There's no denying it: we live in a politically-charged atmosphere, and it's creeping out of the beltway and into other areas of everyday life - including dating! Whether you lean left or right is a “bigly” factor in deciding whether to “swipe left” or “swipe right” when looking for love. And as people from both sides on the aisle double down on their beliefs, the lack of compromise is taking a toll on relationships - especially following the election of Donald Trump.
And there's data to back it up. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 29% of Americans say the Trump presidency has negatively impacted at least one of their relationships. A 2017 Wakefield Research study, entitled the "Trump Effect on American Relationships," finds nearly 30% of Americans who are married or in relationships say the current, hyper charged political atmosphere has caused tension with their partner. And a survey of one million members of the dating site OK Cupid found 65% of users wouldn’t even entertain the thought of dating a Trump supporter.
The so-called “Trump Effect” is also boosting business for divorce attorneys like Lois Brenner. “I’ve been doing this for about 35 years, and I have never seen anything like it,” Brenner told the New York Daily News. “It’s kind of amazing. It’s really surprising and astounding.” But there's at least one group not surprised by this trend: relationship experts. “When I started almost 30 years ago I would inquire about politics like I would about any other factors that would go into making a match. What I’ve observed is what with the polarization that’s taking place politically, it’s now not a factor to be considered, but it’s almost a deal breaker for many people,” Leora Hoffman, a professional matchmaker based in the Washington, DC area, told Fox News. She also says she's personally witnessed situations in which a couple has broken up over a lack of political compatibility, and it's getting more common.
There are now a number of apps and websites catering to singles specifically looking for people with similar political beliefs, so you won’t have to “swipe left” if you see someone whose views conflict with yours. But there are still some people who are willing to branch out of their political comfort zone in their search for a mate. One woman who describes herself as politically independent wouldn’t mind going out with someone who has different beliefs “as long as you’re not too far to the left, too far to the right, you have a brain, you can actually think.” Another single looking for love who identifies himself as firmly on the left told us he’s open to dating someone from across the aisle because “it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing.” But he says political compatibility is of the “utmost importance because it’s going to come up eventually”.
So how does a young dater navigate the hyper partisan atmosphere so romance can survive the political divide? Hoffman says she believes honesty is the best policy from the beginning, and recommends not shying away from the truth when it comes to your own political beliefs. “While somebody might say they’re in the middle of the road politically, they really have opinions, and it plays itself out on the first date,” she said. Hoffman also encourages singles in the dating pool to place a greater emphasis on things they have in common. “If they focus on what makes them feel connected with each other, rather than looking for the differences, in the beginning especially, they’re going to start on a healthier foundation,” she said
And it's not all bad - despite today’s political climate, some couples with opposing views are capable of maintaining an ideologically healthy relationship. One woman told us, “I wish I would’ve known before I got married my husband's political views a little bit better." But for this bipartisan union, the secret is simple: “We don’t talk about politics at home,” she said.
Steve Rappoport is a Newscast Producer and Anchor for Fox News Radio. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveRappoport.