entire person, not just their politics.
Obviously, it takes time to do this deeper dive, to discover admiration and respect for someone new. And we’ve all been told that politics and religion are taboo subjects for a first date. So, how do you navigate these tricky waters in your dating life? How do you find out if someone shares your political views? If your views are different, how do you decide if your differences are too great? Should you add it to your dating bio or ask straight out on a first date? How soon is too soon to ask these critical questions?
5 BEST PRACTICES FOR DATING SMART IN TODAY’S POLITICAL CLIMATE:
1. Be Positive Online: If you’re using dating apps, stay positive in your bio. Write about what you want in a partner but stay away from saying words like: “never”, “need not apply”, or “only”. Instead, focus on what you DO want rather than what you DON’T. For example,: “I would love to meet someone who shares my values about…” or, “I’m best suited for someone who believes…” You’ll draw the right attention from like-minded people and those who don’t resonate with your profile will simply move on. Your priorities will shine through instead of giving the impression that you’re rigid and close-minded.
2. Be Kind: It’s a date, which means you’re simply there to get to know someone new. It’s ok to discuss politics but this isn’t the right time to teach, fight, ridicule or judge. Be transparent with your beliefs (if asked) so you don’t look like you’re hiding, but be careful not to turn the evening into a debate. Be kind, always. Compassion and self-awareness never go out of style.
3. Be Open: Dating is just that: dating. It’s about relating and connecting. So, if you meet someone with a different political view, use the opportunity to listen and learn. You’ll know quickly if the differences are too great to continue a relationship. In the meantime, say ‘yes’ to dates. Love is a contact sport. Make connections.
4. Be Classy: If you’re on a date or in a relationship with someone who persists in debating with you, share your facts and opinions without allowing your emotions to cloud the conversation. Stay away from name-calling, blame, anger or anything else that makes you AND the person you’re with feel unheard or disrespected. We can all agree to disagree.
5. Be Aware of Your Values: Today’s politics are bringing our values to the surface in a new and meaningful way. Like anything else that’s meaningful to you, values are personal. If a relationship is causing you emotional turmoil when politics are discussed, it could be that you have a different set of values.
There are so many factors that determine longevity in relationships. A superficial list of questions during a thirty-minute coffee date at Starbucks with your latest right swipe will never give you the answers you need. When you meet someone new, don’t judge too quickly based on how they vote. You just might find someone who expands your way of thinking and offers a new perspective to create balance in your life. Respect, care, and adoration should be the focus of building all of your relationships. Without these, it’s game over regardless of your politics.