The election is over...finally! And you feel like your relationship has traveled through more political battlegrounds than the candidates. You're on the left, he's on the right. And one of you is still threatening to move to Canada.
But since fleeing the country's not an option (your mother would be devastated and you're not crazy about the accent up North), you have to agree to disagree. If not, the next four years are going to be more tumultuous than a rabid moose running from Sarah Palin over rugged Alaskan terrain.
So how do couples from both sides of the aisle find common ground, or at least learn to listen to each other?
Start with some humor. Jodi and John are a couple living in NYC, with very different political viewpoints. John is a Republican and Jodi is a Democrat. And this election year, they’ve learned that quick wit and good-natured sarcasm can stop a heated debate from resulting in one of them sleeping on the couch.
John points out that, “The best way to get out of an argument is to joke around a little bit.”
In which Jodi responds, “Well, that’s easy to do when you're talking about the Republicans.”
John laughs, “Ohhhh, snap.”
Change You Can’t Believe In?
Couples in a political predicament need to remember that it’s all about being open-minded, not trying to convert your significant other to your side.
Meredith Mulvaney, a Democrat who lives with her Republican fiancé Matt in Washington, DC says, “It is hard for me not to feel overly sensitive about some topics, but Matt’s opinions are usually very rational and bring up opinions and facts that I had not known or thought of. I think the goal cannot be ‘I have to change his opinion’ but rather, ‘Think about it this way.'”
John agrees that the key is, “to respect each other's opinions.”
Jodi replies matter-of-factly, “At least now he admits his fault in voting for Bush."
However, according to Dr. Laura Grashow, it's imporant to be aware that your political views can impact your future. "Real fundamental differences in values could point to a failed relationship or marriage when the stakes get high; as in, when you’re raising children, buying a home or allocating money for your expenses."
But, if you need a fast solution for a more friendly squabble, try this quick fix. In an effort to see how both sides work together, turn on C-SPAN. You’ll both fall instantly asleep instead of screaming at each other over the economy.
There’s actually a good side to being “politically-incompatible.” All that arguing gets you to challenge each other, and push each other’s buttons which can help fuel the spark in your relationship.
John says, “It makes people more interesting when you disagree. It adds more passion in the relationship and you can always learn from each other.”
Jodi adds, “I think it’s healthy to have something to argue about—something that doesn't have anything to do with your relationship.”
Eric Shafran, of Cleveland, Ohio, who considers his views moderate says, “In some cases, consistent political views are indeed a bonus. But by the same token, so can be the ability to have a healthy, respectful debate. The bottom line, some guys like curves, some guys like a sense of humor, some guys like a conservative. Either way, politics should never be a deal-breaker with regard to the opposite sex.”
Fellow Clevelander Joel Freimark, an Independent engaged to a Republican says, "The fact of the matter is, our relationship has so many other aspects, that we can respectfully agree to disagree in the political spectrum."
Putting Aside Politics
So, whether you’re a maverick, a pit-bull with lipstick, or just looking for some change you can believe in, not always seeing eye to eye in politics can bring a lot to a relationship if you do it right.
Now if only Congress could follow these tips…
Do you have advice on how to deal with your political polar opposite?
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