Imagine this: You’ve met someone and they’re perfect for you.
You love their smile, you’re addicted to their laugh; it’s almost as if you fit together like a hand and a glove.
There’s only one problem… When it comes to the political spectrum you couldn’t be further from each other.
You might think that it would be hard to end up with someone whose political beliefs clash with yours so absolutely.
After all, wouldn’t there be many red flags that make you utterly incompatible before politics were ever mentioned?
The truth is, many people are discreet about deep-seated ideological beliefs when first meeting someone and there are so many ways that attraction can form that you may find yourself smitten before mention of the latest election even starts to emerge.
Interpolitical dating; relationships where politics are the point of division can sometimes put the phrase ‘opposites attract’ to its ultimate test.
‘Politics’ is a vast term, after all, and it can cover a huge range of intersecting issues and varies beliefs.
Some people may be more committed to their political stance than others, some may tie it into religious beliefs too and some may be stalwart believers of rather contentious issues such as global warming or women’s reproductive rights).
The severity of one’s beliefs and the extent to which they commit to their ideals is ultimately going to be a determining factor into just how big a clash you may face during interpolitical dating.
Issues concerning each other’s bodies or fundamental beliefs will also likely cause more issues than if one person leans slightly to the left and the other the right.
Which really emphasizes how important a political discussion inevitably is for a relationship.
If you do clash massively, you may decide it’s time to part ways.
But…… if you like someone and you are both determined to try and make it work, despite your differences, then here is the advice we offer to you:
Easier said than done, we know, but this one is going to be crucial if you want your relationship to survive.
Yes, your beliefs may vary wildly, but the respect you hold for each other is a merit that you (should) both share and honor.
Don’t bring up political beliefs at the table. If you have an important political debate or rally you’d like to hear/attend, then try to schedule a way to do so without disturbing your partner and never devolve into mocking each other. Even playful teasing can turn sour if the mood is wrong.
It’s often said that you are what you believe and that your beliefs reflect where you’ve come from in life. So take the time to talk to each other and to find out the motivation and reasoning behind your personal political views.
It could well be that your partner holds their beliefs because of a certain social background, family or religious influences, or perhaps even trauma in their past.
Whatever you do make sure that each of you has a chance to talk openly and honestly without trying to argue or debunk each other’s stances. This is an important chance to get to know each other not to ‘score points’ against a political rival.
If you have strong beliefs that clash then chances are that they involve some of the big life choices that you will inevitably have to face together and the closer you are to those issues the more heated and impassioned those discussions will be.
To mitigate any potential problems by sitting down with some key topics prior to them becoming an immediate concern and set clear boundaries about what you can and can’t budge on.
It’s at this point where the respect and understanding you’ve built up in the prior points will be most needed.
You’ll need to show compassion and understanding for each other as you tackle those big ‘What ifs’ together and figure out where the lines are drawn.
Be prepared: This may also be the conversation where you decide whether to stay together or part ways, but, if you do decide to stick together, you’ll almost certainly be a stronger couple for the conversation.
The notion that two people must have perfectly identical likes and dislikes is wonderfully romantic but not very practical at all.
In truth, we’re all flawed and relationships are much more about finding compromises where possible and reconciling “hard no’s” when they emerge than it is about being a perfect fit.
Work together in your relationship. Remember why you’ve chosen to stay together and find out where there’s leeway and where there’s not and you should be on the right track to make your relationship blossom, clashing ideologies and all.
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