Can I date someone with different political views?
I’ve never been very interested in politics before; however, my perspective has changed due to recent events and the 2020 election. Since becoming more informed, I’ve found that dating has become a challenge due to forming strong political opinions. I have a tendency to withdraw as soon as I found out that a person has differing political views. How can I find a balance between accepting someone’s different views without losing myself?
Congrats on becoming more politically engaged and forming a strong perspective on what matters to you—it’s difficult, but meaningful work. In a time of unprecedented political polarization, not everyone will be compatible with your newly clarified viewpoint. The important thing is that you have one, and that it means something to you.
It is absolutely possible to find relationships of all depths (friends, dating, partnerships) that share and support your values and outlook on the world. It’s wonderful that you want to accept someone else’s perspective, this is how we grow and challenge ourselves! Yet your tendency to withdraw when someone has differing views could likely be your intuition guiding you away from someone who may not be compatible with you in the long term (or even the short term!).
I am curious if you are looking for a casual dating relationship or seeking a more permanent partnership? In a more casual dating context, you can probably apply different criteria when it comes to political alignment. It may be easier to accept someone’s differing views if there is little chance you’ll be making significant life decisions alongside this person in the future.
In a casual context, I would be asking these questions: do I respect this person? Is this person capable of presenting their viewpoint thoughtfully, humbly, respectfully? Is this someone that I find myself drawn to, safe with, attracted to? Don’t waste an evening with someone who is brash, unfounded, unkind, or narrow-minded.
When building a long-term partnership, it’s essential to have a strong sense of your own core values and how they match your partner’s. Alignment in your core values may absolutely allow for some deviation in the expression of your political beliefs. You are two different people with two different histories, after all!
My partner and I have been together for about a decade and many of our political views have evolved in that time (and not always at the same pace as the other!) Ultimately though, we have deep, shared values for community, integrity, equality, sustainability, and a shared vision for a healthy, prosperous, and interconnected world. Our core values sit beneath our politics and inform them and our life choices together.
Look for compatibility on the things that matter to you in all of your relationships. Especially when it comes to a long-term partnership—trust the direction of your attraction and longing. One of you may take the lead in the relationship when it comes to activism and civic engagement, but the big question is: if you are going to march, are you going to march together?
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AmyAnn Cadwell is CEO & Co-Founder of The Good Trade and an angel investor in mission-driven companies.