The Politics of Relationships: Navigating Polarization at the Dinner Table and Beyond

Written By: Ava Osorio

The age-old advice is to never talk about politics at dinner, yet his belief has gone by the wayside in recent years. 

In this day and age when politics has become so polarized, there is an even larger divide in our relationships, be it with friends, family, or spouses. This polarization was brought to its height during the 2016 Election. Since then, according to a poll consisting of 6,000 people, 16% of people stopped talking to someone as a result of the election, the percentage skyrocketing all the way to 35% when only looking at millennials. 

Some feel like there are ways to work around the political differences in their relationships. A common piece of advice is to focus on the values and beliefs that both partners have in common and to stop bringing up politics as a whole. However, many people believe that it’s not right to stay ignorant about topics such as politics because it represents one’s values as a person. Pretending that there is not an issue in a relationship just creates a foundational rift. 

Although the age-old saying is that opposites attract, this isn’t entirely true. If two people are so drastically different that they can’t even agree on their core beliefs, it can bring toxicity into the relationship. Another factor is how some people are not given the same ability to be ignorant of their partners’ opinions. An example of this would be if a bisexual woman was dating a straight male that didn’t support gay marriage. This would obviously create chasms in the relationship as one partner can’t even respect the others full existence (this is purely hypothetical, obviously). 

I think that there is no single solution to predicaments like these, and it entirely depends on each person’s political values and their personal relationship. However, this issue continues to impact relationships.

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