What to Do If Your Partner Has Different Political Views

Listen to their opinion and try to find common ground.

Matt Lillywhite
Nov 17, 2020 · 4 min read
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Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

When you fall in love with someone, you try to accept every part of them. Not just their hobbies, taste in music, and favorite foods. But also their political views. After all, a strong and healthy relationship requires you to accept each other for who you both are.

Chances are, your partner doesn’t have the same political views on absolutely everything. But that’s okay. Disagreements over politics are inevitable — especially if you come from different backgrounds. As David Ludden writes in Psychology Today:

“The region where you grew up is a strong predictor of your political orientation in adulthood, but again there are plenty of exceptions. If you were raised in rural Georgia or Arkansas, you’re likely quite conservative, and yet these regions also produced two Democratic presidents — Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Likewise, New Yorkers are notoriously liberal, yet our current Republican president hails from the Big Apple.”

You’re a product of your past experiences. And so is your partner. So expecting to agree on everything would be unrealistic.

To have a strong relationship, you need to accept each other’s political views and opinions on various topics.

Here are several ways that you can start:

Whenever You Disagree, Assume The Best In Your Partner.

Don’t try to agree with each other, since that’s probably not going to work. Instead, understand why your partner has certain opinions and how they arrived at a specific conclusion. Roy T. Bennett said it best:

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply.”

My ex-girlfriend was extremely conservative. However, I always tried to understand why she held certain beliefs or opinions. She did the same for me. And as a result, we rarely had fights or arguments.

The vast majority of people have good intentions. So try to assume that your partner does, as well. The alternative is believing they’re an evil person who wants to destroy the world and watch it burn. And obviously, assuming the worst about your partner isn’t a great way to sustain a healthy relationship.

Limit Political Discussions If They Interfere With Daily Life.

Try not to talk about current affairs all the time if you disagree with your partner on every single topic.

Instead, a much better strategy is to limit the time and place you discuss politics — to prevent it from interfering with other aspects of your lives. Quoting an article published by Elite Daily:

“For a relationship with differing politics to work, talking about Donald Trump non-stop will backfire. If one wants to watch the presidential debates or volunteer for a phone bank, while the other wants to go hiking, you can choose to do both, as long as you agree on how much time will be devoted to politics. In other words, for it to work, you should set a timer for the political convo, and then stick to it.”

You love your partner for a reason. So instead of focusing on what you don’t have in common, spend more time talking about what you do. Once you limit political discussions from interfering with daily life, the positive impact it’ll have on your relationship is profound.

Recognize That You (Probably) Won’t Convert Your Partner. So You Might As Well Accept Them.

That’s the key to a strong relationship: acceptance. Like the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius wrote thousands of years ago:

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

I didn’t even consider the idea of getting into a relationship with a conservative until I met my (now ex) girlfriend. But once we both prioritized love over politics, we found a way to make it work. For anyone wondering, the reason we broke up wasn’t due to political differences.

Anyway, you probably won’t convince your partner to join your side of the political aisle. So instead of negatively judging them, a much better strategy is to practice acceptance. As Alice Boyes writes in Psychology Today:

“In relationships, it’s easy to develop habitual, frustrated responses to your partner’s flaws and lose sight of how important that quality is in the big picture of your relationship. If you step back and get perspective, you can turn down the intensity of your emotional reactions, feel more gratitude, and move on to thinking about practical solutions for how you can minimize the impact of your differences.”

If you don’t accept each other for who you are, you’ll both build a lot of resentment. And for obvious reasons, that’s not a great long-term relationship strategy.

Chances are, your partner isn’t absolutely perfect, and neither are you. Everyone has flaws. But falling in love requires practicing acceptance, empathy, and tolerance.

That’s how you make a relationship work.


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Matt Lillywhite

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