Can Competing Party Affiliations Wreck a Relationship?

Q From your experience as a professional dating coach and matchmaker, do you think long-term relationships are really feasible between people with different political views, for example, a Democrat and a Republican? I’m curious: does this issue ever come up when dealing with your clients? Or is it not really on people’s radars?  

A That’s an interesting question. How important the political views of potential partners are is certainly one of the things we discuss during our personal consultations with clients. To some of our clients, the political views of their partners are very important. To others, they are not, or are far outweighed by other considerations.

In my experience, people who have fundamentally conflicting beliefs and values have difficulty sustaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship. However, a couple consisting of a Democrat and Republican does not necessarily fit into this category. Relevant factors include:

• the extent to which the individuals’ fundamental beliefs and values are compatible, despite differing party affiliation; for instance, both people may place a high value on the responsibilities of each citizen to participate in the political process, as well as be knowledgeable about political issues;

• the extent to which both individuals delight in sparring and intellectual debate,

• the extent to which the individuals’ fundamental beliefs and values are incompatible, and filter into decisions the couple must make jointly; for instance, a pro-choice vs. pro-life decision for a couple faced with an unintentional pregnancy; and

• the openness/tolerance of each individual to/for other points of view.

If both individuals really love each other despite not seeing eye-to-eye politically, they can likely get past that if there is mutual respect, tolerance, and a belief that despite their political differences, some fundamental values are the same. For instance, both individuals may share a fundamental belief that it is an advantaged person’s responsibility to help those less fortunate, even though a Democrat may feel that doing so is best met by social welfare programs financed by higher taxes, while a Republican may feel that the solution is to minimize taxes and make it easier for the  taxpayer to contribute/donate to a charity of choice privately.

In this example, if both people make the attempt to keep this shared belief foremost in mind, have respect and tolerance for different ways of accomplishing their shared goal, a mutually acceptable compromise in actions/behavior will likely be possible.

Jasbina Ahluwalia is a former attorney and the founder of Intersections Match, the only national, personalized, matchmaking firm for singles of South Asian descent.


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