Can Dating Someone With Different Political Views Ever Work?

Can Dating Someone With Different Political Views Ever Work?

You meet someone amazing and hit it off immediately. Not only do you have the same favorite band and love marathoning Netflix documentaries, but you’re also incredibly attracted to one another. There’s just one little thing: you just don’t jive with some of their political beliefs. You don’t want to write them off over something that’s surmountable. However, you can’t help but wonder if dating someone with different political views is possible, let alone worthwhile. Here are some things to consider before going down this road.

Can dating someone with different political views work?

That really all depends. For some people, their political views are pretty loosely held and it’s not something they pay much attention to. Others feel so strongly about certain issues that they could never compromise on their views. Ultimately, whether or not a relationship like this could work is down to the individuals in it.

“Dating someone with different political views can work if your convictions in your beliefs regarding the issues you disagree aren’t that strong,” licensed therapist Kalley Hartman, LMFT, tells Bolde. “However, being in a relationship with someone who has different political views than your own can be incredibly challenging, especially if you both feel strongly about them. It is difficult because political views reflect your core values, and not having the same core values can be detrimental to a relationship. So, relationships like this can only work if either or both of you are willing to bend and change your values.”

There’s no right or wrong way to proceed here. If you decide you’d like to try in spite of your differences, go for it. Just be prepared for things to go awry if tensions become too heated. On the flip side, you may decide your opposite political views present a hurdle that’s way too high. That’s okay too.

How to make it work if you want to try

  1. Be willing to talk about it. Licensed clinical social worker Joni Ogle, LSCW, CSAT, tells Bolde that avoiding political topics is the wrong approach. If you’re going to be together, you need to be able to have frank discussions. However, it’s important to be respectful. “Discussions about politics should be kept civil and respectful. It’s important to listen to each other’s opinions and be open-minded even if you don’t agree with them,” Ogle says. “Discussions about politics can be difficult but it is essential for a healthy relationship. Before discussing politics, make sure both partners feel comfortable and respected.”
  2. See beyond their politics. While politics are personal, people are more than their political ideals. Of course, dating someone who’s homophobic, racist, or anti-abortion may be a no-go. However, if you’re on different sides of less serious issues, you can make it work. Understand that all people are more complex and nuanced than the way they vote. (Well, most of them are, anyway.)
  3. Be open to other points of view. You may feel pretty strongly about certain issues, but so do they. It’s always worth hearing other perspectives if only to gain more of an understanding of each other. “Be receptive to hearing and understanding each other’s points of view,” advises relationship counselor Sam Holmes of Feel & Thrive. “Talk about why you disagree, and if you can get to know each other and understand each other’s perspectives, you may be able to find common ground.”
  4. Agree to disagree. If you know there are certain things neither of you is willing to budge on, you’ll eventually have to accept that if you want to be together. You should be willing to compromise with one another where possible. Where it’s not, you simply have to move on.

What not to do if you’re dating someone with different political views

  1. Don’t insult them or resort to name-calling. Don’t default to name-calling and personal insults. Discussions around politics are often emotionally charged and can quickly become heated. That’s why it’s important to remain respectful and open-minded when discussing opposing views. Don’t let your different views drive a wedge between the two of you.
  2. Don’t try to prove them wrong. That’s incredibly tough, especially when you feel you’re right. However, it’s unfair will ultimately get you nowhere. If you feel so strongly about your beliefs, assume they’re the same. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and
    validating people’s feelings can help build trust and understanding,” Ogle suggests. “Try not to let political differences be the main focus in a relationship. Instead, celebrate each other’s similarities and enjoy activities you both can do together that don’t involve discussing politics.”
  3. Don’t overlook major idealistic differences. When you’re dating someone with different political views, it’s important that you don’t sacrifice your own beliefs to keep the relationship going. If they’re a hardcore republican who believes immigrants are destroying America and women should be forced to have their rapist’s child, you probably need to head out rather than stick around. While you don’t have to agree on every little thing, the big stuff is non-negotiable.

In conclusion

Dating someone with different political views isn’t a big deal to many people. However, given the state of the world at the moment, it’s hard not to take a person’s politics as a sign of their overall character. If you’re someone who believes in equality for all, you want to be with someone who’s the same. Being with someone who “doesn’t care” about issues like immigration, healthcare, and reproductive rights is either privileged, ignorant, or both. No one would blame you if you decided that nonsense isn’t for you.

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love.