Grandma always said there are two topics that are off limits at the dinner table: politics and religion. Why? Because they are two of the most controversial topics, and often lead to fighting and hurt feelings. Should politics in dating be treated the same way as politics at Grandma’s dinner table?
Election-related coverage is everywhere right now, so unless you are making an effort, it’s a difficult topic to avoid. If differing political views are a deal breaker for you, then you might as well make that your first question and get the possible elimination out of the way quickly. However, it is possible to date, and even marry (!) someone who thinks differently than you. You may even learn and grow as a person because of it.
An eHarmony article says one way to have a successful relationship with someone ofopposing political views is to simply “Declare the subject off limits.”
“This may not seem like the most mature approach, but its at least somewhat safe. In other words, it might be more ideal if you two could discuss all the issues in a loving and respectful way, and then simply agree to disagree on the points where you diverge. But thats not always possible. Some people just have such strong feelings when it comes to certain political issues that they cant calmly and reasonably discuss their opinions and feelings with someone who disagrees with them.”
So, basically, if you can’t talk about it without the conversation ending in a fight, just don’t talk about it at all.
The problem with this approach, while it may work for some, is that there will always be some level of connection missing in the relationship. Jen Doll wrote, in an article for The Wire,
“When you’re looking for someone to date and maybe fall in love with, you want someone who shares a certain set of values, simply. And politics, or how you want to vote and why, the things you believe in terms of the future of America, women’s rights, healthcare, the economythese are all pretty big things, big things to agree or disagree on.”
When it comes down to it, we all have deal breakers – certain issues we feel so strongly about, we refuse to compromise. It’s up to each of us, individually, to decide what those deal breakers are. Consider carefully, because you could miss out on some amazing people and experiences, but you could also avoid unwanted and unneeded drama.
Choose your deal breakers, but try to keep an open mind and heart in regard to the other issues. Maybe you can date someone who is on the fence on issues you feel strongly about it, and you can educate them on what you know, and vice versa. Whether in dating, or just life in general, we should be open to hearing the other side. It doesn’t mean we have change our own beliefs, but we can respectfully listen to each other.
Hopefully we can all learn a little something along the way.
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