Can You Really Love Someone Whose Politics You Hate?


If there is one thing we known for sure about the current state of affair is that our country is more divided than ever before. So, it may not be that unlikely that you love someone whose political beliefs and views you find disturbing. Unless you live somewhere where everyone thinks alike, you’ve had to grapple with trying to understand why your loved one has strange ideas just like millions of the rest of us.

It’s difficult enough if the people you disagree with are close friends or family members. But, what if the person’s who opinions shock and sicken you is also someone you are currently dating? Should you cancel all your future dates just because you have different political views or should you continue seeing him?

We Want Partners Who Think Like Us

The bitter divisions in our country are just part of the problem.

The other side of the story has to do with how we feel when someone we love doesn’t agree with us.

You’ve probably experienced this too. When we’re close to another person, we often have a fantasy that they’re going to be just like us. But because that’s not very realistic, problems begin to surface.

If you’ve already had the experience of someone you love not being able to hear you, understand you, or apologize to you, then you may be already sensitive to this type of disconnection. And, because you had this issue in the past, then your pain and frustration are exacerbated when the person you love doesn’t hear you or understand you. It can even feel downright scary when our loved ones get angry and defensive and are not able to see things from our perspective or understand why a certain political view makes us upset. The conversation often doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. Whether you choose to stand up for yourself or avoid the conversation might not change the outcome. They don’t understand.

You Don’t Have to Run Away from Conflict

Some singles want their partners to be like-minded so much that they screen them thoroughly and try really hard to avoid this type of conflict from the start. They write in their profile, “Don’t contact me if you voted for X.”

Although screening your potential partners and looking for someone who you are as certain as possible will be a match is a good idea, do you really want to weed out 50% of your pool of eligible singles based solely on politics?

There are much more important criteria to look for in a mate. If a man treats you with respect, cares how you feel, supports you emotionally, and wants to make you happy, maybe his politics don’t have to be a deal-breaker. You can’t avoid conflict in an intimate relationship, but many people are so afraid of it that they want to hide from it.

Believe it or not, you might be able to have a good relationship with someone with different views. In fact, no one is on the same page with their partners about every possible subject. Even if your politics are the same, you might have different views on how to spend money, how to raise your children, or how to stay healthy.

The way you handle these differences in beliefs and how you resolve conflict is more important than having the same values. We often learn things from our partners when they have different views. It’s how we expand our worlds. We may think we’re always right, but listening and learning is the way we understand how different everyone else’s experience is.

You don’t have to avoid a conversation about politics. The trick is trying to stay calm and to listen to the other person. Accept you probably aren’t going to change their opinion. If you want to express yours, be tactful rather than attack their point of view. If you start with “I feel…” you’re going to sound less like you’re attacking their opinion than if you say, “ Your idea is wrong…” The old phrase, “maybe we just have to agree to disagree” will never get old.

Over to You

Are you avoiding political conversations with dates? Is it hard to be tactful when discussing politics? Leave us a message below.

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  • Kate says:

    Unfortunately our differing political views were symptomatic of a fundamental difference in values. While I was willing to listen and try to understand from his perspective the reverse was not true. He was simply unable to step into my shoes (or anyone else’s really) and even try. Empathy seemed to be difficult for him and ultimately it lead to the death knell for a relationship that had been headed toward marriage. It hurt, and I was sad but I think I probably did dodge a bullet.

    • Dr. Susan says:

      Hi Kate,

      Thank you for your comments on politics in your relationship.

      I’m sorry to hear about your breakup. They’re never easy, even when they involve dodging a bullet.

      It’s a big problem to be married to someone who can’t be empathic.

      Congratulations for figuring out you weren’t a good match.

      Hopefully, you’re headed for a much happier relationship.

      Please keep us posted.

      Dr. Susan

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