In a perfect world, everyone would respect each other’s political beliefs and live together peacefully. In this world, however, politics are known to tear apart friends, family, and even partners and spouses. If you and your partner are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, you may think your relationship is doomed. Fortunately, however, you can deal with political discord with your partner by staying respectful, looking at the benefits, and agreeing to disagree.
- Watch your tone. When people become hurt during disagreements, it’s often because one person feels like the other is being disrespectful towards them. This commonly occurs because of the tone or edge in their voice. Keeping condescending attitudes out of the discussion may stop hard feelings from forming.
- When you feel yourself getting worked up and potentially getting an attitude, take a break from the conversation. You can say, “I need to take a break for a minute. I’m starting to get upset and I don’t want to say something I don’t mean, or say it with an attitude.”
- Excusing yourself from the conversation in this manner is respectful and can prevent a huge fight from occurring.
- Keep your beliefs between the two of you. There’s no need to drag anyone else into your political conversations. There also isn’t a need to talk badly about your partner’s politics to anyone, particularly your children. Instead of causing more issues by bringing others into your disagreements, simply keep the political talk between you and your partner.
- You can talk to your children about politics, just try to keep your own beliefs and opinions to yourself, especially when they differ from your significant other’s. Stick with the basics and avoid inserting anything else other than the facts.
- If your friends or family wish to discuss politics with you, simply say, “I don’t like to talk politics with friends or family, so let’s discuss something else.” Voicing your opinion in a calm way allows you to move on and keep the relationship intact.
- Avoid speaking negatively towards one another. It’s common to hear of Democrats and Republicans trading insults, especially during debates. Doing this with your partner, however, is unacceptable. Although you have a difference of opinion when it comes to politics, you should refrain from insults and hitting below the belt to get your point across.
- Remember that politics is not black or white, good or evil — it is a spectrum, and there can be a lot of gray area. Don’t assume something about the other person’s beliefs or personality based simply on their political alignment. They don’t necessarily agree with each and every viewpoint being presented by one side. People, and politics, are complex, and it’s not necessarily a case of “all or nothing.”
- Practice listening, instead of speaking. In a majority of conversations, people don’t listen as intently as they should. Instead, they are simply waiting for the other person to stop talking so that they can then begin to speak. Not fully hearing your partner can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. To prevent this, fully listen to what your partner has to say and then formulate a response.
- It may take some practice and a lot of self-restraint to resist defending yourself and your beliefs before allowing your partner to speak their mind. However, if you do so, you’ll likely find that your discussions may not end in as many arguments.
- You can also ask your partner to do the same. You could say, “I am going to do my best to listen intently to what you have to say before I interject my opinion. I think if we both practiced this type of listening, we could better understand each other.”
- If your partner is taking about a topic you’re not familiar with, be honest and open about it. You might say something like, “I’m not familiar with that topic so I can’t comment on it, but I’ll do my best to educate myself on it.”
- Remember how important your relationship is. In all of this, remember how you feel about your partner. There’s a reason why you are together in the first place. Instead of coming back with a cutting response, think about how much you love each other and if winning the conversation is worth potentially damaging your relationship.
- Simply taking a deep breath and choosing to walk away from the conversation may stop a disagreement from occurring in which feelings are hurt. Instead, be the bigger person and realize that your relationship is more important than what is occurring in politics.
EditLooking at the Benefits
- Pay attention to what you have in common. Although you may have some differences in opinion, chances are, you agree somewhere. Even if it is something small, it is something you can build upon. Use this common ground as a foundation to launch into a respectful conversation.
- For instance, you could say, “I know we disagree on this matter, but we have the same opinion when it comes to this. Let’s focus on what we agree about instead of what we disagree on.” Starting off on a positive note helps to make the conversation more productive and hopefully, less confrontational.
- Appreciate that your other half has their own thoughts and ideas. Although you may not like their opinions, at least your partner is knowledgeable and confident enough to formulate their own thoughts and beliefs.
- You likely wouldn’t want to be with someone who conformed and agreed with every opinion you had. Be thankful that they don’t follow the crowd and are comfortable enough in their own skin to speak up, even if their opinion isn’t popular.
- A friend or partner who has different political views offers a great opportunity for you to test your own open-mindedness. Rather than disagreeing for the sake of disagreement, use your differences to learn. Take advantage of the information your partner has and use it as an educational opportunity.
- Learn to fight “healthy.” Having a partner who disagrees with you provides the perfect opportunity to learn how to have an argument in a respectful and healthy manner. You can figure out how to have a debate with someone without using insults and cutting words. This can also help you in other situations, such as at work or with other family members.
- While discussing your opinions, take care to keep your voice level and calm. Also, avoid using derogatory words and attempt to talk to your partner the way you would want them to talk to you. If you feel your partner is becoming disrespectful, point it out in a polite way so they can understand why what they said or how they are behaving is inappropriate, and they hopefully won’t do it again.
EditAgreeing to Disagree
- Avoid talking about it. If it’s getting to the point where you aren’t able to have a discussion about politics without a huge fight taking place, it’s time to take a break from the topic. Agree to take time off from discussing politics at all. Together, decide on an appropriate time for the break. Perhaps after the break, you can begin to start discussing politics again.
- To approach the subject you could say, “I think we need to stop talking politics for a little while. It seems like we fight more now because of the subject, and I love you too much to let this affect our relationship.”
- Voicing that your concern about the relationship is the driving force behind this decision will show your partner you care about the quality of the relationship and want to make it work.
- Support your spouse as they work out their beliefs. Your spouse may think they stand with a certain political party, but they may also still be working out their beliefs. Being supportive and withholding from judgment or criticism can help them to develop their political values and opinions.
- Part of being in a relationship is helping the other person become the best they can be. Let them know that you are there for them and leave your personal opinions out of the equation, unless they are asked for.
- For instance, you could tell your partner, “Although we have a difference of opinion, I respect that you are working to develop your own political beliefs. I will be here to support and help you in any way that I can.” Letting them know that you want them to grow and become well-informed and strong in their convictions will show that you are able to put politics aside and focus on the bigger picture.
- Refrain from talking negatively about the political views of others. If you and your partner differ politically, they likely aren’t going to want to hear what you have to say about other people whose views you oppose. Not only will your partner probably think you are negatively speaking about their own views, but they may take offense that you don’t seem to respect differences of opinion.
- Instead, simply don’t comment on other people’s political views, especially if you know it is a hot topic for your partner.
- You can also ask your partner to respect your loved ones as well, by not criticizing their political views. Showing this type of mutual respect can help your relationship become stronger.
- Look towards the future. When the dust settles, your relationship will likely not be affected by anything a politician does. Chances are, you and your partner will go about your everyday lives and still enjoy spending time with each other. You probably won’t even talk about politics again until another election occurs. Remember this when the next heated discussion occurs.