How Couples With Different Political Views Can Survive Election Night
This election has been stressful AF. Not only do most Americans (and even more Millennials) report feeling anxiety over the election, but a September 2016 Monmouth University Poll of 802 registered voters found that 70 percent of Americans think the 2016 election has brought out the worst in people — and some have lost friends over it. While there weren't stats of how many couples have broken up over it, it's inevitably affecting couples in interpolitical relationships — and marriages.
But just because it may be tough to overcome political differences, know that couples who disagree on politics aren't doomed. "It can work to date someone with different political views as long as any underlying values differences are ones you can both tolerate," Pella Weisman, Dating Coach and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, tells Bustle. "Let's say your partner is a Republican and you're a Democrat. If your partner votes Republican because he's fiscally conservative, that part might be OK with you if he's supportive of women's rights, LBGTQI rights, etc. It comes down to how you want to live and how you want to share a life. If you value tolerance and civil rights, and your partner doesn't, that might be a deal-breaker because it impacts choices you make together about who you spend time with and how you treat people —and perhaps eventually how you raise children and how you make financial choices."
And, differences can benefit you too. "Differences can also be fun and interesting," Relationship and Dating Advisor Cathryn Mora of LoveSparkme tells Bustle. "You could say something like "I know we don't agree on politics, but I love how we agree on... family values/ business/spirituality/child-raising..." (or whatever makes you strong as a couple)."
Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast "I Want It That Way" recently talked to Mandy Stadtmiller, "Unwifeable" columnist at New York Magazine, to discuss her experience in an interpolitical marriage:
Here are some tips on how to survive election night together, because it's finally here.
If You Watch The Results Together....
If you want to watch the results together, do it, but have a few rules in place. "Some people do something simple like making the rule that nobody is allowed to use the word 'hate' or you have to take a time out when you get heated," Mora says. "You could make a game of it... for every seat your candidate wins, you have to give the other person a back rub, a kiss, or some other personal treat."
If You Don't...
Don't feel like watching the coverage? "On the other hand, there's no law which says you need to watch it together. For some people, it might be best to go to the movies and just read the results when you get home," Mora says.
What To Do When The Results Come In
OK, so you survived watching coverage (or a movie) on one of the most stressful nights of the year, but now it's time for the moment of truth — the winner. "Only one of you will 'win'," Mora says. "You have to look at the big picture and how this really affects your relationship. History has been filled with politicians who have done good and bad things for their country... in the grand scheme of life, you will look back and realize that this was just another term. Yes, the result is important, but you have to place a lot more value on your relationship and your respect and love for each other than on which political party is in government."
Going Forward, Remember This:
"Remember that your partner's political views are generally not the most important aspect of who they are," Mora says. "Try and accept and embrace your differences, maintain a close relationship based on your other common values and the love you have for each other. If you find yourself getting heated, write a list of all your partner's qualities. Reflect on those and balance it out with their political views."
This election may have had you stressed, heated, scared, and angry at one point or another (or 100 points), but it'll all be over soon. So take a deep breath and put it all into perspective.
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