Love & politics are both known to fuel strong emotions, especially when they clash and the political differences become the source of endless debate. According to social search people’s search for the right partner is influenced by these elements: similar relationship goals, personal chemistry and compatibility to establish whether they are a good match. However, have you ever had a relationship derailed by discovering that the other person doesn’t match in regard to their personal political opinions? Is it really that important in a relationship for you to both vote the same way? Is politics a no-go topic for your first date?
First, understand that arguing about politics is one of the common pastimes in the world. If you are dating or in a relationship with someone who shares different political views, you may need some extra help in navigating those tricky shoals. Here are 5 warning signs to avoid and 7 tips for healthy political talk with your partner or your date.
5 Red flags to be aware of
At eaimee, we were curious to find out in our latest survey if political differences spell the end for love. About 12% of people surveyed told us it did not matter and 35% said they could not date someone with different political views, however the majority of our participants indicated that it depends on how extreme the other person’s views are.
According to our relationship experts, political differences don’t necessarily hurt a relationship. They say it depends on how strong the relationship is to begin with. If you put political differences into an already undernourished partnership, the strain can be big. According to social research, not all couples manage their political differences gracefully. Here are 5 warning signs to look out for if you want to avoid damaging your relationship:
Lack of Respect
When talking politics, you call each other names, roll your eyes, or make disparaging remarks.
You begin to see your partner as an antagonist, rather than a teammate. You look for holes in your partner’s arguments instead of trying to see his or her perspective.
Overuse of “But”
But is a big eraser. It erases what was said before. If you’re deleting what your partner says, that’s problematic.
One of you withdraws or leaves the room whenever politics comes up.
Tension creeps into your everyday conversations and activities, even when you’re not talking politics.
READ MORE: First date questions!
7 Tips for Healthy Political Talk
Couples with good communications skills may find it enriching to discuss their differences . What’s important is not the actual differences between people, but how the differences are handled. If couples handle political talk well, it can be a great source of intimacy and connection. Heated talks aren’t harmful if couples genuinely care about each other’s opinion and respect each other intellectually.
To maintain respect amid strong political differences, we recommend a few ground rules in mixing love & politics:
Aim to Share Ideas, Not to Change Minds
The goal of political discussions should be to comprehend each other’s thinking, not to change each other’s minds. Like trying to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and really understand where they’re coming from.
Learn to Listen
Make sure your discussions aren’t one-sided. Give your partner a chance to speak and try to learn something. Acknowledge that you understand his or her point even if you don’t agree.
Focus on Common Concerns
During love & politics talk, shared concerns can provide a sense of solidarity, even in mixed marriages.
Avoid Arguing to Win
Don’t let your discussions become contests. If every argument has a winner and loser, the dialogue becomes demoralizing for at least one of you.
In love& politics debate keep Emotions at Bay
Keep the emotional intensity in the quiet zone. Calling your partner or her favorite candidate names will only fuel resentment.
In love& politics debate take a Time Out
When political talk leads to verbal abuse, use a “Stop Action”- a sort of Time Out for grown-ups. Stop the argument by changing the subject or getting a drink of water, and come back to the topic later when you both feel calmer.
It’s Your Relationship
While politics may be important to you, couples must agree the family life comes first. Try to balance out political arguments during politics debate with other activities you enjoy together, including plenty of physical affection.
Couples who can’t stick to these ground rules may be better off avoiding political talk. But in the long run, the health of the relationship depends on learning to discuss differences with respect.
Need to read more dating advice, check our blog section