Love In The Time Of Politics: 3 Tips For Dating Across Party Lines
Dating trends in the 21st century have changed the way Millennials view love. Relationships are formulaic and calculated based on compatibility algorithms.
And while it's easy to leave the heavy duty number crunching to online dating sites, we have some philosophical deal-breaker qualities for potential partners that go beyond mathematics. How does our political direction affect the direction of our Tinder swipes?
According to The Pew Research Center, social media politics infiltrate our friendships. Eighteen percent of social networking site users have either de-friended, blocked or hidden friends online because of the nature of their political posts. As more people broadcast their political views, it's a lot easier to identify like-minded friends.
Romantically, research shows people tend to choose partners with shared political views, and rate profiles that boast political similarities as more attractive. So what do you do when you find out that great guy is a Democrat? What if he's a Republican?
There are challenges ahead, but it's possible to leave the battleground mentality in Florida and Ohio. Here are three tips for dating someone with a different political view than you:
1. Become comfortable challenging each other.
Relationships aren't easy; every pairing argues and disagrees from time to time. It's human nature.
More frightening, however, is the couple who seems to agree on just about everything. No matter how much you love someone, things get boring if you don't delve into something philosophical every now and then.
Challenging your partner's political views, even in a topical, “So what do you think of Trump?” way is fun, but it requires tremendous tact. Psychologist and author Samantha Rodman offered her professional insight on debating with a romantic partner. In order to properly approach and debate a tense political issue, Rodman says it's best to deeply research your partner's viewpoint.
Rather than agreeing to disagree, Rodman says that understanding the motivations for an opposing view will help you respect and challenge your partner more logically. While it may be tempting to half-listen (nodding your head while silently tallying up the holes in his or her argument), Rodman says that immediate rejection of your partner's views could translate into a perceived rejection of him or her as a person.
If you want to challenge a viewpoint, ask your partner for factual examples or past experiences to support an argument. That way, you'll have a better understanding of how to frame your response.
In the long run, dating someone with different political views can actually improve your communication skills and open up new topics of conversation.
And if your candidate happens to win, be humble. Nothing screams defensive like saying, “I told you so.”
2. Don't try to change each other.
While challenging each other's views can lead to a healthy debate, don't try to change the other person altogether. Current events can hit close to home for a number of reasons, and everyone has at least one issue that flips an emotional switch. That's where a regular discussion can turn into a personal attack.
For this reason, eHarmony recommends declaring certain political issues off-limits. If a topic gets too heated, it's best to just not discuss it.
There are some issues we feel strongly about, especially since our brains are programmed to react to the emotional side of an issue first, and the logical side second. Better to leave some stones unturned than to make your partner feel ridiculous.
3. Be honest about what you want.
Some people are simply more interested in politics than others. If you are closely and passionately tied to your identity as a Republican or Democrat, then it's important to be honest with your partner as soon as possible about what you want.
Not everyone will budge on an issue, and some may prioritize a particular view as a relationship deal breaker. Is this a value you wish to share with your future husband or wife?
If so, then calling it quits may save both of you a lot of heartache. You are allowed to be picky with what you want in a significant other.
If politics play a huge role in your life, by all means, find the person who shares your values more closely. Being upfront about deal-breaker issues is the best way to avoid hurt feelings.
Ultimately, be respectful. If you're more fluent in your political beliefs, then maybe someone who's different from you will create the dynamic relationship you're looking for.
There are examples of successful cross-political relationships everywhere, and if they can make it work, so can you.