Dating political differences

Before agreeing to meet, both emphasized their commitments to their respective values and agreed to respectfully disagree—establishing an unspoken strategy of topic avoidance.They went on to date for two years before they came to the realization that, in their case, love was not enough.The extent to which two partners are able to respectfully debate sensitive issues such as politics may depend on the strength of the overall communication, a fundamental indicator of relationship success.A woman I worked with in therapy—I’ll call her Susan—was recently divorced and just getting back into the dating world.So it makes sense, then, that not seeing eye-to-eye on some very volatile, important political and social issues might cause the end of some relationships.BUT THEN AGAIN, THERE'S ALWAYS THE RISK OF GETTING TOO FAT, WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS THE GREATEST SIN ANYONE COULD COMMIT.*smashes head against wall*Where was I?When asked in an interview, “How the heck did you two get together?” Matalin simply responded, “Love is blind, love is deaf.” Most of us can relate to this sentiment, but how have Matalin and Carville managed to sustain a happy marriage over two decades, two children, and two successful and opposing political careers?

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When it came to politics, however, they couldn’t have been more different: she was a self-described “bleeding-heart liberal,” while he was a staunch conservative.

Some couples embrace political differences, some don’t care, and others still consider having similar views non-negotiable.

Given that we each have our own influences, history of experiences, psychological makeup, and subjective lens through which we view the world, some differences are bound to exist or arise.

“I must admit that sometimes I saw it as a challenge—like maybe if I can change his mind, I can change others’.” Of course, trying to change a partner often doesn’t turn out well. Of course, having polar opposite political views doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed.

Witness Democratic commentator James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin, a Republican consultant.

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