Falling for someone who belongs to a different political party: There are few stronger cases for the “love is blind” argument. And while loving someone across the aisle is challenging, to say the least, it certainly isn’t impossible. (Hi, James Carville and Mary Matalin). Here, seven tips for staying tolerant and together in these polarizing times.
Ban Hateful Language in Your Home
To avoid blowups, work on phrasing the things you disagree on in a gentler way. While you do in fact hate a senator’s stance on climate change, strive to voice that negativity in a more constructive way (i.e., say “I disagree with” over “I hate”). P.S.: If this sounds like couples coaching, that’s because it is.
Educate Yourselves on the Other’s Sources
Make a promise to read, watch and listen to news from the other’s outlets. Most publications have some type of leaning affiliated with their title, so consulting sources on both sides can help you develop your own more informed opinion, in addition to helping you understand the mind-set informing your S.O’s. Make a rule that you both have to read one long-form article from the other’s side per month (or suffer through their MSNBC/Fox News hour on a bimonthly basis—and maybe alone, so you can grit your teeth without starting a fight).
Designate Times and Places for Politics
Avoiding the elephant (or donkey) in the room entirely isn’t healthy, but it’s going to be a very long road ahead if every conversation turns into a political argument. Set a space and time in the home (perhaps Sundays over breakfast) for the two of you to have your political debates—and keep the majority of your time spent together politics-free.
Keep a Unified Front
If you're still keeping your voting history a secret from your friends, they're bound to find out sooner or later. Nail down a routine for inevitable awkward social encounters—like when people ask you how you deal, have a go-to joke on reserve, so that you can then tactfully steer the conversation in another direction.
Watch Netflix, Not the News
Let’s face it: Watching political shows together won't exactly be an enjoyable experience (at least, not for one of you). So use your downtime to watch something that doesn’t make one of you want to chuck the TV out the window. And as for election coverage? Go to the movies and get an extra-large popcorn instead.
Set a Fail-Safe Fight Measure
Plan a go-to battery reset for when political discussions veer into nasty argument territory. When you feel things getting hostile, take a five-minute walk (or turn on your wedding song), then regroup and move on to a new subject.
Nurture Your Shared Interests
One prominent personal difference divides you—but you both still love cooking, baseball and weekend reno-projects (and each other, of course). So put politics on the back burner and whip up some lasagna while watching the Mets game.