Coping With Political Differences in Your Romantic Relationship

Therapists Share How To Deal With Political Disagreements

Coping With Political Differences in Your Romantic Relationship

When Nell S.' husband told her he was considering divorcing her, the 34-year-old climate scientist and mother of one was in complete shock. It was three months after the super-heated 2016 election of Donald Trump and she already felt her world was falling apart.

«I felt I was in danger of losing my job, my safety as a woman, and even my sanity,» she says. «And now this, on top of everything else? Divorce? Really?»

But it was her husband's reasoning that put her over the edge: President Trump. It wasn't that her husband, a fellow scientist, necessarily loved the new president but he did think Nell wasn't giving him a fair chance.

He felt Nell had become obsessed with all things political, and was ignoring him and their son to spend hours a day on and pouring over news articles that only presented one side. «He said all I could talk about was politics and I didn't hear anything else anyone was saying to me,» she says.

«And, as tough as it was, I realized he was right. I was miserable.»

Thankfully, instead of heading to divorce court, the couple headed to therapy, becoming one of many couples trying to navigate a relationship despite having opposing political views.

The therapist helped Nell set boundaries in her life to keep political talk in check, such as limiting her time on social media and saving political discussions at home for certain times of day.

Nell says that she and her husband are now much happier, and that they've been able to refocus on common causes ( climate change) that they're both passionate about.

But it's not just romantic relationships that are under increased strain in our current intense political climate—childhood friendships, parents and children, coworkers, cousins, grandparents, and every other close interpersonal relationships are feeling the pain of politics these days.

«It's everywhere. I can't remember a time, not even during the Vietnam war, where there was as much venom and animosity as there is now,» says Gary Brown, Ph.D.

, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, adding he's seen a massive uptick in clients with these issues over the past decade.

«Even people who deeply love each other are falling victim to the 'politics of personal destruction' where it's not enough to disagree with someone but you have to destroy them and everything they stand for in the process.»

Certain op-eds and social media threads may make political debate seem a life-or-death issue. The current discourse seems to emphasize that if you don't constantly engage people whose views differ from yours, you are essentially complicit in allowing those views to persist.

However, there's a difference between choosing your battles and staying completely silent, says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love.

 Lombardo emphasizes that it's perfectly fine to set boundaries about what you're willing to discuss and who you're willing to engage with—it doesn't mean you're ignoring the issues.

(Get the latest health, weight loss, fitness, and sex intel delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our «Daily Dose» newsletter.)

So how do we keep political divides from dividing us from our loved ones? We asked leading psychologists for a guide to maintaining close relationships with those we cherish—even (especially!) if they disagree with our political views.

Getty Images

Is there any place more politically contentious than social media these days? But if reading your feed leaves you wanting to unfriend everyone, know that you have more options than exploding or deleting your account. The simplest course of action is to do nothing and ignore people's politically-charged opinions, either by unfollowing them or simply not engaging online.

«The best thing to do when someone posts a heated political commentary is to simply ignore it.

For one, you are not going to change the person's opinion, so trying to do so will just ly cause a heated argument,» says Lombardo.

 «And secondly, any comments you make on someone's post increase the lihood that they will be at the top of your feed. That means you're more ly to see those political comments more and more.»

However, if you enjoy political discourse or you simply want to understand your friends' views better, social media can be the perfect place to do that, Brown says.

In fact, , , and the can potentially help expose you to new ideas, even if you don't agree with them. The key, he says, is to actively seek out people with differing opinions, ask lots of questions, listen without reacting, and most importantly, be civil.

 And be sure to set a hard limit for your time online, both for your mental and physical health.

Political divides stressing you out? This yoga pose can help:

Getty Images

You've known your best friend since the third grade, so is it worth throwing away decades of friendship over political differences? Even if you're on polar opposite ends of the political spectrum, that person is still the girl who gave you her lunch when you forgot yours and helped you break up with that terrible boyfriend your freshman year of college. So make a conscious effort to remember the good times and focus on the many, many things you have in common, Brown advises.

