4 Ways To Survive An Election Year When Your Politics Are Wildly Different

How to help your relationship thrive during an election year.

Couple surviving despite their different political beliefs simonapilollatnf | Canva

Whether your politics skew to the left or right, if you've fallen for someone who is essentially your political opposite, you might be a bit shocked. The fact you are dating — and maybe even married to someone whose political beliefs are radically different than yours might be causing a rift between you and your parents or friends.

Many people take their political affiliations seriously. Perhaps you were brought up to revere Ronald Reagan, while your partner thinks Reagan got this country into big trouble. 


RELATED: How Political Differences Can Affect Your Relationship

Four ways to survive an election year when your politics are vastly different

1. Don't take it personally.

Your relationship will be in turmoil if you make the political discussions you two have about you. It can help to set some ground rules for any heated discussions. For example, agree neither of you will name-call or put down the other.

Couple disagree about politics Egoitz Bengoetxea via Shutterstock


2. Don't try to change your partner's mind.

If you get into a relationship to sway your partner's politics to your party or viewpoint on an issue, you will probably get frustrated and maybe resentful. It's never a good idea to make your partner be who you think they should be. This is always a recipe for disaster!

RELATED: Emotional Regulation Could Be The Key To Getting Through The Next Presidential Election

3. Appreciate the differences in your partner's position.

If you and your partner are into political debates,  have them. If you don't like to argue over the issues, agree not to debate. In either case, cultivate appreciation for your partner's beliefs.

Listen to why your partner is a progressive or a conservative. Set aside your preconceived notions and learn a little bit about their unique point of view. Remember, just because you respectfully listen to your partner talk about why they support a particular candidate or a certain issue, this does not mean you have to abandon what you believe.


Have you ever had political differenced with your spouse?

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4. Appreciate how your different beliefs benefit your relationship.

It might surprise you to discover that the vast political differences between you and your partner have positive effects on your relationship. Some people get worked up and excited talking about politics — especially if there's a debate raging. This could infuse more passion (in a good way) into your relationship. If you can keep the heated discussions fair and respectful, there may be a carry-over of more intimacy.

For instance, look at the long-term celebrity couple James Carville and Mary Matalin. Matalin was campaign director for Republican George HW Bush's Presidential campaign, while Carville was lead strategist in Bill Clinton's Presidential campaigns. Today, neither has changed parties. They continue to spar politically, and yet their marriage has survived.

@diego.ram_ Differing religious/political beliefs in a relationship? Have you ever seen it work out ? 🤔👀 What are your thoughts?💭Check out episode 10 of The MVP on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Youtube🎙️#reels #podcast #podcastersofinstagram #podcaster #podcasters #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness #conversation #selflove #selfdevelopment #selfimprovement #themvppodcast #mensmentalhealth #explorepage #women #womeninbusiness #womensmentalhealth #religion #spirituality ♬ original sound - Diego Ramirez

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When you're in a relationship with someone who is politically opposite, the potential for animosity and clashing is endless. Some couples constantly argue and attempt to sway one another to their "side." The debates can rage on and on about whose beliefs are valid and what makes more sense for the country, state, community, and individual. Depending on how much you like to debate, this could be invigorating and exciting or it can be extremely tiring and obnoxious.

She says no to political differences Reezky Pradata via Shutterstock

Some people take their politics so much to heart they absolutely will not consider being in a relationship with a person who holds significantly different beliefs. If this is how you feel, it is vital to know and honor that about yourself. After all, many political issues hit very close to home. Everything from who can legally marry to who gets to make reproductive choices for women to who gets tax breaks and who doesn't can be intensely personal.


You may feel so strongly that the person you share your time (and maybe life) with must agree with you. This is essential to know before you get too deep in a relationship. It's highly unlikely you will change your partner's mind. Yes, people's political beliefs change over time, but there's just as much chance that they won't veer all that much from what they've always been.

RELATED: Love Can’t Trump Everything: Why I Dumped My Conservative Boyfriend

In other words, a progressive will probably stay more or less progressive, and a conservative will probably remain more or less conservative. You need to appreciate your differences if being in a love relationship with your political opposite is not a dealbreaker for you.


Perhaps what's most important to remember if you're dating your political opposite is to stay true to yourself. You do not have to agree on everything to have a happy and successful love relationship or marriage. What's essential is for you and your partner to foster genuine respect, appreciation, and love for one another.

Susie and Otto Collins are Certified Transformative Coaches who help awaken love and possibilities in your life.