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Are you a Democrat or Republican?

Who do you think you’re going to vote for?

Who is your favorite president?

These are often the first questions that a politico asks a prospective boyfriend or girlfriend, even though we have been warned time and time again that we should never talk about politics in the beginning. As the politically passionate people we are, we aren’t willing to push aside our passions just because it’s “against the social norm.” We ask anyway. Politics is our passion and sometimes it can seem like our life. Being in a committed relationship with politics often means that real relationships come second, but what happens when you find a great person, yet they have different political views than you? You reevaluate.

First, it starts with questioning whether or not this relationship is worth pursuing. Not because you can’t handle someone thinking differently than you, but because you are discussing politics 90% of your time anyway.  Arguing with your significant other over politics can be extremely tiring.

Secondly, one must evaluate whether or not you are capable of supporting your significant other in his or her political trials and tribulations… and vice versa. I know for me personally, whether or not someone is going to support my endeavors or my goals can be a make or break moment.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if someone is going to support you as soon as you get into your first small argument, because you’re still trying to figure the other person out. I, like many other females, am quick to say “I just don’t see how this can work” because having that support is so important to me; however, from what I’ve learned recently, having that conversation about support could be the changing moment from which your relationship takes off.

 From my experience, here are 10 tips I recommend when cross-political party dating:

  1. Do not think that you’re going to change this person’s mind in a matter of minutes and don’t go into the relationship trying to “fix” them, politically speaking.

  2. Do not avoid political discussions. This is a great way to feel like your activism isn’t important to the other person or that their activism isn’t important to you. Have those discussions and learn things from one another.

  3. Have these discussions early in the relationship in order to decide what could be best for each of you. Sometimes it’s impossible to bring two opposites together. This doesn’t mean that you’re shallow for not wanting to date them; it just means it’s not best for what you both need.

  4. Do not let the fact that they think differently than you be the thing that changes your mind about them. While it’s extremely important to some that you must think alike, I have learned that it’s so much more important to be able to communicate your points instead of always agreeing.

  5. Know when to stop the political discussion. If you realize things are getting heated, slowly shift the conversation to something else. Having a knock-down drag-out fight over the latest appropriations bill will do nothing to grow the relationship.

  6. Be willing to listen. Be that person to listen to your significant others latest activism scandal or the argument they got into during class. Lend them advice and what other way they could’ve communicated their point.

  7. Sometimes, activists just need to rant. Let them. Politics is a place where you have to keep a smile on even when someone is telling you that you’re the scum of the earth. Feelings get hurt and let that person know that you turn to them to rant because you trust them.

  8. Try to understand where your significant other is coming from. Don’t immediately write off their ideas or their way of thinking. Really try to understand, even if you don’t agree with their opinion.

  9. Focus on the things you do have in common. Don’t always focus on the political differences you may have with this person. There are likely subjects that you can agree on. That’s a good way to bounce ideas off each other and really work together.

  10. Remember why you liked that person to begin with. You didn’t pick that person only to fight with them later. You chose to talk to this person because they made you smile and they made you happy. Don’t let one political argument keep you from the bigger picture.

Relationships, like politics, have their ups and downs, but what is life without a little challenge and what is a relationship without a meaningful discussion early on? Dating someone who may not think the way you do might be troublesome, but from what I have learned, its not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of something great.

Just remember to stay true to yourself because you’re always Right.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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