In an appearance on "The View," staunch Obama supporter Maggie Gyllenhaal famously stated that she could never date a Republican. In this new YourTango essay, a liberal man writes wistfully, and just a tad angrily about the conservative girl he had to break up with. And when I recently wrote that discussing politics is probably a dish best served on a second date and not the first (see "10 things NOT to say on a first date"), hundreds of commentators skewered me, "Politics are too important," one reader said. "If we don't share the same views, it's a dealbreaker, period!"
As Jason Malarkey writes in his essay, "When politics are truly and deeply felt, it's about a person's entire ethical perspective." If it's a question of holding radically different values sacred, is there any hope of romantic compatibility? Or rather, when it comes to politics, how long can you agree to disagree before the seams of your relationship burst?
Then again, if love conquers all, it would seem easy enough for two people to learn to work around their political differences. Perhaps it's like religion, where the shiksa converts to Judaism. If a man really loves a woman, can he not convert to an opposing political party?
A few points to consider:
Do you disagree on relatively superficial issues (i.e. which candidate you like better) or social mores (redistribution of wealth)? The former is something that can be more easily compromised, whereas if you have entirely different ethical concerns, the latter may be more difficult to work with.
Can being with someone who has wildly different opinions lead to a more exciting relationship, or a more volatile one?
What do you have in common? Are you compatible in other ways, and if so, is this connection strong enough to weather conflicting political opinions?
The answers to these questions totally depend on you and the kind of relationship you have with your partner. But personally, I think immediately discounting someone because they have a different political agenda than yours could be a misstep. After all, crazy as it sounds, your soulmate could be a Republican. Or a Democrat. Or yes, even an Independent.
What do you think? Could you cast political beliefs aside to date someone who disagreed with you? Or do you feel too strongly about your views?