It can be super challenging dating someone with vastly different political beliefs. But after DMARGE exclusively spoke to dating expert, Samantha Jayne, it turns out that having opposing political views to your partner doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is doomed…
With the federal election looming this weekend, you’ve probably found yourself hearing and seeing a lot about politics. Perhaps you’ve had an argument with a family member about Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, or maybe you’ve had to bite your tongue when a co-worker started running their mouth about their political beliefs.
But what about your partner? Have you actually sat down with them and discussed their politics? If it’s early in your relationship and you’re still in that ‘honeymoon phase,’ you probably haven’t discussed it in great depth.
But what do you do when you’ve been together for quite some time and you’re perfectly content in all other areas of your relationship but then realise they are super conservative while you lean more towards the left (or vice versa)?
After chatting with a few of my friends, I learned that there are vastly different experiences when it comes to dating and politics. Some friends said that if a date admitted to having differing political views early on, they’d cut and run immediately as it’s a total deal-breaker.
Other friends have had long term relationships with people who had differing beliefs and found it was either always discussed with respect and rationale, or they avoided the entire subject altogether out of fear of starting a fight – as you can guess, these types of relationships weren’t healthy and have now ended.
I then reached out to Samantha Jayne – relationship expert, dating coach and advisor on The Bachelor Australia – to discuss what to do if you’re dating someone with completely different political views and whether the relationship is inevitably doomed.
“Politics can be a part of the screening process so naturally, dating someone with different political views can be challenging. If you have opposing views, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker; you can carefully work around it.”Samantha Jayne
Samantha advises that you need to approach the subject calmly and respectfully, and be open to listening to their point of view rather than forcing your views upon them.
“Ask questions about why your partner holds their perspectives; it’s better to be curious and try to understand them than force them to change their opinion… Listen to your partner’s beliefs, rather than defending your different viewpoints [and] acknowledge that you may not change their mind.”Samantha Jayne
Zeroing in on what beliefs or values you do have in common (political or not) is super important as well, says Samantha, as it allows you to tackle your differences together as a team, rather than as individuals on opposing sides.
“Focus on the dreams and goals you have in common; when you focus on similarities and shared values this helps you navigate through issues without feeling like enemies.”Samantha Jayne
However, Samantha cautions that if you’re finding that having differing political views with your partner is causing fights and putting strain on both the relationship and you as an individual, you may have to walk away.
“Know your limits; if you find you simply can’t agree and you are experiencing unnecessary conflict and stress… ask yourself, ‘Is this worth it?’ It’s not worth the drama if your relationship becomes toxic.”Samantha Jayne
Overall, I’ve come to the conclusion that you do not have to have the same political beliefs as your partner, as long as you can respect and understand why your partner has those different views, and that whenever you discuss politics you remain civil. As Samantha perfectly sums it up:
“Always remember communication is key; if your [political] views are differing it’s important to practise active listening, acknowledge, be present and make your partner feel heard.”Samantha Jayne