How Our Polarizing President is Causing Many Relationships to Break-Up

Typically, political differences in relationships haven’t had a negative effect on those in relationships. That’s mainly because most couples have learned how to compartmentalize their political views in their relationship. However, our current political climate is an entirely different animal. In a recent survey, researchers from Wakefield Research wanted to take a look at the current political divide and determine whether if, and how much, politics affects our intimate relationships.

However, our current political climate is an entirely different animal. In a recent survey, researchers from Wakefield Research decided to take a look at the current political divide and determine whether if, and how much, politics affects our intimate relationships.

Breaking Down the Wakefield Research

The researchers found that 11% of Americans overall have ended a relationship because of political differences. In addition:

    • 1 out of 10 couples, whether married or not married, saw an end to their relationship because of politics.
    • 22% of Millennials had a greater likelihood of a experiencing a breakup because of political differences.
    • 42% of Millennials in a relationship have had a disagreement or argument with their partners since President Trump has been elected.
    • 33% of Americans who did not vote for the President, but are in a relationship with someone who did, have thought about divorcing their partner.For Millennials though, this number rises to 43%.

The researchers at Wakefield noted this “Trump Effect” saying,

“Since Donald Trump’s election, political discourse in the U.S. has been more tense and divisive than ever.”

Having such divergent political opinions is not just negatively affecting friendships, but now they are negatively impacting intimate relationships as well.

What Does this Mean for Couples?

Considering America’s deep political divide, these statistics aren’t shocking. They reflect the current polarization of our politics and how it is trickling down to other parts of our lives, including our relationships. Unfortunately, we see the results of this divide on television, in newspapers/magazines, and especially online (sometimes in graphic detail). Yet, for couples who have political differences there are steps to take to address this problem. These steps can help them avoid the pitfalls that we see occurring on a larger level and foster a greater understanding with one another.

What to Do if You and Your Partner Have Political Differences?

There several ways those partners can work to resolve any political differences. The goals here are actually no different than those with any other kind of conflict in relationships:

  1. Understand your partner’s position and listen to them with an open mind.
  2. Process what these differences mean for the relationship going forward. Do you need to readjust future plans and goals?
  3. Attempt to come to an understanding of those differences. At the very least, attempt to agree to disagree. But ideally, challenge yourself to respect your partner’s perception. Over time, you may even come to appreciate them. There’s even a chance you may change your perspective as well.

As with any disagreement between partners, the key to resolving the issue is having open communication and truly listening to one another. Remember that this is not necessarily going to be a one-conversation-and-done issue. You both may have to work through this for an extended period of time. The important part though is to keep the dialogue going. If you and your partner feel that you need more help, consider working with a marriage counselor.

The deep political divide in our country is a great parallel for when we experience differences and heated conflict in our personal lives. However, you don’t have to let political differences divide you, or cause your relationship to suffer. Listening and communicating effectively are critical and if necessary, couples counseling might be vital. If you can skillfully navigate your political differences it can go a long way towards resolving other difficult issues in your relationship as well.

 

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