But what if your best friend has turned into a foaming-at-the-mouth activist determined to make you believe as they do? Shut. It. Down. «Simply say 'I respect you have that opinion.

I'm not comfortable having this conversation.' And then change the subject,» says Lombardo.

Women are often afraid of being so blunt, but being assertive shows you respect yourself and the other person, she adds.

Getty Images

If there's one place a political discussion doesn't belong, it's in the office (unless you work in politics—and even then, tread lightly). So how do you stop the incessant chatter? Disengage in a lighthearted, nonjudgmental way, Lombardo says.

«You can make a joke about it 'I don't talk about politics on a day that ends in Y' or simply say 'I'm not comfortable having a political discussion at work,'» she advises. Say it enough times and they will move on to something else.

Getty Images

Your romantic partner is the one person that you cannot just avoid the discussion with. You share everything with them, including your bed, so politics is bound to come up. That doesn't mean you'll always agree with them, so it's best to be prepared for some conflict.

Start by focusing on the fact that your relationship will (hopefully) last longer than any political term, so it's more important how you feel about them than whoever is in office, says Wendy Patrick, J.D., Ph.D., a relationship expert, author, and behavioral analyst. Next, look for common ground.

Then, when it comes to where you disagree, keep the focus on issues, not people.

«Everyone wants national security, jobs, good education, safe communities, access to quality health care—and the list goes on and on,» Patrick says. «The most heated political 'arguments' today are often about President Trump or Hillary Clinton, not the issues, and that is where things can go off the rails.»

Lastly, make sure you follow the rules for arguments. «Make sure you're having a discussion, not a fight,» Dr. Brown says. «You'll know when it crosses the line if one of you starts making it personal, assigning blame, or calling names. And then it needs to stop.»

Getty Images

There are family you adore, friends you love family… and then there are the family members that the only reason you'd ever speak to them is because they show up at the annual reunion.

It's perfectly fine to recognize that you have little in common with someone besides blood—just because you're first cousins doesn't mean you'll be besties—but that doesn't mean you get to disrespect them.

«Don't initiate political conversation over the Thanksgiving table,» Brown says. «If someone asks you a question and you can answer in a polite way, that's fine, but if they're baiting you into an argument, don't do it.»

Not sure if a topic is appropriate? Give it the «kitchen table test,» Patrick says. This means asking yourself if this is something you'd to hear about first thing, over breakfast. If not, no one else does either. «Even when politics pervades personal discussion, stick to discussing your bright future together by focusing on the goals and dreams you share,» she adds.

Getty Images

The PTA mom, the guy at the gym, the neighbor down the street: We all have people who aren't necessarily friends but we'd to remain friendly with. And when it comes to politics, that means maintaining a safe distance, Patrick says.

«Practice gracious, humorous ways to bow the question, by replying with a smile, 'I value my friendships too much to discuss politics,' she advises. «It is hard to argue with this type of friendly, lighthearted request to take a pass on such a heavy question.»

If you do want have a political discussion, whatever you do, resist the temptation to make the discussion personal. «Accept that they have their own belief system, try not to personalize it, and if you can’t have a polite conversation about politics, then agree to disagree,» Lombardo says.

Getty Images

Deciding whether or not to pursue a relationship with someone depends on a lot of factors, of which politics is definitely one. So before you go on a date, you need to decide exactly how important political agreement ranks on the list of things most important to you in a partner, Patrick says.

«If political affiliation is a deal-breaker for you romantically, or something you want to spend time discussing, be up front and allow prospective partners to approach with eyes wide open,» she says. «If not, leave it out and allow relationships to develop in a politics-free zone. There are many other things to discuss.»

And should you put your political affiliation in your online dating profile? If that's something important to you then it can be a great way to filter potential matches, she adds.

Getty Images

It can be easy to get caught in a heated debate with parents or grandparents on political issues, but there are some crucial things to keep in mind. «Always go into a political discussion assuming that your parents are good people with good motives,» Brown says. «Decide what is more important to you, your relationship or the desire to be right.»

Start by remembering that a lot has changed recently and don't assume that age automatically equals bigoted, he adds.

