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Love Me, Love My Politics?

“You’re not going to vote for him are you?”

With the presidential election around the corner, the question arises: How can this person be my soul mate if he doesn’t share my politics?

Surprisingly, there are many two-party couples who disagree around the dinner table but agree very well in other rooms of the house. These partners cancel each other out at the voting booth. Can this work?

Disagree without being disagreeable

First, one hallmark of a healthy relationship is a strong dose of tolerance. As in politics, people can disagree without being disagreeable. And, a robust political debate is mentally stimulating. Stimulated minds gravitate to other activities that are mutually satisfying. Well, you get the picture.

Many people, of course, find their politics to be too close to the heart to permit a bond with a person who does not share their views. It’s perfectly acceptable for you to draw a line in the sand. Just remember you may be excluding prospects who might be equally kind and loving, people who would willing share their life with you — if you could just tolerate their opinion that drilling for oil in Alaska just might, just possibly, not lead to environmental Armageddon, or, if you can stand hearing their view that tax cuts just might lean a tad bit in favor of the rich.

Challenge your own assumptions

As kids, we may feel brainwashed into a political position due to the strong opinions of our parents. As adults, it is up to us to listen carefully and form our political opinions independently. The best way to challenge your own assumptions about people and their politics is to get to know people who think differently. This open outlook will lead to a better-informed political opinion, and, more important, will help you engage in relationships that help you grow.

My relationship demands that I accept that my partner will be voting for the other candidate. He accepts me, and I, him.

Of course, if I ever rooted for the Cardinals over the Cubs….

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