Dating Someone with Different Political Views

In contemporary civic life, it is difficult to escape issues which have definite political overtones. Policies which are affect the average citizen like economy, gender, relationships, education and healthcare are all subject to varied political influence. Thus if you are dating someone with different political views, you need to be careful how you move ahead.

Consider what to talk about

Apart from religion and money, politics is usually considered a taboo subject when making conversation on the first few dates. And this is nowhere more relevant than when dating someone with different political views as compared to yours. As far as possible stay away from controversial political questions on your first few dates- this is a time to get to know the person as a potential partner and not as a political opponent. Do not get worked up over a controversial bill or policy and start defending your position with passionate arguments. This will create an embarrassing and even uncomfortable atmosphere and you will not enjoy your date at all. Rather skim the surface of public affairs and if you find your partner getting heated up over a policy, smoothly change the topic. In fact it is quite likely, that your date too - upon discovering that you both hold different political beliefs - will be careful to avoid controversial political issues. If you find him/her sidestepping such issues, take the cue and move on.

Do not try to convert him/her

After the first few dates, it is likely that you shall be discussing more varied matters – especially things that are important to you both. And around this time you may find it no longer possibly to entirely bypass political topics. What is important is that you and your partner realize can neither of you is trying to convert the other. You can discuss politics, share your opinions on important issues and even talk about how you have arrived at them. The ultimate goal is not to change the other person but to simply express how you feel and why you feel that way.  This will allow you to respectfully share this aspect of both of your lives without taking away the importance of your respective political beliefs.

Keep things light

Even if you and your date hold different political views, it need not spoil your time together. If you can debate and have fun with it, go for it. But remember to keep it casual and above all, avoid using a personal context. For instance your date may hold strong views for quicker divorce laws but don’t link this to an unhappy marriage or a broken family in his/her past. If you feel that your views are something that you simply cannot share with each other, just don’t bring up politics and such topics on your date. There are a thousand things apart from politics that you can enjoy doing and talking about.  And you do decide to air your political views once in a while, do it in a way that is interesting and casual and not geared towards proving who is right or wrong.  

Agree to disagree

Political opinions have a way of driving a significant cleavage between two people who may otherwise be mutually compatible. If you find that your discussions on politics are doing the same to you, just agree to disagree and move on to other things. In fact if you can go about handling your political difference in a mature way, you may even have a lot of fun debating political issues.  It is only when people get too serious about mutual differences that things get real nasty.  This is because when faced with opposition, human nature feels compelled to not only defend its own position but in fact also make the opponent convert to its own point. Once you are able to let go of this compulsion, you will find that it is possible to come to an acceptance of multiple viewpoints of a single issue, even if you cannot understand or agree with other views.

Potential for conflict

Politics has a way of seeping into other, apparently separate matters. So even if you and your partner feel empathy for the starving orphans in many third world countries, you may have radically different views on how to address the problem. In fact, apart from politics, there may be humanity issues, world affairs, showbiz or even sports where your partner’s views are likely to be colored through the prism of his/her political allegiance. Thus be prepared for some divergence of interest even in matters which are supposedly removed from politics. So both of you could be avid fans of a sport but find that policies passed in another state are hampering the performance of your favorite team. In April 2010, after Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer passed the controversial Arizona Immigration Law, there were calls of protest demanding that the state be stripped of important games like BCS National Championship game and 2011 MLC all-star game and protestors even made an appearance against the Arizona Diamondbacks who were then in the middle of an eleven-game road trip1 . Thus dating someone who holds radically different political opinions and feels quite strongly about them too may pose some scope for conflict. And unless you are both mature enough to deal with this objectively and dispassionately, it may be better to avoid moving ahead into the relationship.

Only a part of the whole

In the end how you and your date handle political differences is entirely upto you. The most important thing to remember is that political opinions do not complete the person.  While you both may have some very different ideas on how to go about addressing problems in the field of governance or economy, this doesn’t mean that you are either right or wrong for another.  You simply need to accept that there may be more than one way of looking at things or setting things right. Dating someone with different political views is perfectly possible if you can move past political affiliations and find and meet on common grounds in other areas of your relationship and facets of your personality.


  1. - Keep your political views out of my sports, please!