I think we can all agree we are living through one of the most politically charged moments in recent history, regardless of which side you align with at the polls. Like all great social changes, this has led to a shift in the way people view deal breakers and dating. All is fair in love and politics.

“It appears as if in the contemporary period political orientations directly affect the social relationships people seek to form, which results in increased political homogeneity in formed relationships. This has the potential to amplify polarization through the creation of homogenous social networks and households. Now when you say you’re a Democrat or Republican, that is associated not just with a bundle of policy views but also a lot of identity and world views that are a strong signal of your values.”

-Niel Malhotra, Political Science Professor at Stanford University

Bumble has a feature which allows users to filter potential matches by their political affiliation, but after the January 6th Insurrection, this feature was reportedly disabled temporarily due to an increase in negative political activity. It’s Just Lunch conducted their own poll and found the following:

  • 33% felt their first date was ruined when politics were brought up in conversation 
    • 18% refused a second date because of this
  • 50% said they would date someone with different views casually, but not long-term
  • 63% said that they only date people who have similar political opinions and beliefs

Do Love and Politics Have to Mesh?

When COVID was at its worst, research showed that democrats were more likely to wear masks than republicans. So, for those who wanted to be extra cautious of the virus, love and politics clashed more than ever. Even now, some clients are unwilling to meet anyone who isn’t vaccinated.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues after the Pandemic or if people will be more open to dating across the aisle. 

For some, it’s less about which side you’re on, and more about being informed and involved. Many people report that they won’t date someone who describes themselves as apolitical or doesn’t exercise their right to vote.

It’s important to follow current events and have at least a basic political foundation. You don’t need to be a history buff or know every candidates’ policies. You don’t even need an opinion on hot-button topics or issues. All you need is a broad understanding of what you stand for, and a willingness to learn more about things you don’t understand.

It’s Okay to Disagree

Therapists suggest the following tips for navigating political discussions with your partner:

When you disagree with a stranger or an acquaintance, it’s easy to just write them off as wrong in your mind and make assumptions about their malevolent intentions. Chances are, it was a one-time occurrence and you will never have to face that issue with them head-on again.

That’s not the case when you and your partner have differing political opinions. You can’t just assume she’s evil because she thinks differently about a social issue.

Find a way to discuss your differences without getting too passionate or heated. Try to get to the core reason of why the other person feels the way they do. I would be willing to bet both of your conflicting beliefs stem from a place of hope for a better world.

After all, isn’t that what we all want? We may have varying ideas for how to achieve a better world, or even what a better world looks like, but I like to believe we all have a similar endgame.