If you don’t know that it’s election season, I’d like to know what rock you’ve been hiding beneath. For us non-rock people, we’re in the thick of primary season. It feels like there’s a primary or caucus every day at this point and a debate at least once a week. And don’t get me started on the social media posting from every single person I’ve ever Facebook friended. Those are coming in fast and furious. And while of course everyone’s entitled to their opinions and has a right to voice those opinions—that’s part of what makes this country so great—it can be draining to hear opinions you disagree with on a constant basis. That’s especially true when it comes from your boo. It’s very possible to have a happy, healthy relationship with someone who has different political beliefs than you do, but it takes some work. Politics! Here’s what you need to do.
Decide what’s important – it’s politics
While a relationship between two people of different political leanings is possible, a relationship between two people with completely different values isn’t. You need to dig deep and figure out what’s at your core and what you need respected and validated by a partner. For example, I’m very passionate about the environment. I couldn’t partner with a man who I knew didn’t care about my deep love for Mother Earth. I honestly feel that someone who values financial gain over preserving this planet has their priorities completely wrong. So, I need to be with a man who feels the same way about environmental issues as I do. That’s a core value to me. But, I have other issues that I’m much more flexible on. For example, I have my opinions about taxes in this country, but they’re just opinions. I could be with someone who had a different idea about how taxes should be handled. You have to decide what’s important at a fundamental level to you and what’s not. Don’t compromise on those fundamental issues. Find a man who feels the same way you do. There’s no faking that!
Explain your position
For the more minor issues you two disagree on, it’s going to come down to communication and respect. But, what in relationships doesn’t? Research your opinion and then take the time to carefully and calmly explain your position. Be prepared to take questions from him without being defensive, which can be tough. As long as you stay cool and collected and focus on educating him, rather than convincing him, you’ll be golden.
And now comes the tough part. You have to give him the opportunity to do the same. Hear his point, ask questions to understand his position better, don’t attack him and be open. Chances are that you won’t be convinced to take his position on the matter, but understanding why he’s on his side will make you more understanding.
Agree to disagree in your relationship
Now that you’ve both been adults and done the right thing by listening to each other, you can back away from it. No need to discuss further. You two are on different sides on this issue, but no need to make that a tipping point for your relationship. Discuss the issue when it comes up, but don’t look for opportunities to bring it up and don’t needle it needlessly. No one you meet with share the same exact opinions as you, so it’s fine to let some things go.
Happy primary season, everyone. Hope you all vote! It’s the best and most important way to have an impact on America’s future!