I am in a very brand new relationship with someone whose politics are very different from mine. Almost all my friends and close family align with my political principles and the fact that Sam and I do not line up is hard for me. He is wonderful in all other ways. Thoughtful and kind, he sees me for who I am and values that person. Many of our values are shared and we can laugh and have fun together. He is unfazed by my politics and respects the strength of my beliefs and where they are coming from. I find I take it so personally when we do not agree. I am starting to realize that I have a lot of my identity tied up in my views. Is this a stumbling block to the relationship or do you have advice for me so I can change my thinking and pursue what might be a very fulfilling romantic partnership? – Sincerely, Claudia
I can see you are worried about this discrepancy in your views as you otherwise feel so good about Sam. Here are some things for you to consider.
Sam’s different political views may be an opportunity to learn more about him, and more about you. If you respect him that much, and his views are so divergent from yours, perhaps there is something to learn about different political views as well? The fact that you are both passionate about politics is a quite positive shared compatibility. As you mentioned: “He is unfazed by my politics and respects the strength of my beliefs and where they are coming from.” That fact demonstrates a high regard of openness, consideration, and compassion and the makings of a fulfilling romantic partnership. I don’t recommend changing your thinking as far as it is tied to your identity but perhaps shifting your perspective to be able agree to disagree would be useful.
I also infer that you may be wondering if strongly held political beliefs are similar to core values, something I frequently stress the importance of in a relationship (Stack the Love Deck in Your Favor by Sharing Core Values). Don’t worry. Our core values don’t change but our beliefs can and do. You may have believed who you voted for in the past was the best candidate and later you discovered something that bumped up against a core value. For example, a commitment to healthy farming practices and food may have been challenged when you learned your candidate’s campaign was funded by a GMO company. New information like that changed your belief in that person. Be open to new information while holding your core values sacred.
Most importantly, don’t take Sam’s views personally. Keeping track of what is and what is not personal is about boundaries—yours and his. Part of knowing and keeping your boundaries is understanding where you end and he begins, which will allow you to hold respect for both you and him at all times.
Good luck and go for it. Sam sounds pretty good from where I sit!
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