With older family members, generational differences may come into play and the vocabulary that was appropriate when they were growing up is no longer kosher today.

It doesn't mean they're trying to be inflammatory, but rather that they may not have learned how people talk about it now.

Or they may actually still be holding on to racist, homophobic, misogynist or other views you find objectionable. In that case, instead of becoming upset, ask questions to find out the reasons behind their views and gently teach them your views and why you believe what you believe, Brown says.

«Remember, it’s not your job to change their minds. We’re all adults here. You get to have your point of view, and so do they. If you truly want to connect with them, be open without preaching to them,» he says. «Seeking true understanding is the real goal here.»

Of course, It doesn't mean taking hateful abuse—that's never okay—but rather that sometimes the times change faster than people do and you need to give them the opportunity to change before dismissing them.

Getty Images

All of this advice is given with the assumption that these are relationships you want to maintain. You love these people and even if you don't agree about everything, you still want them in your life.

But there may come a time when someone's views become so extreme or offensive that you cannot tolerate being around them anymore. You're allowed to protect yourself by severing the relationship, says Brown.

Most relationships aren't worth sacrificing over politics, but you'll know it's crossed the line if they become abusive by calling names, belittling, threatening, or espousing values you find deeply hurtful.

«The relationship crosses the line of being irreparable when one person continuously hates and degrades the other person for simply having a different point of view,» he explains.

«They have become so blinded by hatred that they cannot or will not acknowledge a basic human right to disagree.

» Bottom line? When it becomes toxic, then there is no longer a relationship to save and you need to walk away.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at


What to Do When Politics Threaten Your Relationship

Coping With Political Differences in Your Romantic Relationship

There is plenty of research to indicate that Democrats and Republicans don’t typically seek one another out for romantic partnership. They usually avoid dating one another, choose not to be friends with each other, and can even dis living near members of the opposite party.

However, in the immortal words of Coulomb’s Law, opposites do, on occasion, attract. Nearly 30 percent of married households are bipartisan.

Typically, one member of the partnership is an independent; however, one-third of bipartisan couples are comprised of Democrats married to Republicans. Unfortunately, politics have never felt more divisive in recent years.

Democrats’ and Republicans’ political beliefs and stances have become increasingly partisan, and vitriol is continuously spat at the “other” side by everyone from news pundits to national political leaders.

There is evidence that this political divide has started to impact family and friend relationships and even romantic relationships negatively, too.

A Wakefield research study conducted in 2017 found that more than 11 percent of American couples have ended a romantic relationship due to political differences. When millennials were surveyed, that number increased to 22 percent.

Unsurprisingly, lots of people know of couples whose marriage or partnership has been impacted by politics, especially after the 2016 election.

So how do you prevent your relationship from becoming another statistic if you’ve paired with a partner who doesn’t share your political views? What do you do when your relationship is threatened by these differences?

Make your home a politics-free zone

One option for dealing with the stress of loving a partner who doesn’t vote along the same party lines as you is to make your home a neutral zone.

This isn’t to say you should altogether avoid discussing politics; however, your home should feel a pleasant, peaceful space for both of you.

If you designate your house a “politics-free” zone, you can create a home that feels inviting and comfortable, rather than a breeding ground for ruined relationships.

If neither of you can avoid discussing political issues, then you can create a more metaphorical politics-free space, such as a time of day. You may wish to avoid political discussions at the dinner table or right before bed, for example. This strategy is apt to be most successful for a couple for whom politics isn’t a big part of either one’s life.

Effectively communicate

When politics as a whole, or a recent political event, is significant to one or both of you, it’s not a wise strategy to avoid it — just it would be detrimental to avoid any other relevant topic.

While making your house a welcoming home for both of you is vital, you shouldn’t necessarily avoid discussing politics altogether.

If politics is important enough to both of you that it is causing strife in your relationship, not talking about politics and ignoring your differences won’t necessarily help you.

