One of my favorite things about being in college is getting to meet people with so many diverse opinions. It leads to a lot of spirited discussions and helps me to broaden my own mental horizons. However, recently, a question popped into my head. While it is easy to make friends with different socio-political beliefs, how pragmatic is it to date someone with wildly different political and sociological opinions from your own?
On one hand, the argument can be made that dating someone with extremely different opinions can help provide you with a new perspective. It can help you burst the bubble of constantly surrounding yourself with people having similar beliefs to yours and only being exposed to social media posts that support your worldview.
However, there is also the issue of how much your socio-political and economic beliefs end up shaping your choices. Let’s say you end up with this person who has such wildly different views from you. You will now have to constantly try to find a mid ground between the economic choices that you make, the way you view the household and parent the children you two will have.
It is easy to say that politics and ideology can be kept out of a relationship, but a lot of politics is about your ideals in action and how they function in real life. If you look closely, a lot of factors from the way we view bodily autonomy to the way we think about taxes to the way we view lifestyle choices such as equal marital rights are all shaped by our socio-political beliefs.
Would it not be a more smooth- sailing relationship if we seek out people with beliefs similar to our own? To believe in similar political ideals? To have engaging discussions on a shared belief system?
I wish I could say there is a clear-cut answer to whether political incompatibility automatically means relationship incompatibility. In my opinion, not necessarily.
I think relationships are about give and take, and it can definitely be an enlightening experience to form a bond with someone with different beliefs. To be challenged should not necessarily be seen as an affront to the relationship.
However, there should be some things that need to be made clear at the beginning of the relationship, certain ideals that you do not want to have to compromise on. Some topics may not be as important to you as others, but it is worth thinking about your own code of ethics, so you can avoid any future issues that could crop up because of your differing beliefs.
If being in a relationship means having to alter your entire belief system, then that is not a relationship worth being in.
If you cringe every time the person you are with talks about their ideology, and have to keep your mouth shut in fear of triggering yet another heated fight with no regard for the other person’s opinion, then you should probably step back and reassess the quality of the relationship. No one wants their relationship to be a constant battle.
At the end of the day, if you are seeing someone with different beliefs, the important question to ask yourself is whether you feel like you are being challenged or being drained. If there is more conflict and cooperation in the relationship then it probably best to call it quits.
But, if you are able to grow and learn from each other then maybe political opposites can attract after all!