When You're Dating a Trump Supporter
When you’re dating someone new, it’s all fun and games until you hit the dreaded, forever divisive topic of politics. Yes, we have been taught as children that we should play nicely with everyone regardless of their views, because an opinion is an opinion, and they cannot be wrong. However, what is the role of political opinion when the differing views begin to cause issues in our romantic relationships?
Maya Huter, a freshman Journalism major, had been with Michael*, a proud member of the #TrumpTrain, for months before they split. Their biggest issue was never the differences in their views, it was the fact that Michael had often been close-minded and unreceptive towards listening to her reasoning. She says, “I avoided talking to him about [politics] because I knew it would cause problems.” Because of the high tensions in our political climate today, it’s very common to see differing political views as a huge issue in relationships.
Hailey Norton, a freshman Writing, Literature, and Publishing major, has been in a relationship with Ryan* for over a year. Ryan also voted for Donald Trump in this past presidential election. In regards to her relationship, Norton says, “I think a lot about the future and how my partner’s views can affect mine.” Obviously, politics are not the sole reason for separating and uniting couples, however the role of politics in our everyday lives and romantic relationships has increased as our generation has become more politically active and aware.
Norton clarifies, “There’s nothing bad with being a Republican, but taking the extra step and being a Trump supporter has a very different connotation nowadays.” Max Tedford, a freshman Journalism major, and former boyfriend of a Trump supporter agrees with that notion. He says, “While there are many Republicans who believe in conservative ideals, they see that Trump is not looking out for them; they believe in their party, but they do not fanatically and blindly follow one man like Trump supporters.”
Many of the most divisive issues in today’s political climate are not as simple as differing opinions, it’s deep-rooted into our morals. Norton notes, “It brings in the question of morals, I don’t know how far you can go having a conversation trying to change someone’s morals.”
For example, it’s reasonable to say that abortion is something one is personally against, but it’s inappropriate to take that notion and conclude that women should not have complete control of their bodies. Being in a relationship with someone who sees reproductive health as evil can say a lot about their beliefs and can cause more problems in the future when those differing beliefs are brought up.
Huter reflects, “I think how you view politics is how you view the world, and if you don’t see the world the same way, it can be hard to get past the surface level of conversation.” For some couples, it can be too much in the long run: “I felt like I could never talk to her about anything deep because we had vastly different views.” says Tedford.
There is a silver lining: “It’s been great to hear a different opinion, it’s definitely made me grow a lot and it’s taught me to be vigilant in finding sources and facts to back up my argument,” says Norton. In regards to her relationship in the future, Hailey says, “Since I’m still able to have progressive conversation with him, I still feel safe in my relationship. However, once it starts being one-sided, that’s when I think it becomes an issue.”
In contrast, Huter says, “It’s a no from me,” when asked if she could picture herself with another Republican in the future. She clarifies, “For me personally, politics is something that I deeply care about and I am not willing to disregard my personal views for the sake of someone else’s.”
We all hold political views to different levels of importance, and it’s important to evaluate if having different views will lead to a negative effect or a learning outcome in a relationship. Tedford says, “I do not think political views have to be a decider in the relationship. Having different opinions never ended a relationship––it was always the fact that neither party is willing to compromise.” With this in mind, there are many other aspects to a relationship besides political opinion, and while politics are important, they definitely do not dictate the success of a relationship. The ball is in your court.
*Fake names were used for privacy reasons.
Illustration by: Hayley Joseph