You run the risk of creating a dynamic in which your relationship becomes “surface level” rather than deep and meaningful. Instead, finding a way to communicate your differing opinions effectively is vital. When beginning a potentially tense political discussion, keep the following things in mind:

This is not a zero-sum game

It is unly that you’ll change your partner’s mind during a political conversation. It is a common fallacy that political discussions must be won and that one side is inherently correct and the other is entirely wrong.

When you talk politics, try to reframe your outlook on these kinds of conversations. There is nothing to win or lose.

Instead, please think of this conversation as an opportunity to better understand your partner’s outlook and to empathize with them.

Stay open and slow down

Keep an open mind when entering a political conversation. Strive to hear and accept what your partner has to say, without digging in your heels.

During any political argument, do your best to resist the typical knee-jerk reaction of jumping to defend your position without genuinely listening to what your partner is saying.

If they present real, documented facts, don’t refute them without doing some research on your own. Instead, be an active listener and take deep breaths before any reaction or rebuttal.

Though you may find that you’re wrong, you may also find that you’re right. It’s also important to remember that though you don’t need to agree with your partner’s opinion, you do have to validate their feelings and acknowledge their willingness to be open and vulnerable with you if you want to enhance their health and well-being and also positively contribute to your relationship.

Stick with the facts

Sticking with the facts is critical. Anecdotes, hearsay, or rumors are not substantial evidence to support your position. Since “fake news” is thrown around and used to negate an opposing viewpoint, finding the truth can be difficult.

Source your facts from neutral news sources and independent research. Reuters, ProPublica, C-Span, PolitiFact, and FactCheck are just a few independent sources from which you can gather analysis.

If you are getting your news from a television network, consider the owners of that network and what their motivations may be for reporting the story in the manner they do.

Moreover, no matter whether it’s a liberal or conservative source, keep in mind that fear sells, especially when it comes to politics. It also drives engagement on social media and viewership, which is what any news outlet strives to achieve.

Ready for an appointment?

Focus on individual issues

Avoid broad strokes when discussing politics. Instead, focus on single topics. Don’t malign or attack your partner’s political party. This is the easiest way to get your partner to shut down. Instead, discuss issues as stand-alone topics and appeal to your partner’s emotions.

Though it shouldn’t be your goal to change your partner’s opinion, it is more ly that you’ll get them to understand your position if you frame the issue in a positive light. Don’t discuss all the negative outcomes of disagreeing with your side.

Instead, consider the positive results of leaning a certain way towards a topic.

Learn to let go

This is easier said than done, but if a political conversation doesn’t go how you had hoped, it’s essential to let it go. Take a moment to cool off.

This moment may be an ideal time to practice some mindful meditation.

Find a quiet spot and take the time to scan your body, check in with yourself, identify what emotions you’re feeling, and gently let your feelings of tension, anxiety, or anger pass without judgment.


As in any argument or heated discussion, it’s essential to take time to self-reflect.

Were you a bit too abrasive with your partner? Were you genuinely open to listening to your partner, or were you more interested in attacking their viewpoints? Take ownership of your behavior, positive and negative, in the context of these conversations. It’s more ly that you’ll have productive discussions if you’re able to avoid finger-pointing.

Be wary of bullying

Discussions around politics can get heated very quickly. However, that’s not an excuse to verbally attack your partner or to criticize them for their convictions.

wise, if you feel that your partner is bullying you or treating you with anything other than respect, it’s time to take a step back from the conversation and to set some ground rules for how the two of you engage in difficult conversations.

The Big Picture: Keep perspective

No matter your political leanings, we at the Therapy Group of DC urge you to keep in mind that first and foremost, the two of you committed to each other. You’re on the same team for a reason.

If the only thing the two of you disagree on is politics, you’re probably in good shape — especially if you know how to communicate effectively.

Remember how important it is to respect and accept your partner unconditionally.

Nurture your sense of gratitude for your partner. Remember all the times they were there for you when it mattered and all the little things they do for you daily. Of course, if you feel that you’re not fighting “well” or if you both think that you need a mediator to move forward in your relationship, couples therapy is always an option.

