Are your political conversations turning into heated debates?
Do you and your partner have the same political views?
Will you be voting for the same candidate?
If not, how do you and your partner handle that?
Discussing our political affiliation and beliefs is a vulnerable topic. In today’s culture we are firmly affiliated with one party, and tend to place judgements on those who associate with any other party. We want our partner to agree with our political views, and when they don’t, we try even harder and louder to change their views.
Some couples have simply taken politics off the table and avoid this daily subject. Yes, daily subject. As we are social distancing due to COVID – 19 and the 2020 presidential election approaching in November, we are inundated with daily news.
Can LOVE conquer this daily strain on the relationship? My answer is NO. LOVE IS NOT WHAT CONTINUES THE RELATIONSHIP, COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND CURIOSITY ABOUT YOUR PARTNER ARE (to say the least).
Politics should never be “Off Limits”
When we place subjects on an “off limits” list, we are creating a message in the relationship that we do not feel safe talking about certain topics. During this time, we create emotional guards because we fear that our partners response will hurt us. This can place the relationship in a stagnant position not allowing the relationship to deepen in connection.
We are individuals in a relationship
Instead of focusing on the content that your partner is expressing, work to understand how their opinion is derived. Our previous experiences, messages we received growing up, and our community, all come into creating our current thoughts and beliefs. Instead of disagreeing with your partner and shutting down the conversation, take the conversation into a place of understanding why your partner has those thoughts and beliefs.
Break it down
Society asks us to identify as Republican or Democratic. This can be challenging as there are so many factors that make up those titles. Identify and explore these factors. Create conversation to find these individual commonalities. Remember, we are never finished learning our partner.
It is OK not agree
Just because we do not have the same political views does not mean the relationship will fail. What matters is how we listen to and understand our partner’s views. How the couple communicates about their beliefs will make, or break, the relationship.
Politics triggering uncovered conflicts
If you and your partner are not able to respectfully discuss politics, it may be because the topic of politics is triggering other challenges in the relationship. Seeing a therapist to understand the negative cycles in the relationship and working to uncover the root cause of the conflict can help.
I begin working with my clients on examining how the chemistry in the relationship began. What made you fall in love with your partner? How do you show love? These are common questions I ask. Therapy is a safe place to reestablish and re-enforce the trust in a relationship.