Sami Jankins suggests a relationship is more than political alignment alone.
I’ve been on a few dates with a woman I really enjoy spending time with. I met her through an online website, but her political preferences were not listed. As I know it’s not polite to discuss those kinds of topics on a date, it was never something that was brought up. She casually mentioned being a Republican while referencing the recent debates on our last date. I was shocked. I most definitely am not Republican. Back when I was in college I was even a member of the College Democrats. Is this relationship doomed?
Dear Ideologically Concerned,
Oh no, a Republican?! End it now! I’m kidding, of course. She did not confess to being from Mars. Although, how much would that even matter? She might be a little more Fox News, and you not so much. Let’s try to put additional thought into whether or not this is a deal breaker. I was a Political Science major for about a year and a half of college before changing to Theatre. I don’t know how entirely qualified that makes me when it comes to political matters of the heart, but if it’s enough for you then let’s continue!
Having different political views does not have to be a deal breaker. Mary Matalin and James Carville have both had careers within the political realm and have opposing views, yet they make it work. Even if her views were within the party that you feel you align with, think about how different each Democrat is. If you’ve spent any time watching the debates, you’ll see that each political candidate differs from each other yet they still fall under the same party label. She could be a Democrat and you could very well not agree on the “correct approach” to everything.
I have friends that align with both parties. What I find interesting is often the lack of willingness in our society to discuss our differences in beliefs. I love talking with people who don’t think exactly like me because the world would be a truly boring place if everyone was a Sami copy. It is easy to assume that because she identifies as being a Republican that she feels a certain way about certain topics. This may not at all be the case. Instead of entering into a discussion with a defensive attitude, try and approach it with an open mind. You may find that you agree on some things that you didn’t think you would. You may disagree on things you thought would be the same.
I think similarities in core beliefs are important for long term potential. This doesn’t mean you have to be the same religion or have the same political views. What I’m talking about are the basic thoughts on how you approach the world, your life, and interactions with others. How does she treat other people? If you are looking for a giving partner, a list of politicians they voted for will not tell you this. I was one of the first in vitro babies born in Wisconsin. I once thought it would be a great idea to go on a date someone whose parents thought I shouldn’t exist, and that my existence was an abomination. That was a problem. Half of my family is Jewish. I should probably not have gone on a third date with someone who was vocally uncomfortable with my Jewish background. These are the important core beliefs that should be similar. Someone you are dating should be OK with your existence.
I don’t believe in taboo conversations. If your true intent is to get to know the other person, you should feel comfortable enough as time progresses to discuss your thoughts and feelings. After all, they are your thoughts and feelings. They matter. Don’t pass on what could be a great relationship based on your assumptions of another person. I’m certain it would be your hope that she wouldn’t make assumptions of you. Instead of keeping your fingers crossed that the topic of politics never comes up again, find a way to thread certain points within a casual conversation that are important to you. Truly listen to what she has to say and see if she truly listens to you as well. There’s nothing wrong with a well-informed conversation among two intelligent people. There’s also nothing wrong with disagreeing. Stay open minded and maybe you can be another great example of how you don’t have to be exactly the same to have a great relationship. Kindness, compassion, caring about someone, a sense of humor, and other great qualities are not determined by a political label. The potential for love isn’t either.
Here’s for better dating days ahead,
Send your pressing questions for Sami to answer for Dating in the Digital Age to [email protected].