Whether you and your partner are affiliated with the same political party or split down party lines, it’s important to remember that disagreements of any kind are a natural part of any long term relationship. The beautiful thing about a romantic relationship is that two different people have decided to make a life together and to form a wholly unique unit.

If politics happen to cause tension and difficult conversations, the two of you have an excellent opportunity to exercise effective communication and to understand one another better.

Despite the caustic atmosphere of today’s politics, it doesn’t have to end up ruining your relationship.

Instead, the two of you can work together to prove that a bipartisan partnership is possible and ly even has its own unique benefits.


Can a Relationship Survive Major Political Differences? — Therapy Blog

Coping With Political Differences in Your Romantic Relationship

Some couples embrace political differences, some don’t care, and others still consider having similar views non-negotiable.

Given that we each have our own influences, history of experiences, psychological makeup, and subjective lens through which we view the world, some differences are bound to exist or arise. One person’s convictions may be another’s contentions.

With an especially heated election season upon us, how do couples with strongly divided political views avoid being torn apart?

One way, according to Dailey and Palomares (2004), is through what they describe as “strategic topic avoidance”—essentially an effort by one or both partners to avoid certain topics that could lead to irreconcilable differences.

Some choose not to discuss sensitive issues such as politics for the sake of avoiding the potential fallout, thus possibly preserving the relationship.

This strategy may also serve to maintain privacy and one’s sense of autonomy, essential ingredients for a healthy partnership.

At a 2003 meeting of the International Communication Association in San Diego, California, one presenter described political discussions as a type of “civic engagement” that had the potential to not only contribute to political tolerance on a broader level, but to strengthen interpersonal bonds. The extent to which two partners are able to respectfully debate sensitive issues such as politics may depend on the strength of the overall communication, a fundamental indicator of relationship success.

Find a Therapist for Relationships

A woman I worked with in therapy—I’ll call her Susan—was recently divorced and just getting back into the dating world. She was contacted online by a man who, at first glance, seemed to be a fairly compatible match on almost every level.

When it came to politics, however, they couldn’t have been more different: she was a self-described “bleeding-heart liberal,” while he was a staunch conservative.

Before agreeing to meet, both emphasized their commitments to their respective values and agreed to respectfully disagree—establishing an unspoken strategy of topic avoidance.

They went on to date for two years before they came to the realization that, in their case, love was not enough. “I believe that your political ideologies are a direct reflection of your core values,” Susan told me. “To have a good relationship, your values must be in line.”

The moment your relationship takes a turn toward disrespect, criticizing, or belittling, whether triggered by politics or other differences, it may be time to seek help.

So how did they make it work for as long as it did? “Humor. Definitely humor,” said Susan, who also cited other strong parts of the relationship and a variety of common interests. “I must admit that sometimes I saw it as a challenge— maybe if I can change his mind, I can change others’.” Of course, trying to change a partner often doesn’t turn out well. It certainly didn’t in Susan’s case.

Of course, having polar opposite political views doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. Witness Democratic commentator James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin, a Republican consultant. When asked in an ABC News interview, “How the heck did you two get together?” Matalin simply responded, “Love is blind, love is deaf.”

Most of us can relate to this sentiment, but how have Matalin and Carville managed to sustain a happy marriage over two decades, two children, and two successful and opposing political careers? According to Matalin, by not talking politics at home. They have a lot of other things in common and, as is apparent to anyone paying attention, a love and respect for one another that surpasses all else.

3 Important Questions to Consider

If you’ve come to an impasse in your relationship due to political differences, the following are some helpful questions to ask yourself when assessing its staying power.

1. Do you respect and accept your partner unconditionally?

According to renowned couples therapist John Gottman, the antidotes to contempt within any relationship are fondness and admiration, both of which can be maintained and strengthened by expressing appreciation and respect.

One of the of the most popular and contemporary approaches to couples counseling, the Gottman Method emphasizes the importance of “nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.

” The moment your relationship takes a turn toward disrespect, criticizing, or belittling, whether triggered by politics or other differences, it may be time to seek help.

