Should You Break Up With Your Partner Over Politics? 7 Women Explain Why They Did
For me, attending a Liberal Arts college meant a lot of people asking for non-dairy milk, hating on Lena Dunham, and contemplating "the big questions" like, "Is the personal political?!" and "Should you break up with your partner over politics?" Alas, college was where I first learned the difference between capital-P Politics, like government and registered parties, and small letter-p politics, meaning daily choices and practices. Capital-P "Politics" is defined by who you vote for (or if you vote), while small-p "politics" means interpersonal interactions such as "office politics." Do you invite your boss to your housewarming party? (Ahem, Kristin Cavallari.)
In romantic partnerships, it's common to wonder if you and bae should be a united front. Can you agree to disagree? Often if partners' views align across both the Political and political spectrums, you'll vote the same and have similar tipping habits. You may have even started dating because of shared semi-political interests, like world news or working in public education. There's a lot to be said about loving someone that would have chosen the other candidate, or dating someone who doesn't vote at all. Politics can be divisive and when you're super passionate about something like immigration policy, trans rights, or reproductive justice, it can be difficult to actively date someone who doesn't share your views. It's not impossible. And with mutual respect, willingness to listen, and ability to see issues from other perspectives, plenty of couples make it work across party lines.
Still, when you find someone that understands you and loves you, it can be confusing to learn they don't belong to your political party. Though opposite voting habits aren't a deal breaker for everyone, I spoke with 7 women who chose to dump their past partners over political differences.
1. Other People Policy.
If a guy is going to vote for people who back policies meant to help themselves and hurt others, I would rather they f*ck themselves than me f*ck them.
— Adrienne, 24
2. Sorry, my ride's here.
I went home with a guy once and then he started telling me how the country should be run like a business and so I called a Lyft and went home.
— Elizabeth, 22*
3. Agree to disengage.
It’s very difficult to coexist and have an intimate relationship with someone when you find that you can’t even agree on the most fundamental subjects. I thought I could make it work, but it just couldn't.
— Maeve, 33*
4. Ballots Before Ballads
She didn't check her voter registration until literally yesterday and it turns out she can't vote and wasn't registered. Ugh. Deal breaker for me.
— Mika, 20*
5. Words Matter.
"The guy I was dating in college would so often say something offensive, that I'd immediately shut down and eventually it got to the point where I'd tell him we couldn't have political conversations. In the end we broke up because we had a giant fight about him calling my friend a whore, after I told him that was absolutely unacceptable.
— Kim, 25
6. Learning to Unlearn.
Learning my ex was so ill-informed and also so arrogant and unwilling to unlearn what his family had taught him, it showed me he didn't care about the things I cared about, and ultimately, he didn't care about me.
— Monika, 19
7. Personal Is Political
As a WOC living in America, loving me is a political act. If my partner — someone I'm deliberately choosing to love and spend time with — cannot accept the realties of racism or sexism in our country, if they can't see what I go through, then they don't see me, and they don't understand who I am.
— Maria, 20*
Whether it's gun control or birth control, political compatibility can be a major deal breaker for some. Relationships are places of growth. Learning new things can be a wonderful aspect of spending time with a special someone. For lots of couples, it is possible to make their love work regardless of their political differences. But for others, political differences, Capital-P or little-p, reveal a greater conflict within their relationship — a discord in core values. But remember, every connection is different, and when it comes to your own dating life, yours is the only vote that counts.
*Names have been changed.