If you're a young person in America, your political views are probably something you hold close to your heart, no matter where you fall on the spectrum. That being said, matching with a moderate hottie who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, or a snack who refuses to vote in 2020 if their candidate isn't the front-runner is terrifying — but it's also very possible. These conversations can be dicey and maybe even mood-killing, despite being so d*mn important. So, you're stuck asking yourself a very valid question: When should you talk about politics while dating?
You've probably witnessed the explosive potential of talking politics with your family, and needless to say, that's probably not the vibe you want for a first date. But even though bringing up politics early on while dating may seem too personal, you're better off just ripping off the Band-Aid, says dating expert Julie Spira — especially because our country is so divided.
"For the first time, differing politics has become the number one deal-breaker in relationships," Spira, author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships, tells Elite Daily. "Since politics is so much more than supporting a party, and the issues at stake are severe, [dating success] really comes down to finding someone with shared values."
"If your partner doesn't feel the way you do about women's rights, children separated at the border in cages, and healthcare, your values won't be aligned," Spira continues. Someone's political views can say a lot about them, from their soft spots, to their privilege, to their views on equality and conflict.
Even the decision to be apolitical can be a point of contention in relationships. So if you wouldn't be cool with dating someone who's apolitical or don't want to waste your time on someone with total opposite views, it helps to be upfront about these potential deal-breakers.
"Since we're in an election season now with primaries and debates filling the news cycle, not having an opinion isn't an option anymore," she says. "My research shows that 87% of singles won't date someone who didn't and won't vote, showing that being a voter is actually a sexy trait."
So, apart from worrying about what you're wearing or if your date is as cute in-person as they are on Tinder, you'll probably have to prepare for questions like, "Who are you voting for?" If you've got your answer ready, don't shy away from giving it and explaining which issues are a deciding factor in your endorsement.
"If you prefer to have a date in a politics-free zone, then treat it the same way as if someone starts to talk about their ex," Spira explains. "I recommend politely, saying, 'Oh, I don't talk about politics until the third date,' and smile or wink at your date."
If you're only just right of center or you're still heartbroken about Elizabeth Warren dropping out of the race, you can eliminate a lot of heartache (and headache) by putting your political affiliation in your dating app profile. "It's simple to show so by wearing political swag such as a MAGA hat or 'vote blue no matter who' [apparel] in your profile photos," Spira says. "On your profile, you can add, 'Swipe left if you voted right,' or 'Must support our president.'"
You might also end up dating someone who you disagree with on certain issues, but align with on core values. "Finding a compatible date doesn't mean you should only be interested in a mirror-version of yourself," Spira offers. "Learning another point of view can enrich your life, and having a lively political debate, as long as you're not attacking each other, could make for an interesting night on the town."
You'll know in your gut who feels like a good fit politically and who doesn't. As hot and exciting as your date may be, do both of you a favor and don't be afraid to jump right into the politics conversation. It might make things uncomfortable for a moment, but you'll thank yourself later.
Julie Spira, dating expert and author of Love In The Age Of Trump: How Politics Is Polarizing Relationships