2. Do you fight “well”?

The Gottman Method focuses on nine essential ingredients needed to make a relationship work, including the ability to manage conflict. When stark political differences exist, this could be the make-or-break factor.

“As someone who has done a lot of work with couples … this is the moment when pressing the point about how ‘right’ you are is only going to damage the relationship. Both sides feel hurt, unappreciated, and treated unfairly,” said Amanda Clayman, a financial therapist in New York City.

Her advice with election day fast approaching? “Let’s all practice active listening through November.”

3. Can you picture your life without your partner?

This one, I believe, is a no-brainer.

If you find someone who adds happiness to your life, makes your world a better place and you a better person, whom you respect and love and cannot imagine living without, political differences may be trivial.

Discussing any differences in the presence of an objective couples counselor can help you put things in perspective, nurture your relationship’s best qualities, and even recognize some differences of opinion as healthy.


  1. Carville, J., & Matalin, M. (1994). All’s Fair: Love, War, and Running for President. New York, NY: Random House.
  2. Chengshan, Y. (2002). Does discussing politics contribute to political tolerance? Unpublished paper presented at 2003 annual meeting of the International Communication Association, San Diego, CA. Retrieved from
  3. Dailey, R., & Palomares, N. (2004). Strategic Topic Avoidance: An Investigation of Topic Avoidance Frequency, Strategies Used, and Relational Correlates. Communication Monographs, Vol 71(4), 471-496.
  4. The Gottman Institute. (n.d.). The Gottman Method for Healthy Relationships. Retrievedfrom

© Copyright 2016 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Allison Abrams, LCSW, Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.


Tips on Dating Someone With Different Political Views

Coping With Political Differences in Your Romantic Relationship

Hello, and welcome to a guide written specifically for those of you who are one argument away from googling “How to murder my partner before the election.” First, let me advise you to (a) not google that, (b) not murder your partner, and (c) understand this isn’t just a you problem.

Sure, it may be happening in your relationship specifically, but political arguments are ev-er-y-where right now—, IRL, on legit debate stages—and involve everyone, from your aunt Marcy to that rando at Walmart. Things are getting deeply personal, and there’s a lot to argue about. It really goes so much further than debating about which candidate is better suited for the presidency.

We’re voting for policy makers who will advise on tax cuts, the student debt crisis, LGBTQ+ rights, minority injustices, immigration policy, and pro-choice policies, and we’re also in the midst of a global pandemic and economic downturn. The people elected will play a huge role in how COVID-19 is handled moving forward.

This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Maybe you and your partner disagree about the idea of a protest vote. Maybe you disagree about whether or not a vote actually matters. Maybe you’ve been arguing about fiscal, humanitarian, or even environmental issues.

But disagreeingdoesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker.

“Couples often fear differences in opinion reflect unresolvable conflict or incompatibility, when it can actually inspire relationship growth.

It is an opportunity to develop empathy, understanding, and conversation around sensitive topics for a stronger bond,” says psychotherapist Imani Movva.

“But difficult yet respectful conversations can lead to deeper understanding of perceptions, personal experiences, traumas, family, culture, religious values, morals, etc., which have shaped a partner’s beliefs and perceptions.”

So let me help you navigate this weird time of arguments, silent treatments, and “literally don’t talk to me anymore :)” texts. We’ve tapped mental health experts to advise on how to respectfully disagree with your partner when it comes to political issues—and at what point your divisions become actual deal breakers.

Some general tips to keep in mind before discussing a political issue with your partner:

  1. Pick a private and neutral location to engage in the convo, says Movva. The best place to have a serious chat: the living room couch. “Most of us have comfort connotations with our couches, and this helps set up the conversation in the right direction,” licensed marriage and family therapist Steven Reigns previously told Cosmopolitan.

    “A couch can allow each person freedom to move closer or farther away while still feeling a connection.”

  2. Set a time limit. Hopefully you don’t need a moderator to keep the convo civil (lol), but “hours of arguing is draining and unproductive—it also makes it unly to keep your cool,” says psychologist Rebekah Montgomery, PhD.

