Would you let political views get in the way of your relationship?
A friend of my post on her Facebook that she nearly went out on a date with a person that ‘seemed so perfect she thought he was a unicorn’ as she put it, but then discovered that he is a Trump voter. She got disappointed, and after many of her friends, myself included – because I honestly think she can do much better than a Trump voter – commenting, in short, that she should forget about him, my friend decided to do the right thing. She decided to go on a date and hear him out, not only because she got the opportunity to understand a Trump voter but because she is a good person who believes in discourse and because she likes a lot of things about her date. She also respects the fact that her date knew how she felt about Trump – obviously nothing good – but still continued to talk to her and asked her out on a date.
The last thing I want to do is turn this into a platform for discussing US election campaign and candidates, Trump in particular, but this got me thinking – how far are we ready to go in compromising when it comes to political views and values in our romantic relationships?
Our political views and beliefs, for those of us who have them, reflect our values and, naturally, we are passionate about our values because they represent an essential part of our personality core. As for the passion for politics, if you are not a political scientist, party member or you don’t live in a conflict or post-conflict zone where discussing political affairs is considered as small talk, and you are an average citizen of the free world, then your passion for politics comes out mainly during the election times. Passion here being lightly used as a term for an opinion.
In US political terms, would say, Trump voter and Clinton (or even Obama) voter be able to live happily ever after? The UK analogy of this happy marriage is between say, Jeremy Corbyn voter and Nigel Farage voter. Not impossible, but I would expect it to be dynamic, to say the least.
What do we tolerate when it comes to political views and beliefs and where do we say ‘Stop. This is how far I will go.’? Is it easier to nip the potential relationship in the bud if we see that we are at the opposite ends of a political spectrum? Do we tend to push our political views aside at the beginning because they are not as important? In reality, politics is not the first thing we talk about when we fancy someone unless the elections are on or unless we fancy a political scientist living in a war zone. And what happens when it becomes important? Is it too late then? Or should we just agree to disagree if we genuinely love and respect each other?
One of the 10 most common reasons people get divorced according to an article in Huffington Post is different priorities and interests but also the inability to resolve conflicts between partners. I’m not saying that politics should be high on the priority list of important traits in our future potential partner, but I’m confident that my friend was not the first person with this dilemma. This is a much broader issue than ‘Who do you vote for?’. It is about our views on the burning question of refugees and (im)migration in Europe and the US at the moment, and about our opinions on (un)employment and benefits that fall under economic programmes and development. About our views on national health services – one of the crucial matters being dealt with in the UK at the moment, and about climate change. About our views on foreign policies and whether we are ready to directly or indirectly take part in yet another war or do we support creating and promoting peace. We live in highly tumultuous times and our political views reflect our stands on all these questions, across the board. If there are heated discussions on one or more of these topics between partners without some sort of conclusion or resolution, would that eventually pose a burden to a relationship and to what extent?
Are we better off with a partner who has similar political views to ours or is perhaps a safer option to start a relationship at around the election time?