The best relationships can challenge you and help you grow. When it you and your significant other being on the same team, there are a lot of aspects to take into consideration. One such factor are your political beliefs, which can be significant when it comes to developing a healthy relationship. So if you disagree with your significant other about politics there are a few things to take into account.
Politics are personal, and it's up to you to decide what role you want them to play in your relationship. Reflect on what you need to feel comfortable with a partner. Do you need someone who votes for your party? Are you OK having different opinions on certain issues, but not others? Would you enjoy lively political debates with your partner? "If politics are of paramount importance to you and your partner’s difference of opinion really grates on your nerves or leads you to lose respect for them, that would be a bad sign," says Nicole Issa, PsyD., psychologist, couples therapist, and founder of PVD Psychological Associate.
For some people, politics are directly a part of their rights and livelihoods and therefore separating themselves from their beliefs isn't an option. This much is true for Kassiani, 26, who tells Elite Daily, "It’s crucial for my partner and me to be on the same page in regards to politics because it informs our existence as lesbians and as people who care about offering reparations and lessening the suffering of others." She adds that she's dated people in the past who didn’t share her worldview, and it was exhausting to constantly be doling out emotional labor to try to get them to understand where she was coming from. "After those experiences, I knew it was essential to date someone who understood where I was coming from as a queer woman," she says.
If you're comfortable with differing political views because you have similar core values, Issa recommends that talking through topics like basic human rights, core political values that you have, and certain topics that are non-negotiable for you. These topics could be anything from being pro-choice, supporting organizations like Black Lives Matter, aligning with a certain political party, or believing strongly that everyone should vote. Discussions around these things can be healthy for your relationship because you will get to know one another better and understand them more fully. Sometimes people might not politically align at first because another person simple didn't know about a certain issue, so that's where discussion can be helpful as long as one person isn't expected to constantly educate the other.
When it comes to discussing your beliefs with your partner, Issa explains that "It is important to be able to disagree... It also can be great for relationships to be able to have stimulating conversation that expands both of your horizons." She adds that the conversation shouldn't delve into a fight and that you both should be respectful and caring. She also recommends having some element of physical contact like holding hands or maybe even sitting close enough that your knees or legs are touching. If the conversation gets heated and emotional, you may want to walk away from it for a little bit and come back to it after you've had time to think about it.
Issa says that a relationship with differing political views could work as long as it doesn't make you uncomfortable or you don't have hopes that they'll eventually change. "You may want to grow together, but ask yourself if you would be happy with your partner if they stayed as they are in this very moment and with no change. If the answer is no, give the relationship some more thought. It’s not fair to yourself or to them to want to be together but with several caveats." Political views are only one aspect of a person, and though they could change, it's essential that you are accepting this partner who they are when you start your relationship. If there are significant discrepancies in your politics, it's OK to have questions or concerns.
It's incredible that you're thinking about your partner so thoroughly that you're taking their political views into account. It shows confidence in what you believe as well as shows that you're serious about inviting someone into your life and want to make sure they are the right fit for you.