    Designate 20ish minutes to get through one topic (not too long to avoid beating a dead horse, but not too short so you can actually have a healthy debate), and once that time is up, assess whether you need to allocate more or less time for the next topic.

  3. Express your feelings with “I” statements versus “You” statements.

    Assuming you know how your partner feels or what they think about a certain topic could “put the other person on the defense,” says Movva.

  4. Stick to facts when describing issues. “Coming in with facts, data, and resources will help support your views,” says Montgomery.

  5. Be aware of when your or your partner’s emotions are escalating, and take a break when it happens. This is usually indicated by the tone of voice, harsh language, personal attacks, body language, and character judgments, says Movva.
  6. Actually listen to your partner.

    “Having the ability to understand why someone believes or acts the way they do can strengthen a relationship,” Movva says.

This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

(You may want to jot down these Movva-approved ideas in your Notes tab for easy access, btw.)

  1. “The last thing I want is to hurt you or argue, but it is important to me that we understand why or how we feel so passionately different on this issue.”
  2. “Having a safe space for us is critical. Help me understand what you need me to do to ensure you feel safe to express yourself openly. Tell me more. I want to understand.”
  3. “You’re right. I am passionate about ______ and I am upset you seem not to see it the same way. The reason I am passionate is because ____ and knowing you see it differently makes me feel _____.”
  4. “I know that is not your intention, but I am confused and having a hard time resolving what I know of you and your stance on that issue. Can you help me understand what experiences have shaped your beliefs?”

What to say if you disagree about human rights issues (such as LGBTQ+ rights, abortion access, etc.):

“I would love to understand what experiences have led you to have such strong beliefs.”

What to say if you disagree about the importance of voting:

“I always felt we were aligned on _____, so I am a bit taken back by your stance on protest voting/whether voting is important. Could you help me understand _____?»

What to say if you disagree about the new Supreme Court Justice:

The appointing of the new Supreme Court justice prior to the election does not seem to upset you the way it is upsetting me [or “seems to upset you more than it is upsetting me”], am I perceiving this correctly?”

What to say if you disagree about fiscal issues (such as tax cuts, minimum wage, student debt, etc.):

“I am surprised by your stance on _____ considering how caring you are. Would you be open to talking about what shaped the way you prioritize these issues?”

What to say if you disagree about environmental issues (such as fracking, global warming, etc.):

“I felt very frustrated by your comments about environmental issues, as you know how important _______ is to me. I understand you may not find ______ as important, but I would appreciate it if you had a bit more respect/sensitivity for something I am passionate about.”

What to say if you disagree about how the government is handling the COVID-19 pandemic:

“I know we have different views on how the government should deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but let’s focus on what we agree on to ensure supporting each other feeling safe to our best abilities.”

When political debates become deal breakers

Good news: You can disagree respectfully without it harming your relationship because yup, “you can validate someone’s emotion without agreeing with their beliefs,” says Montgomery. But depending on the larger implications of some of these issues and their importance to you, it could become a little more complicated.

“For example, once you are wanting to restrict someone else’s rights around their bodies because of your own personal beliefs, common ground can be harder to find,” says Montgomery.

“You can certainly still use the principles discussed above, but if you and your partner disagree here, it may be less about balancing principles and values and more about having very different values from each other.”

She confirms: “This is ly more indicative of something that would make a long-term relationship challenging.”

It might be helpful to identify your nonnegotiables prior to your conversation. Decide if a certain opposing viewpoint—such as one about equal rights or abortion access—is more important than the relationship itself, says Movva.

The path to staying together through Nov. 3 and beyond

If the issues you disagree on aren’t, in fact, deal breakers for you, the absolute key to moving forward is finding some common ground within a disagreement. “You must believe this person you care about has a very good reason for their stance,” says Montgomery.

And as an active listener to your partner, “your challenge is to deeply understand, acknowledge, and validate their principle and underlying emotion. You must also effectively communicate your core principle and underlying worry or fear,” she says.

“Try to come to a shared understanding,” Montgomery confirms. Because shared understandings = an even stronger bond in your relationship.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at


Добавить комментарий

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: