Minus the City: Politics of Love

Erin Mincer

There are certain topics you are never supposed to talk about with someone you just met, namely religion and politics. You want to tread carefully and make certain not to offend the other person. However, when it comes to relationships, or even casual hookups, does political affiliation matter?

I think one of the most important aspects of a relationship is finding a partner who is willing to push you outside of your comfort zone; I would never want to be with someone who did not press me to see the world in new ways. By exclusively dating people who share your same political views, you may be missing out on an awesome opportunity to expand your intellectual horizons. If you are with a partner who has opposing views, I’m not saying that you have to agree with everything they believe in, but it is important to genuinely hear them out. If you care about them as a person, you should be willing to take the time to listen to their opinions on major issues, even if they do not align directly with yours.

By dating someone with different political views, you are being exposed to new viewpoints in a novel way. Say you two do not agree on laws about gun control or abortion; by at least taking the time to hear their point of view, you are opening yourself up to new ideas that you never would have experienced otherwise. I find it very problematic when people only align themselves with others who agree with them politically. In this environment, you will end up always thinking that your ideas are correct, since everyone around you only reaffirms your way of thinking. If you date someone with opposing views, you will receive a more balanced dialogue about the political issues that are currently affecting our country.

In the short term, dating someone with different political views may not be a major point of tension. Once the election passes, I suspect that much of the talk about politics that is currently dominating the media will begin to die down. However, it may be difficult to stay in a relationship in the long-term if you have different political views than your partner. I suspect it makes a relationship run much smoother when the parties involved can agree on a few fundamental issues. While opposites may attract initially, finding someone who is liked-minded may bring about a strong sense of comfort within a relationship.

Although politics does undoubtedly play a role in the success of a relationship, it should not be a defining factor. While there are stereotypes associated with all political parties, they are just that — generalizations about a large group of people based upon one part of their identity. Your best bet would be to get to know someone for who they are, not for who they are voting for.

This brings me to my final dilemma. The student body of Colgate knows that the culture here makes it difficult to find a relationship, or even someone that you like enough to hook up with consistently. The criteria for a potential partner is pretty extensive already: attractive, nice, smart, caring, driven. If you find someone who you like, and who likes you back (first off, congrats), do you think that who they voted for in the election will really matter all that much to you? I hope not.