Political Differences

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Dear Hoopers,
My boyfriend is a wonderful guy. We’ve been dating almost 9 months now (although we did break up for a 2-month period at the beginning of the year). This time around, we’ve been working really hard to make our relationship work and it’s the best we’ve ever been, even since the very beginning which is usually pretty hard to beat. Like, I was shocked for a good second when I reflected on how good our relationship was. However, recently we’ve been fighting somewhat over our differences in political views. Not that he’s a huge Trump supporter or anything (I wouldn’t be with him if he was lol), but we just have slight differences in how we view things. This can sometimes really bother me because like him, I’m very set in my ways and I like to convince people of what I’m thinking, which has never worked on him. He’ll also mention things about how our differing views on certain issues will affect how we raise kids down the road (!!!!!!!!!!!).

I don’t think any of this is worth breaking up over or anything (yet), but it does make me nervous whenever we watch a TV show and a topic of any political nature comes up because I’m scared he’s going to say something, and then I’ll counter if I don’t agree, we’ll fight, and it’ll be horrible. I also can’t stop thinking about what he thinks about other issues but I’m too scared and exhausted to find out. I basically just get way too in my own head and make myself feel really down about things. And I refuse to even talk to him about it right now anyway since I need, like, 2 months until we have our next big fight or something. Ultimately, my question for you guys is how do I deal with this mentally? He’s my perfect guy (in a sense) and we’ve worked sooooo hard to get our relationship to a great place and I don’t want this to be the downfall. Help, please.
-Political Differences

Dear Political Differences,
Political issues seem to be bubbling up between you, ripe and ready for conflict. This is particularly concerning because you see the world a certain way and like to convince other people that you are right. Unfortunately, your boyfriend does too. My guess is that this competitive energy is part of your relationship chemistry. You find this attractive in each other but it’s not as fun when it turns inward on your relationship.

There are many aspects and angles to a relationship. Political beliefs are just one. It is quite possible that a couple can live happily ever after even if they have differing political views. Much of finding peace in the differences depends on your personality style and relationship dynamics. Some couples go out of their way to find agreement. Other couples go out of their way to influence and convince their partner.


The important thing is not whether or not you disagree, but the way that you do it.

-Dr. Ryan

Kate and I are fortunate to see eye-to-eye on most political issues, but it hasn’t always been that way. It has taken time for both of us to share our thoughts and opinions with each other, which has influenced both of us to change. The important thing is not whether or not you disagree, but the way that you do it. I believe that it will be possible for you to express your views on politics to your boyfriend while also being respectful of his beliefs (and vice-versa).

This starts with body language and tone in approaching the issue. A calm voice and peaceful body language can go a long way to starting a conversation in an inviting way. It will be important to remind yourself that other points of view are also valid and that it’s okay for your boyfriend to see things differently. In fact, remember that your differences may just be the special sauce that makes your relationship work.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Political Differences,
You deal with it by talking about it. You don’t have to agree on every political view, but you will only continue to become frustrated if are not able to communicate your point of view, especially with the person you love. If you feel so passionately about these issues, don’t you want to share them with him? Even if you agree to disagree you can be respectful when discussing.

Political views are not always set in stone. They can grow and change with time, with influence from education, conversation and other people’s opinions. You may seem set in your ways now, but as the political landscape evolves and you become open to hearing other’s opinions, they may change. However, if you never discuss, how will you ever be able to communicate your reasoning on why you take a stance on a certain issue? If your boyfriend is equally passionate, it seems like this could be a great discussion if done respectfully.


You should respect his opinion and he should respect yours.

-Kate

This is not a deal breaker in your relationship. How should you deal with his mentality regarding politics? You should respect his opinion and he should respect yours. You can still agree to disagree but still find a way to respect each other. You probably won’t always arrive at the same decision or perspective. But who knows, it may actually bring you closer.
-Kate